Polarized Comments

Naomi Grunhaus

in The Challenge of Received Tradition

Published in print December 2012 | ISBN: 9780199858408
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780199979899 | DOI:
Polarized Comments

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In hundreds of cases, Radak systematically juxtaposes two alternative interpretations dealing with the same biblical wording or textual nuance (often in opposing ways), where one is a peshat interpretation and the other is midrashic. The use of this “polarized construct” highlights the contrast between peshat and derash, while the ubiquity of this construct serves as important evidence of Radak's maturity of method—rather than providing either pure peshat or pure derash, he aims at a synthesis of the two. The chapter considers the nuances between the polarized construct in which Radak places peshat before the midrashic tradition(s) and the less common case in which he reverses that order. Radak's use of the polarized construct is also set in its historical context, by comparing it to Rashi's use of the perush kaful construct, as well as briefly examining other exegetes who employed juxtaposition of peshat and derash.

Keywords: polarized construct; perush kaful; rashi; contrast; peshat before midrashic tradition; synthesis; juxtaposition of peshat and derash

Chapter.  7401 words. 

Subjects: Judaism and Jewish Studies

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