|next article in this issue|
Document Details :
Title: Proto-Midrash in the Biblical Ancestor Narratives
Author(s): GESUNDHEIT, Shimon
Volume: 99 Issue: 4 Date: 2018
Traditional early Jewish exegesis, known as midrash, is often seen as removed from the biblical tradition since it is anachronistic. For example, it portrays biblical figures as adherent to later Jewish law, and even as Torah scholars like the Rabbis themselves, and interprets some biblical figures as an archetype for contemporary social and political entities. However, the same interpretative methods exist already in the biblical corpus itself. This article shows that the Patriarch cycle in Genesis has later layers whose exegetical point is similar to those of the later midrash. This analysis joins a growing body of research on 'midrashic' tendencies in supplementary biblical passages (Fortschreibungen), textual variants, old translations and Second Temple Literature, which show that some of the midrash’s exegetical methods and forms of expression are not an innovation, but rather reflect continuity going back to the biblical period itself.