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Forms of Rabbinic Literature and ThoughtAn Introduction$
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Alexander Samely

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780199296736

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2007

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199296736.001.0001

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Hermeneutic Models of Story and History

Hermeneutic Models of Story and History

(p.178) 10 Hermeneutic Models of Story and History
Forms of Rabbinic Literature and Thought

Alexander Samely (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

The midrashic engagement with the biblical past, as it is represented in biblical words, is substantial and detailed. This chapter explains some major types and their literary formats, using a chapter from Genesis Rabbah as illustration. Particular attention is given to the question of endings, both in stories and in history, as perceived by the rabbis. For the rabbis, their own past and present held little historical interest. This results from the fact that the midrashic practice intensifies the meaning of biblical events, reducing later events to the status of mere repetitions of biblical paradigms. This is seen as an expression of exile, that is, a state of waiting for redemption.

Keywords:   hermeneutic models, midrashic engagement, Genesis Rabbah, biblical events, narrative Petichah

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