Hence, comparing the story in the Asatir to Jewish midrashim
on Genesis 11 is to compare apples and oranges.
Perhaps the rabbis who wrote midrashim
could be considered the first Jewish fiction writers, using stories to better understand their world and morality.
were seen as everything from creative, resourceful, and playful "uncoverings" of the ramifying levels of meaning inherent in a pasuk, to maddening, misleading, and even fatuous alterations of the peshat of that pasuk.
There has been a good deal of progress in recent years in the translation of the homiletical midrashim
allow for an alternate interpretation of the biblical notion of tzara'at, and I feel that this work would have been a suitable place for such a discussion.
Mishnah and Tosefta are Mishnaic, and works such as Mekhilta, Sifra, and Sifre, "the Tannaitic midrashim
," are midrashic.
The Pesikta deRav Kahana (PRK) is one of the oldest of the homiletic Midrashim
, commentaries on the Torah.
It should be noted that Ruth Rabbah is one of the older extant Midrashim
and, like the Midrash Tanhuma, itself one of the earlier Midrashim
, was compiled in Israel.
The material he uses is found among other places in the Targums, Midrashim
, Mishneh, the Talmud, Philo's writings, and the Dead Sea scrolls.
DR JACOBS considers questions about the process leading to the Midrashim
which we now have.
Resulting questions that I thus ask of the many and varied midrashim
include: who is the audience for these materials, how are the texts transmitted, what are other texts to which they may be related aside from the obvious biblical materials, and what is their reality?
A study of various midrashim
involving the stories found in Exodus and Psalms clears up the ambiguity in Psalms.
Goldin uses Crusade chronicles midrashim
, memorial books and prayers, and accounts by Christian observers to construct his explanations.
Her refusal to comply may have arisen out of modesty, defense of the rights of women, insolence, or solicitude for her own guests; in any case, she doesn't deserve disgrace, and certainly not the death penalty that some midrashim
, including the earlier portion of the first midrash cited above, interpret as her fate.
may be seen to represent a deeper level of meaning, what has been referred to as "omek peshuto".