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Food, The Animals, And Human Dignity. Jewish Perceptions In A Targumic Context

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Chapter Summary

God's decree that Adam should eat plants of the field might be taken to mean that Adam's food was to be exactly the same as that of the animals. The Palestinian Targumim give their final answer to Adam's questions and concerns about the animal-human distinction, and it will be noted how his original concern with food has remained, but has itself been transformed into a matter of Torah food, Torah study, and Torah cultivation. The distinctive character of the Targumic discussion of the questions about the animals, food, and human dignity posed by God's decrees against the first human pair thus arises from the willingness of the Palestinain Targumim to integrate into a coherent synthesis ideas drawn from biblical and post-biblical sources, and to present them in such a way that the verses of Scripture underlying their exegesis never disappear from sight.

Keywords: Adam; animal-human distinction; biblical; God's decree; human dignity; Jewish perception; Palestinian Targumim; Torah food



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