From Scribes to Scholars
Rabbinic Biblical Exegesis in Light of the Homeric Commentaries
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Publisher: JCB Mohr (Paul Siebeck)
Number of Pages: 388
Yakir Paz argues that ancient Homeric scholarship had a major impact on the formation of rabbinic biblical commentaries and their modes of exegesis. This impact is discernible not only in the terminology and hermeneutical techniques used by the rabbis, but also in their perception of the Bible as a literary product, their didactic methods, editorial principles and aesthetic sensitivities. In fact, it is the influence of Homeric scholarship which can best explain the drastic differences between earlier biblical commentaries from Palestine, such as those found among the Dead Sea Scrolls, and the scholastic Halakhic Midrashim (second to third century CE). The results of the author's study call for a re-examination of many assumptions regarding the emergence of Midrash, as well as a broader appreciation of the impact of Homeric scholarship on biblical exegesis in Antiquity.