Through literary, historical, archaeological, and engendered readings, this collection of essays presents a multidisciplinary analysis of rabbinic texts. Such a conversation between diverse scholars illuminates the hermeneutical issues generated by the contemporary study of the Talmud and Midrash.
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As the study of rabbinic literature extends from the walls of the yeshivah to the towers of the academy, the exegetical techniques and hermeneutical approaches to the Talmud and Midrash have received sustained scrutiny and transformation. This collection of essays seeks to create a community of scholars to discuss some of the changing ways we read rabbinic texts. Are these methods mutually exclusive or complementary? If the methods can be integrated, what are the limits and possibilities of the interdisciplinary study of the Talmud and Midrash?
Contributors include Richard Sarason who wrote the Introduction; Martin Jaffee, University of Washington: "What Difference Does The 'Orality' Of Rabbinic Writing Make For The Interpretation Of Rabbinic Writings?" ; Alyssa Gray, Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion: "The Bavli and Two Versions of the Yerushalmi (y. Ber. 7:2, 11b and Bereshit Rabbah 91:4)" ; Steven Fine, University of Cincinnati: "Archaeology and the Interpretation of Midrash" ; Jeff Rubenstein, New York University: "Context and Genre: Elements of a Literary Approach to the Rabbinic Narrative" ; Hillel Newman, University of Haifa: "Closing the Circle: Yonah Fraenkel, the Talmudic Story, and Rabbinic History" ; Oded Irshai, Hebrew University: "Ephraim E. Urbach and the Study of the Judeo-Christian Dialogue in Late Antiquity" ; Charlotte Fonrobert, Stanford University: "The Semiotics of the Sexed Body in Early Halakhic Discourse".
Matthew Kraus received his Ph.D. in Classics from the University of Michigan in 1996 and was ordained from Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in 1991. His main interests include the history of biblical interpretation and Judaism in the Greek and Roman worlds. He founded and chaired the Jewish Studies Program at Williams College and was an Associate Visiting Professor for the Department of Judaic Studies at the University of Cincinnati. He is currently an Instructor of Religion and Classics at Wright State University.