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Genre: Pirqe De-Rabbi Eliezer As Narrative Midrash

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Chapter Summary

The composition known as Pirqe de-Rabbi Eliezer (PRE) has always been a widely popular midrash, cited by such diverse sages as the Rab Amram Gaon, Rashi, Nachmanides, and Radak. There are two main types of midrashic collections that arose out of the classical period. PRE does not conform to either of them. The first, and probably chronologically earlier, compilation has been characterized as "Exegetical Midrash," following a line-by-line interpretation of a particular book of the Pentateuch. The second type of composition, known as "Homiletical Midrash," is based on oral sermons that arose out of the Palestinian triennial cycle. The chapter also presents the terms 'repression' and 'return of the repressed' to describe the relationship between the cosmogonic content in the Bible, the 'repressed' pagan mythic content it draws from, and its revival in the mythic narratives of midrash.

Keywords: Exegetical Midrash; Homiletical Midrash; Pirqe de-Rabbi Eliezer



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