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Rabbinic Paratexts: The Case Of Midrash Lamentations Rabbah

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Chapter Summary

Any survey of the phenomenon of paratext which omitted Rabbinic Midrash would be deficient, because in many ways the Midrashim are a paradigm of paratextuality and offer a well-equipped laboratory in which to investigate this phenomenon. Midrash is paratext in the obvious sense that it is commentary on Bible. This chapter suggests that how Midrash functions as paratext can only be understood by considering Midrash in all its aspects - the evolution of its text, its social origins, its fluctuating intertextual relations to other biblical paratexts, and its function within Jewish thought and religion in the period of its creation. All this is a tall order for one paper, but the author tries to avoid too much vague generalization by illustrating his main points from a specific Midrash - Eikhah Rabbah to the Book of Lamentations.

Keywords: Book of Lamentations; Eikhah Rabbah; paratextuality; Rabbinic Midrash



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