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Between Tradition and Innovation: Seder Eliyahu’s Literary Strategies in the Context of Late Midrash

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Chapter Summary

For a long time, late midrashic traditions are perceived as a rather eclectic afterglow of their prototypes in the Golden Age of classic midrash. The majority of early scholars read rabbinic texts as historical evidence and took their reliability in this respect for granted. It has now become a common assumption that the later midrashim mark a considerable shift in rabbinic literature from the classical exegetical and dialectic focus to a distinct narrative orientation. In different passages of SEZ, one observes interesting and rather uncommon compositional techniques. Their focus is clearly directed to one keyword or word-stem and its semantic field which is central for the related teachings. Through a more flexible application, the formulas refer in SEZ to post-tannaitic texts like the Talmudim, the midrashim and ethical traditions. Seder Eliyahu, as well as other post-talmudic works, exhibits a shift in their dealing with language.

Keywords: classic midrash; midrashic traditions; post-talmudic texts; Seder Eliyahu; Talmudim



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