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Anthropomorphisms In Early Rabbinic Literature: Maimonides And Modern Scholarship

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Chapter Summary

The predominant view among scholars in past generations - a view which is prevalent in our generation too - is that Rabbinic literature did not recognize the concept of God as having human features. This trend may be regarded with some skepticism, for the reader of Midrashic and Talmudic literature is invariably struck by the abundance of anthropomorphic expressions. This chapter depicts the various exegetical techniques utilized in the scholarly literature to eliminate all anthropomorphic elements from Rabbinic literature. It focuses primarily on the writings of the last two or three generations, in the framework of what is generally referred to as "Jewish studies&t;. Maimonides' influence on research in this issue can be seen in the forms of argumentation and exegesis, in the examples, and even in the terminology it employs. Modern scholarship has adopted numerous and varied techniques in its confrontation with the phenomenon of anthropomorphism in Rabbinic literature.

Keywords: anthropomorphism; Jewish studies; Maimonides; modern scholarship; Rabbinic literature; Talmudic and Midrashic corpus

10.1163/ej.9789004173330.i-358.87
/content/books/10.1163/ej.9789004173330.i-358.87
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