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Reevaluating Biblical Commentaries In Northern France

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Chapter Summary

R. Samuel ben Meir's biographical data are given in relation to Rashi's life span. The testimonies that Rashbam studied 'in the presence of his grandfather' relate exclusively to Rashi. Rashbam wrote a grammar, a commentary on Qohelet, and a commentary on the Torah that was preserved in only one manuscript is undisputed. This manuscript, a collection in several parts, stems at the latest from the early sixteenth century. It belonged to the families Walch and Oppenheim, and, later on, the Mendelssohn and the Fraenckel families. This chapter deals mainly with Rashbam's commentary on the Torah, it is important to place Rashbam's biblical commentaries in proper perspective in relation to his other works. It also deals with the question of how Rashbam reveals 'rapprochements littéraires' to gratify his audience and how he tried to meet his hearers' expectations with 'unorthodox' and sometimes even outré interpretations 'newly thought up' at that time.

Keywords:Qohelet; R. Samuel Ben Meir; Rashbam; Rashi; Torah commentary



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