Date of Submission

December 2009


The claim of this research, Hebrew Text in Praxis: Shaping Stories of Significance, is that textual narrative, discourse sentences or even single words disclose inner ideational sparks which shape stories of significance. This thesis will show, firstly that in keeping with the idea of Hebrew text in praxis, the entire act of carrying out modern midrash sits well within the traditions and history of the midrashic impulse, and secondly that for the midrashist the telling and retelling of Scripture is about perspective, the relativity of context, and above all an audience. Chapter One, presents an historical and literary discussion of the relationship between Buber's dialogical hermeneutic and rabbinic midrash. It is the contention of this research that Buber was deeply influenced by midrashic thought and intimately understood the worldview of the Rabbis which led him to incorporate aspects of their hermeneutic treasury to his own reading of the Hebrew text. Chapter Two, explores textual and scholarly evidence of the Hebrew text as an aggadic trope, focusing in the main on the way this process manifests in the methods of parshanut (interpretation) and darshanut (transvaluation). Two areas of concern are explored in this chapter: the origins of making midrash aggada in the Hebrew text itself, and a focus on the pinnacles of development in the extra biblical midrashic recordings of the Rabbis. Chapter Three, attempts to show that the meeting of co-text and situation in equal partnership pact with the Hebrew text projects a cascade of meaning that drives the midrashic impulse and fulfils the midrashic moment. The purpose of this chapter is to contemporize traditional midrashic processes through two midrash models. The rabbinic midrash model and Buber's leitwort model, incorporate simple and complex ways that embrace the exegetical and imaginative aspects of midrash.

Document Type


Access Rights

Open Access


201 pages


Faculty of Theology and Philosophy