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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

Title Page

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Copyright

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Contents

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pp. ix-x

Preface

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pp. xi-xvi

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Transliterations

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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, ...

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Note on the Textual Basis of the Translations

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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 ...

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1 Introduction: The Turn To Commentary

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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 ...

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2 Re-Presenting Revelation

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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 ...

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

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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, ...

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4 Polyphony and Plot: Torahas Song as Covenantal Witness

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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 ...

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Afterword

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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 ...

Abbreviations

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pp. 165-170

Notes

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pp. 171-280

Bibliographic References

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pp. 281-310

Index of Primary Sources

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pp. 311-330

Index of Names and Subjects

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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
Series Editor Byline: Michael Fishbane