Naomi Grunhaus

in The Challenge of Received Tradition

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

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After summarizing the book's major findings regarding Radak's integration of peshat and derash, the conclusion addresses the incongruity of his simultaneously accepting and challenging rabbinic traditions. Apparently, this contradiction did not weigh heavily upon him. Radak's integration of seemingly incompatible modes of exegesis and thought—in our case peshat and derash—reflects the maturation of medieval Jewish exegetical awareness in his day, to the point where derash could comfortably and successfully reassert its importance concomitant with peshat. Although Radak may have been at the cutting edge of integrative exegesis in his day, he was actually not that far ahead of his times, for others would shortly follow suit. Part of his commentaries’ appeal and durability would appear to stem from the tension between the two modes of exegesis, peshat and derash, and particularly from Radak's frank evaluations and comparisons of all exegetical materials relevant to the verses.

Keywords: integration of incompatible modes of exegesis; peshat and derash; maturation of medieval Jewish exegetical awareness

Chapter.  2428 words. 

Subjects: Judaism and Jewish Studies

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