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Can the homilists cross the sea again? Revelation in Mekilta Shirata

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Chapter Summary

This chapter attempts to decipher the different ways in which time is conceived, narrated and constructed in Mekilta Shirata. It begins with a simple question: what allows the homilist to join the biblical victory song? The question becomes more disturbing in light of the past/future model which prevails in this tractate. It considers the possibility of two rival models: "succession" vs. "sandwich" and shows that there is no real contradiction between the two. Through a close reading of one homily author suggests that the homiletical activity itself as the mechanism that allows the homilist to transcend the past/future model and join himself the biblical hymn. The chapter can be seen as an exercise in comparative methodology to tannaitic midrash. A hermeneutical-rhetorical analysis, concentrating on the midrashic process itself, reveals the mechanism that enables the very act of joining the biblical song wholeheartedly.

Keywords: biblical victory song; homilist; Mekilta Shirata; one homily; revelation; tannaitic midrash



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