Re: [XTalk] Re: Goulder and 'midrash'
- Hi Xtalk,
> I can't resist quoting Lew Reich's comment onSchmuel
> XTalk in 1997, well after the ABD article on Midrash had appeared:
>Lewis Reich <lbr@...>...... >
> >Traditional Jewish sources talk about four progressively deeper
> >levels of exegesis of a text: pshat, drash, remez, and sode (plain
> >meaning, inquiry, hint and secret). (Note that the "house" of Hillel
> >was a "Beit midrash" ....
I think it is important to note that these traditional Jewish sources are
middle ages, not earlier. Then the concepts of four-fold interpretation
can be back-imposed, rather awkwardly, on earlier writings such as
the Targum loose translation/commentary.
There is no indication in historic Jewish writings that this four-fold
levels of exegesis were part of Jewish thinking at the time of the Dead
Sea Scrolls and later, of Jesus, or of the Targum.
Afaik, there is no indication of it being a systemized system at the time of Talmud,
although I would be interested in knowing the closest hints therein.
> Hi folks,How so, since it is two more than your unnamed "scholar" and you claimed was the case?
> >> Schmuel
> >> these traditional Jewish sources are middle ages, not earlier.� Then the concepts of four-fold
> >> interpretation > can be back-imposed, rather awkwardly, on earlier writings such as
> >> the Targum loose translation/commentary.
> >You will have to tell that to� Wilhelm Bacher,�� Kaufmann Kohler,� J. Frederic McCurdy,
> >the authors of the article on "Bible Exegesis" in the _Jewish Encyclopedia_
> >who note that "The Babylonian Amoraim were the first to use the expression "Peshat.." ()
> >to designate the primary sense, contrasting it with the "Derash," the Midrashic exegesis."
> Yes, there is two-fold, which is two short of a four-fold system of interpretation :-)
> So if anything, that sounds like substantiation of what the medieval Jewish scholar said.
> (It was a talk at Queens College, NY, and I have never found it contradicted).
> �No, it doesn't.� It shows that there were more forms far earlier than you claimed.� More importantly, you've drawn a false conclusion from the section of the JE article you quote.� All that section speaks of is how Cabalists used the terms in question.� It does not say, nor, I think, does it mean to imply,� that the terms were
> >> Afaik, there is no indication of it being a systemized system at the time of Talmud,
> >> although I would be interested in knowing the closest hints therein.
> >Try:� http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/view.jsp?artid=225&letter=P
> It's a very good article, should be read carefully and some points are even stronger about the lateness
> and flexibility of the codified structure than mine above.
> "In cabalistic literature "pesha ," as the simple literal meaning, is distinguished from "remez" (mere inference), from "derush" (interpretation), and from "sod" (the esoteric force contained in the Scriptures). All four methods of hermeneutics are comprised under the name "pardes,"
> Cabalistic literature essentially begins around 1200, dovetailing well with the idea that
> the four-fold system was a middle-ages rabbinics invention.
> So it appears, the basic evidences confirm my original statement.� In fact when I said "middle ages", I was referencing the rabbinics age, mostly 1000-1500, and the lecturer had talked about the 1200's as I recall. (or 1300's or 12th or 13th century).
**invented** by the Cabalists or that the particular approaches to scripture that these terms denote weren't being employed (however they were named) long before Cabalists used them.
> Now one could conjecture that such a system existed without any reference in Targum or DSS or Talmud or Midrash, or Saadia Goan, or Rashi.� However, there would be a strong presumption in this case, considering the voluminous literature that the absence of evidence of a system of interpretation, is in fact good evidence of absence.But you haven't shown that there **is** an absence of evidence in the Targums or the DSS or the Mishna of the **use** of the approaches to scripture that is (perhaps only later) designated by "perez" etc.� Don't confuse map with territory.
Jeffrey B. Gibson, D.Phil. (Oxon.)
1500 W. Pratt Blvd. #1
Chicago, IL 60626
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