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Scriptural ExegesisThe Shapes of Culture and the Religious Imagination: Essays in Honour of Michael Fishbane$
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Deborah A. Green and Laura S. Lieber

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780199206575

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199206575.001.0001

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‘Sage is preferable to prophet’: revisioning midrashic imagination

‘Sage is preferable to prophet’: revisioning midrashic imagination

(p.186) 12 ‘Sage is preferable to prophet’: revisioning midrashic imagination
Scriptural Exegesis

Elliot R. Wolfson

Oxford University Press

This chapter begins with Fishbane's understanding of ‘inspired exegesis’, that is, the thread found in rabbinic literature itself that considers rabbinic exegesis not only reliant on Torah study but also deeply revelatory. It then turns to the mystical text of the Zohar and demonstrates that its authors take this idea a step further, viewing their interpretive work and experience not only as participating in revelation but also as exceeding the normal range of prophetic experience. The chapter demonstrates that these medieval mystics are really practising an intellectual mysticism, strongly reminiscent of Fishbane's concept of exegetical illumination.

Keywords:   inspired exegesis, rabbinic literature, Torah, Zohar, exegetical illumination

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