This study of Tanhuma-Yelammedenu midrash includes: a survey of previous research, a catalogue of textual witnesses and general conclusions about the multifaceted evolution of this important genre of midrashic literature.
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Chapter I: summary of previous research on the Tanhuma-Yelammedenu literature.
Chapter II: survey of the textual witnesses to the Tanhuma-Yelammedenu literature according to its literary categories, including a brief discussion of the criteria employed in identifying, categorizing and listing the textual material. Some two hundred complete and partial manuscripts and fragments are described.
Chapter III: detailed, synoptic analysis of midrashic material to the triennial lection beginning with Exodus 7:8, found in four distinct versions -- a complete composite homily preserved in a Cairo Geniza fragment, Tanhuma (Printed Version), Tanhuma Buber and Exodus Rabbah -- concluding with an evaluation of the literary character of each version and an estimation of the date and provenance of its final redaction.
Chapter IV: tentative conclusions. The early stratum of Tanhuma-Yelammedenu literature began to take shape in Palestine during the fifth century CE. However, in terms of its content, style and language, most of the Tanhuma-Yelammedenu Literature which has come down to us seems to have been created toward the end of the Byzantine period in Palestine, during the sixth and seventh centuries. Subsequently, various types of literary accretions found their way into some of the standard Tanhuma works. This late strata is particularly evident in the midrashic material unique to each of the two versions of the Tanhuma. These later accretions indicate that Tanhuma was redacted during the Geonic Period in Babylonia. While the unique parts of Tanhuma Buber seem to reflect editing in the Western Roman Empire (perhaps Northern Italy) during the early Middle Ages. Other, probably later, midrashic compositions are tangentially related to compositions of the Tanhuma type. The development of such "spin-off" works testifies to the importance of the Tanhuma-Yelammedenu genre not only in the history of Midrash, but in the general development of ancient Hebrew literature as well.
Marc Bregman received his BA from the University of California at Berkeley in Judaic Studies in 1968, his MA from the Hebrew Union College in Los Angeles in 1971 and his PhD from The Hebrew University in Jerusalem in 1991. Since 1978, he has been teaching at the Jerusalem campus of the Hebrew Union College, He has also taught Biblical Interpretation and Ancient Jewish Thought at The Hebrew University and the Schechter Institute of Jewish Studies in Jerusalem and at the Ben-Gurion University in Beer Sheba, Israel. During 1993, he was Visiting Professor in Judaic Studies at Yale University. During 1996, Bregman served as the Stroum Professor of Jewish Studies and Visiting Research Fellow at the University of Washington in Seattle. Prof. Bregman has published academic research and belles lettres in Hebrew and English on a wide variety of topics in both scholarly and popular journals, including an Introduction and Thematic Commentary to a novelistic retelling of the famous talmudic legend of The Four Who Entered Paradise (Northvale NJ and London: Jason Aronson, 1995).