We cannot verify your location
Browse Book and Journal Content on Project MUSE

From Tradition to Commentary

Torah and Its Interpretation in the Midrash Sifre to Deuteronomy

Steven D. Fraade

Publication Year: 1991

This book examines Torah and its interpretation both as a recurring theme in the early rabbinic commentary and as the very practice of the commentary. It studies the phenomenon of ancient rabbinic scriptural commentary in relation to the perspectives of literary and historical criticisms and their complex intersection. The author discusses extensively the nature of ancient commentary, comparing and contrasting it with the antecedents in the pesharim of the Dead Sea Scrolls and the allegorical commentaries of Philo of Alexandria. He develops a model for a dynamic understanding of the literary structure and sociohistorical function of early rabbinic commentary, and then applies this model to the Sifre — to the oldest extant running commentary to Deuteronomy and one of the oldest rabbinic collections of exegesis.

Published by: State University of New York Press

Series: SUNY series in Judaica: Hermeneutics, Mysticism, and Religion

Title Page

pdf iconDownload PDF (11.9 KB)


pdf iconDownload PDF (49.6 KB)


pdf iconDownload PDF (69.8 KB)
pp. ix-x


pdf iconDownload PDF (240.0 KB)
pp. xi-xvi

read more


pdf iconDownload PDF (26.6 KB)
pp. xv

The transliteration of Hebrew and Aramaic follows the system of the Journal of Biblical Literature (107 [1988]: 582-83): כbgdhwzḥṭyklmnscpşqŕsšt. Spirants and mappiq are not indicated Dāgēš forte is indicated by doubling the consonant. Length of vowels is shown in citations of primary texts, ...

read more

Note on the Textual Basis of the Translations

pdf iconDownload PDF (81.4 KB)
pp. xvii-xviii

Translations of passages from Sifre Deuteronomy are all my own and are based on what I have determined by consistent text-critical criteria to be the most authentic Hebrew text, this being of course a relative judgment. The commonly cited "critical edition" of Sifre Deuteronomy by Louis Finkelstein ...

read more

1 Introduction: The Turn To Commentary

pdf iconDownload PDF (1.8 MB)
pp. 1-24

This study comprises a series of critical commentaries to the earliest extant commentary to the biblical Book of Deuteronomy, the Sifre (siprê dĕbê rab),1 which is also one of our earliest compilations of rabbinic exegesis. Implicitly underlying the subsequent chapters with their close readings of discrete ...

read more

2 Re-Presenting Revelation

pdf iconDownload PDF (3.4 MB)
pp. 25-68

The title of this chapter is intended doubly. Its subject is both the re-presenting of the received text of Scripture, rabbinically understood to have been divinely revealed, through the practice of rabbinic commentary to that text, and the re-presenting of the past event of God's revelation of Torah to Israel at ...

read more

3 The Early Rabbinic Sageand His Torah in the Text of the Sifre

pdf iconDownload PDF (4.0 MB)
pp. 69-122

At the heart of rabbinic Judaism, as of the vast rabbinic literature in which it finds its expression, is the rabbinic sage (Hebrew, ḥākām).1 That literature, spanning close to a millennium and comprising several complex genres, contains, scattered about, various kinds of information about the rabbinic sage, ...

read more

4 Polyphony and Plot: Torahas Song as Covenantal Witness

pdf iconDownload PDF (3.0 MB)
pp. 123-162

As we have repeatedly seen, a distinctive characteristic of midrashic commentary is the multiplicity of interpretations that it often adduces for a single scriptural word or phrase. As discussed in Chapter 1, although multiple interpretations of Scripture can be found in extrarabbinic varieties ...

read more


pdf iconDownload PDF (100.1 KB)
pp. 163-164

A fundamental argument of the preceding chapters has been the need to comment upon rabbinic texts not simply with an eye to uncovering what lies behind them-whether hermeneutically, traditionally, or historically but to appreciate what lies before them in their pedagogic transforming ...


pdf iconDownload PDF (169.4 KB)
pp. 165-170


pdf iconDownload PDF (8.9 MB)
pp. 171-280

Bibliographic References

pdf iconDownload PDF (1.6 MB)
pp. 281-310

Index of Primary Sources

pdf iconDownload PDF (1.1 MB)
pp. 311-330

Index of Names and Subjects

pdf iconDownload PDF (1.1 MB)
pp. 331-343

E-ISBN-13: 9781438403144
E-ISBN-10: 1438403143
Print-ISBN-13: 9780791404959
Print-ISBN-10: 0791404951

Page Count: 343
Publication Year: 1991

Series Title: SUNY series in Judaica: Hermeneutics, Mysticism, and Religion