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Contemplative NationA Philosophical Account of Jewish Theological Language$
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Cass Fisher

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780804776646

Published to Stanford Scholarship Online: June 2013

DOI: 10.11126/stanford/9780804776646.001.0001

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Forms of Theological Language in Mekhilta of Rabbi Ishmael

Forms of Theological Language in Mekhilta of Rabbi Ishmael

(p.101) 3 Forms of Theological Language in Mekhilta of Rabbi Ishmael
Contemplative Nation
Stanford University Press

As a new model for understanding Jewish theological language, the value of Jewish Theological Practice (JTP) is contingent on its ability to illuminate the theological language of classical Jewish texts. This chapter assesses the utility of JTP by offering a critical analysis of the theological language of an early rabbinic scriptural commentary on sections of the book of Exodus: Mekhilta of Rabbi Ishmael. In particular, it examines the contribution of exegesis, hermeneutics, rational reflection on divine perfection, and religious experience to the theological reflections of Mekhilta. Mekhilta is associated with Rabbi Ishmael on the basis of the medieval practice of naming rabbinic texts according to the first cited rabbi. It is considered by scholars as among the class of rabbinic literature known as midrash halakhah, written by the earliest rabbis, the tannaim. Two book-length studies on Mekhilta are Max Kadushin's A Conceptual Approach to the Mekhilta and Judah Goldin's The Song at the Sea: Being a Commentary on a Commentary in Two Parts.

Keywords:   theological language, Mekhilta of Rabbi Ishmael, Jewish Theological Practice, exegesis, hermeneutics, divine perfection, religious experience, rabbinic literature, Max Kadushin, Judah Goldin

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