Creating Fictional Worlds: Peshaṭ-Exegesis and Narrativity in Rashbam's Commentary on the Torah 9004194568, 9789004194564

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Creating Fictional Worlds: Peshaṭ-Exegesis and Narrativity in Rashbam's Commentary on the Torah
 9004194568, 9789004194564

Table of contents :
Dedication
Contents
Acknowledgements
Introduction
1 The Northern French School of Biblical Exegesis: The Status Quaestionis in Modern Scholarship
2 Reevaluating Biblical Commentaries in Northern France
3 R. Samuel ben Meïr (Rashbam): His Torah Commentary and Its Transmission
4 The Torah and the Art of Narrative
5 Rashbam’s Commentaries between רומנץ and ‘Romance’
6 Peshaṭ and Halakhah
7 The Old French Glosses and Rashbam’s Exegesis ‘According to the Ways of the World’
Conclusion: Rabbis, Knights, and the Excitement of Medieval Adolescence
Appendix: Synopsis of the Old French Glosses in Rashbam’s Torah-Commentary
Bibliography
General Index
Index of Names
Index of References

Citation preview

Creating Fictional Worlds

Studies in Jewish History and Culture Edited by

Giuseppe Veltri (Leopold-Zunz-Centre for Jewish Studies, University of Halle-Wittenberg) Editorial Board

Gad Freudenthal, Alessandro Guetta, Hanna Liss, Ronit Meroz, Reimund Leicht, Judith Olszowy-Schlanger, and David Ruderman

VOLUME 25

Creating Fictional Worlds Pesha¢-Exegesis and Narrativity in Rashbam’s Commentary on the Torah

By

Hanna Liss

LEIDEN • BOSTON 2011

This book is printed on acid-free paper. Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Creating fictional worlds : pesha¢-exegesis and narrativity in Rashbam’s commentary on the Torah / by Hanna Liss. p. cm. — (Studies in Jewish history and culture ; v. 25) Includes bibliographical references and index. ISBN 978-90-04-19456-4 (hardback : alk. paper) 1. Bible. O.T. Pentateuch— Criticism, interpretation, etc. 2. Bible. O.T. Pentateuch—Criticism, Narrative. 3. Samuel ben Meir, 11th/12th cent. Perush ha-Torah. I. Liss, Hanna. BS1225.52.C47 2011 222’.1066094409021—dc22 2010041729

ISSN 1568-5004 ISBN 978 90 04 19456 4 Copyright 2011 by Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, The Netherlands. Koninklijke Brill NV incorporates the imprints Brill, Hotei Publishing, IDC Publishers, Martinus Nijhoff Publishers and VSP. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, translated, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without prior written permission from the publisher. Authorization to photocopy items for internal or personal use is granted by Koninklijke Brill NV provided that the appropriate fees are paid directly to The Copyright Clearance Center, 222 Rosewood Drive, Suite 910, Danvers, MA 01923, USA. Fees are subject to change.

The closer one looks at a word, The more distantly it looks back. (Karl Kraus 1911)

For Yacov Guggenheim on the Occasion of his 65th birthday

CONTENTS Acknowledgements .....................................................................

xi

Introduction ................................................................................

1

Chapter One The Northern French School of Biblical Exegesis: The Status Quaestionis in Modern Scholarship ........ 1. Jewish Life in Eleventh and Twelfth-Century Northern France (Tsarfat) .................................................................. 2. The Emergence of Pesha¢-Exegesis in Eleventh and Twelfth-Century Northern France .................................... 3. Pesha¢-Exegesis as Anti-Christian Polemics? ...................... 4. The Jews and the Langue d’Oïl ........................................... Chapter Two Reevaluating Biblical Commentaries in Northern France ..................................................................... 1. Bible Commentaries as Compilatory Literature? ............. 2. Rashi as a Hebrew Glossa Ordinaria? ................................. 3. Glosses, Commentaries, and the Significance of the mise-en-page .......................................................................... 4. Rashbam’s Commentaries as Glosses ............................... Chapter Three R. Samuel ben Meïr (Rashbam): His Torah Commentary and Its Transmission ........................................ 1. Rashbam’s Life and Works ............................................... 2. Traces of the Literary Transmission of Rashbam’s Commentary on the Torah ............................................... 3. The Sitz im Leben of Rashbam’s Torah Commentary ... Chapter Four The Torah and the Art of Narrative .............. 1. The Arrangement of the Biblical Narrative ..................... 1.1. The Creation Narrative as Moses’ Literary Composition ............................................................... 1.2. Only Those Things that One Can See: Narrative Exegesis versus Philosophical Speculations ............... 1.3. Literary Anticipation and Literary Bias: The Narratives of the Patriarchs .............................. 1.4. Stylistic Devices .........................................................

5 5 9 15 21 35 35 39 45 54 57 57 61 69 75 75 75 86 96 99

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2. ‘Intentio auctoris’: The Narrator and His Perspective ......... 2.1. History and Narrative ............................................... 2.2. ‘Beyond the Jordan’ ................................................... 2.3. The Psychology of the Biblical Author ..................... 2.4. Author vs. Redactor? ................................................. 3. Fictional Dialogues in the Desert ...................................... 3.1. Moses’ Refusal and the Awakening of a New Self-Awareness ........................................................... 3.2. Moses’ Reproof .......................................................... 3.3. ‘I, alone, should be distinguished’: Interweaving Narratives and the Status of Moses .......................... 4. Character Sketches in the Biblical Narratives: The Stories of the Patriarchs ............................................ 4.1. Rebecca’s Dilemma ................................................... 4.2. Jacob’s Deceit and Esau’s Selling of His Birthright .. 4.3. Sibling Rivalry: Joseph and His Brothers ................. 4.4. Adventures and Coincidences in the Story of Joseph .................................................................... 4.5. Tracing ‘Âventiures’ in Rashbam’s Commentary ....... 5. Exegetical Psychology and the Inner Life of Its Protagonist: Jacob’s Escape ............................................... 6. Rapprochments Littéraires: The Biblical ‘Âventiure’ and Pesha¢ Exegesis as ‘mout bele conjointure’? .............................. Chapter Five Rashbam’s Commentaries between ‫ רומנץ‬and ‘Romance’ ............................................................................... 1. ‘The Voice is the Voice of Jacob . . .’: The Motif of Recognition by a Person’s Voice ...................................... 2. From Midrash to Romance: The ‘Chaste’ King of Cush ............................................................................... 3. Abimelech’s Self-Restraint and the Honor of Sarah ........ 4. Hebrew Commentary Literature and the ‘Knightly Aftermath’ .......................................................................... Chapter Six Pesha¢ and Halakhah ........................................... 1. Jewish Maskilim or Christian Adversaries: Rashbam and the Expertise of the Human World .................................. 1.1. Introduction ............................................................... 1.2. The Impurity of Animals and the Unambiguity of Divine Speech ............................................................

102 102 106 110 118 120 120 126 129 135 135 141 146 148 152 154 161 169 169 177 186 190 195 195 195 204

contents 1.3. Bodily Purity and Figurative Speech ........................ 1.4. Exceeding Denominational Boundaries: The Various Faces of ‘Maskilim’ .............................. 2. The ‘Ipssissima Verba Dei,’ the ‘Redactor,’ and the Question of Pesha¢ .............................................................. Chapter Seven The Old French Glosses and Rashbam’s Exegesis ‘According to the Ways of the World’ .................... 1. Glossing Lexicographical, Syntactical and Stylistic Distinctive Features ........................................................... 2. Glosses as a Means of Alienating Biblical Narratives ...... 2.1. The ‘Provoking’ God: Gen. 22:1 .............................. 2.2. Leah’s ‘Bright Eyes’: Gen. 29:17 .............................. 2.3. The Iron ‘Cradle’ of Og, King of Bashan: Deut. 3:11 .................................................................. 2.4. Glossing the Heroes’ Battles: Gen. 49:24 and Num. 24:24 ................................................................ 2.5. The ‘Nocturnal Wolves’: Exod. 8:17 ........................ 2.6. The ‘Bright and Shimmering’ Manna: Num. 21:5 ... 3. Conclusion .........................................................................

ix 211 213 219 229 230 235 235 238 240 242 245 247 249

Conclusion Rabbis, Knights, and the Excitement of Medieval Adolescence ............................................................................. 251 Appendix Synopsis of the Old French Glosses in Rashbam’s Torah-Commentary ................................................................ 257 Bibliography ................................................................................ Primary Sources ...................................................................... Catalogues, Resources, and Tools ......................................... Secondary Literature ..............................................................

269 269 272 273

General Index ............................................................................. Index of Names .......................................................................... Index of References .................................................................... Hebrew Bible .......................................................................... Targum and Rabbinic Sources .............................................. Medieval Commentators ........................................................

301 306 309 309 312 314

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS This study could not have been written without the help and support of many people and institutions. First and foremost, I want to thank the Alfried Krupp Wissenschaftskolleg (Institute of Advanced Study), Greifswald, that invited me during the Academic year 2008–09 to work on this topic and provided a subvention to cover the costs of preparing the manuscript for publication. At Greifswald, I found ideal working conditions, i.e., a well-organized and friendly staff, excellent office and library services (including interlibrary loan), and a stimulating atmosphere within our fellows’ group. Although Greifswald at first sight seems far removed from the center of Germany’s academic landscape, it can be an inspiring ‘sandbox’ for those not intimidated by new intellectual challenges. I thoroughly enjoyed my stay there and will always remember it fondly. I would like to thank my colleague Barry Dov Walfish, of the University of Toronto, who not only edited the manuscript for style, but also studied it very carefully. I thank him for his advice and many important emendations. Of course, I accept full responsibility for any mistakes that remain. With regard to the chapter on Rashbam’s Old French glosses, I owe a tremendous debt to Marc Kiwitt, of the Dictionnaire étymologique de l’ancien français (DEAF), Heidelberg. I thank him, for introducing me into the fascinating world of twelfth-century French vernacular culture and for his philological scrutiny and creativity. Ingeborg Lederer, MA, and Bruno Landthaler were responsible for the layout of the collection of all the vernacular glosses and the bibliography. Ingeborg Lederer is currently working on a critical edition of R. Josef Qara’s commentary on the book of Ruth and I thank her for placing some of her material at my disposal. I must also thank the research staff, Anette Adelmann, MA, and Claudia Brendel, MA, of the Josef Qara Edition Project (critical edition, translation, and commentary on Josef Qara’s Commentary on the Minor Prophets) for our fruitful discussions concerning twelfth-century Jewish Biblical exegesis and exegetes. Bruno Landthaler was reponsible for the index. I thank Giuseppe Veltri for having accepted the book for his Studies in Jewish History and Culture-series, and Jennifer Pavelko, acquisitions

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acknowledgements

editor at Brill (Boston), who showed great interest in the book and supported me throughout. Her assistant Katelyn Chin was of great help in all production matters. The main ‘victims’ of my work have been my three children who patiently coped with my locking myself up in the Institute’s ‘study cell’ to finish this book. For now, I simply thank them for their patience and their endurance. The book is dedicated to my long-standing friend Yacov Guggenheim, Jerusalem. He was the first to draw my attention to a possible interface between the Northern French Hebrew Bible commentaries and the development of contemporary Old French vernacular literature. I thank him for his never-ending intellectual stimulation. Hanna Liss Heidelberg, approximately 850 years after Rashbam’s death

INTRODUCTION This book is a result of my immersion into a culture which I thought I knew well. Rashbam’s fascinating attempt to explain the Hebrew Bible by means of a variety of literary theories, and to read it as the main literary work of the Jews had attracted me from the very beginning. However, the deeper I entered the sources the more I had to realize that we still have only a vague idea what it meant for a twelfth-century Northern French Jewish scholar, a wise and erudite man, to study and to teach the Hebrew Bible, a book that Jews as Christians regarded to be the yardstick of their cultural and religious heritage.1 R. Samuel ben Meïr (Rashbam; born 1085/88) wrote his Torah commentary at a point in time when Peter Cantor ‘the Chanter’ wrote his exegetical treatise De tropis loquendi (De contrarietatibus sacrae Scripturae) and when the French masters of Bible collected their glossae, the ‘Media Glossatura’ by Gilbert of Poitiers and the ‘Magna Glossatura’ by Petrus Lombardus. But Rashbam wrote his commentary also at the point in time that we today consider to be the turning point in ‘lay literacy,’ when the Anglo-Norman aristocracy patronized the production of romances and historiographic writings. In the first half of the twelfth century, Northern France was a vibrant spot. It was an era, in which composing, reading, and listening to narratives and stories intensified as a complex cultural phenomenon. The question of the extent to which the nascent French courtly literature and culture influenced the development of pesha¢-exegesis has not yet been explored. Scholars have traced the beginnings of the Northern-French exegetical school almost exclusively to the ChristianLatin contextual network and at the same time still hold the view that twelfth century Northern France Jewry concerned themselves almost exclusively with the Talmud, the Bible, and piyyu¢ (liturgical poetry). However, when we read Rashbam carefully, we will see that in con-

1 Karl Kraus’ quotation is taken from:, Aphorismen. Sprüche und Widersprüche. Pro domo et mundo. Nachts (1909–1924), Nr. 326 / 327 / 328, XIII. Jahr. English quotation in Moran Rrendan, Wild, unforgettable Philosophy in Early Works of Walter Benjamin (Lanham, Md.: Lexington Books, 2004), 307n85.

2

introduction

trast to his grandfather R. Solomon (Rashi; d. 1105) his comments expose a biblical episode’s literary and narrative quality rather than its religious meaning. Rashbam aims for achieve a literary and narrative exegesis in such a way that is unthinkable without a possible influence of the contemporary Old French literature. This study suggests that the vernacular literature that fascinated French society fascinated the Jews as well, and puts forward the idea that Rashbam tried to compete with this new intellectual movement, claiming that the literary quality of the biblical texts was at least as good as that of the nascent courtly romances based on the matière de Bretagne, or even on a par with one another. Furthermore, we will see that we find what is called the ‘twelfth century discovery of fictionality’ not only in the writings of Chrétien de Troyes, but also in Rashbam’s re-narrations of biblical stories some ten years earlier as an offspring of a new ‘Zeitgeist’ that encompassed the French nobility as well as the Jews. This subject has never been discussed before. An important task that this study undertakes is, therefore, to reexamine the ‘narratives’ that modern Jewish studies scholars have constructed in order to explain this exegetical ‘enfant terrible’ who repeatedly conducted himself disrespectfully in particular towards his grandfather Rashi. Reading Rashbam through the glasses of literary theory means overall a rekindling of topics that have always been at issue in Medieval Jewish Studies, but not yet solved sufficiently. Among them are the matters of reading and literacy, reading and mentality, written texts and oral communication, glosses, or the subject of a manuscript’s mise-en-page. I have repeatedly left the hitherto well-trodden scholarly paths and borrowed from the theoretical tools of Non-Hebrew medieval philology and literary criticism. Their methodological tools have extended the scope of my gaze enormously, but at the same time have made it clear that Medieval Jewish Studies will have to define its own methodological instruments. In more than one way, this study, therefore, forms only the overture for further research. Rashbam’s commentary has many faces. This study traces them in many directions, and is, therefore, not necessarily meant to be read seriatim. In particular, chapters 4–7 present a variety of facets that deal with Rashbam’s explanations from different perspectives and are in due course linked with cross references within the book. The cases in point taken in this study are not exhaustive, and I could have offered many more since almost each and every single comment of Rashbam’s

introduction

3

Torah commentary serves in one or the other way his new exegetical approach. However, the examples called here point exemplarily, but clearly enough on how much Rashbam freed himself from his predecessors, and how he shaped his own ways in the exegesis of the Torah.

CHAPTER ONE

THE NORTHERN FRENCH SCHOOL OF BIBLICAL EXEGESIS: THE STATUS QUAESTIONIS IN MODERN SCHOLARSHIP 1. Jewish Life in Eleventh and Twelfth-Century Northern France (Tsarfat) The social and cultural environment plays a prominent role in a person’s attitude towards life, science, and culture. We will begin, therefore, by looking at the living conditions of the Jews in Northern France in the eleventh and twelfth century.1 Our generation is accustomed to construe the history of the Jews in Western Europe as an unbroken chain of painful and depressing persecutions, starting with the First Crusade in 1096, and ending with the destruction of European Jewry between 1933 and 1945. We often regard Jewish history as mainly a history of victims surrounded by a hostile environment. To us, in particular the medieval period represents first and foremost the ‘Dark Ages,’2 in which the Jews had to defend their faith against Christian attacks that increasingly evolved from theological and merely speculative debate into open and brutal violence against Jewish life and culture. This viewpoint is grounded inter alia in the fact that we have only sparse external information and archeological evidence on the living conditions of the Jews,3 but have

1 See in particular Robert Chazan, The Jews of Medieval Western Christendom, 1000– 1500 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006), 129–167; Emily Taitz, The Jews of Medieval France: The Community of Champagne, Contributions to the Study of World History, vol. 45 (Westport: Greenwood Press, 1994), 61–145; Louis Finkelstein, Jewish Self-Government in the Middle Ages (New York: Jewish Theological Seminary, 1925), esp. 36–55. 2 Compare the title of the volumes edited by Cecil Roth: The Dark Ages: Jews in Christian Europe 711–1096, The World History of the Jewish People 11, Series 2. Medieval period, vol. 2 (Tel Aviv: Jewish History Publishes, 1966). 3 As to the archeological remnants of the Jewish communities in Northern France see in particular Norman Golb, The Jews in Medieval Normandy: A Social and Intellectuell History (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998), esp. 33–110; on the Jewish quarter of Rouen in the twelfth century see ibid., 137–169.

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to rely on their own reports in Hebrew chronicles, biographical notes, letters, responsa, or other written sources from that time period. However, these sources, whether they consist of open or hidden polemics, are not always helpful when it comes to determining the social and cultural environment. We must beware of not reading the Hebrew sources from only one perspective. Ivan Marcus is certainly right in warning us that we “should suspend a predisposition to view medieval Jewish history first and foremost as the story of growing insecurity from the twelfth century on, and instead compare Jewish culture and the revival that scholars mapped out for Christian culture.”4 This study is, thus, a further attempt to emphasize that the Jews in the High Middle Ages, in particular in eleventh and twelfth-century Northern France never lacked their own Jewish response to cultural and social challenges. Although they often stood on the ruins of previous catastrophes and calamities, they were not only victims in other people’s history but empowering deciders of their own fate, culturally, literally, and religiously directed towards a Jewish future even in the Diaspora. With regard to the Jews in Northern France, Robert Chazan emphasized that “French treatment of the Jews . . . was similarly innovative and precedent-setting.”5 Jewish settlements, in particular in Champagne and Normandy, developed at the latest in Carolingian times. In the eleventh century, we find in the region of Champagne forty-three Jewish settlements with communities consisting of approximately one hundred individuals, making up a total number of 4300–4500 Jews.6 The Jews enjoyed good relationships with their neighbors. Jews and their families attached themselves to the nobles, who guaranteed them security and encouraged Jewish settlement for financial reasons.7 They gained privileges like permission to carry on trade or commerce, and

Ivan G. Marcus, “The Dynamics of Jewish Renaissance and Renewal in the Twelfth Century,” in Jews and Christians in Twelfth-Century Europe, ed. Michael A. Signer and John Van Engen (Notre Dame, Ind.: University of Notre Dame Press, 2001), 27–45, 31; for a further investigation regarding modern scholarly attitudes towards the Jewish-Christian relationship in the High Middle Ages and the difficulties caused by a biased evaluation of Hebrew sources see in particular Jeremy Cohen, “A 1096 Complex? Constructing the First Crusade in Jewish Historical Memory, Medieval and Modern,” in Jews and Christians in Twelfth-Century Europe, 9–26. 5 Chazan, Jews of Medieval Western Christendom, 130. 6 Taitz, The Jews, 63. 7 Compare already Louis I. Rabinowitz, The Social Life of the Jews in Northern France in the XII–XIV Centuries. 2d ed. (New York: Hermon, 1972), esp. 117–121. 4

the northern french school of biblical exegesis

7

were allowed to live under their own laws. In return, they remained loyal to their lords and paid taxes to them. Their status was that of aubains ‘foreigners.’8 We do not know of any noteworthy attacks against Champenois Jews as a group.9 As a corollary, in particular during the Angevin Empire Jewish life prospered under baronial rule.10 The sources mention one First-Crusade related attack against the Jews of Rouen with a small number of Jews harmed. The best-known incident occurred at Blois in 1171 which was also mentioned in detail in the Hebrew sources.11 “Jews appear to have conducted themselves with the assurance that they belonged in France and were secure in their privileges.”12 Likewise, the Jewish communities were well-organized, and created an effective taxation. Based on communal consent, Jewish self-government developed, and the Jews organized themselves more broadly, including e.g., the so-called ˜erem ha-yishuv (ban on settlement) from the tenth century onward.13 The turning point for NorthernFrench Jewry does not occur until 1198, when king Philip Augustus, Count Thibaut III of Champagne, and Guy of Dampierre (Thibaut’s chief vassal ) agreed to a couple of treaties concerning the Jews, which were followed by anti-Jewish incidents as well as confiscation of property.14 In the contemporary charters, the Jews are declared servi camerae regis (servants of the king’s court). The mother tongue of Northern French Jewry was French, and many Jews (especially the women) had French names or gave their Hebrew names a French form. We know of a daughter of Rashbam who was called Merona / Merone.15 For the Jews in the countryside16 the way they made their living was not different from the Gentile

Taitz, The Jews, 43. Ibid., 88. 10 Chazan, Jews of Medieval Western Christendom, 132 even characterizes this relationship as “symbiotic relationship between the immigrating Jews and their baronial protectors.” 11 Ibid., 135; see also Susan L. Einbinder, “Pucellina of Blois: Romantic Myths and Narrative Conventions,” Jewish History 12,1 (1998): 29–46. 12 Taitz, The Jews, 121. 13 Compare ibid., 46–50. 14 Compare Rabinowitz, Social Life, esp. 122–134; Taitz, The Jews, esp. 115–118. 15 See Ephraim E. Urbach, The Tosaphists: Their History, Writings and Methods (in Hebrew), 5th ed., 2 vols. ( Jerusalem: Bialik Institute, 1986), vol. 1, 46; Martin I. Lockshin, Introduction to Martin Lockshin, ed. ‫ עם‬.‫פירוש התורה לרבינו שמואל בן מאיר‬ ‫ הערות ומפתחות‬,‫ ציוני מקורות‬,‫שינויי נוסחאות‬. 2 vols. ( Jerusalem: Chorev, 2009), 1. 16 According to Golb, The Jews in Medieval Normandy, esp. 33–110 there were 30 Jewish loci (rues aux juifs; cemeteries) in 26 villages and small towns. 8 9

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inhabitants. We find them as traders (of grain, salt, and wine), farmers, sheep-breeders, glassmakers, but also as sailors, physicians, and parchment makers. Until today, the regions Basse-Normandie and Haute-Normandie (Lower and Upper Normandy) are well-known for their sheep-breeding, and the so-called ‘Présalé’ is a famous culinary delight.17 The urban Jews were engaged in business like real estate, and in all kinds of handicraft. The special ‘Jewish’ profession of moneylending developed in the twelfth century. Chazan states that already Bernard of Clairvaux used the verb judaizare for both moneylending and general Jew-like behavior.18 According to Golb, the Jews played an important economic role in the local communities. In the case of Rouen, they had a stabilizing influence on the city’s economy. Some Jews had business arrangements with the local nobility, and were substantially wealthy and influential.19 The first golden age ended for the Jews in 1201. Under King John they had already been forced to lend him the money he needed, and the situation became even worse when Philip acceded to the throne.20 Jews and non-Jews also shared much of a common folklore.21 Above all, the rich and educated Jewish population adopted not only the French language, but also its culture and customs, and probably its literature and oral traditions: folk-tales, heroic sagas, or fables. The Jews of the eleventh and twelfth centuries had ample opportunity to encounter the new spirit of secularization that characterized that time.22 Compare, for instance, this enthusiastic depiction by Maurice Liber (1906!): It would thus be an anachronism to represent the Jews of the eleventh century as pale and shabby, ever bearing the look of hunted animals, shamefaced, depressed by clerical hate, royal greed, and the brutality of

17 The sheep near the coast eat grass whose roots lie in the saltwater during high tide, and, therefore, has a salty taste. The sheep take this increased salt content with the food so that their meat tastes salty. 18 See Chazan, Jews of Medieval Western Christendom, 131. 19 See Golb, The Jews in Medieval Normandy, esp. 195–216. 20 Ibid., 379; Taitz, The Jews of Medieval France, 147–184; Chazan, Jews of Medieval Western Christendom, esp. 141–153. 21 Compare already Moritz Güdemann, Geschichte des Erziehungswesens und der Cultur der Juden in Frankreich und Deutschland: Von der Begründung der jüdischen Wissenschaft in diesen Ländern bis zur Vertreibung der Juden aus Frankreich (X.–XIV. Jahrhundert) (Vienna, 1880), esp. 9–61. 22 See Paul Zumthor, Histoire littéraire de la France médiévale (Paris: Presses universitaires de France, 1954), esp. 206–218.

the northern french school of biblical exegesis

9

the masses. In the Jewries of France at this time there was nothing sad or sombre, no strait-laced orthodoxy, no jargon, no disgraceful costume, none of that gloomy isolation betokening distrust, scorn, and hate.23

Although Liber’s effusive portrayal of Jewish life in Northern France may be exaggerated, it is nevertheless a vivid and positive depiction of Jewish society and the Jews’ lifestyle within a non-Jewish milieu. Similarly, Chazan states that the “impressive Jewish cultural activity in eleventh- and twelfth-century Northern France seems to have been stimulated by the vibrant general environment of the area.”24 2. The Emergence of Pesha -Exegesis in Eleventh and Twelfth-Century Northern France Of the wise man as of the fool: There is no remembrance, neither for one nor for the other. Since in the days to come all will long ago have been forgotten.25 (Rashbam on Eccles. 2:16)

We do not know how seriously Qohelet as the biblical ‘skeptic’ took his own words; neither can we know whether Rashbam wanted to make a prophetic statement with respect to his own literary work. In fact, some of Rashbam’s and most of R. Eliezer of Beaugency’s Bible commentaries (second half of the twelfth century) met exactly this fate. They were forgotten for centuries. Although Rashbam’s Torah commentary did not completely vanish from the Bet midrash curriculum, he was known and respected primarily as a halakhist and ba‘al tosafot and only to a lesser extent as a biblical exegete.26 To the best of my knowledge, R. Eliezer of Beaugency is never mentioned in the Hebrew commentary literature of the fourteenth to eighteenth centuries. It was only in the nineteenth century, that the representatives of the Wissenschaft des Judentums gathered the few remnants of the literary heritage of the Northern-French exegetical school. Leopold Zunz who outlined 23 Maurice Liber, Rashi, trans. from the French by A. Szold (Philadelphia: The Jewish Publication Society of America, 1906), 11–12. 24 Chazan, Jews of Medieval Western Christendom, 139–140. 25 ‫ שכבר הכל נשכח בימים‬.‫ שהרי אין זכרון לא לזה ולא לזה‬.‫חכם עם הכסיל‬ ‫ ;הבאים‬Rashbam on Eccles. 2:16 (Sara Japhet and Robert B. Salters, ed., The Commentary of R. Samuel ben Meir Rashbam on Qohelet [ Jerusalem-Leiden: Magnes Press-Brill, 1985], 109); cf. Eccles. 2:16. 26 See also Lockshin, Introduction, 3.

