Main CategoriesJudaism and TorahTorah, Talmud and Midrash Classic Midrash, The

Classic Midrash, The

Product no.: 0-8091-3503-5
Midrash (from the Hebrew root "to seek out"), which contains both legendary and legal material, is both a process and a product.

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Publisher's Synopsis

It reflects the process of searching the text of Scripture in order to better understand it and apply it to life. Begun by the Sages of Israel when the Torah was canonized by Ezra in the fifth century BC, its classic period culminated in the editing of the Tannaitic Midrashim (the "product") in the land of Israel in the fourth to fifth centuries AD.

The classic midrash presented here is a collective work. Although presenting interpretations in the name of individual Sages, it has no one author: rather, it reflects the collective wisdom of the leaders of Pharisaic Judaism which later became Rabbinic Judaism. Each succeeding generation added its own layer and remained a part of the ongoing process.

Multiple interpretations are presented. There is no one way of understanding the word of God. There are always new levels of meaning to be uncovered.


"Midrash is exegesis, explanation of the Biblical text and a commentary on it. To qualify as midrash, there must be a connection to a text. As we shall see, the Midrashim also contained other types of material but quantitatively the majority of the material is text-connected. The Sages did not write philosophical treatises on various topics, nor did they compose books about the Bible.

They took each verse, indeed each word, of Scripture and explained and commented on it. To these comments were frequently attached other material—legends, sayings, parables, and stories about the Sages themselves. The principle of organization, however, always remained the Biblical phrase."      ~Intro

Translator Hammer, Reuven
Book Type Trade Paperback
Page Count 528 pp.
Publisher Paulist Press 1995
Series Classics of Western Spirituality
Browse these categories as well: Torah, Talmud and Midrash, Judaism: Prophets and Patriarchs, Biblical Exegesis and Pseudepigrapha

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