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Regional Identities and Cultures of Medieval Jews$
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Javier Castaño, Talya Fishman, and Ephraim Kanarfogel

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9781906764678

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: February 2021

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9781906764678.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM LIVERPOOL SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.liverpool.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Liverpool University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in LSO for personal use.date: 25 September 2021

A New Look at Medieval Jewish Exegetical Constructions of Peshat in Christian and Muslim Lands: Rashbam and Maimonides

A New Look at Medieval Jewish Exegetical Constructions of Peshat in Christian and Muslim Lands: Rashbam and Maimonides

Chapter:
(p.93) Chapter Five A New Look at Medieval Jewish Exegetical Constructions of Peshat in Christian and Muslim Lands: Rashbam and Maimonides
Source:
Regional Identities and Cultures of Medieval Jews
Author(s):
Mordechai Z. Cohen
Publisher:
Liverpool University Press
DOI:10.3828/liverpool/9781906764678.003.0006

This chapter notes peshat as a concept that means something different to Jewish scholars living within different majority cultures. It clarifies the divergent 'hermeneutical trajectories' of peshat and links their differences to cultural elements in their broader societies. It also provides a detailed analysis of passages in the writings of R. Samuel ben Meir of northern France, and of R. Moses ben Maimon of Egypt, which demonstrates that their divergent understandings of peshat reflected vastly different assumptions about the relationship between exegesis and halakhah. The chapter examines midrashic interpretations that 'overrode' the scripture's peshat meaning and determined the law as it was to be practised. The chapter also recounts how Maimonides made peshuto shel mikra his legal foundation.

Keywords:   peshat, Jewish scholars, hermeneutical trajectories, exegesis, halakhah, midrashic interpretation, Maimonides

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