Narrativism and the unity of opposites: Theory, practice, and exegesis: A study of three stories from the talmud

Avinoam Rosenak*, Sharon Leshem Zinger

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In this article, we pursue a double mission: First, we will demonstrate the unique nature of dynamic group facilitation as it emerges from the concept of the unity of opposites and its relation to situations of conflict, as well as the pedagogical challenges that teachers face in the classroom. This approach underlines the value of a more dialogical and dynamic understanding of the intricate networks of relationships that take place between students and with a teacher at any given moment in a classroom situation. Second, we will examine three Talmudic midrashim that focus on conflict and reconciliation through the lens of facilitation, while casting light on the theology behind the facilitation method and its hermeneutic power. Again, this approach to the interpretation of these texts allows them to emerge as valuable not only to the learning process, but also to the dynamics of interaction that saturate the learning situation. To this end, we will highlight the links and differences between two styles of facilitation—the narrative and the unity of opposites. These links and differences will help us illuminate the similarities and differences between the facilitation processes they employ. Because (1) the notion of exegesis is strongly embedded in narrative theory; (2) theology has deep roots in the concept of the unity of opposites; and (3) both styles address conflict and its resolution, in the second part of this article, we take the insights of the narrative and unity of opposites approaches and juxtapose them as hermeneutic tools for reading three related Talmudic midrashim that focus on conflict and reconciliation. In this way, we hope to exemplify how the different approaches can be applied to the design of the different facilitation styles, both in conflict dialogue groups and as a lens through which we can read these seminal tales that have shaped consciousness, identity, and the attitude towards the culture of debate in Judaism.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number367
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.


  • Dynamic group
  • Facilitation
  • Midrash
  • Talking peace


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