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the ‘odd world of the buried century,’ and Moritz Steinschneider were fascinated by the pesha¢-exegetes, since they regarded their exegetical enterprise as similar to their own.27 To the Wissenschaftler the academic study of the Jews’ ‘Sacred texts’ served a twofold purpose: within the Jewish community it was meant to advance a reform of Jewish religion and culture; this study should also afford the Jews social and political approval by and within the non-Jewish environment. The pesha¢-exegetes represented the enlightened genius that took up the battle against the midrash with its multitude of exegetical rules (middot), which in the eyes of Zunz and others symbolized a naïve and irrational religion.28 Ironically, the Protestant theologian Franz Delitzsch in 1838 was the first to mention the commentaries of R. Eliezer of Beaugency.29 The first complete survey of his exegetical works appeared in 1879 (by John Nutt),30 followed by that of Samuel Poznański in 1913.31 Only recently, therefore, has individual research been done on him.32 Although during the last fifteen years much scholarly effort has been spent on the question of the spontaneous and massive development of Northern-French pesha¢-exegesis as well as on its sudden fading,33 a lot

27 Compare also Leopold Zunz, ‫תולדות מורה גאון עוזנו רבנו שלמה יצחקי‬, trans. Samson Bloch (Lemberg: Löbl Balaban, 1840). 28 Compare also the examples in Elazar Touitou, Exegesis in Perpetual Motion: Studies in the Pentateuchal Commentary of Rabbi Samuel Ben Meir (in Hebrew) (Ramat Gan: Bar Ilan University Press, 2003), 51n2. 29 Compare in detail Samuel Poznański, Introduction to Kommentar zu Ezechiel und den XII kleinen Propheten von Eliezer aus Beaugency. Zum ersten Male herausgegeben und mit einer Abhandlung über die nordfranzösischen Exegeten eingeleitet. (In Hebrew) Schriften des Vereins Mekize Nirdamim 3. Folge: 15 (Warschau: Eppelberg, 1913), CXXVI–CXXVII. 30 Eliezer of Beaugency, Commentaries on the Later Prophets, Vol. I. Isaiah, ed. J. W. Nutt (London: Clarendon, 1879). 31 Poznański, Introduction, esp. CXXV–CLXVI. 32 See Willem van Gemeren, “The Exegesis of Ezekiel’s ‘Chariot’ Chapters in Twelfth-Century Hebrew Commentaries” (Ph.D. diss., University of Wisconsin, 1974), Dissertation Microfilmed Copy: Ann Arbor, Mich.: University Microfilms International, 1982, esp. 113–115,359 n2.; Gregorio Ruiz Gonzales, Comentarios Hebreos Medievales al Libro de Amos: Traducción y notas a los Comentarios de Rasi, E. de Beaugency, A. ’ibn ‘Ezra’, D. Qimhi, J. ’ibn Caspi (Madrid: Universidad Pontificia Comillas de Madrid, 1987), esp. XXXIV–XXXVIII; Avraham Grossman, The Early Sages of France: Their Lives, Leadership and Works (in Hebrew) ( Jerusalem: Magnes Press, 1997), esp. 493–497; Robert A. Harris, “The Literary Hermeneutic of Rabbi Eliezer of Beaugency” (Ph.D. diss., Jewish Theological Seminary, 1997), UMI Dissertation Services; Hanna Liss, “ ‘It is not Permitted to Ponder the Deeper Meaning of the Verse’: An Interpretation of the Merkava-Vision in Ezekiel 1, According to the Commentaries of Rabbi Shelomo Jitzchaqi (Rashi) and Rabbi Eli’ezer of Beaugency,” Jewish Studies Quarterly 7, 1 (2000): 42–64. 33 See in particular Touitou, Exegesis in Perpetual Motion, 11–45.

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11

of questions still remain unresolved. First and foremost, this applies to the key term of this genre, the Hebrew term pesha¢. This word— typically used in compound expressions such as peshu¢o shel miqra, ‘omeq peshu¢o, or ‘omeq derekh peshu¢o shel miqra—is usually translated as ‘plain sense’ or ‘plain meaning’ of Scripture.34 However, as we will see, the translation of pesha¢ as ‘plain sense’ does not do the term justice nor does it adequately address the question of the word’s semantic range. The so-called ‘plain’ or ‘simple’ meaning of a word or a phrase refers by no means only to its semantic content. Rather, it might point to a lectio historica (as opposed to the lectio allegorica or tropologica), i.e., an explanation in terms of littera gesta docet.35 In this case, the commentators explain the ‘historical’ meaning of a word or phrase, i.e., they often provide exempla from their own time in order to compare them with circumstances and issues described in the Bible. Rashi explains the Hebrew term ‫ מילוי ידים‬within the social context of the feudal system, i.e., the handing over of the feudal lord’s leather glove to his vassal. R. Joseph Bekhor Shor explicates the expression Go to Pharaoh in the morning, as he is coming out to the water (‫ )יוצא המימה‬as an allusion to the custom of the noblemen to take their birds out to the riverside.36 Pesha¢, however, can also refer to the meaning of a text within its literary context,37 or with reference to its literary-theoretical implications, as in the case of R. Eliezer of Beaugency. In his Ezekiel commentary,

34 The term ‘plain sense’ was already introduced into Latin exegesis by Duns Scotus Eriugena, who introduced the term ‘plain sense’ within Latin exegesis: ast mihi sat fueri¢ si planos carpere sensus . . . ‘but it will be enough for me if I can cull the plain sense’ (compare also Rita Copeland, Rhetoric, Hermeneutics, and Translation in the Middle Ages: Academic Tradition and Vernacular Texts, Cambridge Studies in Medieval Literature, vol. 11 [Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1991], 54). 35 Compare Gillian Rosemary Evans, The Language and Logic of the Bible: The Earlier Middle Ages (Cambridge/London: Cambridge University Press, 1984), esp. 67–71. 36 Compare e.g., Rashi on Exod. 28:41 and Bekhor Shor on Exod. 7:15. For an example in contemporary Latin Literature see Beryl Smalley, “An Early TwelfthCentury Commentator on the Literal Sense of Leviticus,” Recherches de théologie ancienne et médiévale 36 (1969): 78–99, whose author she assumed to have lived and worked in one of the Northern French cathedral schools. As Fichte has expounded, the term historia in the Medieval (Latin) texts encompasses ‘event / occurence’ as well as ‘historiography’ and ‘plain meaning.’ Against this background, the phrase littera gesta docet still demands further reconsiderations (compare Joerg O. Fichte, “‘Fakt’ und Fiktion in der Artusgeschichte des 12. Jahrhunderts,” in Fiktionalität im Artusroman. Dritte Tagung der deutschen Sektion der Internationalen Artusgesllschaft, ed. Volker Mertens and Friedrich Wolfzettel [Tübingen: Niemeyer, 1993], 45–62, esp. 46–50). 37 As to the approach of the late Sarah Kamin see Martin I. Lockshin, Rashbam’s Commentary on Deuteronomy: An Annotated Translation (Providence: Brown Judaic Studies, 2004), 5.

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R. Eliezer wrote an introduction in which he not only sets out the basic ground-work of this prophetic book, but also his hermeneutical point of view and the exegetical methods he intends to use, its key terms being ‫‘ שיטה‬line of reasoning’ and ‫‘ שׂיחה‬linguistic usage’.38 From the very beginning, we have to deal with a variety of pesha¢ meanings appearing between 1050 und 1200 that differ from one another in one or more of the above-mentioned respects. What they have in common is their claim to reject to a greater or lesser extent the traditional rabbinic background (aggadah; halakhah) with its specific hermeneutic that had hitherto dominated biblical exegesis. The vital correlation between philology and rabbinic tradition, that is one of the characteristics of Rashi’s commentary, had given way to a more literary and at times even narrative exploration of the text, in which the investigation of the literary qualities of the biblical text at hand is at the center of exegetical considerations. Rashbam’s and R. Eliezer’s commentaries seem to withdraw the text from any rabbinic context and argument. Without any further clarification, Rashbam refers to his audience as ‘the maskilim,’39 a group of people hard to envision. The term maskilim is commonly translated as ‘(enlightened) rationalists,’ but this does not help clarify their sociological or ideological makeup. Elazar Touitou introduced this ‘Tippus ˜adash shel maskil’ as a character that wanted to rationalize his religious traditions and to promote a certain kind of intellectual renewal.40 To Touitou, the foundation of the universities and cathedral schools as well as the formation

38 ‘Son of man! Look carefully, listen closely, and pay attention to the language of this prophet, for it is enigmatic, ambiguous and very brief. Even our rabbis, peace be on them, considered his speech contradictory to the words of the Torah, because of its ambiguity and its brevity (cf. bHag 13a; ref. also bShab 13b; bMen 45a). And now, I want to acquaint you with his line of reasoning and his linguistic usage [‫שיטתו‬ ‫ ]ושׂיחתו‬by opening to the beginning of (his book);’ Poznański, Introduction, 1; see also Liss, “It is not Permitted,” 56. 39 ‫( המשכילים‬always determ.), sometimes also ‫ יודעי שכל‬,‫‘ אוהבי שכל‬those who love/ are acquainted with reason;’ see Rashbam on Gen. 1:1–2; 37:2; Exod. 21:1; see also Qara on 1 Sam. 1:20. 40 Compare Elazar Touitou, “‫שיטתו הפרשנית של רשב"ם על רקע המציאות‬ ‫ההיסטורית של זמנו‬,” in ‘‫עיונים בספרות חז"ל במקרא ובתולדות ישראל מוקדש לפרופ‬ ‫לפדופי עזרא ציון מלמד‬, ed. Yitzhak Gilat (Ramat Gan: Bar Ilan University Press, 1982), 48–74, esp. 54–57, 64; idem., “Concerning the Methodology of R. Samuel B. Meir in his Commentary to the Pentateuch,” (in Hebrew), Tarbiz 48,3/4 (1979): 248–273, esp. 251–253; see also Lockshin, Rashbam’s Commentary on Deuteronomy, Translation, 64 n48.

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13

of the septem liberales disciplinae (Trivium and Quadrivium)41 constituted the most powerful grounds for the development of a purely intellectual treatment of the text42 that he regarded to be the main feature of this ‘Twelfth-Century Renaissance.’43 However, one has to be cautious about applying the characteristics of Christian society to the Jewish environment and culture. The distinction between ‘enlightened’ maskilim in the sense mentioned above and the ‘non-enlightened’ within Jewish society does not correspond to the distinction between the learned and erudite on the one hand and the uneducated on the other in the Christian cultural context, in which scholastic literati were faced with the uneducated masses. A talmid ˜akham could have attained the highest level of erudition in talmudic discourse but at the same time be regarded an ignoramus in Rashbam’s eyes. Furthermore, with regard to the Christian milieu Peter von Moos has determined that the division of society into simplex (ignorant) on the one hand and sapiens (erudite; prudent) on the other does not necessarily match a sociological division, but was sometimes merely rhetorical.44 As a corollary, current research in the development of Northern French pesha¢-exegesis has somehow to direct its attention to the intellectual environment of the Jews in Northern France in the eleventh and twelfth centuries.45 However, so far most scholars have focused mainly on the Christians, i.e., the clerical culture and literature, in particular on the literary heritage of the monasteries and the cathedral schools (universitas magistrorum et scholarium) that had just started to evolve at that time. This equating of ‘non-Jewish’ and ‘clerical’ culture led to the comparison and formal structural equation of the

41 See L. Hödl, “Artes liberales,” in Lexikon des Mittelalters, 10 vols. (Stuttgart: Metzler, [1977]–1999), vol. 1, col. 1061–1062; also in Brepolis Medieval Encyclopaedias— Lexikon des Mittelalters Online [www.brepolis.net/]. 42 ‫( עיסוק אינטלקטואלי לשמו‬Touitou, “‫”שיטתו הפרשנית‬, 51). 43 Compare Touitou, Exegesis in Perpetual Motion, 11–33; Touitou, “‫”שיטתו הפרשנית‬, esp. 54–62. 44 Compare Peter von Moos, “Was galt im lateinischen Mittelalter als das Literarische an der Literatur? Eine theologisch-rhetorische Antwort des 12. Jahrhunderts,” in Literarische Interessenbildung im Mittelalter. DFG Symposion 1991, ed. Joachim Heinzle, Germanistische Symposien—Berichtsbände, vol. 14 (Stuttgart, Weimar: Metzler, 1993), 431–451, 446; Michael T. Clanchy, From Memory to Written Record. England 1066–1307. 2nd ed. (Oxford: Blackwell, 1993), esp. 224–252. 45 See also Touitou, Exegesis in Perpetual Motion, 122–125.

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commentaries of Rashi, Rashbam, or R. Joseph Qara with the (Bible-) commentaries of the Victorines, Hugh (c. 1096–1141), Richard (d. 1173), and Andrew of St. Victor (d. 1175), or Petrus Cantor (c. 1130– 1197). This is because the school of the Victorine Bible masters had roughly simultaneously developed a method of biblical exegesis dedicated to the literal meaning (sensus uerbi; sensus ad litteram) and produced literal commentaries on the biblical books.46 Aside from the fact that this comparison is problematic with regard to the chronology of the development of Hebrew pesha¢-exegesis, the discussion on this issue runs the risk of being limited to the questions of whether and to what extent the Jewish intellectuals knew Latin, and the extent to which their exegesis may have been polemically motivated.47 Regrettably, numerous other related problems have not yet been discussed sufficiently, e.g., the question of why pesha¢-exegesis blossomed exclusively in Northern France (Champagne and Normandy), and to what extent Old French vernacular literature and culture produced an intellectual milieu in which the seeds of pesha¢-exegesis found a perfect cultural medium. One can find only faint echoes in the texts at hand concerning the foundation of the universities and the artes liberales as one of the stimulating factors of this phenomenon, if not the main one, as Touitou would have it, and this does not explain sufficiently either why such an exegetical revolution could occur, or who accepted such an intellectual challenge. To date, the questions posed by the late Sarah Kamin still await an answer: 46 Compare in particular Beryl Smalley, The Study of the Bible in the Middle Ages (Oxford: Blackwell, 1952), esp. 83–195. As to the question of the extent and the nature of religious ‘disputes’ in the twelfth century see ibid., 156–157; Grossman, The Early Sages of France, esp. 496; Rainer Berndt, “L’influence de Rashi sur l’exégèse d’André de Saint-Victor,” in Rashi Studies VII–XIV, ed. Zwi Arie Steinfeld (Ramat Gan: Bar Ilan University Press, 1993); Gilbert Dahan, “Les Interprétations juives dans les Commentaires biblique des maitres parisiens du dernier tiers du XIIe siècle,” Michael 12 (1991): 85–110; Sarah Kamin, “Affinities Between Jewish and Christian Exegesis in 12th-Century Northern France,” in idem, Jews and Christians Interpret the Bible (in Hebrew and English) (Jerusalem: Magnes Press, 1991), 12*–26*. 47 See in particular Grossman, The Early Sages of France, 475–506; idem, “The Jewish-Christian Polemic and Jewish Biblical Exegesis in Twelfth Century France (on the Attitude of R. Joseph Qara to the Polemic,” (in Hebrew) Zion 51,1 (1986): 29–60; Sarah Kamin, “Rashi’s Commentary on the Song of Songs and Jewish-Christian Polemic,” in idem, Jews and Christians Interpret the Bible (in Hebrew and English) ( Jerusalem: Magnes Press, 1991), 31–61; Elazar Touitou, “Peshat and Apologetics in the Rashbam’s Commentary on the Biblical Stories of Moses,” (in Hebrew) Tarbiz 51,2 (1982): 227–238, esp. 232–238.

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15

What was his purpose? Rashbam himself does not help us in finding an answer. Nowhere in his writings does he refer to or even hint at his having been motivated by anything other than the difficulties inherent in the texts themselves. Therefore, to find the object of Rashbam’s exegesis, we asked ourselves what, in effect, is the end result of his exegesis, what are the theoretical conclusions that necessarily stem from Rashbam’s understanding of Scripture?48

Regarding Rashbam’s commentary on Gen. 1, Kamin perceives a polemical attack against the mystical movement in Ashkenaz,49 but this proposal is, likewise, not convincing and shows once more that the intellectual Sitz im Leben of the pesha¢-commentaries still requires further elucidation. 3. Pesha -Exegesis as Anti-Christian Polemics? Elazar Touitou was certainly right in stating that the evaluation of pesha¢-exegesis and the interpretation of the Jewish Bible masters’ aims and motives depend in large part on the ideological background of the scholar dealing with these cultural phenomena.50 Samuel Abraham Poznański (1864–1921), for instance, depicted the exegetical goal of the commentators as the ambition to disengage themselves from the ‘fetters of the aggadah’ ("‫)להשתחרר מ"כבלי האגדה‬.51 Moshe Zvi Segal reflected on the commentators’ persistent inner conflicts (‫)נפתולים חזקים‬.52 In recent years, scholars have mainly emphasized the polemical stance of the Northern French exegetes and its influence on the development of pesha¢. In particular, the phrase ‫תשובת המינים‬ ‫ תשובה למינים‬/ ‘argument against / rebuttal of the heretics’ serves as the chief proof for this interpretation. It is argued that the interpretation according to the plain meaning of Scripture was used as a powerful weapon against Christian allegorical, especially christological 48 Sarah Kamin, “Rashbam’s Conception of the Creation in Light of the Intellectual Currents of His Time,” in Sarah Kamin. Jews and Christians Interpret the Bible (in Hebrew and English), ( Jerusalem: Magnes Press, 1991), 27*–68*, 55*. 49 Compare Kamin, “Rashbam’s Conception of the Creation”, 57*; on the issue of polemics and the depiction of Rashbam’s comments as an argument against mystical notions and ideas of the Æaside Ashkenaz see below Chapter Four, 1.2. 50 Compare Touitou, Exegesis in Perpetual Motion, 110–117. 51 Quoted in Hebrew in Touitou, Exegesis in Perpetual Motion, 110. 52 Cf. Moshe Tsvi Segal, ‫ סקירה על תולדותיה והתפתחותה‬.‫פרשנות המקרא‬, Jerusalem: Kiryat Sefer 1971, 61.

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interpretations. Indeed, the question of anti-Christian polemics in the Hebrew literature of that time, and in particular in Bible and Talmud commentaries is legitimate and deserves our attention. There can be no doubt that the pesha¢-commentaries include antiChristian comments. Rashi’s commentary on Gen. 25:19–34, for instance, represents one of the finest examples.53 Rashi introduces his comments explicitly with the ‘headline’ teshuvat ha-minim ‘rebuttal of the heretics.’54 Rebecca’s pain anticipates the future quarrel between Jacob (Israel ) and Esau / Edom (Christianity) that Rashi explains as an indication that both nations had already been separated in the womb: ‘this one to his wickedness, and this one to his innocence.’55 Another ‘locus classicus’ is his comment, in which Edom / the Christians is compared to a swine: “Esau was compared to a swine . . . when it lies down, it stretches out its hooves, as if to say ‘See, I am a pure animal!’ So do these [i.e., the chiefs of Edom] rob and plunder while pretending to be honorable [‘kosher’].”56 Although comments of such a kind were directed primarily to the Jews in order to provide them with further arguments against Christian accusations and false interpretations, our last example clearly served a polemical purpose. However, Shaye Cohen already proposed a distinction between Rashi’s commentary on the Torah and the commentary on Psalms.57 Akin to Rashi’s polemical remarks, Rashbam’s comments on Gen. 49:10 can be read as ‘polemics.’ With regard the explanation of the term ‘Shiloh’ he closes his explanation with the words: “And the pesha¢-explanation represents an argument against the heretics, since ‘Shiloh’ that is mentioned here refers [only] to the name of the city.”58 This is one of the very few references in Rashbam’s commentary,

For a detailed analysis of this text, see below Chapter Four, 4.1. See for example Rashi on Gen. 1:26; 6:6; Rashbam on Gen. 49:10; Exod. 3:22; 20:13. On the question of the meaning of teshuvat ha-minim, see also below Chapter Six, 1. 55 Rashi on Gen. 25:23: ‫ זה לצדקו וזה לרשעו‬,‫ מן המעים הם נפרדים‬.‫ממעיך יפרדו‬. 56 Rashi on Gen. 26:34: ‫ כשהוא שוכב פושט טלפיו לומר ראו‬. . . ‫עשו נמשל בחזיר‬ ‫ כך אילו גוזלים וחומסים ומראים עצמם כשרים‬,‫שאני טהור‬. 57 Compare Shaye J. D. Cohen, “Does Rashi’s Torah Commentary Respond to Christianity? A Comparison of Rashi with Rashbam and Bekhor Shor,” in The Idea of Biblical Interpretation. Essays in Honor of James L. Kugel, ed. Hindy Najman and Judith H. Newman, Supplements to the Journal for the Study of Judaism, vol. 83 (Leiden: Brill, 2004), 449–472, esp. 470–72. 58 Rashbam on Gen. 49:10: ‫ שאין כתוב כי אם שילה שם‬.‫ופשט זה תשובה למינין‬ ‫העיר‬. 53 54

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17

where the term ‘pesha¢’ is used in connection with a teshuvah la-minim. This remark, though, seems somewhat misplaced in this context since by the time Rashbam wrote his commentary, his audience was well informed that traditional exegetes including Rashi had always read that verse as a reference to the future coming of the Messiah. Therefore, his ‘rebuttal’ would have been directed against Rashi as well. We should therefore, be careful about always translating Rashbam’s phrase teshuvat ha-minim as ‘a rebuttal to the heretics,’ meaning Christians. ‘Teshuvah’ in the verse at hand could likewise simply denote an explanatory answer intended for a critical and anti-traditionalist public demanding a more rational and thus secular ‘scholarly’ elucidation. Even Touitou admits that teshuvat ha-minim does not necessarily need to be rendered as ‘rebuttal of the heretics.’59 On the other hand, Rashi’s above-mentioned comment on Gen. 25:19–34 in particular points to the fact that we will not find the origins of pesha¢-exegesis in polemical comments. As Martin Lockshin has already noted,60 Rashi never uses the expression pesha¢ or peshu¢o shel miqra in the context of polemical interpretations and anti-Christian refutations. Furthermore, Rashbam, as Lockshin has shown, uses this term almost exclusively when arguing against Rashi,61 sometimes in the harshest tones,62 and only single remarks may have been made in the context of the Jewish-Christian debate. In addition, quite a few of Rashbam’s anti-Christian comments include theological ‘commonplaces’ (e.g., the merciful nature of the Torah)63 intended for those who are not part of the learning community of a Bet midrash (men with poorer education; women), but who nevertheless would benefit from those comments in their respective social settings. Furthermore, there are a number of other reasons to hesitate in making an immediate connection between pesha¢ and anti-Christian

See Touitou, “ ‘‫”למשמעות המושג ’תשובת המינים‬, Sinai 99, 3–4 (1986): 144– 148; see also the translation by Lockshin on Rashbam’s commentary on Exod. 20:13 (Martin I. Lockshin, Rashbam’s Commentary on Exodus: An Annotated Translation [Atlanta: Scholars Press, 1997], 218 n21). 60 Cf. Lockshin, Rashbam’s Commentary on Deuteronomy, Translation, esp. 19–22. 61 Rashbam draws on the term pesha¢ / ‘iqqar peshu¢o / peshu¢o shel miqra more than hundred times, but there are only fifteen references, in which the idiom is used independently from an argument against Rashi. In 107 places, Rashbam uses pesha¢ to refute Rashi explicitly or implicitly. 62 On the use of the expression ‫ גם זה הבל‬see e.g., Rashbam on Gen. 1:1; Deut. 15:18. 63 See Rashbam on Exod. 23:19; Deut. 22:6. 59

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polemics. First, in contrast to Rashi, who in his commentaries includes much material from the midrash, Rashbam usually does not draw on the midrash. He knew that the interpretation according to the plain meaning of a sentence, a phrase, or a single word is often in sharp contradiction to the traditional Jewish law and lore as conveyed by the midrashic tradition.64 Similar to Christian allegorical interpretation (e.g., the typological Moses-Jesus-allegory that Rashbam might even have been familiar with), midrashic tradition is frequently based not on the plain sense of Scripture, but on the rabbinic hermeneutical rules (middot) that could even include odd methods like gematria or Atbash. The Christians could have twisted the Jewish arguments easily:65 Rashbam’s explanation on Exod. 13:9, a verse that throughout Jewish tradition has referred to tefillin, disagrees with the traditional reading by insisting that the verse has to be understood metaphorically.66 In this case, Rashbam’s comments would have strengthened the Christian argument that traditional Jewish exegesis had so far misinterpreted Scripture and established strange practices on the basis of misleading interpretations. On the other hand, the Jews probably knew that already the Early Church ( Jerome) blamed the Jews for their reliance on the letter (littera) that prevents them from grasping the deeper meaning of Scripture.67 Recently, Eleazar Touitou has drawn our attention to the stories of Moses in the Pentateuch. To Touitou, Rashbam’s explanations of the stories about Moses reveal a strong polemical approach against the typological interpretations provided in particular by the glossa ordinaria.68 We will deal with Rashbam’s understanding of Moses and his specific role in the composition of the Torah below. However, we

