Leviticus I and 6: From contextual to extra-textual exegesis

Yonatan Sagiv*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


The relationship between exegesis in the Second Temple Period and that by early rabbsc exegesis of the Hebrew Bible perplexes scholars, leading some to focus on continuity while others emphasize innovation. In this paper I argue that the rabbinic sources contain both: that the continuity lies in the interpretative assumptions, while the innovation is a result of different interpretative motivations. A test case for this argument is the interpretation of Leviticus 1:7. In the first part of the paper I argue that despite differences in content, a genuine continuity exists in the implicit hermeneutical assumptions between the Sages' interpretation and those of earlier sources. In the second part, I explore how the interpretative motive of the Sages shaped a different final interpretation of the biblical verse in spite of this shared hermeneutical assumption. Such a stance leads to viewing interpretative motive as one key to gaining a more nuanced understanding of continuity and innovation in early Jewish interpretations of the Hebrew Bible.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)49-61
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Jewish Studies
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2012


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