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By Benjamin D. Sommer
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Extra resources for Jewish Concepts of Scripture: A Comparative Introduction
Whereas completely commonplace to us, those paired phenomena — the Bible as a ebook and studying because the basic technique of gaining access to it — are really new advancements within the historical past of Jewish encounters with scripture. till the onset of printing, such a lot Jews may by no means have encountered a “Bible. ” they may have encountered a Torah scroll within the synagogue or scrolls or volumes containing decisions from different elements of the canon. besides the fact that, manuscripts of the total biblical corpus, sure jointly in one quantity, might were really infrequent. additionally, whereas it's tricky to gauge prior premiums of literacy with any precision, it really is most probably that the majority premodern Jews do not need “read” the Bible. 1 really, they might have heard texts inside the Bible both recited or retold in quite a few settings. of those settings, the synagogue was once, via a ways, the commonest. on account that as early because the first century CE, the synagogue has been a website for the come across among Jews and Torah. 2 by way of the mid-third century, the authors of the Mishnah have been already advocating the usual recitation of biblical texts within the synagogue. three The rudimentary practices defined within the Mishnah grew to become the root for a lectionary perform that persevered to develop and boost through the medieval interval and remains to be a relevant a part of synagogue perform this day. four whereas there have continually been possibilities for extra knowledgeable Jews to come across texts of scripture at school settings, because the earliest days of Judaism, nearly all of Jews have encountered scripture basically in synagogue. 15 16 Elsie Stern This sociological truth has vital implications for our realizing of Jewish scripture. In conception, the total contents of the Tanakh are invested with scriptural prestige and wield the communal authority that this prestige brings. in spite of the fact that, so much Jews might by no means have encountered texts that weren't recited within the synagogue. for instance, many Jews could by no means have encountered the books of Chronicles or Ezra-Nehemiah in addition to huge swathes of the prophetic literature. they may were fullyyt blind to the contents of those books and, at times, would possibly not have identified the books even existed. whereas those texts had scriptural prestige and authority, this prestige and authority remained theoretical as the books weren't deployed as authoritative texts in communal settings. If we're attracted to scripture as a class of textual content which is helping to form a community’s self-understanding and worldview, then the fast record of texts which such a lot Jews truly encountered in synagogue is especially very important. during this bankruptcy, i'll define the contours of this synagogue Bible. although the synagogue Bible, or lectionary, consists completely of biblical texts, it differs in various methods from the canonical Tanakh: its scope is smaller, its contents are prepared in a different way, and, most significantly, it's a strikingly bicultural textual content. The contents of the lectionary are all drawn from the canonical Tanakh and, as such, articulate the viewpoint of the traditional Israelite authors.