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My Perfect One : Typology and Early Rabbinic Interpretation of Song of Songs (Hardcover) (Jonathan
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Most studies of the history of interpretation of Song of Songs focus on its interpretation from late antiquity to modernity. InMy Perfect One, Jonathan Kaplan examines earlier rabbinic interpretation of this work by investigating an underappreciated collection of works of rabbinic literature from the first few centuries of the Common Era, known as the tannaitic midrashim. In a departure from earlier scholarship that too quickly classified rabbinic interpretation of Song of Songs as allegorical, Kaplan advocates a more nuanced understanding of the approach of the early sages, who read Song of Songs employing typological interpretation in order to correlate Scripture with exemplary events in Israel's history. Throughout the book Kaplan explores ways in which this portrayal helped shape a model vision of rabbinic piety as well as an idealized portrayal of their beloved, God, in the wake of the destruction, dislocation, and loss the Jewish community experienced in the first two centuries of the Common Era. The archetypal language of Song of Songs provided, as Kaplan argues, a textual landscape in which to imagine an idyllic construction of Israel's relationship to her beloved, marked by mutual devotion and fidelity. Through this approach to Song of Songs, the Tannaim helped lay the foundations for later Jewish thought of a robust theology of intimacy in God's relationship with the Jewish people.
Most studies of the history of interpretation of the Song of Songs focus on its interpretation from late antiquity to modernity. InMy Perfect One, Kaplan maps the landscape of earlier rabinnic interpretation by investigating an underappreciated collection of interpretations of the Book found in rabbinic or Tannaitic literature from the first few centuries of the Common Era, known as the Halachic Midrashim. Kaplan advances two major claims: First, in a departure from earlier scholarship that too quickly classifies rabbinic interpretation of the Song of Songs as allegorical, he advocates a more nuanced reading of the approach of the early sages, who read the Song through a mode of typological interpretation concerned with the correspondence between Scripture and ideal events in history. Second, Kaplan contends that the early rabbinic approach to the text analyzes it using strategies similar to those used in reading epic poetry in antiquity. Throughout the book Kaplan explores ways in which this portrayal helped shape early rabbinic piety in the wake of the destruction, dislocation, and loss the Jewish community in the first two centuries of the Common Era, and how it provided the language to convey an important rabbinic theological idea--that despite the catastrophes of 70 C.E. and 135 C.E., God still loves Israel in a surpassing way and will right the catastrophe in his own time.
Number of Pages: 225
Genre: Religion + Beliefs
Sub-Genre: Judaism / Sacred Writings (see also Talmud), Bible / Criticism + Interpretation / Old Testament, Bible / Commentaries / Old Testament
Publisher: Oxford Univ Pr
Author: Jonathan Kaplan
Street Date: August 31, 2015
Item Number (DPCI): 247-51-7392
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