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The Exegetical Imagination: On Jewish Thought and Theology

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Exegesis—interpretation and explanation of sacred texts—is the quintessence of rabbinic thought. Through such means and methods, the written words of Hebrew Scripture have been extended since antiquity, and given new voices for new times. In this lucid and often poetic book, Michael Fishbane delineates the connections between biblical interpretation and Jewish religious thought.

How can a canon be open to new meanings, given that it is believed to be immutable? Fishbane ...

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Very good Very good black cloth hardcover with copper lettering, ex seminary library with the usual features including a white label on the spine. Three short ink jots on the ... title page-the rest of the text is clean and unmarked; the book is tight & square. No dust jacket. We appreciate your order! Packaged and shipped by shelf-worn bibliophiles. Read more Show Less

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Cambridge, MA 1998 Hard cover Very good in very good dust jacket. Sewn binding. Cloth over boards. With dust jacket. 460 p. Audience: General/trade.

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Overview

Exegesis—interpretation and explanation of sacred texts—is the quintessence of rabbinic thought. Through such means and methods, the written words of Hebrew Scripture have been extended since antiquity, and given new voices for new times. In this lucid and often poetic book, Michael Fishbane delineates the connections between biblical interpretation and Jewish religious thought.

How can a canon be open to new meanings, given that it is believed to be immutable? Fishbane discusses the nature and rationale of this interpretative process in a series of studies on ancient Jewish speculative theology. Focusing on questions often pondered in Midrash, he shows how religious ideas are generated or justified by exegesis. He also explores the role exegesis plays in liturgy and ritual. A striking example is the transfer of speculative interpretations into meditation in prayer. Cultivation of the ability to perceive many implicit meanings in a text or religious practice can become a way of living—as Fishbane shows in explaining how such notions as joy or spiritual meditations on death can be idealized and the ideal transmitted through theological interpretation. The Exegetical Imagination is a collection of interrelated essays that together offer new and profound understanding of scriptural interpretation and its central role in Judaism.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780674274617
  • Publisher: Harvard University Press
  • Publication date: 10/28/1998
  • Pages: 460
  • Product dimensions: 6.06 (w) x 9.58 (h) x 0.81 (d)

Meet the Author

Michael Fishbane is Nathan Cummings Professor of Jewish Studies, and Chair of the Committee on Jewish Studies, at the University of Chicago. Among his many books are Biblical Interpretation in Ancient Israeland Judaism: Revelation and Traditions.

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Table of Contents

Preface
Introduction 1
1 Midrash and the Nature of Scripture 9
2 "The Holy One Sits and Roars": Mythopoesis and Midrashic Imagination 22
3 The Great Dragon Battle and Talmudic Redaction 41
4 The Measure and Glory of God in Ancient Midrash 56
5 Midrashic Theologies of Messianic Suffering 73
6 Five Stages of Jewish Myth and Mythmaking 86
7 The Book of Zohar and Exegetical Spirituality 105
8 Substitutes for Sacrifice in Judaism 123
9 Contemplation of Death in Jewish Piety 136
10 Joy and Jewish Spirituality 151
11 The Mystery of Dance According to Rabbi Nahman of Bratzlav 173
Notes 187
Credits 232
Index 233
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