The Best of Poetry...’: Literary Approaches to the Bible in the Spanish Peshat Tradition
Cohen, Mordechai Z.
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Traditional Jewish biblical exegesis, spanning many centuries lands, offers a number of interpretive approaches to the Holy tures (kitvei ha-kodesh). Despite significant differences, the Midrash, the medieval French and Spanish peshat schools and the traditional commentaries of recent centuries all share fundamental beliefs about the Bible's divinity and authority. Indeed, each of these sub-traditions saw itself as another link in the continuous chain of Jewish exegesis. Yet, to evaluate the unique contributions of each school, one must examine the intellectual environment in which it was produced and identify the underlying assumptions that guided its exegetical enterprise. Occasionally, a principle formulated in one era is questioned, or even rejected, in a later generation and different milieu. While the notion that such axioms are subject to debate may, at first glance, seem disturbing, this type of controversy in fact ensures the vibrancy of the Jewish tradition of learning, which thrives on differences of opinion.
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