The Midrash on Proverbs

Translated from the Hebrew, with an Introduction and annotations by Burton L. Visotzky

View Inside Price: $60.00


February 26, 1992
160 pages, 6 3/8 x 9 1/4
ISBN: 9780300051070
Cloth

The Midrash on Proverbs, a ninth-century collection of rabbinical commentary on the Book of Proverbs, is now available to English-speaking audiences for the first time. Burton L. Visotzky here provides a lucid translation of the work from his annotated critical edition of the Hebrew text, Midrash Mishle.
 
Midrash Mishle is a watershed in midrashic literature, as it marks the point at which broader forms of classical midrash on the Scriptures gave way to verse-by-verse commentary. It is unlike most earlier midrash in that it regularly pays attention to context, relates verses to each other, provides comments on apparently simple meanings of verses, and philologically considers the meaning of specific terms. At the same time, it resembles earlier midrash by considering narrative legends—offering, for example, fanciful versions of Solomon's meeting with the Queen of Sheba, the death of Moses, and Joseph's encounter with his brothers. It also alludes to medieval Jewish law and custom, anti-Karaite polemic, and rabbinic mysticism (with its esoteric speculations on such subjects as the measurements of God's body).
Visotzky's volume illuminates all these subjects for the scholar and nonspecialist alike in a prose translation that mirrors the style of the original Midrash Mishle text. His introduction to the volume sets it in the wider context of Jewish hermeneutics of the Bible.
 
 

"One of the best translations of rabbinic literature that I have come across in recent years—precise, elegant, and highly readable."—David Stern

"Reads well, beautifully in fact; it looks good; and it comes with pages of notes that will make many things clearer. . . . An important addition to the Jewish bookshelf."—Lewis Glinert, HaMaor

"An important addition to the Jewish bookshelf."—Lewis Glinert, HaMaor

"Midrash Mishle is a watershed in midrashic literature, for it marks the point at which broader forms of classical Midrash on the Scriptures gave way to verse-by-verse commentary. . . . Visotzky's volume is illuminating for the scholar and non-specialist alike in a prose translation that mirrors the style of the original."—Menorah Review

"[A] literate and thoroughly idiomatic annotated translation of the text. . . . Students of rabbinic literature are in Visotzky's debt for his careful studies of Midrash Mishle. This translation gracefully renders the work accessible to a larger readership."—Richard S. Sarason, Hebrew Studies

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