Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
With Reverence for the WordMedieval Scriptural Exegesis in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

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

Show Summary Details
Page of

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

Rashbam as a “Literary” Exegete

Rashbam as a “Literary” Exegete

(p.83) 6 Rashbam as a “Literary” Exegete
With Reverence for the Word

Martin Lockshin

Oxford University Press

Rabbi Samuel ben Meir (Rashbam), who lived in northern France in the 12th century, was a consistent and perhaps radical exponent of peshat exegesis. He insisted on reading the biblical text in its “plain” sense and in its context, and he eschewed midrashic readings that are not textually anchored. But is the pashtan, the exegete dedicated to the “plain” meaning, always the most careful reader of the biblical text? Logically one would think so. However, the history of medieval Jewish exegesis shows that that was not always the case. Many examples show that some peshat exegesis from this period purposely and self-consciously avoids “close reading” of the biblical text. Rashbam's Sephardic younger contemporary, Abraham Ibn Ezra, argued passionately against “close reading” of texts. In a long tirade in his introduction to the Decalogue and in other passages, Ibn Ezra argues that word choice in the Hebrew Bible is not always of significance, that authors will choose to express themselves differently on different occasions for no particular reason. Rashbam wrote a biblical commentary that does not attempt to “teach” Judaism.

Keywords:   Samuel ben Meir, exegesis, biblical text, Abraham Ibn Ezra, Hebrew Bible, biblical commentary, Judaism

Oxford Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs , and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us .