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Rabbinic Texts and the History of Late-Roman Palestine$
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Martin Goodman and Philip Alexander

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780197264744

Published to British Academy Scholarship Online: January 2012

DOI: 10.5871/bacad/9780197264744.001.0001

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Literary Structures and Historical Reconstruction: The Example of an Amoraic Midrash (Leviticus Rabbah)

Literary Structures and Historical Reconstruction: The Example of an Amoraic Midrash (Leviticus Rabbah)

Chapter:
(p.185) 11 Literary Structures and Historical Reconstruction: The Example of an Amoraic Midrash (Leviticus Rabbah)
Source:
Rabbinic Texts and the History of Late-Roman Palestine
Author(s):

ALEXANDER SAMELY

Publisher:
British Academy
DOI:10.5871/bacad/9780197264744.003.0012

This chapter examines historical reconstruction and literary structures of rabbinic texts using the Leviticus Rabbah as an example. It explains that Leviticus Rabbah is a commentary on the Book of Leviticus which now forms part of Midrash Rabbah. It proposes ten theses about the special problems which the literary structures of rabbinic texts pose for the historian and analyses a section of the amoraic work of Leviticus Rabbah to describe some of those literary structures. The findings suggest that it is impossible to explain how the textuality of rabbinic sources worked and that many rabbinic works fill the same functional position in a text more than once.

Keywords:   Leviticus Rabbah, historical reconstruction, literary structure, rabbinic texts, Midrash Rabbah, Leviticus, amoraic work, textuality, functional position

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