See his famous introductions to Gen. 1:1 and Gen. 37:2. See already Lockshin, Rashbam’s Commentary on Deuteronomy, Translation, 22; Erwin I. J. Rosenthal, “The Anti-Christian Dispute in Rashi’s Commentary on the Bible,” in Rashi: His Teachings and Personality (in Hebrew), ed. Simon Federbusch (New York: Cultural Department of the World Jewish Congress, 1958), 45–59, esp. 54–55. 66 Rashbam ad loc.: ‫ לפי עומק פשוטו יהיה לך לזכרון תמיד כאילו‬.‫לאות על ידך‬ ‫ כעין תכשיט ורביד זהב שרגילין‬.‫ בין עיניך‬.‫שימני כחותם על לבך‬. ‫ כעין‬.‫כתוב על ידך‬ ‫ליתן על המצח לנוי‬. 67 In his explanation of Ps. 95 (96), Jerome compares the Jews to impure animals with a hoof not completely divided, since they accept only One Testament (the ‘Old’ Testament) as their Holy Scripture (on Jerome see Deborah L. Goodwin, ‘Take Hold of the Robe of A Jew’: Herbert of Bosham’s Christian Hebraism, Studies in the History of Christian Traditions, vol. 126 [Leiden: Brill, 2006], 59). 68 Compare Touitou, Exegesis in Perpetual Motion, esp. 165–169. 64 65

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19

can already say that Rashbam’s interpretation of Moses as the biblical ‘author’ would have been counterproductive: Moses as the ‘human author’ stands against the son of God conveying the ‘new Torah’. ‘Torat Mosheh’ (‫תורת האדם‬, the Torah of Man) would have had to pit her theological strength against ‘Torat Yeshu’ (‫תורת בן האל‬, the Torah of the Son of God) and would have lost the battle. If Rashbam had intended his comments to be used in a polemical debate, he would have lost right down the line. Furthermore, the interpretation of pesha¢-exegesis as polemics presumes that among the Jews the Bible as scriptura sacra had the same theological significance as among the Christians.69 However, the commentaries of Rashbam and R. Eliezer of Beaugency in particular show a strong tendency for theological and religious ‘emancipation.’ We often gain the impression that they strove for a more profane, literary reading, avoiding any theological allusion. Could it be that pesha¢exegesis was considered an exegetical means to remove the Bible from any theological controversy? There is yet another reason for questioning the polemical motivation of pesha¢-exegesis. From comments like that of Rashbam’s on Exod. 20:13 it is generally assumed that the Jews in Ashkenaz as well as in Northern France gained their knowledge of the Christian religion by reading their contemporaries’ Latin treatises. But can we really take for granted that the Jews or at least what we might call the Jewish intellectual elite in the eleventh and twelfth centuries participated in the written Latin discourse? We have almost no indications that the Jewish population read Latin.70 From Rashi’s responsa we learn

69 On the importance of the Hebrew Bible see Rainer Berndt, “Überlegungen zum Verhältnis von Exegese und Theologie in ‚De sacramentis christiane fidei’ Hugos von St. Viktor,” in Neue Richtungen in der hoch- und spätmittelalterlichen Bibelexegese, ed Robert E. Lerner, Schriften des Historischen Kollegs: Kolloquien, vol. 32 (Munich: Oldenbourg, 1996), 65–78; idem, André de Saint-Victor: Exégète et Théologien, Bibliotheca Victorina II (Paris: Brepolis, 1991), esp. 108–163. 70 See already Martin I. Lockshin, “Rashbam as a ‘Literary’ Exegete,” in With Reverence for the Word: Medieval Scriptural Exegesis in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, ed Jane Dammen McAuliffe, Barry D. Walfish, and Joseph W. Goering (New York: Oxford University Press, 2003), 83–91, esp. 84. Likewise Benjamin Richler, “The Dispersion of Medieval Hebrew Manuscripts and its Significance for Understanding the Phenomenon of Hebrew Membra Disiecta,” in ‚Fragmenta ne pereant’: Recupero e Studio dei Frammenti di Manoscritti Medievali e Rinascimentali Riutilizzati in Legature, ed. Mauro Perani and Cesarino Ruini (Ravenna: Longo Editore, 2002), 75–81, 75 proves there is no evidence that the Jews in the twelfth century could read philosophical-theological works in Latin.

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already that he gained knowledge of Christian beliefs and customs from his neighbors.71 As for the Latin reading and writing knowledge of the various nonJewish social strata, a number of important recent studies have given us a better understanding of the different levels of education in medieval society. Michael Clanchy72 distinguishes between the ‘pragmatic’ and ‘cultivated’ reader: non-Clerics (laymen) might have used Latin in a commercial context and might have been able to read Latin bonds. Jews, therefore, might have been able to read Latin-Hebrew bonds and contracts as part of their commercial business.73 However, one should not automatically equate this use of the language with the participation in a common Latin education, meaning not only the linguistic ability to read a Latin text and cope with its wording, but also to understand its semantic connotations and determinations. Books around this time were rare in any case, and (Latin) education was carried out in institutions (monasteries; cathedral schools), to which the Jews had no access.74 Clanchy mentions Hebrew-Latin loan papers and promissory notes (wooden tally charts, ‘carving wood’ ) that had to be deciphered by both parties and must have required rudimentary Latin knowledge on the Jewish side as well as a little Hebrew by the representatives of the feudal magnates.75 He is certainly right, when he points out that modern scholarship does not distinguish sufficiently

See already Touitou, Exegesis in Perpetual motion, 37–38n18. See Clanchy, From Memory to Written Record, 247. 73 Even for those (men) who held an administrative position at the court, basic knowledge of Latin was absolutely sufficient; compare Stephen C. Ferruolo, Origins of the University: The Schools of Paris and their Critics, 1110–1215 (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1985), 94: “The basic and elementary arts of the trivium provided these men with the requisite tools—grammar for drafting letters and other documents, rhetoric for polemic and persuasion, and dialectic for argument and debate. The first of these was essential for daily business . . .” Goodwin’s observations (Goodwin, Take Hold of the Robe of a Jew, 19) seem to match the (horror)-picture sometimes drawn even today when it comes to evaluate someone who has mastered humanistic studies: “Clearly, theological training . . . did not disqualify one from becoming a careerist in either secular or ecclesiastical administration in this period.” 74 Compare Evans, The Language and Logic of the Bible, esp. 13–36. 75 See Clanchy, From Memory to Written Record, 200–206; on the literate practices and the social-cultural role of the monasteries cf. in particular Stephen Vanderputten, “Monastic Literate Practices in Eleventh- and Twelfth-Century Northern France,” Journal of Medieval History 32 (2006): 101–126. See also Goodwin’s portrayal of Herbert of Bosham and his scholarly training (Goodwin, Take Hold of the Robe of a Jew, esp. 9–17). 71 72

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between the modern (English) concept of literacy and the medieval litteratus: Although a little Latin had become an essential of business and a commonplace of gentlemanly education . . . it was still something alien, and even contrary, to traditional knightly culture. Hence Latin was learned from the ‘book which teaches us clergie’.76

Even when a knight was considered a litteratus, this term usually referred to skills other than the ability to read Latin.77 It is, therefore, quite improbable that the Jewish elite in France (and Ashkenaz) between 1050 und 1200 could have participated in the Latin theological and exegetical discourse. Martin Lockshin argues that “it is hard to imagine that Rashbam, who presumably read no Latin, developed a particular literary approach as a result of his contact with contemporaneous Christian writings.”78 To sum up, although in some respects it is possible to see connections between pesha¢ and anti-Christian polemics, it is highly doubtful that these polemics formed the main stimulus for pesha¢-exegesis,79 just as they did not function as a decisive motivating force driving its various inner developments.80 4. The Jews and the Langue d’Oïl Due to the focus on anti-Christian polemics and the question of theological competition, scholars have almost completely overlooked that by the early twelfth century at the latest an entirely new branch of

Clanchy, From Memory to Written Record, 247. Ibid., 231: “When a knight is described as litteratus in a medieval source, his exceptional erudition is usually being referred to, not his capacity to read and write.” However, Sarah Kay emphasizes that during the twelfth century “education meant . . . a knowledge of Latin, and thus the ability to read and imitate the literature of Classical Antiquity” (Sarah Kay, “Courts, Clerks, and Courtly Love,” in The Cambridge Companion to Medieval Romance, ed. Roberta L. Krueger [Cambridge: University Press, 2000], 81–96, 87). 78 Lockshin, “Rashbam as a ‘Literary’ Exegete,” 84. 79 Lockshin, Introduction, 26 draws a similar conclusion. 80 Sh. J. D. Cohen, “Does Rashi’s Torah Commentary Respond to Christianity?” 470–472, draws a distinction between the commentary on the Torah, and e.g., the commentaries on the Prophet, and Psalms. Martin Lockshin also refers to the disparity between Rashi’s commentary on the Torah and his commentary on the book of Psalms (see Lockshin, Rashbam’s Commentary on Deuteronomy, Translation, 20). 76 77

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literature had developed simultaneously exactly in the same place, i.e., in Northern France (Champagne and Normandy).81 One can argue about the knowledge of Latin, yet, it is beyond question that Rashi, R. Joseph Qara, Rashbam, or R. Eliezer of Beaugency spoke the vernacular (Old French), the so-called langue d’oïl. From the collection of Old French82 glosses in their commentaries we can conclude that they had gained proficiency in reading and writing. More than Rashi, R. Joseph Qara frequently introduces three-five-word glosses that clearly show that not only did he have writing abilities, but that he was also well aware of the orthography and case system of Old French.83 The so-called Sifre Pitronot, the Hebrew-French (Bible-)Glossaries mirror linguistically either the Champagne or the Anglo-Norman vernacular. Although this fact is well known, and Menahem Banitt has worked extensively on the Old-French glosses,84 the nature of these works has never been fully clarified. The question of the extent to which non-Jewish French literature and culture influenced the development of pesha¢-exegesis has not yet been explored. One reason is that despite the fact that much work on the Northern French commentary literature has been done, scholars

81 As for the non-Jewish vernacular literary culture, see esp. Alastair Minnis who dedicated numerous studies to medieval literary theory. Minnis maintained that “Medieval literary theory and criticism stands as a valid subject-area in its own right, and one which must be investigated within the framework of the history of literary theory and criticism” (Medieval Literary Theory and Criticism c.1100–c.1375, ed. Minnis— Scott, 11). 82 Erika Timm introduced the term ‘tsarfatic’ glosses (“Zur Frage der Echtheit von Raschis jiddischen Glossen,” Beiträge zur Geschichte der Deutschen Sprache und Literatur 107,1 [1985]: 45–81, 45n1). However, since most scholars today who work on the Old French glosses admit that the Jews spoke essentially the same language, it does not seem appropriate to distinguish between a ‘Jewish’ and ‘non-Jewish’ French dialect. All the glosses—the Old French as well as the German and Czech (‘‫—) ’לשון כנען‬are designated in the commentaries as ‫לעזים‬. 83 On this issue compare esp. Kirsten A. Fudeman, “The Old French Glosses in Joseph Kara’s Isaiah Commentary,” Revue des Etudes Juives 165,1–2 (2006): 147–177; idem, “The Linguistic Significance of the ‘LEA’ZIM’ in Joseph Kara’s Job Commentary,” Jewish Quarterly Review 93,3–4 (2003): 397–414. 84 On Menahem Banitt’s important œuvre see the bibliography below. As a successor to the pioneering work on the glossaries by the representatives of the Wissenschaft des Judentums in the (early) twentieth century (Glossaire hébreu du XIII e siècle, edited by Mayer Lambert/Louis Brandin, Paris: Ernest Leroux, 1905; Raphael Levy, Trésor de la langue des juifs français au moyen âge [Austin: University of Texas Press, 1964]; see also the Bibliography in the Appendix below), Banitt not only prepared critical editions of the Sifre Pitronot, but did extensive research on their epistemological, hermeneutical, and literary function.

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still seem to adhere to the opinion that the Jews in Ashkenaz and Tsarfat concerned themselves almost exclusively with the Talmud, the Bible (as a ‘sacred’ book), and piyyu¢ (liturgical poetry), a view already articulated by the late Louis Rabinowitz in 1938: To the Jew of Northern France and Germany the Talmud was his world, the sum total of all knowledge and education and doctrine and theology in the universe . . . For the Jews of Northern France there was no independent study of any subject outside the Talmud; secular knowledge was regarded only in so far as it might be an aid to the elucidation of the Talmud, and . . . what general knowledge they had was more often than not derived from the Talmud and often led to strange results.85

However, the notion that the Jews studied rabbinic literature exclusively is as one-sided and misleading as the term ‘rabbinic academy’ that implies a theological faculty or even communal institution, whereas it would probably be more accurate to imagine a group of people sitting and learning around a rabbi’s ‘Shabbes-table’.86 The Jews in Northern France, whose living conditions were much better, and who did not suffer from devastating persecutions as did their contemporaries in Germany, were interested in everything that could broaden their horizons. In public space, Jewish men and women not only listened to the ballad-mongers, but were undoubtedly aware of the fact that Gentiles not only listened to the Bible being read, but also to stories of knights and courtly love composed by the trouvères.87

Rabinowitz, Social Life, 220–221. The German medievalist Fritz-Peter Knapp reaches the same conclusion, cf. Fritz Peter Knapp, Die Literatur des Früh- und Hochmittelalters in den Bistümern Passau, Salzburg, Brixen und Trient von den Anfängen bis zum Jahre 1273, Geschichte der Literatur in Österreich, vol. 1 (Graz: Akademische Druck und Verlagsanstalt, 1994), 360–361; compare also Martin Przybilski, “Salomons Wunderwurm: Stufen der Adaption eines talmudischen Motivs in lateinischen und deutschen Texten des Mittelalters,” Zeitschrift für deutsche Philologie 123 (2004): 19–39, 20. 86 See already Ephraim Kanarfogel, Jewish Education and Society in the High Middle Ages (Detroit, Mich.: Wayne State University Press, 1992), esp. 55–65, who refutes the opinion of Golb that the rabbinic ‘academies’ were quite large and comparable in size to those in Iraq, Rome, or Mayence. 87 Modern scholarship distinguishes between the ‘troubado(u)r school’ that began in the eleventh century in Occitania (expression for a poet composer in the langue d’oc), the ‘trovadorismo’ in Portugal, the trouvères in northern France (expression for a poet composer in the langue d’oïl ), and finally the German ‚Minnesang.‘ William IX of Aquitaine and Gascony (1071–1126) is regarded as the first troubador. On the development of the trouvères and troubadors see in particular Jörn Gruber, Die Dialektik des Trobar: Untersuchungen zur Struktur und Entwicklung des occitanischen und französischen Minnesangs des 12. Jahrhunderts, in Beihefte zur Zeitschrift für Romanische Philologie, vol. 194 (Tübingen: Max Niemeyer, 1983). 85

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Furthermore, Marie de Champagne (1145–1198),88 known today mainly as the famous patron of Chrétien de Troyes, who composed for her the Chevalier de la Charrette (‘Lancelot: The Knight of the Cart’ ), was the first to have the Bible translated into the vernacular.89 One can surmise that for the first time and within this literary-esthetic milieu at the court of Marie de Champagne, the Bible was regarded as literature. On the other hand, Marie de France90 collected 102 of Aesop’s fables and translated them into Old French, and only a few years later, the twelfth-century exegete and grammarian Berechiah ben Natronai ha-Naqdan prepared a Hebrew version of over one hundred of Aesop’s fables, called Mishle Shu‘alim.91 Another reason for the disregard of the vernacular culture and literature, especially secular literature, is perhaps the notion that Bible commentaries do not seem to match the contemporary literary genres. The biblical stories that Rashbam ‘retells’ do not seem to be comparable to the historiographical literature of the early twelfth century (Wace) or, with regard to the region of Champagne, the chansons de geste (‘Songs of deeds’), and the literary œuvre of Chrétien de Troyes (c. 1140–1190).92 In his romances and courtly novels Chrétien did not 88 Marie de Champagne was the daughter of the French king Louis VII and his wife Eleonore of Aquitaine (1122–1204). 89 See already John Frederic Benton, The Court of Champagne under Henry the Liberal and Countess Marie (Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 1959), 563. In 1192, Marie requested a verse translation of the book of Genesis that was done by Evrat (completed in 1198); on the issue of Marie’s Bible translations and her progressive attitudes, compare also June Hall McCash, “Chrétien’s Patrons,” in A Companion to Chrétien de Troyes, ed. Norris J. Lacy, and Joan Tasker Grimbert, Arthurian Studies (Cambridge: Brewer, 2005), 15–25, esp. 16. 90 Marie de France was an Old-French (Anglo-Norman) poet during the twelfth century. Nothing is known about her life. 91 See recently Jutta Schumacher, “Die mittelalterlich-hebräische Fabelsammlung Mishle Shu’alim von Berekhya ben Natronai haNaqdan,” Frankfurter Judaistische Beiträge 34 (2007/08): 123–132; idem, “Berechja ben Natronajs Fabel vom Fuchs und den Fischen,” Judaica. Beiträge zum Verstehen des Judentums 63, 1/2 (2007): 103–111. 92 Érec et Énide (c. 1170); Cligés (c. 1176), Lancelot and Yvain (c. 1177–81); according to Hall McCash, “Chrétien’s Patrons,” in A Companion to Chrétien de Troyes, ed. Norris J. Lacy and Joan Tasker Grimbert, Arthurian Studies (Cambridge: Brewer, 2005), 15–25, 19, the Lancelot “could have been composed any time between 1159 and 1191”; Perceval (before 1190); as to the question of the date of composition of the romances see in particular Zumthor, Histoire littéraire de la France médiévale, 195– 197; Joseph J. Duggan, The Romances of Chrétien de Troyes (New Haven—London: Yale University Press, 2001), 8–25; Beate Schmolke-Hasselmann, The Evolution of Arthurian Romance: The Verse Tradition from Chrétien to Froissart, Cambridge Studies in Medieval Literature, vol. 35 (Cambridge [a.o.]: Cambridge University. Press, 1998). Most of the manuscripts left stem from the early thirteenth century. In German scholarship

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25

simply present the âventiures of a knightly hero, but created (what he called) a ‘bele conjointure’ (a ‘pleasant pattern’ ), in which the heroes of the matière de Bretagne 93 (King Arthur and the knights of the round table) assumed their literary roles within this early new type of fictional literature. In his prologue to Érec et Énide, Chrétien outlines his literary program as follows: That is why Christian of Troyes maintains it is right that all always aspire and endeavor to speak eloquently and to teach well. And he elicits a most pleasant pattern [conjointure] from a tale of adventure [âventiure], in order to demonstrate and to prove that the man does not act wisely who fails to make full use of his knowledge so long as God grants him grace to do so.94

Non-Jewish society was a feudal society, headed by the higher and lower nobility and clergy. The courtly literature mirrored and fictionalized the courtly society and environment, the court romances being its main literary exemplar.95 The so-called ‘Investiture Controversy’ between Gregory VII (1073–1085) und Henry IV (1056–1106) had already raised people’s sensitivity to the distinction between ‘sacred’ it was in particular Walter Haug who proposed that Chrétien was the first to write ‘fictional’ literature; compare Walter Haug, Die Wahrheit der Fiktion: Studien zur weltlichen und geistlichen Literatur des Mittelalters und der frühen Neuzeit (Tübingen: Niemeyer, 2003), esp. 1–15, 115–144; idem, “Chrétiens de Troyes ‘Erec’-Prolog und das arthurische Strukturmodell,” in Literaturtheorie im deutschen Mittelalter: Von den Anfängen bis zum Ende des 13. Jahrhunderts, ed. Walter Haug, 2d ed. (Darmstadt: Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft, 1992), 91–107; idem, Brechungen auf dem Weg zur Individualität: Kleine Schriften zur Literatur des Mittelalters (Tübingen: Niemeyer, 1995), esp. 3–16; 45–71; 233–248; idem, “Das Land, von welchem niemand wiederkehrt: Mythos, Fiktion und Wahrheit in Chrétiens ‘Chevalier de la Charrette’, im ‘Lanzelet’ Ulrichs von Zatzikhoven und im ‘Lancelot’-Prosaroman,” Untersuchungen zur deutschen Literaturgeschichte, vol.21 (Tübingen: Niemeyer, 1978). 93 The matière de Bretagne refers to a group of Breton sagas of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table whose origins lie in older oral Celtic traditions and motifs probably older than the French versions of the Artus sagas. During the twelfth century, the legends of King Arthur became very famous in France and England and enjoyed a widespread reception, in particular thanks to Chrétien de Troyes; compare R. Trachsler, “Matière de Bretagne,” in Lexikon des Mittelalters, vol. 6, col. 395. 94 Prologue to Érec et Énide, l. 9–18; translation taken from Chrétien de Troyes, Erec and Enide, Prologue, in Chrétien de Troyes, The Complete Romances of Chretien de Troyes, trans., with an Introduction by David Staines (Bloomington: Indiana Univ. Pr., 1990), 1. 95 Prior to the courtly romances, we find the romances antiques (c. 1120), flourishing mainly between 1160 and 1180. In form-critical terms, the chansons de geste (‘Songs of deeds’ ) that deal primarily with events of the eighth and ninth centuries during the reigns of Charlemagne and his successors belong to an even earlier stage; see Duggan, The Romances of Chrétien de Troyes, esp. 17–32; 93–132.

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and ‘profane’. By the beginning of the twelfth century at the latest non-Jewish civilization and culture had developed a (profane) literature in the Old French vernacular which could compare favorably with the sacred literature with respect to content as well as self-confidence:96 For any man of understanding, there are only three subject matters: those of France, Britain, and illustrious Rome. And each of these three subjects is distinct from the others. The stories from Britain are fictitious but engaging; those of Rome are wise and educational; those of France appear truer every day.97

This dictum differentiates between epic matters corresponding with historical ‘truth’ (i.e., the history of France), classical matters that serve didactic and scholarly purposes (i.e., the stories of Rome), and Breton matters which are entertaining (‘vaine et plaisante’ ). We will see that Rashbam especially demonstrates clear traces of a similar attitude towards the narratives in the Hebrew Bible. The twelfth century represents a turning point in lay literacy.98 In particular the Anglo-Norman nobility played a prominent role in this, since they showed an increased interest in the oral vernacular and written Latin traditions of the chansons de geste or the matière de Bretagne. As magnates they arranged for manuscripts to be copied, in order to

96 We should, however, not neglect the fact that even in Chrétien’s œuvre the distinction between ‘sacred’ and ‘profane’ is not as straightforward as one might imagine. Sarah Kay has shown with Chrétien’s Lancelot as well as with the romance La mule sans frein (‘The Mule without a Bridle’ ) by ‘Paiens de Maisières’ (c. 1080–1136) the difficulties that occur when trying to set up a clear-cut dichotomy between chevalerie and clergie; compare Sarah Kay, “Who was Chretien de Troyes,” in Arthurian Literature, vol. 15, ed. James P. Carley and Felicity Riddy (Cambridge: Brewer, 1997), 1–35; see also Danielle Buschinger, “Two Sages of Troyes: Rashi and Chrétien,” in German Literature between Faiths: Jew and Christian at Odds and in Harmony, ed. Peter Meister, Studies in German Jewish History, vol. 6 (Oxford: Peter Lang, 2004), 27–38; Curt Leviant, “Jewish Influence upon Arthurian Legends,” in Salo Wittmeyer Baron Jubilee Volume, English Section, vol. 2 ( Jerusalem: American Academy For Jewish Research, 1974), 639–656; Jean Frappier, “Le Conte du Graal est-il une állegorie judéo-chrétienne? (I),” Romance Philologie 16 (1962–63): 179–213; idem, “Le Conte du Graal est-il une állegorie judéo-chrétienne? (II),” Romance Philologie 20 (1966): 1–31; Urban T. Holmes and Maria A. Klenke, Chrétien, Troyes, and the Grail (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1959). 97 Quoted in Lawrence Harf-Lancner, “Chrétien’s Literary Background,” in A Companion to Chrétien de Troyes, ed. Norris J. Lacy and Joan Tasker Grimbert, Arthurian Studies (Cambridge: Brewer, 2005), 26–42, 30. 98 On the question of the literacy of the laity see Malcom B. Parkes, Scribes, Scripts and Readers: Studies in the Communication, Presentation and Dissemination of Medieval Texts (London: Hambledon Press, 1991), esp. 275–297.

