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Midrash UnboundTransformations and Innovations$
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Michael A. Fishbane and Joanna Weinberg

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9781904113713

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: February 2021

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9781904113713.001.0001

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Midrash in a Lexical Key

Midrash in a Lexical Key

Nathan ben Yehiel’s Arukh

Chapter:
(p.213) Eleven Midrash in a Lexical Key
Source:
Midrash Unbound
Author(s):

Joanna Weinberg

Publisher:
Liverpool University Press
DOI:10.3828/liverpool/9781904113713.003.0012

This chapter discusses how Jews began to produce dictionaries of their own canonical texts. Particularly significant is the recent discovery of a number of leaves of the ‘lost’ dictionary of Hai Gaon, entitled Kitab al-hawi, which lists words belonging to the main corpora of the author's religious tradition: Scripture, Targum, Talmud, and Midrash. Not long after Hai Gaon penned his dictionary, another lexicon—Nathan ben Yehiel's Sefer he'arukh—was produced. One feature alone links the Arukh, written in Rome at the beginning of the twelfth century, with Hai's dictionary—the citation of rabbinic writings, including the main works of classical Midrash. Nathan, like Hai, harvested the entries for his dictionary from all extant sources and traditions without imposing a hierarchy of reading on his readers.

Keywords:   Jews, dictionaries, Hai Gaon, religious tradition, Midrash, lexicon, Nathan ben Yehiel, Sefer he'arukh, rabbinic writings

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