Midrash Unbound

BookMidrash Unbound

Midrash Unbound

Transformations and Innovations

The Littman Library of Jewish Civilization


June 14th, 2016

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Midrash is arguably the most ancient genre of Jewish literature, forming a voluminous body of scriptural exegesis over the course of centuries. There is hardly anything in the ancient rabbinic universe that was not taught through this medium. The diversity and development of that creative profusion are presented here in a new light. The contributors cover a broad range of texts, from late antiquity to the modern period and from all the centres of literary creativity, including non-rabbinic and non-Jewish literature, so that the full extent of the modes and transformations of Midrash can be fully appreciated. A comprehensive introduction situates Midrash in its historical and cultural setting, pointing to creative adaptations within the tradition and providing a sense of the variety of genres and applications discussed in the body of the book.
Bringing together an impressive array of the leading names in the field, the volume is innovative in both its scope and content, seeking to open a new period in the study of Midrash and its creative role in the formation of culture. It should be of interest to all scholars of Jewish studies, as well as to a wider readership interested in the interrelationships between hermeneutics, culture, and creativity, and especially in the afterlife of a classical genre and its ability to inspire new creativity in many forms.
Contributors: Philip Alexander, Sebastian Brock, Jacob Elbaum, Michael Fishbane, Robert Hayward, William Horbury, Sara Japhet, Ephraim Kanarfogel, Naftali Loewenthal, Ivan G. Marcus, Alison Salvesen, Marc Saperstein, Chava Turniansky, Piet van Boxel, Joanna Weinberg, Benjamin Williams, Elliot Wolfson, Eli Yassif.


Author Information

Michael Fishbane is Professor of Jewish Studies in the Divinity School of the University of Chicago, an elected fellow of the American Academy for Jewish Research and holder of a Lifetime Award for Textual Studies from the National Foundation for Jewish Culture in America. Joanna Weinberg is Professor of Early Modern Jewish History and Rabbinics at the University of Oxford.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents
Section TitlePagePrice
Cover 1
Half Title 2
Title Page 4
Copyright 5
List of Contributors 8
Note on Transliteration 9
List of Contributors8
Note on Transliteration9
Introduction 10
1. Midrash and the Meaning of Scripture 22
2. The Hand upon the Lord’s Throne: Targumic and Midrashic Perceptions of Exodus 17: 14–16 34
3. Unwashed Hands: A Midrashic Controversy in the Gospel of Matthew 50
4. ‘Tradunt Hebraei’: The Problem of the Function and Reception of Jewish Midrash in Jerome 66
5. Midrash in Syriac 92
6. Piyut and Midrash: Between Poetic Invention and Rabbinic Convention 108
7. The Mourners for Zion and the Suffering Messiah: Pesikta rabati 34—Structure, Theology, and Context 146
8. The Toledot yeshu as Midrash 168
9. Storytelling as Midrashic Discourse in the Middle Ages 178
10. Performative Midrash in the Memory of Ashkenazi Martyrs 206
11. Midrash in a Lexical Key: Nathan ben Yehiel’s Arukh 222
12. Rashi’s Choice: The Pentateuch Commentary as Rewritten Midrash 242
13. The Pendulum of Exegetical Methodology: From Peshat to Derash and Back 258
14. Midrashic Texts and Methods in Tosafist Torah Commentaries 276
15. Zoharic Literature and Midrashic Temporality 330
16. The Ingathering of Midrash Rabbah: A Moment of Creativity and Innovation 356
17. Midrash in Medieval and Early Modern Sermons 380
18. Rabbi Judah Loew of Prague and his Attitude to the Aggadah 398
19. The Destruction of the Temple: A Yiddish Booklet for the Ninth of Av 416
20. Midrash in Habad Hasidism 438