Archaeology and the interpretation of rabbinic literature : some thoughts.
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The creative interaction of rabbinic texts with archaeology is fraught with both promise and danger. Building bridges between silent artifacts and the “Oral Torah” requires great care that neither type of evidence dominates the other. On the one side, the urge to find rabbinic parallels to archaeological sources can lead to a kind of “parallelomania”. On the other, a scholarly nihilism has developed that minimalizes the significance of rabbinics for understanding the archaeological record—and vice versa. I will explore just a few of the ways that archaeology can be used to better understand rabbinic literature. My focus will be on non-legal material. I begin by illustrating ways that archaeology can inform the interpretation of rabbinic texts. I then turn to the use of archaeology in the discovery of previously unknown midrashim, describing some of the more significant discoveries of midrash “in stone.” My focus will be on discoveries in the Land of Israel. (From introductory paragraphs)
Fine, Steven. Archaeology and the interpretation of rabbinic literature : some thoughts. (2006). How should rabbinic literature be read in the modern world? 1st ed. Ed. Mathew A. Kraus. Piscataway, NJ : Gorgias Press.
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