S. D. Luzzatto

S. D. Luzzatto
Moderate Criticism in Biblical Exegesis
Shmuel Vargon

Winner of the Rabbi Moshe Malka Prize for Torah Literature, Petach Tikva This book is about the critical approach of Samuel David Luzzatto (Shadal) in his commentaries on the Bible and numerous writings, most of which have been successfully collected and published in various forums by diligent and gifted scholars. Shadal, who lived in northern Italy (1800–1865), is regarded as the first of the modern Jewish commentators. His hermeneutics are based on Jewish tradition and belief in the sanctity of the Scriptures, constituting a kind of blend of classical Jewish interpretation, critical commentary, and modern Hebrew exegesis. Shadal was on familiar terms with the large mass of Jewish commentaries that preceded him such as Rashi, Rashbam, Maimonides, Nachmanides, Radak, Abarbanel and Moses Mendelssohn, and frequently cited them in his own works, in addition he was quite conversant with Christian critical commentary, having a high regard for it and also quoting from it considerably, but with reservations towards its over-critical approach. After reviewing Shadal’s biography, scientific endeavours in Biblical exegesis, and historical background, together with a description of his basic approach to Biblical commentary, this book gives an account of the manner in which Shadal came to terms with topics belonging to the field of Lower Criticism (criticism of consonantal text) on the Pentateuch, the Prophets, and the Hagiographa. A presentation then follows of his approach to issues associated with Higher Criticism, the book discusses a number of assertions made by Higher Criticism regarding the Pentateuch and analyses Shadal’s manner of dealing with them: the authorship and antiquity of the Pentateuch, speculation on the sources of the Pentateuch, and later additions made to it. The final chapter is devoted to a focused appraisal of Shadal’s approach to rabbinical aggadic (homiletic) and halakhic (legalistic) interpretation of Scripture that is inconsistent with the simple meaning of the text. The book ends with an appendix discussing at length the controversy that raged in the early 1830s over the appreciation of the personality and works of R. Abraham ibn Ezra.

Danacode:   110-20197 ISBN:  978-965-226-420-6 Language:   Hebrew Pages:   540 Weight:   1100 gr Publication Date:   05/2013 Publisher:   Bar-Ilan University Press

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