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27

create a written vernacular literary heritage that was read to an interested audience within proper contexts: “They set a secular example of literate culture that other layman sought to emulate.”99 Likewise, we find in Chrétien de Troyes’s Yvain a detailed depiction of a scene portraying an orchard in which a young girl reads a roman, i.e., a book written in the vernacular language, to her parents.100 Likewise, in the romance Hunbaut (after 1250) we find a similar scene with a young girl reading a work aloud to a noble audience.101 The question of whether it is coincidental that all these scenes depict young girls reading courtly literature to their audience deserves further study. Parkes emphasizes that women in particular partook in the new intellectual trend,102 in which the Anglo-Norman pagan heritage formed the center of literary activity. It is probably because women—although they could have become nuns—did not have access to the same clerical education that was provided for men. Within the courtly environment, it became much easier for women to share a common space with men, and, thereby, to participate in and even contribute to their cultural activities. One can well imagine Jewish women being part of this exciting movement. They spoke Old French just like their non-Jewish neighbors. Moreover, woman-to-woman money-lending103 between Jews and Christians could have been one, if not the primary means for transcending one’s individual and social religion and culture: Thinking about the physical spaces in which women may have interacted across religious boundaries also forces us to conceptualise those social, behavioral, linguistic, and even symbolic spaces where women would have been likely to have shared interests or perspectives.104

Ibid., 278. Yvain 5358–70 (the text is presented in French as well as in English translation in Duggan, The Romances of Chrétien de Troyes, 44–45). 101 See Duggan, The Romances of Chrétien de Troyes, 45. 102 Parkes, Scribes, Scripts and Readers, 278. 103 See already William Ch. Jordan, “Jews on Top: Women and the Availability of Consumption Loans in Northern France in the Mid-Thirteenth Century,” Journal of Jewish Studies 29 (1978): 39–56. 104 Monica H. Green, “Conversing with the Minority: Relations among Christian, Jewish, and Muslim Women in the High Middle Ages,” Journal of Medieval History 34 (2008): 105–118, 109; similarly, Elisheva Baumgarten discusses the issue of women’s ‘shared and separate worlds’ cf. Elisheva Baumgarten, “‘A Separate People’? Some Directions for Comparative Research on Medieval Women,” Journal of Medieval History 34 (2008): 212–228, esp. 215–222. 99

100

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Jewish women, who were excluded from formal rabbinical training, might likewise have felt the need to get involved with a subject such as the narratives of the Hebrew Bible which had hitherto been a minor matter. In any case, already in his Roman de Rou, Wace portrays his audience as a people “who have the incomes and the cash, because for them are books made.”105 This cultural development within noble society did not find an immediate counterpart on the Jewish side, since there were neither Jewish courts and knights nor trouvères except maybe the famous German minnesinger Süßkind of Trimberg (thirteenth century).106 Therefore, no ( Jewish) chivalric romances in Old French from the twelfth century have come down to us. This does not mean, however, that Jewish society of the early twelfth century had not also begun to distinguish between ‘sacred’ and ‘profane’ or between secular and profane literature and culture that developed into a genre-specific literary style with specific motifs and topics. (Ps.-)Rashbam’s commentary on the Song of Songs in which he refers to the contemporary songs of the trouvères and their performance practice is an outstanding example of the integration of secular motifs into exegetical literature: ‘And even today, this is the way of the trouvères that they sing a song that tells of the love between two people . . .’107 In recent years, Susan Einbinder has written a series of studies, in which she demonstrated formal affinities and similarities in content between English and French romance literature and Hebrew narra-

105 A. J. Holden, ed., Le Roman de Rou de Wance, edited by A. J. Holden. Societé des Anciens Textes Français, 3 vols. (Paris: Picard, 1970–74), vol. I, Part 3, lines 164–165 Ki unt les rentes e le argent. Kar pur eus sunt li liure fait. Translation Parkes, Scribes, Scripts and Readers, 278. 106 Süßkind is known from a miniature found in the Codex Manesse (Cod. Pal. germ. 848 ‘Große Heidelberger Liederhandschrift’; Zürich, 1305–1340), fol. 355r: http://diglit. ub.uni-heidelberg.de/diglit/cpg848/0705. This miniature presents three minnesingers, two nobles and one person wearing the typical Jewish hat. On this illumination and the question whether Süßkind was Jewish or at least of Jewish origins compare Burghart Wachinger, “Süßkind von Trimberg,” Verfasserlexikon, vol. 9 (1995): col. 548–552;” Peter Wapnewski, “Der fünfte Ton des Juden Süßkind von Trimberg,” Beiträge zur Geschichte der deutschen Sprache und Literatur 111,2 (1989): 268–284; Edith Wenzel, “Süßkind von Trimberg: Ein deutsch-jüdischer Autor im europäischen Kontext,” in Interregionalität der deutschen Literatur im europäischen Mittelalter, ed. Hartmut Kugler (Berlin, New York:Walter de Gruyter, 1995), 143–160. 107 MS Hamburg Cod. hebr. 32, fol. 79r, col. 1: ‫ועוד היום דרך המשוררים לשורר‬ ‫שיר שהוא מספר מעשה אהבה על שניהם בשירי אהבה במנהג העולם‬.

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29

tives written in the aftermath of the first Crusade.108 Moreover, in the commentaries of Rashbam and (Ps.-)Rashbam (e.g., the commentary on the Song of Songs) we find largely Old French, sometimes even exclusively Anglo-Norman glosses that in many instances can be found in the contemporary courtly literature being composed at that time.109 The comparison of these glosses with the Old French idiom hitherto known to us reveals that the Jews must have been familiar with a certain type of literature, in which these idioms occur, e.g., in Wace’s110 Roman de Brut111 and Roman de Rou,112 in Gaimar’s Estorie des Angles113 or in Anglo-Norman legends of the saints. These observations could be regarded as coincidental. However, Michelle Warren114 who works in particular on Anglo-Norman Literature,115 in a detailed discussion of Hebrew names in Wace’s Roman de Brut, the Estoire del saint graal, and the Estoire de Merlin, concludes: Not surprisingly, the consolidation of exclusionary judgments also surfaces in contemporary French vernacular literature. A number of the examples that have been analyzed recently originate in or near the court

See in particular the comparison of Amis et Amiloun (c. 1090) written by Radulfus Tortarius (1063–after 1122) with the narrative of Rachel and her four children (printed in Avraham M. Haberman, ‫ספר גזירות אשכנז וצרפת‬, [ Jerusalem: Tarshish, 1945], 34), in Susan Einbinder, “Signs of Romance: Hebrew Prose and the TwelfthCentury Renaissance,” in Jews and Christians in Twelfth-Century Europe, ed. Michael A. Signer and John van Engen, Notre Dame Conferences in Medieval Studies, vol. 10 (Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press, 2001), 221–233, esp. 224–227; compare also Susan Einbinder, Beautiful Death: Jewish Poetry and Martydom in Medieval France. Jews, Christians, and Muslims from the Ancient to the Modern World (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2002); idem, “The Troyes Laments: Jewish Martyrology in Hebrew and Old French,” Viator 30 (1999): 201–230; idem, “Pucellina of Blois.” 109 The Anglo-Norman dialect (‫ )הניב הנורמנדי‬was already noticed by Menahem Banitt in Sara Japhet’s edition of Rashbam’s commentary on Job (in Japhet, The Commentary of Rashbam on Job, esp. 284–286). However, Banitt explained the glosses only against the background of other Hebrew-French glossaries, relating them exclusively to pesha¢ exegesis, and did not compare them with other Old French literatures. On the relationship between the Old French idiom and Rashbam’s glosses in the Torahcommentary as part of this new literary approach, see below Chapter Seven. 110 Wace c. 1110–after 1174; see Françoise Hazel Marie Le Saux, A Companion to Wace (Cambridge: D. S. Breuer, 2005) esp. 11–80. 111 Written between 1150–1155; compare Eugene Mason, trans., Arthurian Chronicles: Roman de Brut by Wace, (London: Dent, 1962), Introduction 3–13. 112 Written between 1160 and 1174. 113 Written between 1147 and 1151. 114 See Michelle R. Warren, “Memory Out of Line: Hebrew Etymology in the Roman de Brut and Merlin,” Modern Language Notes 118 (2003): 989–1014. 115 Warren refers in particular to Philippe de Thaüns Bestiaire (compare Warren, “Memory Out of Line,” 1001n96). 108

30

chapter one of Champagne. Since the Estoire de Merlin was probably conceived and read in this same milieu, its Hebrew etymology can be interpreted in relation to the particular history of the Champenois Jews. This context also suggests a possible link with the controversial “judaizing” interpretations of Chrétien de Troyes’s Conte de graal. Urban T. Holmes and Amelia Klenke proposed to read the Conte de graal as an appeal for toleration in relation to the conversion of Jews, an appeal directed at Philip of Flanders. Although some of the direct correlations with Jewish ritual proposed by Holmes and Klenke are difficult to substantiate, their general thesis usefully locates Jewish culture in relation to the development of French romance narrative116—which is of course entirely separate from identifying Chrétien himself as a converted Jew.117

Warren’s investigations are of interest, since her starting point is not the Hebrew tradition, but, on the contrary, Anglo-Norman literature in its formative period.118 Already in the early 1950s, Holmes-Klenke had put forward a new understanding of Chrétien de Troyes and the Sitz im Leben of the early courtly romance. Not only did they suggest that Chrétien de Troyes’s biography was somehow rooted in Judaism, but they also thoroughly investigated the question of the extent to which Chrétien included midrashic material in his romances, and from which sources this material might derive. In their approach to the literary œuvre of Chrétien de Troyes, Holmes-Klenke followed in particular the early twentieth-century investigations by Moses Gaster,119 in which he compared Chrétien’s portrayal of the castle of the Grail with Solomon’s temple.120 Although Solomon’s temple is not restricted to Jewish tradition, but repeatedly has served as a type for Christian ideas and institutions, it is nevertheless remarkable that Gaster assumed a powerful intellectual interaction and communication among the different groups. There can be no doubt that the Jews not only shared this new spirit of education and learning, but also played a more or less

Kay, “Who was Chretien de Troyes” discusses this issue in detail and relates it to the question of the personality hiding behind the name Chrétien (Crestïen). Holmes and Klenke, Chrétien, Troyes, and the Grail, esp. 51–61 had already discussed the issue of the name and interpreted the fact that Christianus like Baptizatus more likely refers to a Jewish convert; on this issue see also Buschinger, “Two Sages of Troyes,” 27–38. 117 Warren, “Memory Out of Line,” 1002. 118 See Zumthor, Histoire littéraire de la France médiévale, esp. 95–282. 119 Compare Holmes—Klenke, Chrétien, Troyes, and the Grail, 74. 120 See Moritz Gaster, “The Legend of the Grail,” in Studies and Texts in Folklore, Magic, Medieval Romance, Hebrew Apocrypha and Samaritan Archaeology, collected and reprinted by Moses Gaster, vol. 3 (London: Maggs, 1925–28). 116

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31

prominent role in this new intellectual endeavor. And yet, regardless of the significance of Chrétien’s name, we still do not know how substantial the Jewish influence on him really was. The question of Chrétien de Troyes’s identity will probably never be solved satisfactorily, even though among scholars dealing either with the court of Champagne or with his literary œuvre, there is a consensus that he was related to the court in one way or another. It is interesting to note, however, that his name never appears in the court charters of Champagne. The identity and personality of Chrétien de Troyes thus remains shrouded in mystery.121 At the end of the thirteenth century, we find a Hebrew proseLancelot narrative, which seems to have marked the peak of the cultural ‘mélange’ between Hebrew and Old French literatures. The text is entitled ‫‘ מלך ארטוש‬Melekh Artus’.122 It was edited by Abraham Berliner in 1885. The Melekh Artus offers exceptional testimony to the fact that even as late as the mid-thirteenth century Jews were (still!) fascinated by knightly culture, bloody chivalry, and numerous cases of adultery. Przybilski convincingly demonstrated that this fragment obviously does not refer only to the Lancelot episodes, but intersperses allusions and hints that clearly show that the author must have been familiar with the entire Arthurian tradition.123 To him, the aim of the Melekh Artus was pedagogic, i.e., to disavow the Jewish glorification of the ‘knightly musclemen’ and the courtly literature, and to combat the Jewish enthusiasm for knightly culture that had come into vogue from the middle of the twelfth century on.124

121 See John Frederic Benton, “The Court of Champagne as a Literary Center,” Seculum 36 (1961): 551–591, 561n33; 562. 122 Compare already Moritz Steinschneider, Die hebräischen Übersetzungen des Mittelalters und die Juden als Dolmetscher: Ein Beitrag zur Literaturgeschichte des Mittelalters; meist nach handschriftlichen Quellen (Berlin 1893), esp. 967–69. The text was translated first by Moritz Gaster, “The History of the Destruction of the Round Table as Told in Hebrew in the Year 1279,” Folk-Lore 20 (1909): 272–294, esp. 277–294; a second translation was provided by Curt Leviant, King Artus: A Hebrew Arthurian romance of 1279, ed. and trans. with cultural and historic commentary, Studia Semitica Neerlandica, vol. 11 (Assen: van Gorcum, 1969), 9–49. 123 Compare Martin Przybilski, “Ein anti-arturischer Artusroman: Invektiven gegen die höfische Literatur zwischen den Zeilen des ‫‘( מלך ארטוש‬Melech Artus’ ),” Zeitschrift für deutsches Altertum und deutsche Literatur 131 (2002): 409–435, 422n70; 431. 124 Ibid., esp. 431–434. On the ‘knightly aftermath’ among the Jews see also below Chapter Five, 4.

32

chapter one Curt Leviant notes with regard to the Melekh Artus: However, the discussion of Jewish parallels to Arthurian motifs goes beyond the Hebrew Scribe’s two Arthurian tales and extends to various romances in the entire Arthurian tradition. Studies of Arthurian sources have concentrated on Celtic tradition. . . . Scholarship, moreover, has for the most part neglected an entire body of Jewish material which was available to the romance writers and for which the channels of transmission are no mystery. The purpose, then, of the parallels offered below is to show that Jewish story material should be added to the list of sources which critics have traditionally cited for Arthurian legends.125

I would like to suggest that not only Jewish story matter but also its literary interpretation as we find it in Rashbam’s Torah-commentary might have formed parts of the intellectual background in which the Old-French romances flourished. It is always difficult to give a realistic evaluation of a social minority’s cultural and literary input, and we shall take chronological issues as well as social factors into consideration. Furthermore, what Leviant called ‘Jewish story matters,’ such as e.g., the David / Bathsheba / Uriah triangle as the model or archetype for Uther Pendragon / Igerna / the Duke, are in many cases ‘Old-Testament’ motifs, i.e., Christian biblical traditions as well, that are not necessarily linked to the Jews as a social group. However, based on Gaster’s investigations, Leviant mentions two post-biblical episodes (one stemming from Rashi, one from the bGit 68a-b) that most likely formed the literary archetype for an episode in Geoffrey of Monmouth’s Vita Merlini.126 Further research will be necessary to resolve these issues. In contrast to the newly-flourishing vernacular literature, twelfthcentury Christian Bible commentaries form a genuine part of the clerical discourse and the striving for the true understanding of the Bible as the church’s basic sacred book. The different senses of scripture (Lectio historica-allegorica-tropologica) built upon one another, and were mostly applied to the text strictly in this specific order.127 This approach has too long been applied to Medieval Jewish exegesis, as if the intellectual Jewish elite, especially in Northern France, had sociologically formed a counterpart to the Christian clergy.

Leviant, King Artus, 81. Cf. ibid., 88–89. 127 On Andrew of St. Victor (d. 1175) and his exegetical concept of litterasensus-sententia, compare in particular Berndt, André de Saint-Victor, esp. 227–311. 125 126

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33

However, a Rosh Yeshivah is not a clergyman in the Christian sense of the word. Furthermore, among the tosafists who were concerned mainly with the (Babylonian) Talmud and its application to contemporary halakhic discourse, the Bible played an increasingly subordinate role. By abandoning the aggadic and halakhic context that had formed the understanding of the Hebrew Bible for centuries, the pesha¢-exegetes launched a new field in biblical exegesis, that focused on the literary and narrative qualities of the biblical text. The Old French glosses are an exceptional piece of evidence that the Jews in Northern France used the French language for biblical exegesis. While Rashi utilized the Old-French translation by arguing for the use of a certain vernacular idiom or its modification, his intellectual successors dealt even more intensely with the emerging vernacular literature and its different genres. This discourse opened up new fields of exegetical investigation. For the first time, biblical exegesis brings up literarytheoretical arguments, exploring the ‘biblical art of narration’ or the biblical author’s intention. Of course, we do not find an explicit reception of the content of the matière de Bretagne, but the geographical and temporal proximity as well as business relations between the Jews and the French noble and courtly society128 almost certainly necessitates a close cultural and intellectual relationship. Epic poems were performed in the market places, and no one, not even the Jews, could avoid the jongleurs, the jugglers and minnesingers presenting their songs and romances (lais).129 On the streets of Troyes and the other market towns of Champagne in this period, as well as in towns throughout France and in the castles of the nobility, one of the most popular forms of entertainment consisted of epic poems that were presented by itinerant performers, called jongleurs.130

We can assume that particularly during the fairs in Troyes131 many performances of lais and / or ballads were presented. Even though Cf. Taitz, The Jews of Medieval France, esp. 61–118. Breton lais (sg. lay; lai) belong to the genre of medieval Old French and AngloNorman romances. Typically, they consist of rhymed tales of courtly love and chivalry. 130 Duggan, The Romances of Chrétien de Troyes, 140. 131 The fairs were key commercial events for merchants and travelers from all over Europe, the Foire froide ‘the cold fair’ took place between November 2 and January 2, the Foire chaude the ‘hot fair’ from July to September 13 (compare Duggan, The Romances of Chrétien de Troyes, 6). 128 129

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chapter one

Rashbam does not introduce himself as the new executor of the literary heritage of a ‘matière des Hebreux’, and although we cannot necessarily assume that he (himself ) attended Marie de Champagne’s or any other court regularly, when he was in town,132 it is, nevertheless, not surprising that he understood the Bible consistently as literature. His commentary on the Torah shows in a remarkable way that not only does he make the attempt to ‘re-tell’ the stories of the biblical ‘author(s)’ (he often uses the term kotev), but he also profiles characters completely differently from their biblical archetypes, and with the help of rhetorical and narrative interjections even designs biblical stories in a surprising manner. Repeatedly, Rashbam himself slips into the role of narrator, the Hebrew ‘raconteur’ of biblical stories. With regard to Rashbam’s commentaries, one of our main questions, therefore, is, whether his ‘rapprochements littéraires’ were meant as a matching narrative to the non-Jewish vernacular literature. Did he want to compete with the Old French vernacular narrators? Did he feel the need to stress the magnificence and exceptionality of the Hebrew literary heritage for those who had already turned to the vernacular literature? Before we return to this point in more detail, we shall first deal with formal-technical aspects of biblical commentary literature in Northern France.

132 Encounters with the court might have taken place in a much more indirect way. We know, for instance, that in 1160 Henry rewarded Maître Nicolas de Clairvaux (Nicolas de Montiéramey) with a living by granting him an income from a house in the market place at Troyes, in 1170 he granted him an annual income of 1000 sous at Saint-Etienne-de-Troyes (see esp. Benton, “The Court of Champagne as a Literary Center,” 561n33; 562). Wherever and whenever encounters between litterati related to the court and Jews might have taken place, is a matter of pure speculation.

CHAPTER TWO

REEVALUATING BIBLICAL COMMENTARIES IN NORTHERN FRANCE Biblical commentaries—Jewish (in Hebrew) as well as Christian (in Latin)—have to be studied not only with regard to their exegetical method and content, but also their formal appearance. Is a commentary a gloss on the biblical text, i.e., a series of comments and notes written at the edge of a manuscript’s folio? Or does it represent a “wellstructered, premeditated composition”1 using the biblical lemma as the starting point of an independent exegetical treatise? And finally, does it exemplify something ‘in-between,’ meaning that even though we find reference to biblical lemmata and a verse-by-verse-commentary, the question may arise as to whether the author’s exegetical aim was to explore the Hebrew Bible, or to promote his favorite ideas. The exegetical and hermeneutical claim of a Bible commentary and its mise-en-page cannot be evaluated independently from one another. The question of how a book was written is most crucial for the elucidation of its author’s scholarly goal. 1. Bible Commentaries as Compilatory Literature? In recent years, the debate on fluctuating textual transmission, and the question of whether we can trace back the origin of a commentary to a single ‘author’, known or unknown, has centered around the commentaries of Rashi, R. Joseph Qara, and Rashbam. Sara Japhet and Martin Lockshin—who, with Elazar Touitou, are today’s leading scholars of Rashbam’s œuvre—have debated whether the Job Commentary in the JTS manuscript (MS Lutzki 778) could be attributed to Rashbam.2 The question at stake is, whether the commentary is an Japhet-Salters, The Commentary of R. Samuel ben Meir Rashbam on Qoheleth, 42. The debate on Rashbam’s Job-commentary has lately been taken up anew by Jason Kalman, “When What You See Is Not What You Get: Rashbam’s Commentary on Job and the Methodological Challenges of Studying Northern French Jewish 1 2

36

chapter two

‘author’s [Rashbam’s] commentary,’ as Japhet maintains, or an exegetical compilation by an unknown redactor or compiler, a ‘Rashbamtype commentary,’ as Lockshin claims.3 Elsewhere, Sara Japhet has disputed the attribution by Moshe Ahrend of a body of writing on Job as R. Joseph Qara’s Job commentary, instead postulating that it was a ‘compilatory commentary.’ In 2007, shortly before Japhet’s edition of the commentary on the Song of Songs appeared, I myself, reopened the debate on the authorship of the commentary on the Song of Songs as found in MS Hamburg Cod. hebr. 32. I challenged Japhet’s attribution to Rashbam, reaching the conclusion that “for the present, we might . . . call our assumed author or compilator ‘Ps.-Rashbam.’ ”4 Jason Kalman is probably right in attributing this ‘old-new’ debate to “the academic tumult Japhet’s work inspired.”5 Yet, modern research still lacks to this date satisfactory and convincing methodological criteria to reach a decisive conclusion. Concerning pesha¢-commentaries, Lockshin remarked subtly that today one can actually hardly decide on the relationship single commentaries have to each other, since a pesha¢ commentary sui generis can grant a phrase or a word only one correct meaning, and, therefore, several commentators could independently reach the same exegetical conclusion. Given the hitherto-accepted definition of pesha¢-exegesis as in one or the other way uni-dimensional as to a word’s or a phrase’s grammar, syntax, or meaning, we would have to reach the conclusion that pesha¢-interpretation can be proven wrong, since every interpretation striving for the ‘plain’ (literal or even historical ) sense strives for only one meaning, and seeks to surpass previous explanations within a new exegetical discourse.6 The constant search for new exegetical insights, and the rejection of rabbinic interpreta-

Biblical Exegesis,” Religion Compass 2/5 (2008): 844–861; although Kalman greatly appreciated Japhet’s scholarly work and the editions published, he, nevertheless, points out the methodological difficulties faced by those who are involved in the current debate on Northern French commentary literature. 3 Compare Martin I. Lockshin, “ ‘Rashbam’ on Job: A Reconsideration,” Jewish Studies Quarterly 8,1 (2001): 80–104. 4 Hanna Liss, “The Commentary on the Song of Songs Attributed to R. Samuel ben Meïr (Rashbam),” Medieval Jewish Studies Online 1 (2007/2008): 1–28 (http://www. medieval-jewish-studies.com/Journal/Vol1/article01.html/), 8. 5 Kalman, “When what You See,” 847. 6 “There can never be two correct interpretations of one text. Thus, the commentator’s burden of responsibility is weighty indeed, for it is the single truth of the ‘literal meaning’ of Scripture which he is called upon to reveal” ( Japhet-Salters, The Commentary of R. Samuel ben Meir Rashbam on Qoheleth, 62).

reevaluating biblical commentaries in northern france

37

tions are characteristics of pesha¢-exegesis that bear consequences for the literary transmission of the texts. To this day, however, researchers still lack the necessary methodological tools for deciding decisively what was composed by whom, and what hermeneutical and exegetical key issues might have guided a medieval scholar’s pen.7 To date, academic research on ‘compilatory literature’ has traced the beginnings of the Northern-French commentary almost exclusively to the Christian-Latin contextual network. Despite the fact that we must acknowledge that the Medieval French exegetes might have had at least a personal and, therefore, oral access to the contemporary Christian literary tradition, problems arise with regard to a formal and contextual comparison of Hebrew and Latin literatures. This applies primarily to the use by contemporary scholars of literary-theoretical terminology largely stemming from the Latin tradition, which is then often simply applied to commentaries written in Hebrew. For a start, we should be cautious about adopting the term ‘compilatory literature,’ which relates to the Latin compilatio. The question of what is its Hebrew equivalent has never been seriously considered, probably because the Hebrew commentaries do not consistently use a distinct terminology. Which Hebrew term can be taken as equivalent to compilatio: yalqut (‫‘ )ילקוט‬anthology’ or qun¢res (‫‘ )קונטרס‬booklet / brochure?’ According to Menahem Banitt ‘glossa’ means ‘contèrs’ in Old French (from the Latin commentaries), which was translated into Hebrew as ‘‫ קונטרס‬qun¢res.’8 Poznański often made use of the term qun¢res(-im) when characterizing what has been termed ‘compilatory literature.’ In his writings, the expression bears almost exclusively pejorative connotations; the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries still longed for the author as a ‘creative genius.’ However, medieval compilers / authors never referred to their own literary work as qun¢res(-im) within the primary sources.

7 In 2008, Elisabeth Hollender published her thorough study on Piyyut Commentary in Medieval Ashkenaz that for the first time sets up a taxonomy to analyze compilatory techniques of the medieval payyetanim. 8 Cf. Banitt, “Exegesis or Metaphrasis,” in Creative Biblical Exegesis. Christian and Jewish Hermeneutics through the Centuries, ed. Benjamin Uffenheimer and Henning Graf Reventlow, JSOT Supplement Series, vol. 59 (Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, 1988), 13–29, 28n3. It should be noted, however, that the tosafists also refer to a perush ha-qun¢res that Urbach, The Tosafists, 49 identifies as Rashbam’s. Different from his biblical commentaries, Rashbam’s talmudic qun¢resim are lengthy and elaborate in style, often referring to their predecessors (cf. Urbach, The Tosafists, esp. 49–59).

