By Eliezer Segal
The Bible has constantly been very important to Jewish non secular existence, and it's been expounded in diversified methods. might be the main influential physique of Jewish biblical interpretation is the Midrash that used to be produced via expositors throughout the first 5 centuries CE. Many such teachings are amassed within the Babylonian Talmud, the huge compendium of Jewish legislations and lore that was once approved because the definitive assertion of Jewish oral culture for next generations.
even if, the various Talmud’s interpretations of biblical passages look weird and wonderful or unnecessary. From Sermon to observation: Expounding the Bible in Talmudic Babylonia attempts to give an explanation for this phenomenon by means of rigorously reading consultant passages from various methodological ways, paying specific cognizance to comparisons with Midrash composed within the Land of Israel.
in keeping with this research, Eliezer Segal argues that the Babylonian sages have been using discourses that had originated in Israel as rhetorical sermons within which biblical interpretation was once being hired in an resourceful, literary demeanour, frequently in response to the interaction among or extra texts from diverse books of the Bible. simply because they didn't own their very own culture of homiletic preaching, the Babylonian rabbis interpreted those reviews with out regard for his or her rhetorical conventions, as though they have been exegetical commentaries, leading to the unique, difficult personality of Babylonian Midrash.
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Additional info for From Sermon to Commentary: Expounding the Bible in Talmudic Babylonia
The formula “Said the Prophet” ( )ybnh rm) ) appears initially to be a terminus technicus for introducing the external verse of a petih·ta, but other instances of the expression do not bear out this conclusion. In several examples, it appears just before the conclusion of a unit. Cf. Exodus Rabbah 30:15 and Tanh· uma, (Buber, Mishpat·im, 9 (p. 86). , Midrash, 46), which appears to be a reworking of the Tanh·uma version to which a few narrative details have been added (“when Joseph died they violated the covenant of circumcision,” “From here you may learn that Moses circumcised them upon their departure from Egypt”).
What is the lifespan of a person? “threescore years and ten; and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years” (Psalm 90:9). And the distance from the earth to the ﬁrmament is ﬁve hundred years. “Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit” (Isaiah 14:15). 9 However, it is not difﬁcult to imagine several other contexts that would be appropriate for it. ” 2 Ed. Theodor and Albeck, 408–409. 3 Gen. ” “Cushite” is thus used here in a simple, factual way that requires no aggadic exposition.
As is well known, the problems are inherent in the wording of Genesis 1:27: “in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them,” as well as in the comparison between that verse and 2:18 –24. 15 The opinion that equates the s·ela‘ with the pars·uf is easily accounted for by comparison with several statements in the Talmuds and Midrash that use the expression du-pars·uﬁn, a formulation that occurs in virtually identical form in Plato. Accordingly, the explanation proposed by Rav or Samuel would imply that the original Adam had two faces or heads16 and that one of these was removed to form Eve.