The Exegetical Imagination
Exegesis--interpretation and explanation of sacred texts--is the quintessence of rabbinic thought. Through such means and methods, the written words of Hebrew Scripture have been extended since antiquity, and given new voices for new times. In this lucid and often poetic...
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Exegesis--interpretation and explanation of sacred texts--is the quintessence of rabbinic thought. Through such means and methods, the written words of Hebrew Scripture have been extended since antiquity, and given new voices for new times. In this lucid and often poetic book, Michael Fishbane delineates the connections between biblical interpretation and Jewish religious thought.
How can a canon be open to new meanings, given that it is believed to be immutable? Fishbane discusses the nature and rationale of this interpretative process in a series of studies on ancient Jewish speculative theology. Focusing on questions often pondered in Midrash, he shows how religious ideas are generated or justified by exegesis. He also explores the role exegesis plays in liturgy and ritual. A striking example is the transfer of speculative interpretations into meditation in prayer. Cultivation of the ability to perceive many implicit meanings in a text or religious practice can become a way of living--as Fishbane shows in explaining how such notions as joy or spiritual meditations on death can be idealized and the ideal transmitted through theological interpretation. The Exegetical Imagination is a collection of interrelated essays that together offer new and profound understanding of scriptural interpretation and its central role in Judaism.
Michael Fishbane is Nathan Cummings Professor of Jewish Studies, and Chair of the Committee on Jewish Studies, at the University of Chicago. Among his many books are "Biblical Interpretation in Ancient Israel"and "Judaism: Revelation and Traditions".
- Midrash And The Nature Of Scripture; "the Holy One Sits And Roars" - Mythopoesis And Midrashic Imagination; The Great Dragon Battle And Talmudic Redaction; The Measure And Glory Of God In Ancient Midrash; Midrashic Theologies Of Messianic Suffering; Five Stages Of Jewish Myth And Mythmaking; The Book Of Zohar And Exegetical Spirituality; Substitutes For Sacrifice In Judaism; Contemplation Of Death In Jewish Piety; Joy And Jewish Spirituality; The Mystery Of Dance According To Rabbi Nahman Of Bratslav.