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With Reverence for the WordMedieval Scriptural Exegesis in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam$
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Jane Dammen McAuliffe, Barry D. Walfish, and Joseph W. Goering

Print publication date: 2003

Print ISBN-13: 9780195137279

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195137279.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 17 January 2021

An Introduction to Medieval Jewish Biblical Interpretation

An Introduction to Medieval Jewish Biblical Interpretation

(p.3) 1 An Introduction to Medieval Jewish Biblical Interpretation
With Reverence for the Word

Barry D. Walfish

Oxford University Press

The Hebrew Bible is the classic example of a sacred text frozen in time which must satisfy the religious needs of succeeding generations of believers. Early on in its history, Judaism developed the concept of an oral tradition which expanded upon and interpreted the text of sacred scripture. The Jewish study of the Bible in the Middle Ages begins with the Geonim of Babylonia (9th–11th centuries), who under the influence of the Islamic sages of the Qurʼān began to subject the biblical text to the same kind of critical and textual analysis as was being applied to the Qurʼān by their Muslim compatriots. The best-known exegete of this period is Saadia Gaon, a polymath. Medieval Jewish exegesis maintains an important position in the canon of Judaism to this very day. Most of the major Torah commentaries are available in English editions aimed at a popular audience. This book advances the study of medieval Jewish biblical interpretation, opening up new areas of research and hopefully providing new insights into topics or exegetes already well researched.

Keywords:   Hebrew Bible, biblical interpretation, Middle Ages, Judaism, Geonim of Babylonia, Saadia Gaon, exegesis, commentaries, sacred scripture

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