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Hearing And Seeing At Sinai: Interpretive Trajectories

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Chapter Summary

In surveying some biblical and post-biblical sources dealing with the uneasy mixture of hearing and seeing at Sinai, we have barely scratched the surface. To take the most obvious set of interpretations that we have compared, Philo and early midrash, both respond to the same scriptural barbs, and both emphasize the visual aspects of the Sinaitic revelation as, what is rabbinically termed the visual rather than auditory apprehension of divine speech. On the rabbinic side, the midrashic emphasis on the divine voice and utterance assuming physical form or appearance in the eyes of the Israelites at Sinai goes well beyond anything found in pre-rabbinic antecedents.

Keywords: midrash; Sinai



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