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Commentary on Midrash Rabba in the Sixteenth CenturyThe Or ha-Sekhel of Abraham ben Asher$
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Benjamin Williams

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780198759232

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198759232.001.0001

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Midrash in the Sixteenth-Century Ottoman Empire

Midrash in the Sixteenth-Century Ottoman Empire

(p.9) 1 Midrash in the Sixteenth-Century Ottoman Empire
Commentary on Midrash Rabba in the Sixteenth Century

Benjamin Williams

Oxford University Press

This chapter focuses on two principal contexts in which midrash was encountered by Jews of the Ottoman Empire in the sixteenth century—sermons and homiletic commentaries on the Bible. Among these latter were books written by preachers who recast their sermons as written commentaries. Other authors deliberately imitated this homiletic style. The chapter argues that the citation and exposition of midrash in sermons also led to the composition of homiletic expositions of midrashim, including both the Yefe Toʾar and Abraham ben Asher’s commentary on Genesis Rabba. The ʾOr ha-Sekhel, though, not only furnishes the reader with discursive comments but also contains the commentary attributed to Rashi and the midrashic text itself. Abraham ben Asher’s work was therefore intended to be a complete and self-contained guide to the study of midrash.

Keywords:   homiletics, sermons, exegesis, Rashi, Yefe To’ar

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