HTS Theological Studies
On-line version ISSN 2072-8050
CHAN, Man Ki and VENTER, Pieter M.. Midrash as exegetical approach of early Jewish exegesis, with some examples from the Book of Ruth. Herv. teol. stud. [online]. 2010, vol.66, n.1, pp. 1-6. ISSN 2072-8050.
This article deals with the exegetical approach of the early Jewish school. It discusses the meaning and definition of midrash as a distinctive approach in Jewish interpretation. The relationship between midrash and exegesis is also examined. It is shown how the process of interpretation is affected by the use of midrash principles. It is also pointed out that the ancient interpretative method of midrash had social relevancy. The midrashic interpreters maintained the interest of the community and fulfilled the needs of their generation. The conclusion is drawn that early Jewish exegetes did not explain the text for its inherent meaning, but rather for its use in personal purposes. They tended to read some agendas and issues into the text from the exegetes themselves and their surrounding backgrounds. They aimed to meet the requirement of the social and political expectations of their reader community. Interpretation was used as a tool for this purpose. This exegetical trend is finally illustrated with some examples of interpretation of the Book of Ruth.
Keywords : The Book of Ruth; interpretation; Jewish exegesis; Midrash; social relevancy; reader community.