Midrash is arguably the most ancient and native of Jewish genres, forming a voluminous literature of scriptural exegesis over the course of centuries. There is virtually nothing in the ancient rabbinic universe that was not taught through this medium. This book presents the diversity and development of that creative profusion in a new light. It covers a broad range of literary texts, from late antiquity to the early modern period and from all the centers of literary creativity, including non-rabbinic and non-Jewish literature, so that the full extent of the modes and transformations of Midrash can be rightly appreciated. A comprehensive Introduction situates Midrash in its full historical and rhetorical setting, pointing to creative adaptations within the tradition and providing a sense of the variety of genres and applications discussed in the body of the work. Bringing together an impressive array of the leading names in the field, the book is entirely new in scope and content. It opens a new period in the study of Midrash and its creative role in the formation of culture. The book will be of interest to all scholars of Jewish studies, both broadly and specifically, as well as to a wider readership interested in the interrelationships between hermeneutics, culture, and creativity, and especially in the afterlife of a classical genre and its ability to inspire new creativity in many forms.
Publication Date: 12/19/2013