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Literary Composition And Oral Performance In Early Midrashim

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Chapter Summary

Three converging factors make the early rabbinic midrashim an appropriate place to begin an examination of the complex interplay of oral and textual registers of tradition and its transmission, so much the focus of recent study of other traditional cultures and so much the character of rabbinic culture from antiquity to the present. Our earliest midrashic collections express the idea that the originary revelation of Torah at Mount Sinai already comprised two parts, consigned to two distinct channels of communication: Written and Oral. This chapter emphasizes that such oral discursive modeling is performed by our early rabbinic texts of oral teaching, including the midrashim, themselves.

Keywords: Midrashim; Torah



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