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Studying Torah as a Reality Check: A Close Reading of a Midrash

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image of The Journal of Jewish Thought and Philosophy

This paper describes the practice of rabbinic Torah-Study in Pragmatist epistemological terms. Pragmatists describe the quest for knowledge as a process in which we interpret our experiences and thereby construct an idea of our reality. This description creates or generates a tension between the constructive aspect of the knowledge quest and the idea of an independent reality. The paper argues that Pragmatism shares this tension, as well as the hermeneutical and pragmatic method for overcoming it, with the rabbinic concept of "Torah Study." This association is illustrated through a close reading of a Midrash on the first verse of the Biblical "Woman of Valor" song.

Affiliations: 1: Siegal College of Judaic Studies, Cleveland


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