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(mĭd`räsh) [Heb.,=to examine, to investigate], verse by verse interpretation of Hebrew Scriptures, consisting of homily and exegesis, by Jewish teachers since about 400 B.C. Distinction is made between Midrash halakahhalakah
or halacha
[Heb.,=law], in Judaism, the body of law regulating all aspects of life, including religious ritual, familial and personal status, civil relations, criminal law, and relations with non-Jews.
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, dealing with the legal portions of Scripture, and Midrash haggada, dealing with biblical lore. Midrashic exposition of both kinds appears throughout the TalmudTalmud
[Aramaic from Heb.,=learning], in Judaism, vast compilation of the Oral Law with rabbinical elucidations, elaborations, and commentaries, in contradistinction to the Scriptures or Written Laws. The Talmud is the accepted authority for Orthodox Jews everywhere.
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. Individual midrashic commentaries were composed by rabbis after the 2d cent. A.D. up to the Middle Ages, and they were mostly of an aggadic nature, following the order of the scriptural text. Important among them are the Midrash Rabbah, a collection of commentaries on the Torah and the Five Scrolls (the Song of Songs, Esther, Ruth, Lamentations, Ecclesiastes), and the Pesikta Midrashim, concerning the festivals. This body of rabbinic literature contains the earliest speculative thought in the Jewish tradition.


See H. L. Strack, Introduction to the Talmud and Midrash (1931, repr. 1969); L. Ginzberg, Legends of the Bible (1956); N. N. Glatzer, Hammer on the Rock (1962).

References in periodicals archive ?
It received its name from the first biblical word of the famous Song of the Red Sea in the book of Exodus (14:30), around which its author organized the midrashic output--"Thus the Lord saved (va-Yosha).
The purpose of the supplements provided by midrashic material, says Wright, is to "tease out" the mysteries and ambiguities of the biblical stories (x)--especially those purportedly written by J of the Documentary Hypothesis, a writer Bloom finds sublime, mysterious, and eccentric, much closer to Kafka than to the Torah.
In a poem in which the poet Bat Miriam "sketches out a female literary/artistic linage that runs from Hannah to the present day" (111) Zierler sees a radical revision of traditional attitudes to Hannah as reflected in the original biblical account, midrashic commentary, and the tkhines literature.
The pleasure for the reader lies in watching Shoulson work out this principle through detailed literary analysis, as when he addresses two related questions: how can the defender of regicide portray God as king in his great epic, and how can the rabbis base their divine portrait in the midrashic king-mashal on the imperial cult of the Roman emperor?
Instead, Shoulson offers a fresh approach in establishing a relationship between Milton and the early rabbis: to treat Milton's later poetical work as midrashic reflections emerging out of an historical experience similar to that of the rabbis and expressing views on epistemology, ontology, and phenomenology also similar to those of the rabbis.
Right now we're especially looking for people who can view resources on feminism and religion, with many subtopics available, from Christian feminist theology to Midrashic literature to Sufism.
Agnon, an author whose strengths, Mintz observes, lie primarily in short fiction that employs in ironic fashion two established Hebrew forms, the Midrashic vignette and the Hasidic story.
Moreover, God's vengeance is inherently connected, according to this midrashic reading of Joel, with the re-inhabitation of Judah and God's return to dwell in Zion--in other words: with the final redemption of the Jewish people.
Like Fulkerson, Boyarin asserts that the midrashic text is constructed out of both a dialogue and dialectic between rabbinic and biblical texts as well as one between rabbinic texts themselves.
In particular he focuses on three scrolls from Qumran, where he finds examples of targumic (11 QtgJob), midrashic (4QFlor), and pesher (1QpHab) processes, as well as some `shadows of Hillel's exegetical rules'.
In contradiction to Freud, who speculated that Moses was Egyptian and may have been murdered by the Jews (for which there is no historical evidence), Paul identifies Moses not as the victim but as the perpetrator of the biblical "primal deed" To make Moses's rebellion against the pharaoh parallel the myth of the primal horde requires considerable ingenuity, including liberal resort to split representations of the Oedipal triad (father, mother, and son) and frequent reference to midrashic commentary as representing the "unconscious" of the biblical text.