In this paper, I compare and contrast the role of the anecdote or case history in Second Sophistic culture – the Greek culture of the Roman Empire — and in rabbinical writing. The two bodies of material are roughly contemporary, although the rabbinical writing stretches later. Both are in the purview of the Roman Empire, but cross the East/West ideological topography: much of the writing of the second Sophistic — Lucian from Syria paradigmatically – is from the so-called Greek East (and sometimes derided as such by the Romans); the two Talmuds are written in Palestine in the Roman Empire and Babylon on its edges and beyond. These writings are in communication, however, also: Daniel Boyarin recently suggested that reading Lucian, indeed, was crucial for understanding the nature of the Talmud’s narrative. I will be looking at how the style and form of the anecdote or case study — neither term will quite do for the talmud in particular — construct a specific, ideologically formed “subject who knows”. In short, this paper considers the relationship between epistemology, subject positions, and the form of narrative in the two cultures which are claimed as the privileged origin of Western thinking, Hellenism and Hebraism.