Challenges to Rabbinic Aggadic Statements

Naomi Grunhaus

in The Challenge of Received Tradition

Published in print December 2012 | ISBN: 9780199858408
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780199979899 | DOI:
Challenges to Rabbinic Aggadic Statements

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After considering the challenges raised by Radak's predecessors to non-legal (aggadic) rabbinic traditions, this chapter analyzes Radak's criteria for rejection of aggadot (rabbinic histories, lore, or homiletical teachings). It concludes that most frequently when he challenges rabbinic traditions, he adduces biblical evidence to support his position. In a sign of his deference to the rabbis, Radak occasionally mitigates his own criticism, even as he challenges their opinions. His challenges to rabbinic traditions usually appear in polarized comments. Paradoxically, despite his criticism of rabbinic teachings, his inclusion of them in the polarized construct indicates just how integral they are to his exegetical program. On the very rare occasions when Radak's tone in objecting to rabbinic traditions is perturbed and intensely perplexed, it shows that he was not completely at ease challenging rabbinic statements and felt troubled to have to find fault with accepted traditions.

Keywords: Aggadic; aggadot; criteria for rejection; mitigates his criticism; tone; biblical evidence; challenges

Chapter.  13239 words. 

Subjects: Judaism and Jewish Studies

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