Fundamental Issues in the Study of Tanakh
Teacher Title תקציר Course
Rav Amnon Bazak Shiur #7a: Nusach Ha-mikra – Accuracy of the Biblical Text In previous chapters we discussed the processes by which the body of biblical literature came into being, along with the conclusions drawn by academic research in this area, known as “higher criticism.” In this chapter we will discuss the accuracy and history of the biblical text itself. Fundamental Issues in the Study of Tanakh
Rav Amnon Bazak Shiur #07b: Nusach Ha-mikra – Accuracy of the Biblical Text (continued) The existence of questions concerning the correct text of the Tanakh is also reflected in the phenomenon of dots placed above certain words in the Torah. This is a very ancient tradition, and these dots are among the very few markings of any sort that are to be found in a Torah scroll, which contains no punctuation or cantillation marks. Fundamental Issues in the Study of Tanakh
Rav Amnon Bazak Shiur #7c: Nusach Ha-mikra – Accuracy of the Biblical Text As was made clear over the course of the previous two shiurim, there exists no complete, clear copy of the Tanakh even from the period of Chazal. Fundamental Issues in the Study of Tanakh
Rav Amnon Bazak Shiur #7d: Nusach Ha-mikra – Accuracy of the Biblical Text The phenomenon of "keri u-khetiv" variants (where a word is vocalized differently from the way in which it is written) is manifest, to a limited extent, already in Chazal's teachings, and among the Masoretes, who began to note the vocal form in the margins of the manuscript itself, a practice which became very common. Fundamental Issues in the Study of Tanakh
Rav Amnon Bazak Shiur #7e: Nusach Ha-mikra – Accuracy of the Biblical Text Even after the Masora text of Ben Asher became the accepted version of the Tanakh, there remained many small discrepancies between the various manuscripts. For instance, from Rashi's commentary we see that the Tanakh text that he used, based on Ashkenazi manuscripts, differed in dozens of minute instances from the text of Ben Asher. Fundamental Issues in the Study of Tanakh
Rav Amnon Bazak Shiur #7f: Nusach Ha-mikra - Accuracy of the Biblical Text As the last few shiurim have argued, the Masoretic text is the "most complete and most accurate extant testimony" for the Tanakh. Nevertheless, there are many other ancient textual witnesses, which contain numerous instances of different versions of words or verses. Fundamental Issues in the Study of Tanakh
Rav Amnon Bazak Shiur #08a: Tanakh and Literature of the Ancient Near East Starting in the mid-19th century, scholars began studying the Ancient Near East – the cultural, social, and religious world within which the personalities of the Tanakh were active. Fundamental Issues in the Study of Tanakh
Rav Amnon Bazak Shiur #08b: Tanakh and Literature of the Ancient Near East That systems of justice existed among other nations prior to the giving of the Torah is a fact incorporated into the Torah's own narrative, and should thus entail no theological difficulty. Fundamental Issues in the Study of Tanakh
Rav Amnon Bazak Shiur #08c: Tanakh and Literature of the Ancient Near East So far we have dealt with the parallels between laws of the Ancient Near East and some of the laws of the Torah, and demonstrated that the similarities serve to highlight fundamental difference between them. Fundamental Issues in the Study of Tanakh
Rav Amnon Bazak Shiur #9a: "Peshat" and "Derash" – Midrash Aggada Much ink has been spilled in the attempt to define the terms "peshat" and "derash," which have their origin in the teachings of Chazal. It could happen that in a given debate over the explanation of a verse, everyone could agree that one of the proposed interpretations is a "peshat" one, while the other interpretation is a "derash” one, and yet disagree with one another as to which one is which! Fundamental Issues in the Study of Tanakh
Rav Amnon Bazak Shiur #9b: "Peshat" and "Derash" – Midrash Aggada As noted in the previous shiur, Rashi often incorporates midrashim in his biblical commentary. He was the first commentator to draw a clear distinction between commentary on the level of peshat, and teachings on the level of derash. Fundamental Issues in the Study of Tanakh
Rav Amnon Bazak Shiur #9b2: "Peshat" and "Derash" – Midrash Aggada Let us now turn to the view of Rashbam, one of the greatest of the biblical commentators. Rashbam, too, asserted the independent status of exegesis on the basis of peshat, but unlike R. Yosef Kara, he believed that the midrashic messages, rather than the peshat understanding, represented the essence of the Torah. Fundamental Issues in the Study of Tanakh