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Following Leopold Zunz, Abraham Berliner refers to R. Joseph Qara as a ‘glossator,’ an ‘editor,’ or an ‘exegete.’ As far as I could determine, Qara never referred to himself as a ‘sofer.’ Like R. Eliezer of Beaugency and Rashbam, he used the term sofer in the sense of a (final ) ‘redactor’ and assumed the sofer to be the one who undertook the task of editing the compilation of an individual prophet’s words.9 Presumably the Jewish scholars had not yet sufficiently developed technical terms for their literary activity. However, it is striking that in contrast to halakhic compilations and collections, the Bible commentaries in particular lack almost any other technical terms describing such literary activity and the development of textual traditions. This applies to the term siddur (√‫ סדר‬pi., ‫ סדר‬/ ‫)סידור‬, which features an innerHebrew semantic shift from ‘arrangement / order’ to our contemporary conventional understanding as a ‘prayerbook,’10 as well as to √‫יסד‬ ho.11 or √‫ נוח‬ho.12 By contrast, for example, Giovanni Bonaventura (1221–1274) carefully distinguishes between scriptor, compilator, commentator, and auctor. Beyond these terminology problems, Richard and Mary Rouse have elucidated in detail that even within the Latin semantic context it remains unclear whether compilatio denotes a principle, a genre, or a literary form. The Latin compilatio connotes more than (English) ‘compilation,’ which usually simply refers to some kind of ‘collection.’ These issues are even more vital to Bible and Talmud commentary literature since through the entire Jewish High Middle Ages, i.e., in Rashi’s time and well beyond, midrash-collections were composed that match exactly the category of ‘compilatory commentary’ with a single author being responsible for the compilation.13 Recently, Elisabeth 9 Compare Qara on Ezek. 23:24; 34:30; 37:25; Song of Sol. 1:1; Esther (1st version) 6:13; 8:1; Esther (2nd version) 8:15–17; R. Eliezer of Beaugency on Isa. 7:2; 36:1–2; Ezek. 1:1; on Jon. 1:9–10; Rashbam on Gen. 19:37. To the best of my knowledge, Brin, “The Issue of Editing the Scriptures according to Karaite Exegetes,” esp. 312– 313, was the first to compile the Medieval exegetes’ use of the term sofer. 10 See e.g., the phrase ‫ שנסדר לפני רש"י‬. . . (compare Andreas Lehnardt, “‘Siddur Rashi’ und die Halacha-Kompendien aus der Schule Rashis,” in Raschi und sein Erbe. Internationale Tagung der Hochschule für Jüdische Studien mit der Stadt Worms, ed. Daniel Krochmalnik, Hanna Liss et al., Schriften der Hochschule für Jüdische Studien, vol. 10 [Heidelberg: Universitätsverlag C. Winter, 2007], 65–99, 73). 11 See e.g., the phrase . . . ‫( וזה הוסד לפני רבנו‬cf. ibid.). 12 See the phrase ‫( סודרו והונחו לפני רש"י‬cf. ibid.). 13 For example Yalqut Shim’oni and Bereshit Rabbati. This holds true despite the fact that there has been an ongoing debate on the identity of the authors to whom these works have been ascribed.

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39

Hollender has corroborated the characterization of piyyut, commentaries as ‘compilatory literature.’14 2. Rashi as a Hebrew Glossa Ordinaria? With regard to the subject matter of ‘compilatory Bible commentaries’ it is noteworthy that scholars involved in the debate on compilations and compilers have seldom, if ever, called our attention to the fact that Christian scholars by the sixth century at the latest had created a new exegetical genre known today as ‘glosses’ or ‘catena’ commentaries (catena: chain).15 In Northern France, the savants of the bishopric of Auxerre (c. 50 miles south-west of Troyes) in particular were engaged in this new exegetical and literary creativity. As their particular feature, catenae show a verse-by-verse annotation in marginal and interlinear glosses that contain excerpts from earlier Bible commentators or anonymous exegetical works. Some of them introduce every single author by his name, some reveal major or minor stylistic changes, but similar adjustments with respect to theological content. Although most of the catena commentaries are entirely woven from exegetical excerpts, they nevertheless disclose a clear profile of their ‘authors.’ As pioneers in the literary development of this new ‘art of exegesis’, we might consider Anselm (c. 1050–1117), Radulf of Laon (d. 1131), and Gilbert of Auxerre (d. 1134). They are often regarded to be the first medieval scholars to set up a ‘glossa’, a catena-like exegetical exposition that collects and accumulates important comments and interpretations from the patristic and early medieval exegetical traditions. Their glossae were followed by the Media Glossatura written by Gilbert of Poitiers (c. 1080–1154) and the Magna Glossatura by Petrus Lombardus (c. 1100–1160) with a special emphasis on the exegesis of Psalms and the Pauline letters. These glossae as well as the glossa, i.e., the Glossa Ordinaria (compiled between c. 1130 and 1160) arranged and laid out by the masters of Laon, Auxerre, and Paris must be evaluated

14 Compare Elisabeth Hollender, Piyyut Commentary in Medieval Ashkenaz, Studia Judaica: Forschungen zur Wissenschaft des Judentums, vol. 42 (Berlin: de Gruyter, 2008), 1.15.226.231. 15 See J. Gribomont, “Bibel, d. Bibelkatenen,” in Lexikon des Mittelalters, vol. 2, col. 44; “Glossa Ordinaria,” in Lexikon des Mittelalters, vol. 4, col. 1503–1504.

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in relation to the curriculum in the cathedral schools.16 Margaret Gibson regarded the Glossa Ordinaria as being organized especially for the school of St. Victor, which was the most influential school between 1125 and 1160.17 Glossed bibles formed manuals that provided the prospective magister in sacra pagina with the exegetical ‘best-picks’ or ‘must-haves’, and, at the same time served to shape the theological and ideological awareness of the students: “to correct mistakes—eliminate the superfluous—inculcate what is correct.”18 There is another interesting aspect to the tension between the educational and hermeneutical claims of the masters of the Glossa Ordinaria on one hand, and the newly risen biblical and secular scholarship (the septem artes liberales) at the cathedral schools and the Parisian university on the other. Gibson describes the intellectual landscape especially in twelfth-century France as follows: The continuous commentary is flexible as to scale, easily revised, and readily transcribed . . . It has space for argument and reflection. It is the structure adopted without exception by the great exegetes of the twelfth century: Abelard himself, Rupert of Deutz, Gilbert de la Porrée, Hugh and Andrew of St. Victor—and reasonably so. These are the men at the forefront of biblical scholarship. Their work was in constant flux: criticized, adjusted, and radically recast. The Glossa Ordinaria by constrast was static: the same indispensable work of reference in every good library. . . . The Glossa Ordinaria is the junction between traditional patristic exegesis and modern scholastic method. It is the side of the hinge that is fixed to the doorpost, while scholastic exegesis swings with the door.19

16 Mark Zier refers to nearly four hundred manuscripts in the Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris; compare Mark Zier, “The Development of the Glossa Ordinaria to the Bible in the Thirteenth Century: The Evidence from the Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris,” in Giuseppe Cremascoli and Franceso Santi, ed., La Bibbia del XIII Secolo: Storia del Testo, Storia dell’Esegesi, Convegno della Società Internazionale per lo Studio del Medioevo Latino (SISMEL) (Florence: Sismel Edizioni del Galluzzo: 2004), 155–184, esp. 156–160. 17 Compare Margaret T. Gibson, “The Place of the Glossa ordinaria in Medieval Exegesis,” in Ad litteram: Authoritative Texts and Their Medieval Readers, ed. Mark D. Jordan and Kent Emery. Notre Dame Conferences in Medieval Studies, vol. 3 (Notre Dame, London: University of Notre Dame Press, 1992), 5–27, 20. 18 Johannes Heil, Kompilation oder Konstruktion? Die Juden in den Pauluskommentaren des 9. Jh.s. Forschungen zur Geschichte der Juden, Abt. A: Abhandlungen, vol. 6 (Hannover: Hahn, 1998), 26 (translated from the German; H.L.). Compare also Evans, The Language and Logic of the Bible, 37: “The Glossa Ordinaria is the product of protracted collaborative labour on the part of scholars who saw a need for a reliable commentary of manageable length.” 19 Gibson, “The Place of the Glossa Ordinaria,” 21.

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41

The Glossa Ordinaria, therefore, represents the consensus patrum (consensus of the Church Fathers), i.e., the proof that contemporary exegesis can not only integrate patristic traditions, but in addition may attain exegetical and theological support from new ideas and exegetical methods that were constantly being introduced.20 Although in the preceding chapter we insisted on the importance of the influence of French vernacular literature and culture on the development of pesha¢-exegesis, it is important to distinguish between the ‘master of pesha¢,’ Rashi, and his followers in the next two generations after him. It seems desirable to make a formal comparison between Rashi and the French masters of Biblical pesha¢-exegesis of the eleventh and twelfth century especially with respect to the primary goal of Rashi’s exegetical enterprise. The locus classicus for Rashi’s exegetical methodology is his comment on Gen. 3:8:21 And they heard [the voice of YHWH God walking in the garden]. [On this passage], there are many aggadic midrashim, and our Sages already arranged them in their proper order in Bereshit Rabbah22 and in other midrashim. However, I have come only [to explain] the simple meaning of the verse and [to relate to it] only those aggadic explanations that clarify the words of the verses [satisfactorily], each word in its proper way. And its [the lemma’s] meaning is: They heard the voice of the Holy One, Blessed be He, which was walking through the garden.23

Scholarly interpretation of this passage has focused mainly on Rashi’s demand for an interpretation based on the text’s ‘simple’ (literal ) sense, i.e., its syntactic and lexicological explanations, elimination of contextual difficulties, French glossation etc. Yet, it is possible to read this passage anew on the basis of its formal relevance. Rashi is not articulating a new method of biblical interpretation, but rather displaying

According to Evans, The Language and Logic of the Bible, 37, the commentators sometimes even made their work a vehicle for protest against the Church (e.g., against the present corruptions of the Church). 21 Compare also Rashi’s preface to the commentary of the Song of Songs: Jehuda Rosenthal, ed., “Rashi’s Commentary on the Song of Songs,” (in Hebrew), in Samuel K. Mirsky Jubilee Volume: A tribute paid to him in recognition of thirty years of dedicated sevice in behalf of higher jewish education and scholarship, ed. Simon Bernstein and Gershon A. Churgin (New York: Balshon, 1958), 130–188, 136. 22 Cf. BerR 19:7–8. 23 ‫ יש מדרשי אגדה רבים וכבר סדרום רבותינו על מכונם בבראשית רבה‬.‫וישמעו‬ 20

‫ושאר מדרשית ואני לא באתי אלא לפשוטו של מקרא ולאגדה המיישבת דברי המקרא‬ ‫ שמעו את קול הקב"ה שהיה מתהלך בגן‬,‫ ומשמעו‬.‫ושמוﬠו דבור על אופניו‬.

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a new attitude towards traditional rabbinic sources and arguing for a new literary organization of the compilations found in the Talmud and the midrash, the classical literary heritage of the Jews. Against Elisabeth Hollender’s proposal that Rashi was rejecting compilatory literature,24 we would argue for the opposite. As the literary production had expanded to such an extent that students were no longer able to cope with the abundance of commentary material or to evaluate its exegetical and theological relevance, Rashi defined his main task as making a selection from aggadic and midrashic material. As a result, he presented his selections as florilegia in such a way that students were able to appreciate the relationship between the Bible and midrashic literature. Like the glossae that preceded him, Rashi brings up the issue of an interpretation based on the (sages’ ) auctoritas and its relation to individual reasoning. What is new is how the old is dealt with. Once again, we repeat the advice: “to correct mistakes—eliminate the superfluous—inculcate what is correct.”25 Our text at hand is a wonderful example of the application of this advice. Rashi deals with the phrase And they heard the voice of YHWH, God, walking in the garden toward the cool of the day, referring to the midrash. Bereshit Rabbah ad loc. deals not only with the idiom ‘‫ מתהלך‬. . . ‫ הלך√( ’קול‬hitp.; subject ‫ )קול‬in Gen. 3:8 in comparison with the phrase from Exod. 9:23 ‘‫’ותהלך אש ארצה‬ (√‫ הלך‬qal; subject ‫)אש‬, but also offers a lengthy discourse on the different stages of the withdrawal of the shekhinah.26 In addition, inter alia, the midrash offers the explanation that they might have heard the voice of the ministering angels.27 Rashi leaves out the whole discussion and simply explains that they heard the voice of God, which was walking through the garden. The rabbis had identified the ‘sound’ (‫)קול‬ to be the Divine presence, i.e., in rabbinic terminology the shekhinah. Rashi, took over this midrashic notion according to which the sound and the Divine presence are one and the same, while simultaneously seeing no need for an explicit modification of the subject from ‘God’

See Hollender, Piyyut Commentary, 12. See above Chapter Two, n18. 26 Cf. BerR 19:8: '‫)ח( וישמעו את קול ה' אלהים מתהלך בגן לרוח היום אמר ר‬ .‫ והיכן שמענו להלן ותיהלך אש‬,‫ הילוך לאש לא שמענו‬,‫חלפיי שמענו שיש הילוך לקול‬ ‫ עיקר שכינה‬,‫אמר ר' אבא בר כהנא מהלך אין כת' כאן אלא מתהלך מקפץ ועולה‬ ‫ חטא קין עלה‬,‫ כיון שחטא אדם הראשון ניסתלקה לרקיע הראשון‬,‫בתחתונים הייתה‬ ‫לרקיע השיני‬. 27 Cf. ibid.: ‫אמר ר' חננא בר פפא וישמעו וישמיעו שמעו קולן שלמלאכי השרת‬ ‫אומרים ה' אלהים הולך לאותן שבגן אתמהא‬. 24 25

reevaluating biblical commentaries in northern france

43

to the ‘shekhinah’ that the midrash had introduced. Rashi’s argument is somewhat ‘outside the box,’ but we can see very clearly that he is picking the ‘essentials’ of the midrash and the rabbis’ discussions. The hierarchy is very clear: The auctoritas of rabbinic literature is entirely unchallenged. Similarly, Vincent of Beauvais writes in the prologue to his Speculum maius (1244–1260): Ipsorum igitur est auctoritate, nostrum autem sola partium ordinatione ‘Theirs is the authority [with regard to contents]; it is up to us to arrange the individual excerpts.’28 Seen in this light, Rashi operates very much within the system of the Medieval Christian magistri. It is, therefore, not surprising that he apologizes repeatedly for providing an explanation based on his own thoughts. Compare his interpretation of Exod. 28:4 (the biblical description of the ephod), where he introduces his comments with the following words: I did not hear [a tradition concerning the ephod], and I did not find any explanation of its pattern in the Baraita [di-Melekheth ha-Mishkan]. My heart tells me that . . .

Rashi’s commentary cuts through the confusing compilations of midrashic material, i.e., texts that up to the tenth century had served to form the self-conception of the Jews, and that now, under altered conditions, needed to be reinterpreted. Furthermore, like the Christian scholars, Rashi established a new collection of ‘fixed texts’ for the classroom, since the former ‘canon’ of exegetical literature seemed no longer suitable for the Jewish society of Medieval Northern France. Rashi’s innovation is the compilation of a new anthology of ‘fixed texts,’ making him the first and possibly the only Jewish compiler in the Latin sense of the word. Moreover, as with the Glossa Ordinaria, any later commentator was obliged to comment not only on the biblical text, but also on Rashi’s commentary or on any other text identified as his. Although some of Rashi’s successors like Rashbam or R. Eliezer of Beaugency, the so-called ‘maskilim,’ at times went beyond the Jewish interpretational context and applied contemporary literary and narrative theory to the biblical narratives, the majority of Northern French Bible exegetes followed Rashi’s integrative path. Midrashic material 28 Alastair J. Minnis, “Late-Medieval Discussions of Compilatio and the Role of the Compilator,” Beiträge zur Geschichte der deutschen Sprache und Literatur 101 (1979): 385–421, 387.

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was integrated into his commentaries, just as were other pesha¢ explanations that originally (in all likelihood) were not his, but rather the work of R. Joseph Qara or Rashbam. Rashi’s commentary turned into a compilation, and, in a certain sense, into an ‘open book’, a not yet canonized collection of interpretations that gained its authority not from the interpretation itself, but by the Jewish context given to it by Rashi, who already in his lifetime was a recognized halakhic authority. How and in what manner did Rashi write his comments? Cognizant of Latin scribal techniques and the mise-en-page of Latin Bible commentaries, Abraham Berliner was of the view that Rashi wrote his commentary in the margins of the biblical text. Rashi’s commentary had been laid out as a gloss-commentary, to which later copyists added the so-called dibbur ha-mat˜il, the biblical lemma.29 Berliner’s assumption seems reasonable. It should be noted that Rashi’s comments are short and concise enough to fit into the margins, just like marginal glosses that were added to Latin manuscripts in ‘écriture microscopique.’30 Furthermore, from Rashi’s hermeneutical statement we can conclude that the main purpose of his commentary is to better understand the Bible in its traditional exegetical context. In Rashi’s commentary, therefore, the biblical text is the central concern of the exegete, and this is confirmed by the mise-en-page in which the commentary can be seen to be subordinated to the text which stands at the center. At least in its earliest manuscript versions those comments could not be read in isolation. Biblical text and commentaries were studied together in relationship to each other for the sole purpose of elucidating the Bible’s message for contemporary Jewry. From what we have presumed before, we may now state that Rashi’s commentary represented not simply a gloss, but the gloss. It was only at a later point in the history of medieval Jewish exegesis that Biblical commentaries became self-contained, and their authors more and more independent not only with regard to the biblical text, but also with respect to the Hebrew glossa ordinaria, Rashi’s commentary.

Cf. Abraham Berliner, Pletath Soferim: Beiträge zur jüdischen Schriftauslegung im Mittelalter (in Hebrew and German) (Breslau: Skutsch, 1872. Reprint, Jerusalem: Maqor, 1970), Haqdama, XVI. 30 Compare Gibson, “The Place of the Glossa Ordinaria,” 21. 29

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45

3. Glosses, Commentaries, and the Significance of the mise-en-page Unfortunately, very few remnants of Northern-French Bible commentaries have survived. Except for the fragments of Hebrew manuscripts discovered in bookbindings (i.e., fragments of the so-called European genizot)31 almost no manuscript of a Northern-French Bible commentary written before the end of the thirteenth century has come down to us.32 Today, the bulk of the literary heritage of the most radical representatives of the pesha¢ school like Rashbam or R. Eliezer of Beaugency is lost.33 It is due to this state of affairs that we are somewhat in the dark especially with regard to the early literary tradition of the pesha¢-commentaries, their scribal techniques and the mise-en-page of the commentaries. As for Rashbam’s commentary on the Torah, David Rosin states in his extensive introduction:34 Rashbam wrote his commentary in the margins of his Bible copy [i.e., as a gloss], and the first scribe [‫]הסופר הראשון‬, who calls himself the young [man], probably a pupil of R. Eliezer of Beaugency,35 added the biblical lemmata when he copied Rashbam’s commentary into a separate book, in order to elucidate Rashbam’s comments.36

31 Compare for instance Andreas Lehnardt, ed., ‘Genizat Germania:’ Hebrew and Aramaic Binding Fragments from Germany in Context, Studies in Jewish History and Culture, vol. 28 (Leiden: Brill 2010). 32 The oldest extant manuscript of Rashi’s commentary is MS hebr. Munich 5, written in 1233 (compare Touitou, Exegesis in Perpetual Motion, 79). Of Qara’s commentaries, e.g., his commentary on the Twelve Minor Prophets (Tere Asar) several manuscripts from the thirteenth century have come down to us, e.g., MS JTS, Lutzki 777 (written in 1268); MS Breslau 104II (written in 1288); Florence, Biblioteca Medicea Laurenziana, Plut. II.24 (thirteenth century). 33 See already Poznański, Introduction, esp. CXXV–CXXXII; Avraham Grossman, “The School of Literal Jewish Exegesis in Northern France,” in Hebrew Bible / Old Testament: The History of Its Interpretation, ed. Magne Sæbø, vol. 1: From the Beginnings to the Middle Ages (Until 1300). Pt. 2. The Middle Ages (Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2000), 321–371, 363. 34 David Rosin, Der Pentateuch-Commentar des R Samuel Ben Mëir (Breslau, 1881), XXXVI (translated from the Hebrew; H.L.). 35 Compare the additions in Rashbam’s Torah-Commentary on Deut. 1:2: ‫אחד‬ ‫ כל זה פרשתי אני הצעיר‬. . . ‫זה אמיתת הדבר שמתחיל לספר‬+—‫עשר יום מחורב‬ ‫ ועתה אשוב‬.‫ כי ר' אליעזר מבליינצ"י העמידני על האמת‬,‫פירוש כתב ידו של רבינו‬ ‫ כי‬,‫ מי חכם ויבן את זאת‬.+‫לפירוש רבינו שמואל זכר צדיק לברכה וכן הורה לי הרב‬

‫פסוק זה לא נכתב אלא לפי שכתוב לפנינו ונסע מחורב ונלך את כל המדבר הגדל‬ ‫ ;והנורא ]וגו'[ דרך הר האמורי ]וגו'[ ונבא עד קדש ברנע‬see also Rosin, Der Pentateuch-

Commentar des Samuel ben Meir 199n20. 36 ‫( פתרוני רשב"ם‬translated from the Hebrew; H.L.); compare also Rosin, R. Samuel b. Meir (‫ )רשב"ם‬als Schrifterklärer. Jahresbericht des Jüdisch-Theologischen Seminars Fraenckel’scher Stiftung (Breslau, 1880), 91.

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According to Rosin, Rashbam’s commentary represented a gloss, a series of comments and notes written in the margins of a biblical manuscript’s folios.37 Rosin reaches this conclusion since in the High Middle Ages marginal glosses were a very common technique, although not the only way, to comment on the Bible or on other ancient and classical texts. Based on this assumption, Rosin repeatedly38 corrected the order of the lemmata as quoted in the manuscript, yet fortunately noted his emendations in the critical apparatus.39 In 1985, Sara Japhet and Robert Salters refuted this view, arguing that Rashbam’s commentary on Qohelet shows clear signs of a book composed on its own from the very beginning: [Rashbam’s] commentary is by no means a glossary! It is a well-structered, premeditated composition, the writing of which is guided by a literary insight into the book of Qoheleth.40

Japhet-Salters assert this claim with regard to Rashbam’s commentary on the Torah as well, although they had to admit that the Breslau manuscript that Rosin had seen, is now lost.41 Although here is not the place for a detailed discussion of the question of whether the commentary in MS Hamburg Cod. hebr. 32 is in fact Rashbam’s,42 Japhet-Salters are certainly right in stating that the Qohelet commentary presents a clear outline on the book’s literary form, method, and message. However, does that mean that the commentary was not originally set up as a gloss? Even though the Qohelet commentary at times deals with general issues, we find as well explanations of single words and phrases in their proper place in the text. Therefore, to say that a commentary that “is guided by a literary insight into the book of Qoheleth”43 had never been a gloss, is not altogether convincing. Japhet-Salters’ main argument for the charac37 Banitt, “Exegesis or Metaphrasis,” 28n3 expounds the glossa as contèrs in Old French (Romance) as a philological basis for the Hebrew term ‫ קונטרס‬as ‘commentary.’ 38 Touitou, Exegesis in Perpetual Motion, 85–91 lists up 21 examples. 39 See especially his introduction on this topic (Rosin, Der Pentateuch-Commentar des Samuel ben Meir, xxxvi–xxxvii); compare also Japhet-Salters, The Commentary of R. Samuel ben Meir Rashbam on Qoheleth, 42n107, Touitou, Exegesis in Perpetual Motion, 85–91. On the variant readings of the Masoretic text and Rosin’s emendations see Shaul Esh, “Variant Readings in Mediaeval Hebrew Commentaries: R. Samuel Ben Meir (Rashbam),” Textus 5 (1966): 84–92, esp. 84–85n3. 40 Japhet-Salters, The Commentary of R. Samuel ben Meir Rashbam on Qoheleth, 42. 41 Compare also Touitou, Exegesis in Perpetual Motion, 79. 42 Compare Japhet-Salters, The Commentary of R. Samuel ben Meir Rashbam on Qoheleth, 19–33. 43 Ibid., 42.

