Cover

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Title page, Copyright, Dedication

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Contents

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Introduction

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pp. 1-10

Emmanuel Levinas, one of the twentieth century’s greatest philosophers, often engaged in Jewish thought and talmudic exegesis as well. From my very first encounter with his talmudic readings...

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Chapter 1. What Is the Midrash?

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pp. 11-32

The term midrash denotes a way of interpreting a canonic text, one that makes it possible to generate other meanings in addition to the plain meaning (the pshat). Midrash is also the designation...

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Chapter 2. Midrash and Prophecy

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pp. 33-59

As seen in the previous chapter, the sages viewed the midrash as a type of substitute for the prophecies, an alternative means of contact with heaven. In the absence of direct messages conveyed by God...

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Chapter 3. Levinas’s Attitude to the Interpreted Text

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pp. 60-87

The midrash is a way of approaching a text, an attitude with unique features. Are the rabbinic midrash and Levinas’s interpretation of talmudic passages fundamentally...

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Chapter 4. The Relationship between Exegesis and Reality

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pp. 88-114

The first chapter defined the midrash as a balanced relationship between commentator and text, one intended to impact reality. Midrash and Torah...

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Chapter 5. Interpretive Pluralism

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pp. 115-137

The sages acted on the premise that “the Torah has seventy faces”; the Written Law can be grasped in many ways and it has the tools needed to relate to any human...

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Chapter 6. Unique Features of Levinas’s Midrash

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pp. 138-188

The current volume builds on the basic assumption that the midrash has served as a major method of Jewish biblical exegesis, one that significantly contributed...

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Afterword

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pp. 189-194

What is the proper way to summarize a study process that will never reach its conclusion, of texts that shall forever remain open to renewed consideration...

Notes

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pp. 195-213

Index

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pp. 214-223