History of Jewish Biblical Interpretation
This course familiarizes students with the historical development of Jewish biblical interpretation. The emphasis is on socio-religious diversity of rabbis, exegetes, and faith communities within their cultural milieu. In the course, students encounter various types of ancient, medieval, and modern Jewish Bible interpretations and approaches, including inner-biblical interpretation, the Pesharim from Qumran (Dead Sea Scrolls), Aramaic Targums, New Testament literature, rabbinic Midrash, medieval classic Bible exegetes (Rashi, Ramban, and Radak), and contemporary Israeli biblical scholarship. In addition to reading and analyzing primary Jewish sources, students review communal Jewish hermeneutics cultivated by marginalized groups like the Samaritans and the Karaites against the backdrop of mainstream rabbinic Judaism. A case study supplements each unit. The final research paper examines the Akedah (the binding of Isaac) through the lens of Jewish hermeneutics. The Masoretic text of the Hebrew Bible is used to guide students in the task of Parshanut Miqra.