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Rabbinic Narrative: Documentary Perspectives on the Authentic Narrative in Lamentations Rabbah

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Abstract Classification of its narratives reveals Lamentations Rabbah’s preferences as to narrative types and their functions. On the foundation of this knowledge we can correlate Rabbinic narratives with the boundaries defined by particular documents and, ultimately, are able, on the foundations of literary evidence, to describe the Rabbinic structure and system. Understanding the way the documentary evidence took shape and how it accomplished its compilers’ goals is required for that description. If we do not know whether or how narratives fit into the canonical constructions of Rabbinic Judaism in its formative age and normative statement, we cannot account for important data of that Judaism. The result of this study is to show that narratives, no less than expository, exegetical, and analytical writing, form part of the documentary self-definition of the Rabbinic canonical writings. Through the study of Lamentations Rabbah (referred to also as Lamentations Rabbati) in particular, it advances our ability to evaluate how a rhetorical form as represented in one document compares or contrasts with that form as it is used in other discrete rabbinic texts.

Affiliations: 1: Institute for Advanced Theology Bard College Annendale-on-Hudson New York 12504


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