Jewish Studies

Yakir Paz

From Scribes to Scholars

Rabbinic Biblical Exegesis in Light of the Homeric Commentaries

[Vom Schreiber zum Gelehrten. Rabbinische Bibelexegese im Lichte der homerischen Kommentare.]

2022. XVI, 372 pages.
forthcoming in October

Culture, Religion, and Politics in the Greco-Roman World 6

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Published in English.
Yakir Paz shows that the ancient Homeric commentaries had a major impact on the formation of rabbinic biblical commentaries in the second and third century CE. This impact is discernible in the terminology and exegetical techniques used by the rabbis, and in their didactic and literary approaches.
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.
Survey of contents

Chapter 1: Source of Knowledge
1.1 Introduction
1.2 Locus Classicus
1.3 Didactic Texts
1.4 Re-Scripturizing
1.5 Conclusions

Chapter 2: Justifying Redundancies
2.1 Introduction
2.2 Repetitions
2.3 Synonyms
2.4 Transition Formulae
2.5 Isolating Particles
2.6 Conclusion

Chapter 3: Questions and Answers
3.1 Introduction
3.2 Whence Does He Know?
3.3 Whence Does He Have?
3.4 Questions of Consideration
3.5 Why Character X and not Character Y?
3.6 Verisimilitude
3.7 Contradictions
3.8 Conclusion

Chapter 4: Ambiguities
4.1 Introduction
4.2 The Matter is Balanced
4.3 Going Both Ways
4.4 Conclusion

Chapter 5: Order and Disorder
5.1 Introduction
5.2 Hyperbaton
5.3 Order (τάξις)
5.4 Sares
5.5 According to the Order
5.6 Conclusion


Yakir Paz Born 1978; currently lecturer in the departments of Talmud and Classical Studies at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.


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