Peshat and Derash: Plain and Applied Meaning in Rabbinic Exegesis

Overview


From the days of Plato, the problem of the efficacy and adequacy of the written word as a vehicle of human communication has challenged mankind, yet the mystery of how best to achieve clarity and exactitude of written expression has never been solved. The most repercussive instance of this universal problem has been the exegesis of the law embodied in Hebrew scripture. Peshat and Derash is the first book to trace the Jewish interpretative enterprise from a historical perspective. Applying his vast knowledge of ...
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Peshat and Derash: Plain and Applied Meaning in Rabbinic Exegesis

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Overview


From the days of Plato, the problem of the efficacy and adequacy of the written word as a vehicle of human communication has challenged mankind, yet the mystery of how best to achieve clarity and exactitude of written expression has never been solved. The most repercussive instance of this universal problem has been the exegesis of the law embodied in Hebrew scripture. Peshat and Derash is the first book to trace the Jewish interpretative enterprise from a historical perspective. Applying his vast knowledge of Rabbinic materials to the long history of Jewish exegesis of both Bible and Talmud, Halivni investigates the tension that has often existed between the plain sense of the divine text (peshat) and its creative, Rabbinic interpretations (derash). Halivni addresses the theological implications of the deviation of derash from peshat and explores the differences between the ideological extreme of the religious right, which denies that Judaism has a history, and the religious left, which claims that history is all that Judaism has. A comprehensive and critical narration of the history and repercussions of Rabbinic exegesis, this analysis will interest students of legal texts, hermeneutics, and scriptural traditions, as well as anyone involved in Jewish studies.
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Editorial Reviews

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"[Halivni] is one of the few scholars in the world who has the scope of Jewish erudition to be able to survey two thousand years of exegesis--of both biblical and rabbinic texts--and draw conclusions about patterns of development....Fascinating, erudite, and controversial. It deserves to be read by all scholars and by all Jews who find the tensions between peshat and derash worthy of consideration."--Hebrew Studies

"This reviewer is awed by Professor Weiss Halivni's learning and originality, and would rise in his presence as one stands before a Torah scholar....Only a great man and mind could write such a provocative work which stimulates thought and learning."--The National

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195060652
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 1/28/1991
  • Pages: 264
  • Lexile: 1450L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.75 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 1.03 (d)

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