By Aryeh Cohen (ed.), Shaul Magid (ed.)

Representing the spectrum of subfields inside Jewish stories, the contributing students to this quantity use "beginnings" as a hermeneutic stance to investigate texts of their zone. whereas each one essay is an important contribution to its personal subfield—Bible, Talmud, Kabbalah, sleek Jewish suggestion, Feminist and Cultural Studies—the essays taken as an entire current new probabilities for exploring the distance that's Jewish reports and starting an inquiry into what could represent a definable hermeneutics of Jewish texts.

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Extra resources for Beginning Again: Toward a Hermeneutics of Jewish Texts

Example text

Yet even Gen 1:1, correctly understood, may not begin completely ab ovo (a distinction that belongs, almost literally, only to Tristram Shandy). It is curious that the most famous beginning in world literature is one whose meaning is not entirely certain. The grammatical obscurity of the phrase bereshit bara leaves open the question of whether, as is accepted by many modern three biblical beginnings 3 commentators, the traditional English rendering of the King James Version, “In the beginning, God created the heaven and the earth,” is not to be supplanted by an in medias res beginning: “When God began to create heaven and earth—”6 Naturally, the philosophical and theological ramifications of this distinction are immense.

E. (Isaiah 36–37). 21 Second Isaiah, to be sure, locates Israelite history in between the two parallel events of the exodus from Egypt and the return from exile in Babylonia. But the details of history—the story line connecting these two events—are of no concern to him. It is quite otherwise with the book of 1 Samuel, for with Samuel, of course, we enter the realm of the Deuteronomistic History. , 2 Kgs 18:1–3, “In the third year of King Hoshea son of Elah of Israel, Hezekiah son of King Ahaz of Judah became king.

He argues that such experience is established as a response to some new element (“new light”) brought into the world represented as authentic beginning. Once something becomes part of the realm of human experience through knowledge, however sacred or lofty, it can no longer serve as a source for an authentic religious inspiration, because it becomes too much a part of human experience. Inspiration is solely the result of innovation, never reproduction or repetition. What follows from this in our text is that the sanctity of Torah study is more the result of the interpreter (teacher) than the text being studied.

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