Midrashic Imagination: Jewish Exegesis, Thought, and History

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This innovative and original book examines the broad range of Jewish interpretation from antiquity through the medieval and renaissance periods. Its primary focus is on Midrash and midrashic creativity, including the entire range of nonlegal interpretations of the Bible. Considering Midrash as a literary and cultural form, the book explores aspects of classical Midrash from various angles including mythmaking and parables. The relationship between this exoteric mode and more esoteric forms in late antiquity is ...
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Overview

This innovative and original book examines the broad range of Jewish interpretation from antiquity through the medieval and renaissance periods. Its primary focus is on Midrash and midrashic creativity, including the entire range of nonlegal interpretations of the Bible. Considering Midrash as a literary and cultural form, the book explores aspects of classical Midrash from various angles including mythmaking and parables. The relationship between this exoteric mode and more esoteric forms in late antiquity is also examined. This work also focuses on some of the major genres of medieval biblical exegesis: plain sense, allegory, and mystical.
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Editorial Reviews

Booknews
Examines the broad range of Jewish interpretation from antiquity through the medieval and renaissance periods, focusing primarily on Midrash and midrashic creativity that includes the entire range of nonlegal interpretations of the Bible. Explores Midrash, considered as a literary and cultural form, from various perspectives, including mythmaking and parables. Paper edition (unseen), $16.95. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780791415221
  • Publisher: State University of New York Press
  • Publication date: 7/1/1993
  • Pages: 296

Meet the Author

Michael Fishbane is Nathan Cummings Professor of Jewish Studies at The Univeristy of Chicago. He has written many works including Text and Texture, Biblical Interpretation in Ancient Israel, and The Garments of Torah.

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Table of Contents

Introduction
Michael Fishbane

Part I. Midrashic Hermeneutics: Some Conceptual and Comparative Considerations

1. Midrash and the "Midrashic Condition": Preliminary Considerations
Ithamar Gruenwald · Tel Aviv University

2. From Midrash to Mishnah:

Theological Repercussions and Further Clarifications of "Chate'u Yisrael"
David Weiss Halivni · Columbia University

3. Midrashic versus Other Forms of Jewish Hermeneutics:
Some Comparative Reflections
Moshe Idel · The Hebrew University of Jerusalem

Part II. Ancient Midrash: Myth, History, and Parable

4. "The Holy One Sits and Roars":
Mythopoesis and the Midrashic Imagination
Michael Fishbane · The University of Chicago

5. The Rabbinic Parable and the Narrative of Interpretation
David Stern · University of Pennsylvania

Part III. Medieval Midrash and Exegesis:

The Many Ways of Peshat, Remez, and Sod

6. The Nature and Distribution of Medieval Compilatory Commentaries in the Light of Rabbi Joseph Kara's Commentary on the Book of Job
Sara Japhet · The Hebrew University of Jerusalem

7. Maimonides on the Covenant of Circumcision and the Unity of God
Josef Stern · The University of Chicago

8. Beautiful Maiden Without Eyes: Peshat and Sod in Zoharic Hermeneutics
Elliot R. Wolfson · New York University

9. Proverbs, Figures, and Riddles:
The Dialogues of Love as a Hebrew Humanist Composition
Arthur M. Lesley · Baltimore Hebrew University

Part IV. Myth, Midrash, and Exemplum in Medieval Historiography

10. Can Medieval Storytelling Help Understanding Midrash? The Story of Paltiel: A Preliminary Study on History and Midrash
Robert Bonfil · The Hebrew University of Jerusalem

11. History, Story and Collective Memory:
Narrativity in Early Ashkenazic Culture
Ivan G. Marcus · The Jewish Theological Seminary of America

12. Sefer Yosippon: History and Midrash
Steven Bowman · University of Cincinnati

Index

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