Other types of narratives have also been identified within rabbinic sources. At one end of the spectrum, we find the anecdote about prominent rabbis or known historical figures, such as Alexander the Great or Roman emperors. At the other end, there are concise case stories which present the most important legal details of particular cases only. Neither of these traditions can be considered historically reliable. They must all be seen as literary constructs which try to convey certain religious, moral, and ideological messages (anecdotes) or transmit legal instructions (case stories) which may help later legal experts in making their own decisions.
Catherine Hezser, “Form-Criticism of Rabbinic Literature”, in The New Testament and Rabbinic Literature, eds. Reimund Bieringer, Florentino García Martinez, Didier Pollefeyt and Peter J. Tomson (Leiden & Boston: Brill, 2010), 103.