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Midrashic pondering the plunder

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Chapter Summary

This chapter outlines various strategies in midrashic literature by which the point of the dagger was either embraced or blunted. The texts can be placed into these four general categories: texts which embrace the moral problem, texts which provide a defense for the actions of their ancestors and their God, texts which turn vice into virtue by finding what is admirable in the passages and bringing this to the foreground and texts which do not deal with the moral problem. The chapter examines the tension between the biblical text and its interpreted meaning, to isolate how each text draws on previous exegesis and to determine what is unique to each Midrash. Because of the large number of texts to be examined, the chapter is constructed as a broad survey of rabbinic exegetical options rather than as a detailed examination of the progression of a particular midrashic concept.

Keywords:biblical text; God; midrashic literature; moral problem; rabbinic community



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