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47

terization of the Qohelet commentary as a well-structered, organized composition rather than a ‘glossary’ is the following: . . . the usual form of the interpretations is the discourse: in a continuous and fluent presentation, comprising complete sentences and written in a brief and concise idiom, the meaning of the interpreted unit is given.44

It seems here that Japhet-Salters did not distinguish thoroughly enough between the terms ‘gloss’ and ‘glossary.’ In Medievalist scholarship, the term ‘gloss’ refers to a certain type of commentary, usually on the Bible or other Classical (Latin or Greek) texts. In contrast, a ‘glossary’ in essence comprises short linguistic explanations of the syntax or meaning of a phrase, or translations of phrases from the source text into the vernacular.45 In addition, Japhet-Salters’ attitude towards ‘glossaries’ appears to be rather pejorative, an approach that John Contreni once countered with the remark that “glossing biblical vocabulary in the Middle Ages was not the prosaic activity it most often seems to us.”46 With regard to the question of a manuscript’s mise-en-page there is no cogent argument against Rosin’s description of Rashbam’s commentaries as glosses. If we compare, for example, Rashbam’s commentaries— his commentary on the Torah as well as the Five Scrolls commentaries ascribed to him—with a commentary by the early twelfth-century Northern-French Christian Anonymous X,47 we observe a similar literary structure. In X’s commentary, that is laid out as a gloss,48 we find a continuous work that includes explanations of literary and rhetorical techniques.49 Some of X’s comments are more than sixty words long, sometimes without the biblical lemmata being clearly separated from the interpretation.50 Ibid., 38 (compare ibid., 42). Compare also Alexander Schwarz, “Glossen als Texte,” Beiträge zur Geschichte der deutschen Sprache und Literatur 99,1 (1977): 25–36. 46 John J. Contreni, “Glossing the Bible in the Early Middle Ages: Theodor and Hadrian of Canterbury and John Scottus (Eriugena),” in The Study of the Bible in the Carolingian Era, ed. Celia Chazelle and Burton Van Name Edwards (Turnhout: Brepols, 2003), 19–38, 24. 47 See Smalley, “An Early Twelfth Century Commentator the Book of Leviticus.” On this commentary, see also below Chapter Six, 1.2. 48 For a thorough description of the manuscripts, see Smalley, “An Early Twelfth Century Commentator on the Book of Leviticus,” 78–81. 49 Compare ibid., 83. 50 See his comments on Lev. 12:6–8 in Smalley, “An Early Twelfth Century Commentator on the Book of Leviticus”, 93 (Smalley ibid., presents the explanations as only referring to Lev. 12:6–7). In this case the lemmata form a genuine part of the 44 45

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Recently, Elazar Touitou dedicated an extensive discussion to the issue at hand. Concerning Rashbam’s commentary on the Torah, he, too, supports Japhet-Salters criticism of Rosin’s view, arguing that a commentary of this length and complexity could hardly have been written in the margins of a biblical manuscript. Furthermore, Touitou discusses at length the emendations made by Rosin to the order of the biblical lemmata. He begins by discussing the communicative function of a gloss. According to Touitou, glosses were usually recorded as (a teacher’s) personal notes for private use while reading or reciting the biblical text. The glosses, thus, served as a teacher’s manual, in which he noted issues worthy of further elucidation. As Schwarz further demonstrated, glosses reveal a question-answer dialogue between student and teacher, which the teacher had recorded after the fact. Glosses may also have included aides-mémoire for explanatory excursuses.51 In any case, a gloss explanation refers directly to its biblical source and is not meant to be heard or read without the lemma to which it is tied. On the other hand, Rashbam’s Torah-commentary—at least the manuscript copy that Rosin had before him—displays twenty-one cases of textual disorder that Touitou like Japhet interpreted as clear signs of Rashbam’s compositional intention.52 Rashbam’s own literary creativity, thus, might have had him turn biblical stories into a free flowing narrative, and might have compelled him to rearrange his source material in a more flexible manner.53 Japhet-Salters and Touitou have raised the question of the relationship between the external form of the twelfth-century commentary (its mise-en-page) and its meaning and function. However, although they make some interesting points their argument at some points lacks clar-

interpretation itself. In the case of Lev. 12:8 lemma and interpretation are integrated into one sentence requiring even that the Latin quotation of the biblical phrase be syntactically adapted to the explanation: “Quod autem pro matre etiam fieret oblatio (apparet) ex istis verbis presentibus: Orabit pro ea sacerdos et sic mundabitur” (Smalley ibid.; compare Vulgate Version [Bibleworks, Version 8.0]: quod si non invenerit manus eius nec potuerit offerre agnum sumet duos turtures vel duos pullos columbae unum in holocaustum et alterum pro peccato orabitque pro ea sacerdos et sic mundabitur). 51 Cf. Schwarz, “Glossen als Texte,” esp. 32–34. 52 Touitou, Exegesis in Perpetual Motion, 81. Touitou takes up an expression by Sara Japhet, according to which Rashbam wrote his commentary ‫על יסוד מתכונת‬ ‫( קומפוזיציונית‬see ibid., 91). 53 Touitou, Exegesis in Perpetual Motion, 97 proposed yet another reason for the disorder of the lemmata, suggesting that Rashbam quoted the biblical references from memory, without a Bible at hand.

reevaluating biblical commentaries in northern france

49

ity and does not yield satisfying results. In addition, Jewish Studies medievalists use the terms ‘glossary’ / ‘gloss’ in too broad a sense. The debate over (gloss-)commentaries and their hermeneutics that has been conducted in non-Hebrew medieval philology for the last fifteen years54 has not yet been taken up in medieval Jewish Studies. Furthermore, there is literary diversity among the pesha¢-commentaries in Northern France, akin to the non-Jewish commentary literature in either Latin, English, or French which might suggest a further possible distinction between a ‘gloss’ ( glossa) and a catena-commentary,55 each with its own scholarly and rhetorical purpose.56 With regard to its communicative function, it is important to distinguish between a gloss or scholia-commentary,57 and a commentary meant as an independent literary composition. According to Suzanne Reynolds, a glossa not only represents a grammatical or syntactical explanation of an idiom or a phrase, but has a distinct rhetorical function: If these glosses represent a certain kind of reading, who is the reader? And how do we get about reading the glosses? These are questions of crucial importance, for the attempt to answer them helps to prevent us from lapsing into a trans-historical ‚reader-response’ model, which negates the glossing’s cultural and functional specificity.58

In taking up Clanchy’s research on the subject of orality and literacy,59 Reynolds introduced the differentiation between ‘readers’ and ‘authors / writers’. To her, a gloss commentary is put together for an audience lacking ‘writing’-knowledge: 54 See e.g., the Introduction in Sarah L. Keefer and Rolf H. Bremmer, ed., Signs on the Edge: Space, Text and Margin in Medieval Manuscripts. Mediaevalia Groningana; N.S., vol. 10 (Paris: Peeters, 2007), 3–6. 55 See e.g., John Ward, “From Marginal Gloss to catena Commentary: The Eleventh-Century Origins of a Thetorical Teaching Tradition in the Medieval West,” Parergon: Bulletin of the Australian and New Zealand Association for Medieval and Renaissance Studies 13,2 (1996): 109–120, esp. 112–119. 56 Compare Parkes, Scribes, Scripts and Readers, 35: “. . . it seems to me that from the twelfth century onwards developments in the mise-en-page of texts were bound up with developments in methods of scholarship.” 57 Interlinear glosses consist mostly of short explanations of words or a mere translation of an idiom. 58 Suzanne Reynolds, Medieval Reading: Grammar, Rhetoric and the Classical Text, Cambridge Studies in Medieval Literature, vol. 27 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996), 28. 59 See Clanchy, From Memory to Written Record, 224–252; on the technology of writing 114–144; on hearing and seeing compare ibid., 253–293.

50

chapter two Being able to read in no way implies the capacity to record anything in writing . . . the kind of reader who would need the information embodied in the glosses, that is to say, grammatical information, is by definition the kind of reader who cannot write: someone who could write would, in terms of the twelfth-century hierarchy of literate skills,60 have no need of such glosses.61

The grammaticus, therefore, is a teacher who reads for (or even in front of ) his audience. Glosses thereby become “written traces of a much fuller reading practice,”62 especially in public or semi-public spaces like a ‘classroom.’ This correlation between glossa and classroom yields interesting insights with regard to the Northern-French commentary tradition. However, a medievalist dealing with the Hebrew commentary literature is faced with the problem that we have very few glossed biblical manuscripts. As opposed to the extant Latin manuscripts, the Hebrew glossae that have come down to us in manuscripts are later copies from glossed Bibles. Whereas English or French philologists can refer to a glossed biblical text, scholars of Hebrew commentaries have to turn to the commentaries themselves, in an effort to develop a methodology for deciding whether or not a commentary was written as a gloss. However, there are fortunately several cases for which we have two or more manuscripts with more or less the same commentary, one as an isolated text, the other as glosses to a biblical manuscript.63 This is the case, for example, in MS Vatican ebr. 18, fol. 336r. The manuscript contains exegetical comments on Ruth 1:1–13. This commentary on Ruth 1:1–13, copied by several hands and completed at the latest in 1274, is written in the left margin as a glossa. The commentary breaks off at the end of the folio, and we have no idea, why it was never completed. Perhaps the commentator was unable to complete his work, or did not have permanent access to the master copy of the Bible in which the glossa was written. The commentary contains exegetical comments ascribed to Rashi, R. Joseph Qara, and Rashbam. The text of this glossa is quite similar to that of the anonymous ‘compilatory commentary’ in MS Hamburg Cod. hebr. 32, 60 On the structure of the Latin education and its curriculum see Reynolds, Medieval Reading, 7–16. 61 Ibid., 28–29. 62 Ibid., 29. 63 See also the examples of glossed manuscripts in Judith Olszowy-Schlanger, Les manuscrits hébreux dans l’Angleterre médiévale: Étude historique et paléographique, Collection de la Revue des étude juives, vol. 29 (Paris: Peeters, 2003), esp. 157–169.

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51

fol. 83r–83v.64 Whereas the carefully written commentary in MS Hamburg Cod. hebr. 32—at least throughout Ruth 1:1–2:565—assigns the comments to their authors, the Vatican MS does not. The only name cited (although not regularly) is ‫‘( רב שלמה‬R. Solomon’; Rashi).66 In both manuscripts, the biblical lemmata are frequently repeated as incipits.67 Concerning the characteristic traits of the glosses, one can easily see that they consist of concise and succinct grammatical explanations, including comments on the Hebrew verbal system, examples of literary devices and style like parallelismus membrorum, as well as short clarifications of single motifs in the biblical narrative. Nowhere do we find comprehensive essays that explore the text as a whole or focus on the nature or tenor of individual facets. The following are two examples taken from the comments on Ruth 1:1 and 1:15:68 (MS Hamburg Cod. hebr. 32 on Ruth 1:1) . . . judging—‫[ שפוט‬is] an infinitive. And it came to pass in the days of the judges judging, [i.e., the point in time] before any king had reigned over the people of Israel [cf. Gen. 36:31), [this event occurred], for they were judged by shepherd judges. ‘And it came to pass’ in the days . . . ‘there was’ a famine’ [‫ויהי‬ '‫ ויהי רעב‬. . . '‫]בימי‬. In many places [in Scripture, the verses] are [syntactically structured] this way, in order to describe two sequenced events: And it will happen that [when] you take the water from the river, then it will happen that [it] will turn to blood on the dry land [‫ והיו לדם‬. . . ‫( ]והיו המים‬Exod. 4:9). [An explanation of ] R. Samuel. And it came to pass in the days when the judges judged. Scripture here teaches you how it came to pass that despite the fact that Elimelech was prince of Judah and could have married off his sons [to daughters of other] leaders from the tribe of Judah they married Moabite women, and by virtue of Ruth’s conversion to Judaism ‘for heaven’s sake,’ how it came

64 This text was edited by my student Ingeborg Lederer, MA (Heidelberg) as an unpublished MA-Thesis, “Der Kommentar zum Buch Rut im Manuskript Hamburg heb. 32,” Magisterarbeit im Fach Bibel und Jüdische Bibelauslegung, Heidelberg 2007. A detailed comparison of the commentary in the Hamburg MS and other versions of Qara’s commentary on Ruth is currently being prepared as a dissertation project by Ingeborg Lederer, Heidelberg. 65 Further references to the commentator’s are in Ruth 2:3.4.16; 3:11 and 4:18. 66 MS Vatican ebr. 18, fol. 336r, line 24–25. 67 Unfortunately, MS Hamburg Cod. hebr. 32 is undated. The electronic catalogue of the Institute of Microfilmed Hebrew Manuscripts dates it to the 2nd half of the thirteenth century. It was, thus, approximately written at the same time as MS Vatican ebr. 18. 68 My thanks to Ingeborg Lederer for placing her material at my disposal.

52

chapter two to pass that she was rewarded by having the [Davidic] kingship derive from her. [A comment by] R. Joseph [Qara].69 (MS Hamburg Cod. hebr. 32 on Ruth 1:15) But she [Naomi] said: Behold, your sister-in-law has returned to her people, and unto her god. Return you, too, after your sister-in-law to your people, and unto your god. [A comment by] R. Joseph [Qara]. ‘Behold, your sister-in-law returned.’ The accentuation [of the word] ‫ שבה‬is on the penultimate [= first] syllable, i.e., on the Shin; its tense is Perfect. However, in the verse ‘And in the morning she returned’ . . . (Esther 2:14), the accentuation [of the word ‫ ]שבה‬is on the last syllable, on the [letter] Bet: And it is in the present tense. Likewise, all the verbs [of the group ‘AyinWaw-‘Ayin] and their equivalents are separated into present and perfect tense according to their accentuation . . . [A comment by] R. Samuel.70

As one can see from this example, the glossa presents almost exclusively material pertaining to the biblical text itself: its language and grammar, and the simple explanation (‫ )פתרון‬of the verse at hand. In those cases where further information regarding the text’s underlying structures like the biblical author’s literary techniques and his presumed intention is provided, as in the case of Rashbam’s first explanations on the doubled introductory phrase ‫ויהי‬, the language used is as succinct and to the point as possible. Overall, this commentary, as a typical glossa, presents a scriptural commentary as part of a basic curriculum, mediating between the text and the student.

'‫א( שפוט לש' פעול ויהי בימי שפוט השופטים לפני מלוך מלך לבני ישר‬,‫)רות א‬ ‫נהיה הדבר הזה שהיו נשפטי' על ידי רועים שופטים' ויהי בימי' ויהי רעב' כך נוהגין‬ ‫בכמה מקומות }לשתי{ לכתוב שתי הוויות תכופות' והיו המים אשר תקח מן היאר והיו‬ ‫לדם ביבשה >< ר' שמ' >< ויהי בימי שפוט השופטים בא הכת' ללמדך היאך נתגלגל‬ '‫הדבר שאלימלך שהיה מאלופי יהוד' והיה יכול לישא לבניו מן הגדולים שבשבט יהוד‬ ‫מה להם שנשאו נשים מואביות' ועל ידי שנתגיירה רות לשם שמים מה פועל נשתלמה‬ '‫( שיצא ממנה מלכות >< ר' יוסי‬MS Hamburg Cod. hebr. 32, fol. 83r). MS Vatican 69

ebr. 18, fol. 336r reads as follows (the differences between the two manuscripts on Ruth 1:1 are insignificant): ‫א( שפוט לש' פעול ויהי בימי שפוט השופטים השו‬,‫)רות א‬

‫יהשפטים לפני מלוך מלך לבני ישר' נהיה הדבר הז שהיו נשפטים על ידו רועים שופטים‬ ‫ויהי בימי ויהי רעב כך ניהגין בכמה מקומו' לפתור שתי הוויות והיו המים אשר תק מן‬ ‫היאר והיו לדם ביבשת ויהי ב)י(מי שפיט השופטים בא הכת ללמדך היאך נתגל הדבר‬ ‫שאלימלך שהי מאלופי יהודה היה יכול לישא לבניו מן גדולי הדור שבשבט יהוד' מה‬ ‫גרם להם שנשאו נשים נשים מואביות ועל ידי שנתגייר רות לשם שמים מה פועל נש‬ ‫נשתלמה שיצא ממנ מלכות‬. (MS Hamburg Cod. hebr. 32, fol. 83v). 70 ‫טו( ותאמר הנה שבה יבמתך אל עמה ואל אק'יה שובי אחרי יבמתך אל‬,‫)רות א‬ ‫עמך ואל אק'יך >< ר' יוסי' >< הנה שבה טעם למעלה בשין לש' עבר הוא אבל בבקר‬ ‫היא שבה טעם למטה בבית ולש' הווה וכן כולם וכל ריעיה מתפרדים בטעמיהם בין‬ '‫ >< ר' שמ‬. . . ‫ לש' הווה ללשון עבר‬. . . (line 2: The MS states ‫טעם למעלה‬, which is a mistake by the copyist).

reevaluating biblical commentaries in northern france

53

A careful comparison of MSS Hamburg hebr. 32 and Vatican ebr. 18 (at least on Ruth 1:1–6) shows that differences between them with respect to content are insignificant. The variants might stem from the fact that at first the comments were transmitted orally from notes taken down on wax-tablets.71 They might have been collected in socalled qun¢resim. More than MS Vatican, MS Hamburg resembles the catena-commentaries in which various exegetical comments were combined into a continuous interpretation of the biblical text, in which the author and, thus, the origin of an explanation is mentioned at the end of each commentary lemma. Does the text, whether in its glossa-form or as an independent commentary, give the impression that the glosses were noted for a ‘reader who cannot write?’ In line with Reynolds’s observations regarding the glosses, it is likely that a teacher with students who had not yet developed advanced literate skills, if they could read the text at all, recorded these glosses. Whether and in what manner a Bible instructor, a ‘qara,’ used biblical books like Ruth (or Job) as part of a (lower or higher?) Hebrew language curriculum is a question worth considering for further research. The grammatical-morphological comments ascribed to Rashbam72 in MS Hamburg especially support this view: they deal with the accentuation of verbs73 or their vocalization.74 At times, the phrasing even conveys an ‘oral’ style that, again, suggests a classroom as the Sitz im Leben; compare phrases like ‫‘ בידך תפוס‬keep this in mind’ or . . . ‫‘ ללמדך‬. . . to teach you.’75 We can easily imagine the comments on Ruth quoted here being used as part of a teacher’s manual to elucidate the biblical text and teach Hebrew grammar. In accordance with the emphasis of the first and second generation of pesha¢-exegetes 71 Compare Malachi Beit Arie, “How Hebrew Manuscripts are Made,” in A Sign and a Witness: 2000 Years of Hebrew Books and Illuminated Manuscripts, ed. with an introduction by Leonard Singer Gold (New York and Oxford: New York Public Library and Oxford University Press: 1988), 35–46, 35; Elisabeth Lalou, “Les Tablettes de Cire Médieváles,” Bibliothèque de l’École des Chartres 147 (1989): 123–40; Schwarz, “Glossen als Texte,” 32–33. 72 MS Hamburg Cod. hebr. 32, fol. 83v; on Ruth 1:15; see also Rashbam’s comments on Gen. 30:1; Exod. 1:16; 7:21. On Rashbam’s strong efforts to explain the aspect and mode of the Hebrew verbal system see also below Chapter Seven, 1. 73 Compare e.g., MS Hamburg Cod. hebr. 32 on Ruth 1:15 (ascribed to Rashbam), fol. 83v, Col. 1. 74 Compare e.g., MS Hamburg Cod. hebr. 32 on Ruth 1:19–20 (ascribed to Rashbam), fol. 83v, Col. 2. 75 See already Gershon Brin, Studies in the Biblical Exegesis of R. Joseph Qara (in Hebrew) (Tel Aviv: Tel Aviv University, 1990), 166–167.

54

chapter two

after Rashi (R. Joseph Qara; Rashbam), our commentary selects even from Rashi’s commentary mostly those explanations that address the ad litteram reading of the text. Whoever recorded these glosses, it seems quite obvious that commentaries like the one presented here were used by a teacher (qara) who compiled his own favorite list of comments in order to use them as classroom notes. This assumed Sitz im Leben of the commentary matches exactly the nature of the glosses as to style and content. They might have been used as a pedagogic tool either within the children’s curriculum, or for teaching adults who were less familiar with the Hebrew-Aramaic tradition due to their profession their intellectual ability.76 Within the course of our investigations of Rashbam’s Torah commentary, we will have occasion to return to this preliminary classification of glossa vs. independent literary commentary. 4. Rashbam’s Commentaries as Glosses Returning to the question of whether Rashbam’s commentaries were originally laid out as glosses we may now conclude that Japhet-Salters’s statement that the Qohelet commentary “is by no means a glossary” does not stand up to scrutiny. The same holds true for the (Ps.-?)Rashbam commentary on Job. The exegete, whether Rashbam or someone from his school, tied the exegetical units clearly to the biblical lemmata. Only rarely are they meant to be presented without the incipit, and frequently are even interwoven with the text in one syntactical unit. Furthermore, even though the comments, as Japhet-Salters have observed correctly, “are presented in a fixed order according to their categories,”77 this does not contradict our proposal. The Qohelet and the Job commentaries are well-structured exegetical works, glossae with succinct explanations of Hebrew morphology, featuring characteristic terminology, or stylistic devices like staircase parallelism (,‫כפל לשון‬ ‫)כפל‬.78 Very often, the comments consist of no more than one to five

E.g., those businessmen who attended the faires in Troyes. Japhet-Salters, The Commentary of R. Samuel ben Meir Rashbam on Qoheleth, 42. 78 Compare Japhet-Salters, The Commentary of R. Samuel ben Meir Rashbam on Qoheleth, 42–55; Robert A. Harris, Discerning Parallelism. A Study in Northern French Medieval Jewish Biblical Exegesis. Brown Judaic Studies, vol. 341 (Providence: Brown Judaic Studies, 2004), esp. 55–73. 76 77

reevaluating biblical commentaries in northern france

55

words, offering synonyms, or simply a paraphrase of a Hebrew idiom.79 These glossae seem to have been composed as a manual for a teacher instructing an adult audience on Hebrew poetry. They were not written for beginners still struggling with the Hebrew language. To take up Reynolds again, we might even propose that the Qohelet and the Job commentaries provide information not only for those who read the biblical text as part of a liturgical curriculum ( Job, would, then, never have had to be elucidated!), but who sought instruction that would enable them to deal with the Hebrew language actively, i.e., as writers. These glosses elucidate the biblical text, while simultaneously and for the first time going beyond the scope of a ‘mere’ Bible commentary, thereby transforming the biblical material into a ‘piece of literature’, a textbook for higher literary-theoretical education. Unfortunately, we have no clear idea about the order in which Rashbam wrote his commentaries. From what he have observed here, it seems quite probable that the Torah commentary was written last, since many exegetical features already present in the commentaries on the Five Scrolls were used extensively in his commentary on the Torah.80 Moreover, we will see that Rashbam’s commentary on the Torah, which might have been composed in several stages or versions,81 shows many signs that he strove to liberate himself from simple ‘Bible study.’

Compare e.g., the comments on Eccles. 1:4.16; 2:1–2.6.8.17; 3:2–8.10 a.fr. According to Lockshin, Introduction, 3, the commentary was written at the earliest after his father’s death, i.e., not earlier than in the year 1140. Lockshin (Martin I. Lockshin, “The Connection between Rabbi Samuel ben Meir’s Torah Commentary and Midrash Sekhel Tov,” [in Hebrew] in Proceedings of the Eleventh World Congress of Jewish Studies. Jerusalem, June 22–29, 1993, Division A, Hebrew Section [ Jerusalem: The World Union of Jewish Studies, 1994], 135–142, 140–141) argues that the Torah commentary was written between 1139–1156. His argument is based on Fleischer’s and Simon’s dating of Ibn Ezra’s long commentary on the book of Exodus. Notwithstanding the question of whether Ibn Ezra himself wrote the long Exodus-commentary, or whether this is a later compilation by his students (as already maintained by Joseph Bonfils in his Zaphenath-Paneah; c. 1370), this dating still remains vague, and we can only conclude that Rashbam’s Torah commentary was probably a late work, written in the middle of the twelfth century. 81 See the arguments in the next chapter. 79 80

CHAPTER THREE

R. SAMUEL BEN MEÏR (RASHBAM): HIS TORAH COMMENTARY AND ITS TRANSMISSION 1. Rashbam’s Life and Works As with Rashi, little is known about his grandson.1 Usually, R. Samuel ben Meïr’s biographical data are given in relation to Rashi’s life span. Even Rashi’s date of death (1105) is cited from a manuscript from the year 1305 (Parma, de Rossi 175),2 copied 200 years later. The testimonies that Rashbam studied ‘in the presence of his grandfather’3 relate exclusively to Rashi. Given the fact that Rashi died in 1105, Rashbam must have been at least 17–20 years old, meaning that he was born somewhere around 1085–1088.4 His date of death is unknown. According to Rosin, he died not earlier than 1158.5 Leviant assigns his death to the year 1174, Lockshin to the year 1175.6 According to Urbach, as well, he reached an advanced age.7 By and large, a variation of five years either way would not make much of a difference. There can be no doubt that Rashbam lived in the early twelfth century. However, in what follows we will see that which Jews or

1 A comprehensive study on Rashbam’s life and works was published by Rosin (Rosin, R. Samuel b. Meir als Schrifterklärer) in 1880 (in German); for recent discussion on the issue see Japhet-Salters, The Commentary of R. Samuel ben Meir Rashbam on Qoheleth 12–13; Urbach, The Tosafists, vol. 1, 41; Lockshin, Introduction, 1–3. 2 Cf. Avraham Grossman, Rashi (in Hebrew) ( Jerusalem: The Zalman Shazar Center for Jewish History, 2006) 21. 3 See Rashbam on Gen. 37:2; Even-ha-Ezer fol. 145a; see also the remark by R. Joseph (cf. Urbach, The Tosafists, vol. 1, 51n44): ‫רבנו שמואל בתוספות עירובין‬ ‫ ;שפירש לפני ר' שלמה‬see also Rosin, R. Samuel b. Meir als Schrifterklärer, 6; Urbach, The Tosafists, vol. 1, 22n25 und 45n3–4. 4 Leopold Zunz, “Salomon ben Isaac, genannt Raschi,” Zeitschrift für die Wissenschaft des Judenthums 1 (1822/1823): 277–384, 282–283 dates his birth to the year 1080; later on, in his Zur Geschichte und Literatur, vol. 1 (Berlin, 1845), 62 he redates it to 1085; according to Urbach, The Tosafists, vol. 1, 46 Rashbam was born between 1080 and 1085. 5 Rosin, R. Samuel b. Meir als Schrifterklärer, 9n6–8. 6 Leviant, King Artus, 57; Lockshin, Introduction, 1. 7 Cf. Urbach, The Tosafists, vol. 1, 39.

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non-Jews he might have known or might have known him, will turn out to be an important issue. Rashbam’s birthplace is also in doubt. No cogent testimony has yet been adduced for any of the possible candidates: Rameru / Ramerupt,8 Troyes, or even Worms.9 It is usually assumed that he spent most of his life in Normandy, i.e., in Caen10 and Rouen.11 He earned his living by raising sheep.12 Equally contentious is the question of his literary œuvre.13 Aside from the commentaries ascribed to him in manuscripts, remnants of his exegetical works have come down to us from Abraham ben Azriel in his piyyu¢ commentary Sefer Arugat ha-Bosem (thirteenth century).14 However, since during the last ten years the issue of Rashbam’s authorship of the commentaries on Job, and the Song of Songs as well as the so-called ‘compilatory commentaries’ have become more and more controversial,15 we refrain from discussing this matter here.

