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Isaac On Jewish and Christian Altars

Polemic and Exegesis in Rashi and the Glossa Ordinaria

Devorah Schoenfeld

Publication Year: 2012

Devorah Schoenfeld's new work offers an in-depth examination of two of the most influential Christian and Jewish Bible commentaries of the High Middle Ages. The Glossa Ordinaria and Rashi's commentary were standard texts for Bible study in the High Middle Ages, and Rashi's influence continues to the present day. Although Rashi's commentary and the Glossa developed at the same time with no known contact between them, they shared a way of reading text that shaped their interpretations of the central religious narrative of the Binding of Isaac. Schoenfeld's text examines each commentary unto itself and offers a detailed comparison, one that illustrates the similarities between Rashi and the Gloss that derive not merely from their shared late antique heritage but also from their common twelfth-century context, and the Jewish-Christian polemic in which they both, implicitly or explicitly, take part.

Published by: Fordham University Press

Series: Fordham Series in Medieval Studies (FUP)

Title Page, Copyright

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pp. i-iv


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p. v

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p. vii

I am grateful to the many people whose help went into the making of this book. Foremost, I would like to thank Christopher Ocker for his guidance throughout my research. I continue to be grateful for his advice and mentorship. No less do I thank Daniel Boyarin and Arthur Holder for their contributions. At different stages, this project also benefited from the help and wise guidance of David Biale, Sergey Dolgopolski, Robert Harris, Franklin...

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Notes on Format

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p. ix

For ease of identification, I have assigned each comment from Rashi and the Gloss a unique number. (This numbering system was suggested by Mark Zier in conversation.) I have numbered the comments as (verse number). (comment number). So, for example, Rashi’s second comment on the first verse of Genesis 22 is comment 1.2. For Gloss comments, I have added an i for interlinear glosses and an m for marginal comments. Comment 3.2i...

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pp. 1-13

The Glossa Ordinaria and Rashi’s commentary were two of the most influential Christian and Jewish Bible commentaries of the High Middle Ages. Both were standard texts for Bible study for at least two centuries after their composition, and Rashi’s influence continues to the present day. The Gloss was the foundation of twelfth- and thirteenth-century monastic and cathedral education and the...

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Chapter One. The Developing Jewish–Christian Polemic

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pp. 14-30

Rashi and the glosses of the Glossa Ordinaria on Genesis 22 are similar in both method and content. Such similarity develops out of their shared historical context. These two commentaries developed at a time of scholarly ferment and intensification of the Jewish–Christian polemic. The authors of these commentaries (or their schools) were part of both these developments. This chapter will...

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Chapter Two. Rashi and His Sources

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pp. 31-60

Rashi and the Gloss both build on their rabbinic and patristic traditions. This chapter, on Rashi, and the next chapter, on the Gloss, will show that they both draw selectively on a range of different sources and adapt them using a variety of strategies to present their exegesis as arising directly from the biblical text. These strategies of adaptation and change allow them to present themselves as in continuity with their respective exegetical traditions. ...

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Chapter Three. The Sources and Manuscript Evolution of the Glossa Ordinaria on Genesis 22

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pp. 61-87

The Glossa Ordinaria, like Rashi’s commentary, is a carefully constructed commentary in which every nearly comment has an earlier source. The Glossa Ordinaria on Genesis 22, like Rashi’s commentary, truncates, paraphrases, and rearranges it sources to give the impression of unified authorship. Both Rashi and the Glossa Ordinaria blur the lines between continuity and change, and between tradition and originality. ...

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Chapter Four. Isaac on Jewish and Christian Altars: Polemic, Faith, and Sacrifice in Rashi and the Gloss on Genesis 22

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pp. 88-123

The structure of this book has been a four-way comparison between Rashi, the Gloss, and their respective sources. While previous chapters have highlighted the differences, this chapter will show that the most important elements in Rashi and in the Gloss on Genesis 22 are themes that they have in common. Both Rashi and the Gloss read the near-sacrifice of Isaac polemically, in a way that uses the story of Abraham as evidence for the greatness of Abraham—representing...

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Appendix A. A Critical Edition of the Glossa Ordinaria on Genesis 22: Overview of Existing Editions of the Gloss and Rationale for Present Edition

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pp. 124-163

Although two modern printed editions of the Glossa Ordinaria exist, neither emphasizes the elements of the Gloss most crucial to my reading of the text. The most easily available edition, in volumes 113 and 114 of Migne’s Patrologia Latina,1 completely omits the interlinear gloss. Following an early mistake, Migne ascribed the marginal gloss to Walafrid Strabo and the interlinear gloss to...

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Appendix B. Major Manuscript Variants in Rashi’s Commentary on Genesis 22: Existing Editions and Rationale for Present Edition

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pp. 164-173

The first modern critical edition of Rashi’s commentary on the Torah is that of Avraham Berliner, which was published in 1866 and further revised in 1905,1 based on one hundred manuscripts. In his edition, Berliner selected what he considered the best text from all the available manuscripts, but did not provide a critical apparatus with the variant readings or explain the reasoning behind his choices. This raises the possibility that he simply went with the most familiar and comfortable...


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pp. 174-206


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pp. 207-222


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pp. 223-229

Further Reading

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p. 230

E-ISBN-13: 9780823246397
Print-ISBN-13: 9780823243495
Print-ISBN-10: 0823243494

Page Count: 240
Publication Year: 2012

Series Title: Fordham Series in Medieval Studies (FUP)
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OCLC Number: 830023258
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Isaac On Jewish and Christian Altars

Research Areas


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Subject Headings

  • Isaac (Biblical patriarch) -- Sacrifice.
  • Bible. O.T. Genesis XXII, 1-19 -- Criticism, interpretation, etc.
  • Rashi, 1040-1105. Perush Rashi ʻal ha-Torah.
  • Glossa ordinaria.
  • Judaism -- Controversial literature -- History and criticism.
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