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Title: On the morality of the patriarchs in Jewish polemic and exegesis
Authors: Berger, David
Carmy, Shalom
Keywords: the Patriarchs
Orthodox Judaism.
Talmud --Study and teaching.
Bible --Criticism, interpretation, etc., Jewish.
Issue Date: 1996
Publisher: Jason Aronson
Citation: Berger, D. (1996). On the morality of the patriarchs in Jewish polemic and exegesis. In Shalom Carmy, ed., Modern scholarship in the study of Torah : Contributions and limitations (pp. 131-146). Jason Aronson.
Series/Report no.: Bernard Revel Faculty Publications;1996
Abstract: Most medieval Jews were understandably sensitive about ascriptions of sin to the patriarchs, and the situation was rendered even more delicate by the fact that the issue of patriarchal morality often arose in a highly charged context in which Jews were placed on the defensive in the face of a Christian attack. Two thirteenth-century Ashkenazic polemics reflect a somewhat surprising Christian willingness to criticize Jacob as a means of attacking his descendants. Since the patriarch was a Christian as well as a Jewish hero, such attacks on his morality were problematical: Jacob may be the father of carnal Israel, but he is the prototype of spiritual Israel as well. While criticisms of this sort are consequently absent from major Christian works, it is perfectly evident that no Jew would have invented them. On the medieval street, then, Christians did not shrink from such attacks on Jews and their forebears. Jacob, they said, was a thief and a trickster; the implication concerning his descendants hardly needed to be spelled out. (from Introduction)
Description: Book chapter
ISBN: 1568214502
Appears in Collections:Bernard Revel Graduate School of Jewish Studies (BRGS): Faculty Publications

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