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Early Rabbinic Exegesis Of Genesis 38

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Chapter Summary

This chapter compares and contrasts early Jewish and Christian treatments of the story of Judah and Tamar as told in chapter 38 of Genesis, summarizes what the author knows from the raw text itself, alludes to the evidence from the Second Temple and early Christian periods, and explains what the issues were for those aggadists or midrashists expounding the text and for the students and/or congregants whom they were addressing. It then attempts to itemize the numerous themes that occur in the various midrashim, to explain briefly how they relate to the original biblical text, as well as to each other, and to indicate how this might convey to us what overall religious messages were being transmitted.

Keywords: biblical text; early Christian period; early Jewish period; Genesis 38; Judah; midrashists; Rabbinic exegesis; Second Temple period; Tamar



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