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Jewish Bible Interpretation Since the Holocaust

By B. Barry Levy, Faculty of Religious Studies, McGill University

The History of Jewish Interpretation of the Bible is essentially the study of how Jewish intellectual history has been derived from and reflected into or onto Scripture. The precise components of any segment of this history are determined by several factors: the extent to which Jews are aware of and choose to use previously recorded Bible-related writings and their responses to the canons of reading, study, and interpretation that typify the thinking of their own times. These, in turn, control the specific commentaries selected for publication and study, the highly selective application of tehir contents in the daily work of Bible teachers and preachers, and the extent to which these people engage with or even fantasize about approahces to the text that derive from both Jewish and non-Jewish writers.

This presentation will examine the distinctive qualities of post-Holocaust Jewish bible teaching, study, and research in the context of modern and post-modern hermeneutical theory and in relation to the legacy of classical Bible interpretations. It will include treatment of specialized "schools" of study that developed in Israel and in North America and will incorporate the efforts of writers who intended to contribute to scholarship, to religious writing, and to both.

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