Structure and form in Kohelet Rabbah as evidence of its redaction

R. Kiperwasser*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


The long midrash on Ecclesiastes, known today as 'Kohelet Rabbah' (Ecclesiastes Rabbah), is broken down into sections or 'sedarim' according to the Masoretic division of the Ecclesiastes text. This paper intends to show that Kohelet Rabbah acquired the form we know today as a result of the intentional labour of its late redactor. The redactor structured his book in accordance with the reading practices current in his time, added an introduction consisting of proems that had been borrowed from another source, and made comments and added short expositions of his own. This edited composition is made up of heterogeneous elements, in which, side by side with amoraic material, a variety of fragments are to be found, placed there by the later redactor, who took them from his immediate cultural surroundings. This is why we find novel material next to textual units of ancient origin which were preserved intact, and at times the innovations creep into the body of the old text and contaminate it, making it difficult to disentangle these different strands of the text. The Midrash assumed its form during the final stages of the redaction, with the text providing clear evidence of the process by which it had been formed.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)283-300
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Jewish Studies
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2007
Externally publishedYes


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