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The Author-Ity Of Pirqe De-Rabbi Eliezer

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Chapter Summary

Jacob Elbaum demonstrates unequivocally that Pirqe De-Rabbi Eliezer (PRE) was written based on its tendency towards systematization and thematic shaping, its repetition of motifs, its recycling of images, and its reiteration of unique phrases. There are various organizational motifs that establish an underlying sense of unity to the midrash. This chapter suggests, that PRE does not present a new form of hermeneutics but rather refurbishes an older genre, the so-called 'Rewritten Bible' as Narrative Midrash, and then camouflages it as a tannaitic composition in order to muster authority. In order to gain insight as to why the author (or scribe), living sometime in the 8th century, would wish to attribute the composition to R. Eliezer, the chapter explores the metaphors deployed in the opening narrative and analyzes them as key to his hermeneutics.

Keywords: Jacob Elbaum; Pirqe De-Rabbi Eliezer (PRE); R. Eliezer



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