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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 ?
Midrashim differ in the extent to which they do so, from adding or adjusting minor details to outright and extensive eisegesis.
Although this is explained along the way, the many different midrashim employed leave us with what could be construed as a rather narrow, far-fetched version of the events.
Azzan Yadin-Israel, Boyarin's student, has investigated whether Boyarin's insights can be applied systematically to the legal portions of the Tannaitic midrashim as well.
These are important questions for understanding the impact and role of the midrashim under consideration, those from earliest to latest times.
When writing the midrashim that relate to the Splitting of the Sea, the Sages reconciled two seemingly different versions of one story to demonstrate a harmonious fluidity in the Tanakh.
But the most recent generation has widened our field of interest to seriously investigate also the later Midrashim from medieval times.
Along with commentaries on Talmud and Kabbalah, and the writing of the later rabbis (especially Rashi, Maimonides, and Nachmonides), the various collections of stories and other materials known as the Midrash or midrashim were among the four major bodies of exegetical writings through which prism the reading of biblical scripture was customarily passed.
In this collection of articles that places midrash within other contexts of hermeneutics, the contributors of these 12 articles cover the origins of midrash in the Second Temple period, resistance to midrash in the Halakhic Midrashim, rewritten bible and rabbinic midrash as commentary, textual criticism, Christian and Hellenistic hermeneutics in relation to midrash, midrash as social history, methodology and literary approaches, interpretations of experience, feminism, justifications for women's disabilities and deconstruction/reconstruction.
Composed primarily of Palestinian materials (the Jerusalem Talmud, the Aramaic paraphrases of the Bible known as Targumim, and Midrashim written in Palestine), the Pirkei de-Rabbi Eliezer not only has a notable pedigree within later rabbinic commentators (it is quoted by, among others, Rambam and Rashi), it has the additional advantage, for the purposes of Werman's argument, of having been translated into Latin by William Vorstius in 1644.
Finally, it seems highly improbabie that the rabbinic authorities who compiled and edited the Mishnah, the Talmuds, and the Midrashim would claim as their exegetical forebears people whose views of text and interpretation differed so radically from their own.
Tebat Marqua: A Collection of Samaritan Midrashim (Jerusalem: Academy of Sciences, 1988) p.
The stories have been molded by many additions and amplifications to the basic framework of both the Talmudim and midrashim, leading to an evaluation and comparison of their sources.