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Jewish Concepts of ScriptureA Comparative Introduction$
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Benjamin D. Sommer

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780814740620

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9780814740620.001.0001

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Concepts of Scripture in the School of Rashi

Concepts of Scripture in the School of Rashi

(p.102) Chapter 7 Concepts of Scripture in the School of Rashi
Jewish Concepts of Scripture

Robert A. Harris

NYU Press

This chapter begins with Rashi's (Rabbi Solomon ben Isaac) Torah commentary about the definition of a “Jewish conception of Scripture.” These Bible and Talmud commentaries provide a blend of ancient, traditional approaches to Torah and a newer, literary method that came to be called peshat. Rashi states that the Torah is Divine Instruction that includes far more than law alone, and claims that the Torah deliberately encompasses the sacred, instructive narrative of Genesis and the beginning of Exodus. For him, “Torah” is not only law but also narrative, poetry, and prophecy; it is pointedly not Christian nomos (law) but rabbinic oraita (instruction), all-purposeful, Divine teaching and instruction. The chapter also traces how the midrashic understanding of Scripture's essence changed dramatically in Europe during the so-called Renaissance of the 12th century.

Keywords:   Rashi, Rabbi Solomon ben Isaac, Torah, Scripture, Jewish interpretation, Talmud commentaries, peshat, midrash

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