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Archive for Midrash

Saadia Gaon and the Quran

The blog of the Revel Graduate School at YU has a very interesting summary of a talk given by Prof. Meir Bar Asher on the relationship between Saadia Gaon, his commentary on the Torah, the Quran, and Quranic interpretation. It makes for a great read on how knowledge of other religious and exegetical traditions can […]

New Website of Talmudic Legends

As a companion project to a new edition of the classic Sefer ha-Aggadah that is in preparation, a beta-version of a Sefer ha-Aggadah web site that includes Talmudic legends has been launched. (HT via Twitter)

Farting Prostitutes and Talmudic Rabbis

In Haaretz there is an article that compares stories in Judaism and Christianity that include prostitutes and discuss repentance. One of the Jewish stories discussed is the well-known story from Avodah Zarah 17a about Rabbi Elazar ben Dordia and the prostitute with whom he just had to have relations. Here is the story in the […]

Prof. Jonah Frankel z”l

Prof. Jonah Frankel z”l, one of the most important scholars of the modern study of midrash, has died in Jerusalem. Frankel is responsible for changing the way that midrashic literature is studied all over the world. A summary of his contribution can be found at the Talmud Blog. Here is an excerpt: His greatest and […]

Pirkei De-Rabbi Eliezer and the Pseudepigrapha

Rachel Adelman’s book The Return of the Repressed: Pirqe de-Rabbi Eliezer and the Pseudepigrapha is reviewed here. This study analyzes mythic narratives, found in the 8th century midrashic text Pirqe de-Rabbi Eliezer (PRE), that were excluded, or ‘repressed’, from the rabbinic canon, while preserved in the Pseudepigrapha of the Second Temple period. Examples include the […]

Interview About Talmudic Legends for Children

Haaretz recently had an article about Shoham Smith’s new book, Ha-Agadot Shelanu (“Our Legends”). Smith, who has already published a book of Greek legends for children, has now published a book of Talmudic legends for children. The article describes a number of earlier books that did just this, including one by H.N. Bialik hiimself. Smith […]

Rabbi Shlomo Aviner on The Tale of Two Brothers

A number of years ago I wrote about a famous story about two brothers and the place where the Temple was established. See here for the original post and here for a follow-up post. In a recent SMS responsum that was published in the Parashah Pamphlet Be-Ahavah u-ve-Emunah, Rabbi Shlomo Aviner was asked about this […]

What Did the Rabbis Think About Their Midrashim

Mostly Kosher has a post that discusses whether the Rabbis believed their own midrashim. Did the tanaim and amoraim believe that the midrashim they created (Assuming at least some of them were created) were telling a true history, or were useful spiritual tools, but never intended to reflect reality? This question never really bothered me […]

Women’s Subversive Voice in Biblical and Rabbinic Texts

The most recent issue of the Journal of Textual Reasoning is devoted to The Female Ruse: Women’s Subversive Voice in Biblical and Rabbinic Texts. Here are the articles that appear in this issue: From Veils To Goatskins – The Female Ruse in Genesis Rachel Adelmann Matan, The Sadie Rennert Women’s Institute for Torah Study When […]

Isaac Heinemann on Midrash

Marc Bregman has written a very useful English summary of Isaac Heinemann’s classic work Darchei ha-Aggadah. (here)

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