8 See already Moritz Steinschneider, Hebräische Bibliographie: Blätter für neuere und ältere Literatur des Judenthums, 21 Volumes in 4 Volumes. 1858–1882 (Reprint: Hildesheim: Olms, 1972), vol. 20 (1880), 87. For a contrary opinion, compare Golb, The Jews in Medieval Normandy, 227n19. However, both Troyes and Ramerupt are located in the region Champagne-Ardenne where his grandfather lived and worked. 9 Norman Golb, ‫תולדות היהודים בעיר רואן בימי הביניים‬, (Tel Aviv: Devir, 1976), 36n95; there is no further reference to Worms in Golb, The Jews in Medieval Normandy, 226–227. 10 See Sefer ha Jashar § 41, S. 71; compare also Japhet-Salters, The Commentary of R. Samuel ben Meir Rashbam on Qoheleth, 13; Urbach, The Tosafists, vol. 1, 46.—Caen is the capital of the region Basse-Normandie, 79 miles south-west of Rouen located in the region Haute-Normandie. 11 Golb, The Jews in Medieval Normandy, esp. 226–245. 12 Compare Urbach, The Tosafists, vol. 1, esp. 46n13 and 14. 13 Compare Lockshin, Introduction, esp. 3–4. 14 Compare already Rosin, R. Samuel b. Meir als Schrifterklärer 13–17; Urbach, The Tosafists, vol. 1, 45–59; Japhet-Salters, The Commentary of R. Samuel ben Meir Rashbam on Qoheleth, esp. 14–18. For a detailed edition and explanation of the material from Sefer Arugat ha-Bosem see Touitou, Exegesis in Perpetual Motion, 208–225. Although Touitou is very cautious as to the ascription of some of the commentaries to Rashbam, he lists exegetical comments on Judges, Samuel, Kings, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Hosea, Joel, Amos, Micah, and Zechariah. Unfortunately, except maybe for the comments on Isaiah, these exegetical remarks are too vague and lack a clear exegetical profile, because there is not enough material. Japhet-Salters, The Commentary of R. Samuel ben Meir Rashbam on Qoheleth 14–18 maintain that ‘Arugat ha-Bosem quotes only comments on Psalms. 15 Compare already Sara Japhet, “The Nature and Distribution of Medieval Compilatory Commentaries in the Light of Rabbi Joseph Kara’s Commentary on the Book of Job,” in The Midrashic Imagination: Jewish Exegesis, Thought, and History, ed. Michael Fishbane (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1993), 98–130; for a recent discussion on the ongoing debate on the authorship of Rashbam’s and Joseph

rashbam: his torah commentary and its transmission

59

That Rashbam wrote a grammar (Sefer ha-Dayyaqut),16 a commentary on Qohelet,17 and a commentary on the Torah18 that was preserved in only one manuscript is undisputed.19 This manuscript, a collection in several parts, stems at the latest from the early sixteenth century. It belonged to the families Walch and Oppenheim, and, later on, the Mendelssohn and the Fraenckel families. In 1863, the curator L. Milch discovered the manuscript by chance in the inheritance of Jonas Fraenckel, and delivered it to the library of the Breslau Seminary. Due to events during the Nazi regime and the Second World War, the manuscript is now lost. Rosin had based his edition on this manuscript. His elaborate introduction to the text as well as his detailed description in his monograph on Rashbam gives us a fairly clear picture of the manuscript.20 In 2009, Martin Lockshin published a new edition of the Torah commentary that is based on Rosin’s edition, including also readings from contemporary pesha¢ commentaries as well as variants from Samuel David Luzzatto’s commentary on the Torah, since Luzzatto (1800–1865) was the first modern scholar who relied on Rashbam’s commentary.21 Besides the Breslau manuscript,

Qara’s exegetical works see Robert A. Harris, “The Rashbam Authorship Controversy Redux. On Sara Japhet’s The Commentary of Rabbi Samuel Ben Meïr (Rashbam) on the Book of Job (Hebrew),” Jewish Quarterly Review 95,1 (2005): 163–181; Sara Japhet, The Commentary of Rabbi Samuel ben Meir (Rashbam) on the Song of Songs (in Hebrew) ( Jerusalem: World Union of Jewish Studies. The Rabbi David Moses and Amalia Rosen Foundation, 2008), 9–51; Kalman, “When what You See,” Jason Kalman, “Medieval Jewish Biblical Commentaries and the State of Parshanut Studies,” Religion Compass 2/5 (2008): 819–843. 16 See in particular the recent edition by Ronela Merdler, Dayyaqut me-Rabbenu Shemuel Ben Meir (Rashbam): A Critical edition with an Introduction and a detailed Table of Contents (in Hebrew) ( Jerusalem: Center for Graduate Jewish Studies, Hebrew University, 1999). 17 See the discussion in Japhet-Salters, The Commentary of R. Samuel ben Meir Rashbam on Qoheleth, esp. 19–41. 18 On the version of this commentary see esp. Touitou, Exegesis in Perpetual Motion, 79–97. The Responsa-Project as well as ‫ עם‬. . . ‫ חמשה חומשי תורה‬.‫תורת חיים‬ ‫ קצנלנבוגן‬.‫ל‬.‫ בעריכת הרב מ‬. . . ‫ פירושי‬and Mikra’ot Gedolot ‘Haketer’ (the printed edition as well as the electronic Version) use as their basic text-type the version published by Rosin, in Der Pentateuch-Commentar des Samuel ben Meir from 1881. On the different manuscripts see also Martin I. Lockshin, Rabbi Samuel ben Meir’s Commentary on Genesis: An Annotated Translation (Lewiston: Mellen, 1989), esp. 23–24. 19 Regarding the history of the manuscript, and its respective owners see in detail Rosin, R. Samuel b. Meir als Schrifterklärer, 24–37. 20 Unless otherwise stated this edition is used as our basic text. 21 Lockshin’s edition is vocalized and in some places emended. Therefore, I decided to quote according to Rosin’s edition, since it is closer to the original manuscript. In addition, Lockshin sometimes emends the biblical quotations in the commentary in

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MS hebr. Munich 5 (written in 1233) includes one folio with Rashbam’s commentary on Gen. 1,1–31.22 Rashbam’s Torah-commentary was printed for the first time in Berlin in 1705. In 1727, R. Solomon Zalman Ashkenazi published a super-commentary entitled Qeren Shemuel.23 Whereas the authenticity of the commentaries on Job and on the Megillot (Qohelet; Song of Songs) attributed to Rashbam has been at issue for the last 150 years, the authenticity of the commentary on the Torah has never been questioned, although it shows clear signs of manifold revision.24 The reason is that only in his commentary on the Torah does Rashbam refer to both his father Meïr25 and his grandfather, Rashi.26 Even though this study will deal mainly with Rashbam’s commentary on the Torah, it is important to place Rashbam’s biblical commentaries in proper perspective in relation to his other works. As with Rashi, Rashbam’s main concern was the exegesis of the Talmud, halakhic responsa and decisions, and he was a recognized halakhic authority already in his lifetime. His commentaries on Talmudic treatises,27 his collections of tosafot to Alfasi, and other halakhic compilations from the very beginning found their way into tosafist literature, and

accordance with the biblical textus receptus (‫ ;נוסח המסורה‬see e.g., Martin Lockshin, ed. ‫ הערות‬,‫ ציוני מקורות‬,‫ עם שינויי נוסחאות‬.‫פירוש התורה לרבינו שמואל בן מאיר‬ ‫ומפתחות‬, 2 vols. ( Jerusalem: Chorev, 2009), vol. 1, 89n3 (in the following: Lockshin, Perush ha-Tora). However, since we do not have direct access to the manuscript, and the question of the variety of biblical texts used in the High Middle Ages and of the knowledge of the Masoretic tradition among Northern French exegetes awaits further research, emendations should be avoided. 22 Compare the catalogue of the Institute of Microfilmed Hebrew manuscripts:

‫בסוף כה"י דף אחד מהתחלת "פרושי חמשה חומשי תורה יסוד רבינו שמואל בן הרב‬ ‫ )רק‬. . . "‫ רבינו שלמה בר' יצחק‬. . . ‫ר' מאיר אחיו של רבינו יעקב מרמרו בני בתו של‬ ‫)על בראשית א‬.

Published at Frankfurt/Oder; on Qeren Shemuel see also Lockshin, Introduction, 27. For instance, the biblical references given on the motif of a person’s refusal to obey a divine order in Rashbam’s comments on Gen. 32:29 (see also in the following) seem to be a later insertion. Likewise, in the commentary on Gen. 20, the text comprises literary doublets (see below Chapter Five, 3). 25 See his comments on Gen. 25:32: ‫כך פירש אבי הרב רבי מאיר מנוחתו כבוד‬ and Num. 31:49: ‫מאבא מרי הרב רבי מאיר שמעתי שיטה זו ועיקר‬. 26 See his comments on Exod. 25:2: ‫ יימצאו בפרושי רבנו‬. . . ‫פרשיות של משכן‬ ‫ ;שלמה אבי אמי זכר צדיק לברכה‬on Ex 40:35: ‫ אל יזוז מנימוקי זקני רבנו שלמה‬. . .; on Lev. 1:1: ‫ והתבוננו החכמים בפרושי זקני‬,‫ הלכות מרובות יש בו‬as well as in his most famous commentary on Gen. 37:2: ‫ ואף‬. . . ‫וגם רבנו שלמה אבי אמי מאיר עיני גולה‬ ‫אני שמואל בן רבי מאיר חתנו זכר צדיק לברכה נתווכחתי עמו ולפניו‬. 27 See Urbach, The Tosafists, vol. 1, esp. 48–59. 23 24

rashbam: his torah commentary and its transmission

61

therefore, never met the same fate that befell his biblical commentaries. Unlike the tosafists, the identity of Rashbam’s ‘Bible study group’ remains unknown. Later in the course of our study, we will deal with the question of Rashbam’s audience for his exegesis in more detail. 2. Traces of the Literary Transmission of Rashbam’s Commentary on the Torah Elazar Touitou has discovered in MS Vienna Cod. hebr. 220, which is a Rashi commentary, more than twenty marginal glosses that either bear resemblance to Rashbam’s comments as found in Rosin’s and Lockshin’s editions, or are even ascribed to ‫‘ ר' שמואל‬R. Samuel’ explicitly.28 Some of those glossae that are ascribed to Rashbam seem quite different from the printed version,29 and are even ascribed in other sources like to a different exegete like R. Joseph Qara. In any case, these examples are most helpful, since although they do not represent an identical copy of the printed version before us, they can help us understand Rashbam’s exegetical impetus and his methodological and hermeneutical approach towards the text as it circulated among the members of his ‘school.’ As to the layout of these glossae in the margins of a Rashi commentary, we can state that even if they were taken from an independent commentary, they circulated and were in use as a glossa. Furthermore, from the seven glossae that are explicitly ascribed to Rashbam, i.e., comments on Gen. 21:7; 23:18; 24:2.40; 32:25; 34:19, and 37:1, only the explanation on Gen. 32:25 ( Jacob’s escape) is shorter than in the printed edition. In all other cases, the printed version is up to a third shorter. Most of the glosses in MS Vienna Cod. hebr. 220 are carefully written and designed as ornaments, like in the following example on fol. 15b (on Gen. 32:25):

See Touitou, Exegesis in Perpetual Motion, 189–207. Lockshin, “The Connection,” 139 reckons Rashbam’s commentary on the Torah—at least its first recension—to be written as a reaction to and a glossing of Rashi’s commentary. 29 See the first example given by Touitou, Exegesis in Perpetual Motion, 189–190 on Gen. 21:7. Here, Touitou argued that this comment was originally Qara’s, and had later been reworked and revised by Rashbam. 28

62

chapter three '‫ויאבק א‬ '‫ הק' הבט‬.'‫איש וגו‬ ‫הבטיחו הטב איטיב‬ ‫עמך ולא האמין לו ויירא‬ ‫יעקב מאד וייצר לו ולפיכך‬ '‫ וכן מצינו במשה ש‬.‫ניזק‬ '‫שאמ' לו הק' לך שוב מצר‬ ‫מצרימה ואהיה עמך‬ ‫והשיב לו שלח נא‬ ‫ביד תשלח‬ ‫ וכן מצינו‬.‫וניזק ויפגשהו ייי ויבקש המיתו‬ ‫בבלעם ויחר אף אלקים כי הולך הוא וניזק‬ ‫כן לכל המעבירין על דעת קונם ניזוקין‬ ‫ר' שמואל‬

What are the implications of this discovery for Touitou’s assumption that Rashbam’s commentary, at least the version in the printed edition, could not have been written in the margins of a Bible?30 What can we say about the use of the lemmata, their order and quotation within the explanatory notes, and what tools do we have at our disposal to help us come to a more precise answer to this question? Last, but not least: Is it a coincidence that all the comments in the Vienna manuscript, both the ones ascribed to Rashbam explicitly and those that are similar to the explanations found in the printed edition are all on the book of Genesis? Does this fact allow us to assume that the commentary on Genesis especially became for Rashbam or other members of his school a kind of exegetical ‘laboratory’ for interpretive and literary-theoretical experiments?31 Let us compare some of the glossae in MS Vienna with those in the printed versions of the commentary in more detail.32 Our first example is taken from the comments on Gen. 24:40–50, Abraham’s servant’s mission to find a wife for Isaac among Abraham’s kinsmen: (Rosin printed edition):33 (40) He will send his angel. I know that they will allow you [to take her]. (42) And I said: “Oh, YHWH, the God of my master

Compare Touitou, Exegesis in Perpetual Motion, esp. 79–92. Rosin’s and Lockshin’s editions show that the commentary on Genesis is at least twice as long as the commentaries on the other four books of the Torah. 32 A comprehensive study on all the glosses in MS Vienna Cod. Hebr. 220 will be published separately. 33 Rosin, Der Pentateuch-Commentar des Samuel ben Meir, 24–25: ‫ יודע‬.‫)מ( ישלח מלאכו‬ ‫ להודיעם‬,‫ כל אריכות דברים‬.'‫ )מב( ואומר י"י אלהי אדוני אברהם וגו‬.‫אני שיתנו לך‬ ‫ לא ַהסתירה ולא הבנין‬.‫ )נ( לא נוכל דבר אליך רע או טוב‬. . . .‫שמאת הק' יצא הדבר‬ ‫ שהיכולת‬,‫ כי הקדוש ברוך הוא עשה‬,‫ כי בעל כרחנו רוצים ולא רוצים‬,‫תלוי ברצוננו‬ 30 31

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63

Abraham,” etc. The reason for the extended speech is to let them know [for sure]34 ‘that the matter proceeded from YHWH’ (Gen. 24:50). (50) . . . We cannot say anything to you, either bad or good. Neither destroying nor establishing [the matter at hand] depends on us, since [it will happen] willy-nilly, whether we like it or not,35 for YHWH, who is all-powerful has arranged for it.36 . . . (57) We will call the girl [in order to see] whether she would like to wait a full year or ten months (Gen. 24:55)37 as we suggested, or to go immediately, as you suggested. (MS Vienna Cod. hebr. 220, fol. 9b)38 He will send his angel. This is prophetic speech [by Abraham]: ‘I know that he [i.e., the servant] will succeed [in his mission].’ Likewise, [this refers to] the whole section: Just as he took me out of my father’s house, he promised me that he would make me successful. Therefore, I am sure that you will succeed in [fulfilling your mission]. (44) And she said: drink . . . and I know that she [i.e., Rebecca] will say: ‘Drink!’ and will not rebuff me, which proves that [God] granted [him] some of the indications and omens [he had asked for]. (50) [We cannot say anything to you], either bad or good. They were not [?],39 and they could not delay [the matter], since the matter proceeded from YHWH (Gen. 24:50). (57) We will call the girl. ‘You said that your master was quite sure that you would accomplish [your mission]. ‘If she will go with that man, we will know that it is from YHWH and that all your words were right.’ [A comment by] R. Samuel.

To begin with, it is interesting that the text laid out as a gloss is much more detailed than Rashbam’s comment in the printed edition. At first

‫ או מיד‬,‫ אם תרצה להתעכב ימים או עשור כדברינו‬.[‫ )נז( נקרא לנערה ]וגוי‬. . . ‫בידו‬ ‫לילך כדבריך‬.

I.e., to convince them. I.e., there is nothing to decide for them. 36 I am not convinced that the statement that Rashbam puts into the mouth of Laban and Bethuel really represents a ‘pious statement,’ as Lockshin, Rabbi Samuel ben Meir’s Commentary on Genesis, Translation, 121n2 interprets it. 37 For the translation above compare Rashbam on Gen. 40:4; 41:1. 38 ‫ לשון‬.'‫( הוא ישלח מלאכו וגו‬23 ‫ כתב יד וינה‬,‫נ‬-‫מ‬,‫)פירוש מיוחס לרשב"ם ברא כד‬ ‫ וכן כל הפרשה כשלקחני מ]בית[ אבי הבטיחני שיצליחני‬,‫ יודע אני שיצליח‬,‫נבואה הוא‬ ‫ ויודע א]ני[ שתאמר שתה ולא תשיב את‬.‫ ואמרה שתה‬.‫ועל כן אני בטוח שתצליח‬ 34 35

‫ לא היו ולא נוכל לעכב‬.‫ רע או טוב‬.‫ שנתן מן האותות ומן הסימנים‬.‫ אשר הוכיח‬.‫פני‬ ‫ תלך עם‬.‫ אתה אמרת שאדונך היה בטוח שתצליח‬.[‫ ]נקרא לנערה‬.‫כי מייי יצא הדבר‬ ‫ ר' שמואל‬.‫אדם אז נדע כי מייי הוא וכל דבריך נכוחים‬. On the bottom of the page

we find two glosses. The gloss at hand starts in line 13 on the bottom of the page, the last line is hardly readable; therefore I completed the text according to the biblical text (Gen. 24:57). Touitou, Exegesis in Perpetual Motion, 192–193 edited the text slightly different, leaving out the superfluous letters at the end of the line for aesthetic reasons and editing the Tetragrammaton as “ '‫ה‬,” although it is written in the manuscript with three Yudim, arranged as triangulum (compare Jacob Z. Lauterbach, “Substitutes for the Tetragrammaton,” Proceedings of the American Academy for Jewish Research 2 [1930/31] 39–67). 39 The sentence is incomplete, and there is probably a verb missing.

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sight, both comments are very similar in content. However, there are important differences. The glossa explicitly identifies Abraham’s words as prophetic speech. Whether the version in the printed edition simply omits such an interpretation for reasons of exegetical concision and brevity, or whether the printed version refrains intentionally from a ‘religious’ characterization of Abraham’s speech is not easy to decide. The first part of the glossae in MS Vienna (‫ יודע אני‬,‫לשון נבואה הוא‬ ‫ וכן כל הפרשה כשלקחני מבית אבי הבטיחני שיצליחני‬,‫ )שיצליח‬seems to comment on Rashbam’s (printed) explanation as if to make sure that Abraham’s foresight is grounded in prophetic knowledge and not in some psychological self-confidence (which could well be called a ‘Rashbamism’ ). Likewise, the conclusions of the respective passages show differences. In the gloss commentary in MS Vienna, the family agrees wholeheartedly to Rebecca’s departure. In contrast, Rashbam’s comments in the printed edition disclose the thoughts and sentiments of Rebecca’s family regarding her departure with the words ‘[it will happen] willy-nilly, whether we like it or not,’ i.e., they are resigned to this outcome, and by no means show the ‘pious attitude’ as presented by the glossae. Rashbam’s explanation of this point, therefore, seems quite similar to that of Rashi who had the family agree ‘willy-nilly.’40 Our second example is taken from Gen. 32, the narrative of Jacob’s wrestling with the angel at Peniel that Rashbam, at least according to the version in the printed edition, transformed into a narrative on Jacob’s escape. The following texts can be compared: (Rosin printed edition):41 . . . Jacob planned to flee in a different direction that night, [and he would have succeeded in escaping from him] if the 40 I am not convinced that Rashbam’s explanation here surpasses Rashi’s comments ad loc. in terms of their piety ([. . .]‫ לא‬,‫ למאן בדבר הזה‬.‫לא נוכל דבר אליך‬ ‫ ;)על ידי תשובת דבר רע ולא על ידי תשובת דבר הגון לפי שניכר שמה' יצא הדבר‬cf. Lockshin, Rabbi Samuel ben Meir’s Commentary on Genesis, Translation, 121n2. 41 Rosin, Der Pentateuch-Commentar des Samuel ben Meir 42–43: ‫ כלומר‬.‫ויותר יעקב לבדו‬ ‫ כי‬,‫ ורצה לעבור אחריהם‬,‫ שלא היה עוד לעבור אלא הוא לבדו‬,‫שהעביר כל אשר לו‬ ‫ ויאבק מלאך עמו שלא יוכל לברוח ויראה‬.‫לברוח דרך אחרת שלא יפגשנו עשו נתכוון‬ .‫ המלאך‬,‫ )כו( כי לא יכול לו‬.‫ שלא יזיקהו עשו‬,‫קיום ]הבטחתו[ של הקדוש ברוך הוא‬ ‫ וכיון‬,‫ )כז( כי עלה השחר‬. . . ‫ נבדלה מן הירך‬.‫ ותקע‬.‫ורצה לעבור ולברוח בעל כרחו‬ ‫ שלא‬,‫ שתשלחני מאתך בשלום‬,‫ כי אם ברכתני‬.‫שהאיר היום מעתה יש לילך לדרכך‬ .‫ אז ידע יעקב שהוא מלאך‬.‫ כי עתה עלה השחר‬,‫אהיה נזוק במה שנתאבקתי עמך‬ ‫ וכן‬.‫ והוא היה בורח‬,‫ ומה שלקה יעקב ונצלע לפי שהקדוש ברוך הוא הבטיחו‬. . . (‫)כט‬

.‫ שנענשו‬,‫מצינו בכל ההולכים בדרך שלא ברצון הקדוש ברוך הוא או ממאנים ללכת‬ ‫ אף על פי שאמרו‬,‫ ולפי הפשט‬.‫ ויחר אף י"י במשה‬,‫במשה כתיב שלח נא ביד תשלח‬ ‫חכמים בכל מקום חרון אף עושה רושם וכאן מה רושם יש? הלא אהרן אחיך הלוי עתיד‬ ‫ אך לפי הפשט לפי שהיה‬,‫היה להיות לוי ואתה כהן ועכשיו הוא יהיה כהן ואתה לוי‬

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65

angel had not delayed him. Accordingly, Jacob was trying to mislead Esau so that they would not meet up.42 That night he arose intending to flee in another direction. For that reason he crossed the stream at night.43 He wanted to cross over after them,44 since he intended to flee in another direction so as not to meet up with Esau. But an angel45 wrestled with him so as to not allow him to flee in order that he might see the fulfillment of God‘s promise that Esau would not harm him. When he saw that he could not prevail, i.e., the angel saw, and that [ Jacob] was trying to cross and flee against the angel’s will, he wrenched [ Jacob’s hip]. It became dislocated from the hip . . . For Dawn is breaking. Since it is now daylight, you [ Jacob!] must proceed on your way. Unless you bless me [meaning] that you send me away in peace, and I shall not be harmed because of my wrestling with you. And now that dawn was breaking46 Jacob understood that [the man] was an angel. . . . But the reason that Jacob was punished and lamed was because the Holy One, Blessed be He, promised him,47 but he still attempted to flee. Similarly we find that anyone who attempts a journey or refuses a journey against God’s will, is punished.48 (MS Vienna Cod. hebr. 220, fol. 15b):49 (25) And there wrestled a man with him (Gen. 32:25). The Holy One, Blessed be He, promised him ‘I will surely do you good’ (Gen. 32:13), but he did not believe him, and Jacob was greatly afraid and distressed,50 and therefore, he was struck. Likewise, we find in the [story of the call of ] Moses that the Holy One, Blessed be He, ‫ וכן ביונה שנבלע במעי‬.‫מתעצל ללכת כת' ויהי בדרך במלון ויפגשהו ]י"י[ ויבקש המיתו‬ ‫ כדכת' ותלחץ ]את[ רגל‬,‫ וכן בבלעם ויחר אף אלהים כי הולך הוא ונעשה חיגר‬.‫הדגה‬ ‫ חיגר כמו ושופו עצמותיו‬,‫ וילך שפי‬,‫בלעם‬. For a detailed analysis of this passage see also below Chapter Four, 5. As regards the word ‫( יוכל‬v. 26), Rosin notes an emendation into ‫יכול‬. Lockshin, Perush ha-Tora, vol. 1, 89n3 takes up Rosin’s emendation in

accordance with the Masorah. 42 In other words: Jacob wanted Esau to assume that Jacob was on his way right behind the groups carrying presents. 43 There follow biblical references to David (cf. Ps. 3:1; 2 Sam. 17:21–24). 44 Jacob is still on the other side of the river, whereas his family is already beyond. Based on the aggadic traditions (cf. BerR 77:2; bHul 91a) Rashi puts forward the argument that after having brought his family across the river, Jacob went back to take ‘small jars’ that he had forgotten (‫)שכח פכים קטנים וחזר עליהם‬. Likewise Ibn Ezra has Jacob go back and investigate whether there is anything left (‫ושב באחרונה‬ ‫)לבקש אם נשאר כלום‬. 45 MT: ‫ויאבק איש עמו‬. 46 Jacob had no time to escape. 47 Cf. Gen. 28:13–15; see also Gen. 28:20–21; 32:10–13. 48 There follow further biblical references (Moses; Balaam; Jonah). 49 '‫ הק‬.'‫( ויאבק א' איש וגו‬23 ‫ כתב יד וינה‬,‫ כה‬,‫)פירוש מיוחס לרשב"ם ברא לב‬

.‫הבט' הבטיחו הטב איטיב עמך ולא האמין לו ויירא יעקב מאד וייצר לו ולפיכך ניזק‬ ‫וכן מצינו במשה ש' שאמ' לו הק' לך שוב מצר' מצרימה ואהיה עמך והשיב לו שלח נא‬ ‫ וכן מצינו בבלעם ויחר אף אלקים כי הולך‬.‫ביד תשלח וניזק ויפגשהו ייי ויבקש המיתו‬ ‫ ר' שמואל‬.‫ כן לכל המעבירין על דעת קונם ניזוקין‬.‫( הוא וניזק‬edited slightly different by Touitou, Exegesis in Perpetual Motion, 193–194). 50 Gen. 32:8.

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chapter three said to him: ‘Go back to Egypt, and I will be with you’,51 but he answered him: “Send someone else, whomever you want!” (Exod. 4:13), and [immediately] he was struck. YHWH met him and sought to kill him (Exod. 4:24). Similarly, in [the story of] Balaam, God’s anger blazed up, because he was going,52 and [immediately] he was struck. Likewise, this happens to all those who disobey a vow that they will get struck. [A comment by] R. Samuel.

