Holger Michael Zellentin

Typology and the Transfiguration of Rabbi Aqiva (Pesiqta de Rav Kahana 4:7 and BT Menahot 29b)

Jahrgang 25 () / Heft 3, S. 239-268 (30)

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The present essay introduces the Christian tradition of typology and its understanding of the transfiguration scene, with special emphasis on the Syriac tradition, and then revisits a Palestinian story clarifying the relationship of Moses to Rabbi Aqiva and its Babylonian retelling (Pesiqta de Rav Kahana 4:7 and BT Menahot 29b). I argue that previous treatments of both stories have overlooked two important possibilities: first, that both rabbinic stories should be understood in the framework of Jewish and especially of Christian typology, and second, that the Bavli story features playful allusions to and implementations of key features of the Christian tradition of understanding the transfiguration, as epitomized by the Gospel narratives, by their patristic retellings, by material culture, and most importantly by their resonance in Christian popular discourse.

Holger Michael Zellentin Born 1976; 2007 PhD Princeton University; has taught at Rutgers University, the Graduate Theological Union, Berkeley, and at the University of California, Berkeley; teaches Jewish Studies at the University of Nottingham; 2012 Early Career Fellowship of the Arts and Humanities Research Council (UK).