Radak on Chronicles: Critical edition, translation and supercommentary
MetadataShow full item record
A systematic study of text-witnesses of Radak's commentary to Chronicles confirms the consensus that it is an early work, and reveals that Radak composed an even more rudimentary version than the one in our printed editions. This earlier version facilitates a particularly sharp evaluation of the development of his exegesis.;The commentary to Chronicles, especially in its earlier form, is far briefer and spottier than Radak's later works. This results in part from his subjectively more restrictive standard in determining which textual difficulties merit his comment, and from his less expansive style. More intriguing are several quantifiable differences: Only in his later works does Radak provide explanations for characters' motives and for the precise significance of even minor events and details. In only one place on Chronicles does Radak add information entirely irrelevant to interpreting the text, while in his subsequent commentaries he does so with some frequency. Radak is known for his philosophical discussions and rationalistic reinterpretations, yet these do not appear in the earlier version of the Chronicles commentary. His method of interpreting both qerei and ketiv readings is also not manifest, especially in the earlier version. Without a targum at his side, he does not incorporate and evaluate targumic renderings with anywhere near his usual frequency. And in several important respects, Radak's incorporation of rabbinic material undergoes considerable development in his later exegesis. However, his willingness to reject rabbinic interpretations is distinctly manifest in the Chronicles commentary, as is his hesitation to reject qabbalot---a category that apparently consists of rabbinic statements of fact concerning fundamentally historical matters.;Radak's Proverbs commentary, also apparently early, is the only one that is similar to that of Chronicles, and this similarity supports the Proverbs commentary's authenticity.;Radak's contribution to the exegesis of Chronicles is most clearly seen in his rejection of midrashic exegesis on matters such as name discrepancies, and in his creative efforts to harmonize apparently contradictory verses.;A critical apparatus, references, an English translation, and an expansive supercommentary facilitate a better appreciation of the commentary.