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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 Medieval and Early Modern Sermons

Midrash in Medieval and Early Modern Sermons

Chapter:
(p.371) Seventeen Midrash in Medieval and Early Modern Sermons
Source:
Midrash Unbound
Author(s):

Marc Saperstein

Publisher:
Liverpool University Press
DOI:10.3828/liverpool/9781904113713.003.0018

This chapter explores Midrash in medieval and early modern sermons. It uses the word ‘Midrash’ loosely to refer not just to statements in collections known as Midrash, but to the full corpus of aggadic statements from rabbinic literature, including the Talmud, hooked to a biblical verse. Despite the impressive work of scholars who have continued to mine this literature for evidence of the sermons delivered during the classical rabbinic period, it is doubtful that the classical rabbinic texts have preserved a single direct and complete record of a sermon actually delivered. The chapter focuses on specific examples of sermons by three medieval or early modern preachers: Jacob Anatoli, from thirteenth-century southern France; Shem Tov ibn Shem Tov, from late fifteenth-century Spain; and Saul Levi Morteira, from seventeenth-century Amsterdam. Since, unlike technical treatises on philosophy or rabbinic law, the sermon is intended for the entire community of Jews, who would hear it in their vernacular language within the context of public worship, it provided an important medium for disseminating the non-legal component of rabbinic literature to those who would rarely have encountered it in formal Jewish study.

Keywords:   Midrash, early modern sermons, aggadic statements, rabbinic literature, classical rabbinic texts, Jacob Anatoli, Shem Tov ibn Shem Tov, Saul Levi Morteira, Jewish study, public worship

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