Biblical interpretation is not simply study of the Bible's meaning. Historically, it has also served as a primary medium for cultural and religious exchange between the great religious traditions of the West. Focusing on moments of signal interest in the history of Jewish, Christian, and Islamic scriptural interpretation from the ancient, medieval, and early modern periods, Jewish Biblical Interpretation and Cultural Exchange offers a unique comparative perspective. Each of the essays treats its subject in relation to the larger cultural context and to other contemporary interpretative traditions. Sources and authors examined in the book include late biblical and early postbiblical compositions, rabbinic legal and homiletical interpretation, Jerome and other early Christian exegetes, Islamic exegesis in both the Qur'an and early Muslim tradition, medieval Jewish and Christian exegetes, and biblical interpretation as evidenced in early modern illustrations of biblical scenes.
The histories of Jewish, Christian, and Islamic interpretation are presented not merely as parallel but as deeply interrelated, not only as reacting and polemicizing against each other but often as appropriating the tools and methods of their rival traditions. Biblical exegesis thus emerges as a forum of active and intense cultural exchange. The volume comes at a crucial time in the study of Jewish relations with Christianity and Islam, and shows how deeply connected and intertwined these three religious traditions truly are.
Natalie B. Dohrmann teaches in the Religious Studies Department and is the Director of Publications at the Center for Advanced Judaic Studies at the University of Pennsylvania. David Stern is Ruth Meltzer Professor of Classical Hebrew Literature at Penn. He is author of Midrash and Theory: Ancient Jewish Exegesis and Contemporary Literary Studies and Parables in Midrash: Narrative and Exegesis in Rabbinic Literature.
Introduction: On Comparative Biblical Exegesis-Interpretation, Influence, Appropriation -David Stern 1. Interpreting Torah Traditions in Psalm 105 -Adele Berlin 2. Cain: Son of God or Son of Satan? -Israel Knohl 3. Manumission and Transformation in Jewish and Roman Law -Natalie B. Dohrmann 4. Lessons from Jerome's Jewish Teachers: Exegesis and Cultural Interaction in Late Antique Palestine -Megan Hale Williams 5. Ancient Jewish Interpretation of the Song of Songs in a Comparative Context -David Stern 6. Patriarchy, Primogeniture and Polemic in the Exegetical Traditions of Judaism and Islam -Reuven Firestone 7. May Karaites Eat Chicken?-Indeterminacy in Sectarian Halakhic Exegesis -Daniel Frank 8. Early Islamic Exegesis as Legal Theory: How Qur'anic Wisdom Became the Sunna of the Prophet -Joseph Lowry 9. Interpreting Scripture in and through Liturgy: Exegesis of Mass Propers in the Middle Ages -Daniel Sheerin 10. Exegesis and Polemic in Rashbam's Commentary on the Song of Songs -Sara Japhet 11. Literal versus Carnal: George of Siena's Christian Reading of Jewish Exegesis -Deeana Copeland Klepper 12. Christians and Jews on Job in Fifteenth-Century Italy -Fabrizio Lelli Notes List of Contributors Index