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Interpreting Scriptures in Judaism, Christianity and Islam
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Mordechai Z. Cohen, James Kugel, Sidney Griffith, Meir Bar-Asher, Piero Boitani, Meira Polliack, Jon Whitman, Alastair Minnis, Robert Gleave, A. B. Kraebel, Wolfhart Heinrichs, Rita Copeland, Stephen Prickett, Adele Berlin
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  • Date Published: July 2016
  • availability: This ISBN is for an eBook version which is distributed on our behalf by a third party.
  • format: Adobe eBook Reader
  • isbn: 9781316547489

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About the Authors
  • This comparative study traces Jewish, Christian, and Muslim scriptural interpretation from antiquity to modernity, with special emphasis on the pivotal medieval period. It focuses on three areas: responses in the different faith traditions to tensions created by the need to transplant scriptures into new cultural and linguistic contexts; changing conceptions of the literal sense and its importance vis-à-vis non-literal senses, such as the figurative, spiritual, and midrashic; and ways in which classical rhetoric and poetics informed - or were resisted in - interpretation. Concentrating on points of intersection, the authors bring to light previously hidden aspects of methods and approaches in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. This volume opens new avenues for interdisciplinary analysis and will benefit scholars and students of biblical studies, religious studies, medieval studies, Islamic studies, Jewish studies, comparative religions, and theory of interpretation.

    • Offers a truly interdisciplinary study that draws on the perspectives of literary criticism, legal hermeneutics, intellectual history, and cultural and religious studies
    • Explores rhetoric, poetics, and strategies of reading sacred and secular literature
    • Suitable not only for scholars and graduate students, but also clergy and educated laypeople
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'This volume brings together an excellent collection of essays that will prove useful for scholars in many fields including hermeneutics, medieval religious thought, the history of biblical interpretation, and the history of the three Abrahamic religions. The two outstanding qualities of the volume are the various chapters on Islamic interpretive tradition and the four chapters comprising part 2s on the sensus literalis. In the case of this first strength, the chapters dealing with issues within the Islamic interpretive tradition go a long way in both introducing this important vein of scriptural interpretation to the interested reader and showing in a compelling manner the various points of contact between Islamic interpreters and those from Judaism and Christianity. In the second instance, part 2 of this volume represents one of the best treatments of the sensus literalis available to an academic readership. For these reasons, this volume deserves much attention.' Stephen D. Campbell, Journal of Hebrew Scriptures

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    Product details

    • Date Published: July 2016
    • format: Adobe eBook Reader
    • isbn: 9781316547489
    • contains: 16 b/w illus.
    • availability: This ISBN is for an eBook version which is distributed on our behalf by a third party.
  • Table of Contents

    Introduction: intersecting encounters with scriptures in three faiths Mordechai Z. Cohen
    Part I. Scriptural Texts in Changing Contexts:
    1. The emergence of biblical interpretation in antiquity James Kugel
    2. Disclosing the mystery: hermeneutics of typology in Syriac exegesis Sidney Griffith
    3. 'We have made it an Arabic Qur'an': the permissibility of translating scripture in Islam in contrast with Judaism and Christianity Meir Bar-Asher
    4. The unmoved mover begins to move: literary and artistic renderings of the Christian Bible Piero Boitani
    5. Deconstructing the dual Torah: a Jewish response to the Muslim model of scripture Meira Polliack
    Part II. Conceptions of the Literal Sense:
    6. The literal sense of Christian scripture: redefinition and revolution Jon Whitman
    7. Figuring the letter: making sense of 'sensus litteralis' in late-medieval Christian exegesis Alastair Minnis
    8. Conceptions of the literal sense (ẓāhir, ḥaqīqa) in Muslim interpretive thought Robert Gleave
    9. Emergence of the rule of peshat in Jewish Bible exegesis Mordechai Z. Cohen
    Part III. Rhetoric and the Poetics of Reading:
    10. Reading Virgil, reading David: poetry and commentary in the medieval school of Rheims A. B. Kraebel
    11. On the figurative (majāz) in Muslim interpretation and legal hermeneutics Wolfhart Heinrichs
    12. Words of eloquence: rhetoric and poetics in Jewish peshat exegesis in its Muslim and Christian contexts Mordechai Z. Cohen
    13. Classical rhetoric and scriptural interpretation in the Latin West Rita Copeland
    14. Robert Lowth's biblical poetics and Romantic theory Stephen Prickett
    15. From scripture to literature: modern ways of reading the Bible Adele Berlin.

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  • Editors

    Mordechai Z. Cohen, Yeshiva University, New York
    Mordechai Z. Cohen is Professor of Bible and Associate Dean of the Bernard Revel Graduate School of Jewish Studies at Yeshiva University. His publications include Three Approaches to Biblical Metaphor: From Abraham Ibn Ezra and Maimonides to David Kimhi and Opening the Gates of Interpretation: Maimonides' Biblical Hermeneutics in Light of his Geonic-Andalusian Heritage and Muslim Milieu.

    Adele Berlin, University of Maryland
    Adele Berlin is Robert H. Smith Professor of Hebrew Bible Emerita in the Department of English and the Jewish Studies Program at the University of Maryland. She is the author of seven books, including Poetics and Interpretation of Biblical Narrative, The Dynamics of Biblical Parallelism, and commentaries on Zephaniah, Esther, and Lamentations.


    Mordechai Z. Cohen, James Kugel, Sidney Griffith, Meir Bar-Asher, Piero Boitani, Meira Polliack, Jon Whitman, Alastair Minnis, Robert Gleave, A. B. Kraebel, Wolfhart Heinrichs, Rita Copeland, Stephen Prickett, Adele Berlin

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