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Midrash and Theory: Ancient Jewish Exegesis and Contemporary Literary Studies (Rethinking Theory) Paperback – 31 Mar 1998

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Product details

  • Paperback: 126 pages
  • Publisher: Northwestern University Press (31 Mar. 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0810115743
  • ISBN-13: 978-0810115743
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 1.5 x 22.9 cm
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 3,835,277 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

About the Author

David Stern is professor of postbiblical and medieval Hebrew literature at the University of Pennsylvania. He is the author or editor of several books, including "Parables in Midrash "and "Rabbinic Fantasies, "and has written extensively on both classical and modern Jewish literature and on their relations to contemporary literary theory.

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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
midrash is amazing 8 May 2002
By M. Alexander - Published on
The minds of the rabbis often seem impenetrable. Many who have turned to a volume of Talmud or Midrash without a guide have quickly shut the book for easier reading. But in Midrash and Theory, David Stern draws us into worlds of story, fancy, and fun that are as irresistible as they are intellectually satisfying. I love this book.
With Stern as our teacher, terse, esoteric parables and proems become beautiful leaps of imagination. Stern beckons us to follow the rabbis as they jump from text to text to text. Single verses of the Bible come to mean three, four, and five different things simultaneously. The rabbis move dreamlike across a millennium, back and forth, all over the Bible and its commentaries, one moment in the seventh century BC, the next in the fourth AD -- and it works! Without even knowing it, we modern readers (usually so demanding of historicity) are drawn into the timeless conversation. Yet Stern's voice and gentle instruction are never intrusive. He draws us into the rabbinic conversation, but he never interrupts.
In turn these rabbinic fantasies are funny, smart, elusive, seductive, slippery and yet somehow substantial and very real. Midrash is a dusty miracle, but with a great essayist and teacher like David Stern, worlds long gone emerge once again for our generation. For anyone who has thought about the meaning, relevance, and life of narrative and poetry, this book will take you away.
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