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Yefet’s exegesis of Esther

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Chapter Summary

At the heart of Yefet's exegetical method-as, indeed, that of the oriental Karaite and Rabbanite exegetes generally-is a devotion to rationalism and logically constrained inquiry of the sort ubiquitously attested in post-Enlightenment exegesis (the so-called "historical-grammatical" method), albeit precluding the dismissal of orthodox theological tenets which so frequently attends the latter. In its development this rationalistic approach may be traced back, before the sectarian schisms that eventually gave rise to Karaism, to the middôt (hermeneutical principles) of early rabbinic exegesis. In Yefet's commentary on Esther, however, there is hardly room for such actualization, since the book is entirely narrative and non-predictive. In addition to highlighting the compilatory nature of his exegetical work, the previous citation from his introduction to Genesis also makes clear-assuming, of course, a reflected integrity of intention and practice- that Yefet is to be regarded as more than a mere compiler or epitomizer of previous exegesis.

Keywords:Esther; Karaism; rabbinic exegesis; Yefet's commentary



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