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Biblical Interpretation in Ancient Israel


Michael Fishbane
Published in print: 1988 Published Online: Publisher: Oxford University Press
November 2003 DOI: 10.1093/0198266995.001.0001
ISBN: 9780198266990 eISBN: 9780191600593
Item type: book

The interpretation of authoritative texts is a characteristic feature of


the classical religions. In this regard, the Hebrew Bible is a fundamental
source for religious exegesis in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. This
book investigates, in a comprehensive manner, the origins of such
Scriptural interpretation within the Hebrew Bible itself. Of crucial
importance is the development of a method, in order to isolate and
analyse the exegetical features found (explicitly and implicitly) within
this text. The terms traditum (or body of tradition) and traditio (or
transmission) are introduced, and the hermeneutical dialectic between a
corpus of authoritative materials and its ongoing reception is spelt out.

Conclusions
Michael Fishbane

in Biblical Interpretation in Ancient Israel


Published in print: 1988 Published Online: Publisher: Oxford University Press
November 2003 DOI: 10.1093/0198266995.003.0010
ISBN: 9780198266990 eISBN: 9780191600593
Item type: chapter

A broad and comprehensive summary of this part emphasizes the forms


of the ancient Israelite legal traditum and the types and content of
its exegetical traditio. This phenomenon is placed within the context
of ancient Near Eastern legal codes. Also considered are the types of
legal reasoning and rationality that may be discerned in the biblical
sources, and a careful evaluation of the evidence. These are related to
the issue of lawmaking, lawfinding, and the role of exegesis. Modalities of
analogical, synthetic, and qualifying exegesis are considered, as well as
the different roles that revelation and tradition play in the different types
of legal exegesis. Formcritical analyses are also undertaken, and the
whole is correlated to the emergence of ancient Jewish legal exegesis.

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Introduction. Preliminary Considerations
Michael Fishbane

in Biblical Interpretation in Ancient Israel


Published in print: 1988 Published Online: Publisher: Oxford University Press
November 2003 DOI: 10.1093/0198266995.003.0011
ISBN: 9780198266990 eISBN: 9780191600593
Item type: chapter

Opens with some preliminary considerations of what is called aggadic


exegesis. This category encompasses that varieties of reinterpretation in
the Hebrew Bible that deals with theological, sapiential (or wisdom), and
historical topics. It thus treats such matters as the theological or ethical
reinterpretation of laws; the reuse of the divine attributes of mercy in
various genres of Scripture; or the reconsideration of theological topics
like vicarious punishment and human responsibility. Explicit formulary
and overall matters of method are considered.

Conclusions
Michael Fishbane

in Biblical Interpretation in Ancient Israel


Published in print: 1988 Published Online: Publisher: Oxford University Press
November 2003 DOI: 10.1093/0198266995.003.0020
ISBN: 9780198266990 eISBN: 9780191600593
Item type: chapter

Deals with conclusions to this part, taking up such matters as genre


and mantic type; and esoteric and exoteric exegesis. The bearing of
mantological exegesis on the issue of revelation is considered, along with
broad considerations of the topic of traditum and traditio. Such matters
as the sociohistorical context of mantological exegesis, as well as the
literary context and mental matrix of this phenomenon are all dealt with.
Epilogue:
Returns to several topics considered in the opening introduction,
such as the nature of an exegetical culture, or ongoing chains of
native ancient Israelite tradition, and the emergence of classes and
techniques to interpret the received traditions of various types. Some
final considerations are added on the following topics: innovative and
continuous revelations; pseudonymous and pseudepigraphic exegesis;
attributive; pseudoattributive, and nonattributive exegesis; and
revealed or inspired exegesis. Final remarks are made about textual and
religious authority.

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Conclusions
Michael Fishbane

in Biblical Interpretation in Ancient Israel


Published in print: 1988 Published Online: Publisher: Oxford University Press
November 2003 DOI: 10.1093/0198266995.003.0005
ISBN: 9780198266990 eISBN: 9780191600593
Item type: chapter

Concluding reflections on scribal features are offered from a historical


and sociological, as well as typological and traditionhistory perspective.
In particular, the dialectics of traditum and traditio are explored in the
light of the preceding examples and discussions.

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