Rav Amnon Bazak Shiur #9c: "Peshat" and "Derash" – the plain meaning of the text vs. midrash aggada (homiletical teachings) Biblical commentary on the level of peshat was also prevalent among the Rishonim of Spain and Provence, including Ibn Ezra, Radak, and Ramban. We shall briefly review the approaches of these prominent commentators in this regard. Fundamental Issues in the Study of Tanakh
Rav Amnon Bazak Shiur #9c2: "Peshat" and "Derash" – the plain meaning of the text vs. midrash aggada (homiletical teachings) Moving on from Spain, this week we shall consider the greatest of the Provencal commentators – Radak. Radak cites many midrashim, as he acknowledges in the introduction to his commentary on the Early Prophets: "I will also bring some midrashim, for those who enjoy midrashim." Fundamental Issues in the Study of Tanakh
Rav Amnon Bazak Shiur #09d: "Peshat" and "Derash" – the plain meaning of the text vs. midrash aggada (homiletical teachings) The Rambam did not write a systematic commentary on the Torah, but among his various compositions there are places where he addresses the relationship between peshat and derash. His approach was continued by his son, Rabbi Avraham, who did write a commentary on the Torah and thus devoted more extensive attention to this question. Fundamental Issues in the Study of Tanakh
Rav Amnon Bazak Shiur #10a: Peshat and Midrash Halakha Having established, in previous shiurim, that the biblical commentators saw fit to draw a distinction between the peshat (plain meaning) of the text and midrashim, we will now go on to examine a more complicated issue: the relationship between peshat and midrash Halakha. Fundamental Issues in the Study of Tanakh
Rav Amnon Bazak Shiur #10b: Peshat and Midrash Halakha As noted, the relationship between the straightforward reading of the text (peshat) and the halakhic ramifications derived in the midrash becomes more complicated when we find instances where they appear to be in direct contradiction with one another. Fundamental Issues in the Study of Tanakh
Rav Amnon Bazak Shiur #10c: Peshat and Midrash Halakha In previous shiurim we noted that many traditional commentators frequently understand there to be tension and contradiction between the simple, peshat interpretation of the text, and the halakhic conclusions derived from it. Fundamental Issues in the Study of Tanakh
Rav Amnon Bazak Shiur #10d: Peshat and Midrash Halakha In the previous shiur we noted that “an eye for an eye” may well have been originally understood to require commensurate physical punishment for the infliction of injury. Fundamental Issues in the Study of Tanakh
Rav Amnon Bazak Shiur #10e: Peshat and Midrash Halakha In the previous shiurim we discussed discrepancies between the simple reading of the text and the halakhic conclusions of Chazal. Fundamental Issues in the Study of Tanakh
Rav Amnon Bazak Shiur #10f: Peshat and Midrash Halakha So far we have looked at contradictions between peshat and derash that arise from the authority of the Sages to interpret the verses in a way that differs from their plain meaning (whether out of moral or practical considerations). Now we will turn our attention to tensions between peshat and derash that arise from prior contradictions between different parshiot in the Torah itself. Fundamental Issues in the Study of Tanakh
Rav Amnon Bazak Shiur #11a: The Sins of Biblical Figures Part 1 of 4 The return to the study of the peshat – the plain meaning – of the biblical text has raised numerous religious questions, some of which we have addressed in previous shiurim. We now turn our attention to the question of our attitude towards central characters in Tanakh. Fundamental Issues in the Study of Tanakh
Rav Amnon Bazak Shiur #11b: The Sins of Biblical Figures (Part 2 of 4) We will look at three actions of Avraham and Sarah, where in each instance the action seems to be presented in a questionable light. Fundamental Issues in the Study of Tanakh
Rav Amnon Bazak Shiur #11c: The Sins of Biblical Figures Part 3 of 4 The fourth figure who is defended by R. Yonatan in the discussion in the Gemara (Shabbat 55b-56b) is King David. David's greatness and holiness, on the one hand, along with the severity of his actions concerning Bat-Sheva and Uriya, on the other, make this episode the classic test case for our attitude towards the biblical heroes. Fundamental Issues in the Study of Tanakh
Rav Amnon Bazak Shiur #11d: The Sins of Biblical Figures Part 4 of 4 We have seen that, since the earliest times, there have been two main approaches to understanding the sins and errors of biblical heroes: one takes the straightforward meaning of the text as its starting point, while the other proceeds from the fundamental assumption that such negative actions cannot be attributed to such great figures. Fundamental Issues in the Study of Tanakh

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