Monthly Archives: September 2009

Original

Philip S. Alexander, “Midrash,” A Dictionary of Biblical Interpretation, ed. R.J. Coggins and J.L. Houldin (SCM Press, Trinity Press, 1990) 454, 458. The reason the midrashim have this anonymous character is basically ideological. The darshanim saw themselves as engaged in … Continue reading

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A Rabbi Disagreeing with Prophets?

Jacob Neusner, Invitation to Midrash: The Workings of Rabbinic Bible Interpretation (Atlanta: Scholars, 1998) 153. Leviticus Rabbah dates to the fifth century C.E. Neusner quotes and discusses LR 27:8, which comments on Isaiah 1:3. The quote is as follows: Said … Continue reading

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Ha-Olam in the Heart

Michael Fishbane, The Exegetical Imagination: On Jewish Thought and Theology (Cambridge, 1998) 19. …Koheleth said that God created each thing for its proper time, “and even put the world (ha-‘olam) in their hearts[.]” Reading ha-olam in [Koheleth] as he-‘elem (“the … Continue reading

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The Nations Against Fornication

Jacob Neusner, Invitation to Midrash: The Workings of Rabbinic Bible Interpretation (Atlanta: Scholars, 1998) 120. Genesis Rabbah was completed around 400 C.E. Neusner quotes Genesis Rabbah 70:12, which is interpreting Genesis 29:11. Genesis 29:11 states that Jacob kissed Rachel and … Continue reading

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Dates: The Tannaim and the Amoraim

David Stern, “Midrash,” Contemporary Jewish Religious Thought, ed. Arthur Cohen and Paul Mendes-Flohr (New York, 1987) 616-617. The tannaitic collections, called after the tannaim, the sages who lived between 70 C.E. and 220 C.E… …the amoraim, the sages who lived … Continue reading

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The Bright Spot and Skin Color

Jacob Neusner, Invitation to Midrash: The Workings of Rabbinic Bible Interpretation (Atlanta: Scholars, 1998) 73. Neusner discusses a passage from the Sifra (third century C.E.), specifically Negaim 1:4. The topic is the laws in Leviticus about the leper, or whatever … Continue reading

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More or Less Authoritative

Jacob Neusner, Invitation to Midrash: The Workings of Rabbinic Bible Interpretation (Atlanta: Scholars, 1998) 49. …the Talmud of the land of Israel, subordinate as it is to the Mishnah, regards the Mishnah as subordinate to, and contingent upon, Scripture. The … Continue reading

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For Whom Were the Midrashim?

Richard Sarason, “Toward a New Agendum for the Study of Rabbinic Midrashic Literature,” Studies in Aggadah, Targum and Jewish Liturgy in Memory of Joseph Heinemann, ed. Jakob Petuchowski and Ezra Fleischer (Jerusalem, 1981) 66. More fundamentally at issue here between … Continue reading

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Hillel on Self-Interest and Altruism

Jacob Neusner, Invitation to Midrash: The Workings of Rabbinic Bible Interpretation (Atlanta: Scholars, 1998) 10. Pirke Avoth is a part of the Mishnah dating to 250 C.E. It quotes Hillel (first century C.E.): If I am not for myself, who … Continue reading

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How to Respond to the Culture Wars

At my Latin mass this morning, we didn’t have our usual priest, but rather the one who likes to talk about politics and the culture wars.   The text he preached on was the one in which Jesus says that … Continue reading

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