In discussions of Torah, halacha, etc., people often say, "According to Chazal..." as though all the thousands of rabbis of an 800-year period spoke with one voice. But you almost never hear people say, "According to the Rishonim"; instead you hear about individual Rishonim, as in "According to Rashi..." Why is this? Why do we treat Chazal as a single entity when it obviously isn't so?

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    You do (or at least I do) hear people say "the rishonim on that pasuk [or: that g'mara] say that...". – msh210 Apr 4 '16 at 17:04
  • I suspect we treat chazal as a single source only if any dissent is irrelevant to us at the moment because (in an halachic discussion) we don't rule that way or (in an halachic or aggadic discussion) we're right now interested in a particular way of looking at the matter. That doesn't answer your question (because we do that for chazal more IME than for rishonim under the same irrelevance criteria). – msh210 Apr 4 '16 at 17:09
  • Generally Chazal is up to the end of the Gemara. Monolithic? no often we say one chazal says A and an other chazal says B – kouty Apr 4 '16 at 18:38
  • Similarly: "The midrash says..." – magicker72 Apr 4 '16 at 20:23
  • @magicker72 Fair point. Same problem. – crmdgn Apr 4 '16 at 21:41

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