We can observe at first sight that the glossae on Gen. 32:25–29 are shorter. Compared to the printed edition, the passage lacks some of the biblical references (e.g., the reference to bZev 102a; the story of Jonah)53. In addition, much of the rest of Rashbam’s commentary on vv. 25–29 is missing. However, precisely the omission of these sections is the most interesting deviation of the glossae from the commentary in the printed edition: The glossae in MS Vienna adhere closely to the biblical text and context. They explicitly note Jacob’s fear, and the following explanation remains on the moral-theological level: The one who rejects God’s call runs the risk of being smitten. Comments like this form the starting point for lessons ad mores and ad historiam. In contrast, the printed comments do not refer to Jacob’s emotional state of mind explicitly, but rather indirectly through the motif of his attempt to flee, i.e., the depiction of his preparations for escape and the events occurring to him. The glossae in MS Vienna take as their distinct point of reference the biblical text and context (Gen. 32:8.13.25) and entirely ignore the central motif of Jacob’s attempt to flee that is found in the printed version, and that I would call the narrative turn in Rashbam’s comments that has it seeds in Rashbam’s aptitude of storytelling. The printed comments teach the readers about how a character’s internal life can be disclosed literally. More than the glosses in the Vienna manuscript, Rashbam’s comments in the printed edition show some intellectual distance from the religious and moral message of the biblical text. Later in the course of our study, we will comment in more detail on the literary technique that Rashbam introduces here. At this point, we shall deal only with the reason for the absence of this important motif, an issue intrinsically interwoven with the question of the hermeneutical function of a gloss. Several scenarios for the literary history of these glossae are imaginable: The copyist of MS Vienna could have made use of a (gloss-) 51 Cf. Exod. 4:21 (biblical quotation, but in paraphrasis; it is probably a contamination of Exod. 4:19.21 and Exod. 3:12). 52 Cf. Num. 22:22. 53 See below Chapter Four, 5.

rashbam: his torah commentary and its transmission

67

commentary by Rashbam that contained an earlier draft of the printed commentary, or he might have had access to notes from some oral teaching on the subject matter at hand. Any of these assumed settings could explain why MS Vienna offers only some of the biblical parallels with regard to a person’s refusal of a divine order. However, we could just as readily assume that the glossae represent either some anonymous pesha¢-comments on the verses at hand that later were taken up by Rashbam and transformed into the narrative of Jacob’s escape that we have before us in the printed version of Rashbam’s commentary, or the glosses and the printed commentary represent at least two different stages of Rashbam’s literary activity with respect to internal chronology and exegetical and literary purpose.54 While I see no reason to deny Rashbam’s authorship of the glossae or at least an origin of these glosses in one of Rashbam’s teachings, although it is always difficult to ascribe with certainty a commentary to an individual author. From what we have seen so far, it is certainly conceivable that Rashbam’s printed commentary in all its length and complexity could have been written in the margins of a Bible just like the glosses in the Vienna manuscript. In particular, the example from Gen. 24 proves that this commentary fits into a mise-en-page encompassing a main text body and its marginal glossae, whether the glossae refer to Rashi’s commentary or to the biblical text itself. The fact that the marginal glossae in MS Vienna are even more extensive and elaborated than in the printed version of the commentary, proves that Rashbam’s comments in the printed version might have been laid out as a gloss. A literarynarrative agenda on the one hand and notes written down in the margins of a text on the other do not represent a contradiction in terms. In addition, as we will see later in this study, Rashbam’s commentary consists of numerous glosses in the French vernacular that serve only to elucidate the grammar, syntax, or style of the Hebrew text. More than in the printed edition the glossae ascribed to Rashbam in MS Vienna do not convey a simple glossing giving the sensus uerbi in its literary context. Glosses of such a kind would indeed match the definition assumed by Japhet-Salters when refuting the characterization of Rashbam’s commentary as a ‘glossary.’ Two questions are at 54 In any case, it seems reasonable that the biblical references on the motif of refusing a divine order, followed by God’s punishment that we find in the printed edition is an insertion as well. A student from Rashbam’s school could have collected as many examples as possible on the matter at hand, something Rashbam is unlikely to have done.

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stake: first, do our Rashbam-glossae convey that they were written for an audience or ‘a reader who cannot write?’55 Second, is it by chance that Rashbam’s glossae were found in a Rashi-manuscript? As Celia Chazelle and Burton van Name Edward have said, “the commentary is an ‘exegesis of exegesis’ that aims not only to explain the Bible’s message but to formulate a particular literary image of the Fathers’ interpretations of its contents.”56 To start with the latter, I would pinpoint the Sitz im Leben of the glosses as well as of the printed comments in this direction. It seems that both the comments serves different purposes: The glossae represent an additional facet to the Rashi commentary that in one way or the other might have even been meant as a minor modification to Rashi’s rabbinic understanding of the text. It was not meant as a replacement of Rashi’s commentary, but as an exegetical addition as part of a rabbinic education. However, it is important to keep in mind that the fact that later generations added Rashbam’s comments to Rashi’s commentary proves that we have to distinguish between the history of the manuscripts and the history of the origins of a commentary more carefully. Obviously, Rashbam’s successors, although they unquestionably worked with Rashi’s commentary in class as its basic source, used Rashbam’s comments as laid out in MS Vienna as corrections, additions, or even counterstatements in line with the contemporary spirit of the time (‘Zeitgeist’ ). In contrast, in the printed commentary of which we can not pinpoint the Sitz im Leben, since none of the manuscripts remained, Rashbam draws a clear demarcation line between Rashi’s commentary and his own (compare his closing remark in Exod. 40:3557) to insist upon the fact that it was written to represent a new attitude towards the Bible, a new kind of commentary, not related to Rashi, but directly related to the Bible as a literary entity. We will see in the course of this study that Rashbam in his scholarly and educational work had undergone a straightforward development from a rabbinic teacher to a ‘master of literary arts’ that is mirrored in both the glossae and the printed commentary. The mise-en-page of the material used in

Reynolds, Medieval Reading, 28–29. Celia Chazelle and Burton van Name Edwards, ed., The Study of the Bible in the Carolingian Era (Turnhout: Brepol, 2003), 11. 57 “Whoever wants to heed the word of our creator, should not depart from the argument of my grandfather, R. Solomon . . .;” see also below Chapter Six, 1.1. 55 56

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class was most likely not different from the kind of glossae we find in any other Bible commentary manuscript, its contents at least in part, being highly revolutionary. The glossae in MS Vienna as well as the commentary in the printed edition are quite distinctive and address a sophisticated and advanced audience that forced the rabbinic teachers to tackle problems that go beyond a regular rabbinic Bible education. Only ‘readers’ could pick the fruits from the tree of narrative and literary exegesis, whether they have read only Hebrew literature, or, as we assume, also the nascent French vernacular literature. In that respect, the comparison between the glossae and the printed commentary echoes the intellectual development from a rabbinic culture towards a more profane study culture that was closely linked to the study of the Bible. 3. The Sitz im Leben of Rashbam’s Torah Commentary “Rashbam wrote a biblical commentary that does not attempt to ‘teach’ Judaism.”58 This conclusion that Martin Lockshin drew after years of intense study of the commentaries of R. Samuel ben Meïr (Rashbam) seems at first sight disturbing. Is it possible to imagine a medieval master of the Bible and the Talmud writing a biblical commentary without any endeavor to deepen his contemporaries’ religious and theological understanding of Israel’s most ‘sacred book,’ and to strengthen their Jewish self-confidence? Assuming that Lockshin’s opinion is correct, we can conclude that among Northern French Jewish society the study of the Bible had much less of a role in shaping Jewish religion and society than in contemporary Christian culture, in which the (Latin) Bible served as the foundation not only of Christian theology and dogma, but also of Christian self-perception and daily ethics.59 We might even go a step further and propose that Medieval French Jewry not only sanctioned the Babylonian Talmud as the Jewish ‘Book of Books’, but also regarded it as one of the main means to relieve the Hebrew Bible of the theological burden that the Christians Lockshin, “Rashbam as a ‘Literary’ exegete,” 88. Compare Walker Daroline W. Bynum, Docere Verbo et Exemplo: An Aspect of TwelfthCentury Spirituality. Harvard Theological Studies, vol. 31 (Missoula, Mont.: Scholars Press, 1979), esp. 9–34. 58 59

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imposed on it. Rashbam may have taken advantage of this approach towards the Bible, or he himself might have been one of the early proponents of this new assessment. The question remains: Why did Rashbam, in the wake of Rashi’s authoritative commentary, decide to write another Torah commentary? What was his purpose, and who was his intended audience? Why does one write a biblical commentary? This question might seem trivial to us, since nowadays readers can choose among a variety of biblical commentaries, each type not only serving a well-defined purpose, but also a certain reader expectation. Each commentary is aimed at a specific implied reader: Today, an academic scientific commentary processes historical, archeological, or philological research. Its readers gain a deeper understanding of the biblical author(s) and their times, of the possible Sitz im Leben of the biblical text, its structure, and stylistic devices. Such a commentary teaches its readers how to read and broadens their horizons. The knowledge gained from such a commentary often seems to be lishmah, i.e., for its own sake, and does not deepen the reader’s religious understanding of the Bible. Therefore, in schools or among members of a religious community, scientific commentaries have limited value. In contrast to a scientific approach towards biblical literature, a non-academic commentary sets for itself a different target. Spiritual or pious exegesis emerges from a sociologically and ideologically welldefined religious group, while at the same time seeking to provide this audience with further spiritual inspiration. As such, exegesis becomes the determining factor for a group’s religious identity, and its methods and contents are subordinated to this ideological or theological purpose. Michael Signer portrayed this hermeneutical concept as a ‘communal narrative,’ that is, “a narrative grounded in Scripture that provides the community with a sense of solidarity with their ancestral traditions and a hope for their ultimate salvation in the future.”60 However, as we will see, our modern differentiation between academic and non-academic treatments of a biblical text does not apply either to Jewish or to Christian society in the High Middle Ages. Nevertheless, the pesha¢-commentaries of the Northern French exegetical Michael A. Signer, “God’s Love for Israel: Apologetic and Hermeneutical Strategies in Twelfth-Century Biblical Exegesis,” in Jews and Christians in Twelfth-Century Europe, ed. Michael A. Signer and John van Engen. Notre Dame Conferences in Medieval Studies, vol. 10 (Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press, 2001), 123–149, 126. 60

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school, in which, for instance, the Song of Songs is at times presented as a Hebrew (not necessarily as Jewish) counterpart to the contemporary French chansons de femme61 reveal at first blush that their authors did not want to provide their contemporaries with the ‘hope for their ultimate salvation.’ In neglecting or occasionally refuting traditional rabbinic exegesis and at the same time taking up contemporary literary traditions, these exegetes strove for a rather profane interpretation of biblical texts. Connected to these observations is the question of the Sitz im Leben of some of the pesha¢-commentaries. Concerning this issue, we are still in the dark, since the clues given by the French masters are extremely vague. For instance, we know that the Bible and in particular the weekly Torah portion was part of the Jewish curriculum already from early childhood, but we have no idea how it was taught to different age groups. We have no idea how a qara, a Bible teacher, functioned in the bet midrash: he may have read the biblical text aloud, or retold the stories in his own words. Given the fact that the oral performance of literary texts reached its first peak of popularity during the eleventh and twelfth centuries,62 we can easily imagine that this ‘art of narration’ also found its way into the Jewish academies. It is hard to believe that Jews were unaware of contemporary techniques of oral recitation and their possible usefulness in teaching and studying their literary heritage. But one wonders to what extent the Jews adopted this new approach? How extensive were the study sessions? This question has only recently been discussed among medievalists dealing with eleventhand twelfth-century French or Anglo-Norman literature. John Beston

61 See Liss, “The Commentary on the Song of Songs”; Yaakov Thompson, “Le commentaire du Cantique attribué à Samuel ben Méir,” Archives Juives 23,1–3 (1987): 9–18; idem, “The Commentary of Samuel ben Meïr on the Song of Songs” (Ph.D. Thesis, Jewish Theological Seminary, 1988), esp. 107–123.170–213. See also H. J. Mathews, “Anonymous Commentary on the Song of Songs. Edited from a unique manuscript in the Bodleian Libray, Oxford,” in Festschrift zum Achtzigsten Geburtstage Moritz Steinschneiders (in English and Hebrew) (Leipzig: Otto Harrassowitz: 1896. Reprint, Hildesheim, NewYork: Olms: 1975), Pt. 1, 238–240. Pt. 2, 164–185, esp. 240. 62 Maria Dobozy, Re-Membering the Present: The Medieval German Poet-Minstrel in Cultural Context (Turnhout: Brepols: 2005); Douglas Kelly, “Narrative Poetics: Rhetoric, Orality and Performance,” in A Companion to Chrétien de Troyes, ed. Norris J. Lacy and Joan T. Grimbert, Arthurian Studies (Cambridge: Brewer, 2005), 52–63, esp. 52–53; Haiko Wandhoff, “Gefährliche Blicke und rettende Stimmen: Eine audiovisuelle Choreographie von Minne und Ehe in Hartmanns ‘Erec’,” in ‘Aufführung’ und ‘Schrift’ in Mittelalter und früher Neuzeit, ed. Jan-Dirk Müller, Germanistische Symposien Berichtsbände, vol. 17 (Stuttgart: Metzler, 1996), 170–189, esp. 188–189.

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notes that “we do not know how long a medieval audience expected to sit at a reading of a romance.”63 Based on the formal division of the Galeran de Brittany, Beston estimates 75 minutes.64 This matches more or less the duration of the reading of a Torah portion accompanied by exegetical comments. The reference to the chansons de femme of the French trouvères in (Ps.-) Rashbam’s65 commentary on the Song of Songs shows that this commentary was not part of a children’s curriculum. Nevertheless, how could it be meaningful for adult Jewish men or women? We may assume that the literary approach towards the Bible was especially appealing to intellectual women, and for a good reason: they had no access to the Talmud which played such a prominent role in the daily life of Jewish men. The education of young men was part of the religious cultural agenda of the Jewish community while women’s education was not. We find a similar development in contemporary French society, in which women in particular promoted the art of storytelling in the vernacular.66 Does this new exegetical approach mirror an intellectual “protest against aspects in the religious world?”67 Is it possible to interpret it as a kind of ‘greed for novelty?’ Rashbam’s reference to the pesha¢ explanations “that are newly created every day” (‫הפשטות המתחדשים‬ ‫)בכל יום‬68 points in this direction. This motivation has not yet been considered as an explanation for the innovation of this particular kind of pesha¢-exegesis. However, this need for innovation was a topic of discussion already in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries: “Le MoyenAge est un grand enfant qui, comme tous les enfants, demande sans cesse qu’on lui conte de nouvelles histoires.”69

63 John Beston, “Une bele conjointure: The Structure of Galeran de Bretagne,” Neophilologus 92,1 (2008): 19–33, 31. 64 See ibid. 65 See Liss, “The Commentary on the Song of Songs,” esp. 21–25. 66 Compare also Avraham Grossman, Pious and Rebellious: Jewish Women in Europe in the Middle Ages (in Hebrew) ( Jerusalem: The Zalman Shazar Center for Jewish History, 2003), esp. 266–303. 67 See Peter Dronke, “Profane Elements in Literature,” in Renaissance and Renewal in the Twelfth Century, ed. Robert L. Benson and Giles Constable (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1982), 569–592, esp. 569. 68 Rashbam on Gen. 37:2. 69 Udo Schöning, Thebenroman—Eneasroman—Trojaroman: Studien zur Rezeption der Antike in der französischen Literatur des 12. Jahrhunderts, Beihefte zur Zeitschrift für Romanische Philologie, vol. 235 (Tübingen: Max Niemeyer, 1991), 17.

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The German poet Der Stricker70 (‘The knitter’ ) writes in his novel Frauenehre (‘Women’s Honor’ ): The miserliness of my audience bothers me. But even more annoying is the people’s greed for novelty. Whenever I compose a tale that is worth listening to, and someone has already heard it two or three times, it has become obsolete for him—why have I taken great pains to compose a tale when it becomes obsolete and unpopular in such a short time?71

We will also therefore deal with the question of how Rashbam reveals ‘rapprochements littéraires’ to gratify his audience and how he tried to meet his hearers’ expectations with ‘unorthodox’ and sometimes even outré interpretations ‘newly thought up’ at that time.

70 The so-called Der Stricker (‘The knitter’ ) was an anonymous poet (fl. c. 1220– 1250) who came either from Southern Rhineland or the eastern part of Franconia, and lived possibly in Austria (compare W. Röcke, “Stricker, der”, in Lexikon des Mittelalters, vol. 8, cols 242–244. 71 Translated from the German (H.L.); quoted in W. W. Moelleken, ed., Die Kleindichtung des Strickers, vol. 1, Göppingen 1973, vv. 23ff.: “Wie nahe mir auch der Geiz meines Publikums geht—näher geht mir noch, dass es so gierig nach Neuem ist. Wenn ich eine Geschichte gemacht habe, die es lohnt, angehört zu werden, und jemand sie zwei- oder dreimal gehört hat, dann sagt er, die kenne er ja schon. Für den ist sie sofort veraltet. Wozu habe ich mir dann die Mühe gegeben, wenn meine Geschichte in so kurzer Zeit alt und unbeliebt wird?”

CHAPTER FOUR

THE TORAH AND THE ART OF NARRATIVE 1. The Arrangement of the Biblical Narrative 1.1. The Creation Narrative as Moses’ Literary Composition Contemporary Bible scholars largely agree on the characterization of the Hebrew Bible as a literary artefact or mentefact, presuming that the biblical authors composed their books according to a structered plan. Biblical research today, thus, concentrates on literary aspects, formcritical questions and aesthetic topics, such as the subject matter of Near Eastern prototypes for the law corpora or patterns of poetic language. As for the literary quality of the biblical text, the question of its authorship plays only a minor role. By the eighteenth or nineteenth century at the latest, Christian scholars and the representatives of the Wissenschaft des Judentums had replaced the belief that Moses was the author of the Pentateuch with a literary-historical reconstruction. Protestant historical-critical research was grounded mainly in the contemporary studies of Late Antiquity (archaeology and Greek philology), especially as initiated by Friedrich August Wolf who came to Halle, Germany, in the seventies of the eighteenth century.1 In 1783, Wolf established the first chair for the study of Greek and Roman antiquity in Halle. This chair was no longer part of the study of theology. Wolf promoted the studiosus philologiae, the student of philology, over the studiosus theologiae, the student of theology. Wolf’s literary-historical studies on Homer had a great impact on the philological-historical study of the Hebrew Bible. The ancient world was to be investigated using historical methodology. The text should be interpreted and understood in terms of its own hermeneutical categories. Therefore, it is no accident that Wolf’s Homer met the same fate as the biblical Moses: they were both drowned in a flood of philological-historical criticism. Homer, as the

1 See esp. Reinhard Markner and Giuseppe Veltri, ed., Friedrich August Wolf: Studien, Dokumente, Bibliographie, Palingenesia, vol. 67 (Stuttgart: Franz Steiner, 1999).

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classical author of the Iliad, vanished without a trace as did Moses, as the author of the Pentateuch.2 Along with the concentration on literary-historical questions, biblical exegesis in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries focused on the ‘deconstruction’ and ‘destruction’ of the text and for the most part neglected literary issues, e.g., the text’s structure and its narrative patterns. On the other hand, although the Talmud attributed to Moses ‘his’ book (usually, Deuteronomy), the portion of Balaam (Num. 22:1–25:9), and Job (bBB 14b–15a),3 this view does not inevitably contradict a literary approach towards Scripture. Furthermore, the fact that the portion of Balaam is singled out raises the question of which parts of the Torah might have constituted ‘Moses’ book’ in the rabbinic perception. It is striking that the Talmud refers in particular to the poetic parts of the Hebrew Bible when ascribing the biblical books to their respective authors. According to Rashi, the phrase ‘portion of Balaam’ (hebr. ‫ )פרשת בלעם‬refers to the four poetic allegories (‫ )משלים‬that Balaam addressed to Balak.4 Even though these prophetic speeches had not been an essential part of the portion of Balaam and its narrative sequence (Num. 22:2–25:9), Moses had written them down as his own.5 Rashbam, too, emphasizes the prominent role of Moses as a biblical author in the literary development of the Torah. It is fascinating that Rashbam conceives the rabbinic statement . . . ‫משה כתב ספרו‬ ‘Moses wrote ‘his’ book (not: the Torah!)6 not simply in a literaryhistorical sense with respect to the Torah’s ‘author.’ Rather, he focuses on Moses’s literary qualities, i.e., on his ‘editorial and writing skills.’ In Rashbam’s hands, the Torah, i.e., a biblical book dealing with the

Compare also Hanna Liss, “Jewish Bible Scholars in the 19th and Early 20th Century and the Debate on the Hebrew Bible,” Lexington Theological Quarterly 37 (2002): 129–144. 3 bBB 14b: ‫משה כתב ספרו ופרשת בלעם ואיוב‬. 4 Num. 23:7–10; Num. 23:18–24; Num. 24:3–9; Num. 24:15–24. 5 See Rashi in bBB 14b: ‫ נבואתו ומשליו אף על פי שאינן צורכי משה‬.‫ופרשת בלעם‬ 2

‫ותורתו וסדר מעשיו‬.

6 However, see the discussion in bSan 99a (cf. also tSan 7): '‫ כי דבר ה‬:‫תניא אידך‬ ‫ חוץ‬,‫ כל התורה כולה מן השמים‬:‫ ואפילו אמר‬.‫ זה האומר אין תורה מן השמים‬.‫בזה‬ .‫ זהו כי דבר ה' בזה‬.‫מפסוק זה שלא אמרו הקדוש ברוך הוא אלא משה מפי עצמו‬ ‫ מגזרה שוה‬,‫ מקל וחומר זה‬,‫ חוץ מדקדוק זה‬,‫ כל התורה כולה מן השמים‬:‫ואפילו אמר‬ ‫זו זה הוא כי דבר ה' בזה‬.

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history of the Jewish people from its very beginnings, gains new literary significance. Rashbam’s commentary on the Torah, of which unfortunately the section on Gen. 2–17 is lost, starts right off with a ‘hermeneutical bang’ that expounds Rashbam’s understanding of the biblical text as literature and its author’s aim: At the beginning [of God’s creation].7 Let the erudite [maskilim] understand that all of our rabbis’ words and their midrashic explanations are honest and true. Thus, it is already written in tractate Shabbat:8 ‘I was already eighteen years old [having already studied the entire Talmud], yet, I did not realize that a verse cannot depart from its plain meaning [pesha¢].’9 The halakhic and midrashic explanations derive mainly from superfluous [expressions in] Scripture or from a linguistic irregularity, since the plain meaning of a verse [‫ ]פשוטו של מקרא‬is written in such a way that one can learn from it the essence of the explanation in line with the midrash. For example, [it is written]: These are the generations of the heaven and of the earth when they were created (Gen. 2:4). Our Sages interpreted [the phrase ‫‘ בהבראם‬when they were created] as ‫‘ באברהם‬through [the merit of ] Abraham,’10 since the [infinitive construct] ‫ בהבראם‬is redundant and did not have to be written [by any means].11

At the beginning of his Torah-commentary, Rashbam introduces one of the basic principles of rabbinic exegesis. Although the rabbis were aware of the fact that each biblical verse maintains its plain meaning, i.e., its syntactic and semantic denotation,12 they developed a set of hermeneutic rules (middot) allowing a multiplicity of meanings and interpretive freedom that can even ignore the plain meaning. Textual anomalies and irregularities, in particular in aggadic texts, e.g., the permutations of letters, plene and defective spelling, etc. form 7 The translation of the initial phrase in Gen. 1:1 takes into account that Rashbam explains the expression ‫ בראשית‬as status constructus; compare also Merdler, ed., Dayyaqut me-Rabbenu Shemuel Ben Meir, 49. 8 Cf. bShab 63a. 9 See also Rashi on Gen. 37:17; Exod. 12:2; Song of Sol. 1:1; Rashbam on Gen. 37:2. 10 I.e., by a simple permutation of the letters of the verb; see BerR 12:9.

11 ‫ יבינו המשכילים כי כל דברי רבותינו ודרשותיהם כנים‬.‫בראשית ברא אלהים‬ ‫ וזהו האמור במס' שבת הוינא בר תמני סרי שנין ולא ידענא דאין מקרא‬.‫ואמתים‬ ‫ ועיקר ההלכות והדרשות יוצאין מיתור המקראות או משינוי הלשון‬.‫יוצא מידי פשוטו‬ ‫ כמו אלה תולדות‬,‫שנכתב פשוטו של מקרא בלשון שיכולין ללמוד הימנו עיקר הדרשה‬ ‫השמים והארץ בהבראם ודרשו חכמים באברהם מאריכות הלשון שלא היה צריך‬ ‫לכתוב בהבראם‬. 12 In this case, the reading of ‫ בהבראם‬as infinitive construct niph. of the root √‫ברא‬.

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the point of departure for creative exegesis. Rashbam’s introductory remarks refer to a basic hermeneutic principle in rabbinic literature that Arnold Goldberg has denoted as the distinction between ‘events communicated within Scripture’ and ‘Scripture as communicator.’13 The example taken from BerR 12:9 shows in a remarkable way that although the starting point of rabbinic exegesis is the text—in this case, the formal set of characters—the rabbis remove the phrase completely from its semantic context. Only then, does the verbal phrase ‫בהבראם‬ allude to Abraham (‫)באברהם‬. As a corollary, rabbinic exegesis can result in a multiplicity if not infinity of textual connotations and subtexts, meaning that each of the indicated interpretive units carries its own claim to exegetical truth. The distinction between pesha¢ und derash that Rashbam presents to his ‘erudite’ audience, the maskilim, is grounded in a subtle twofold exegetical concern. First, Rashbam paves the way for his own interpretive endeavor that is not meant to be a substitute for the ‘honest and true midrashic explanations’, but rather an enhancement for his intellectual audience. Second, by means of the combination of the rabbinic dicta in bShab 63a and BerR 12:9, Rashbam suggests that the rabbis were right to draw our attention to ‘superfluous expressions in Scripture’ or to ‘linguistic anomalies,’ but at the same time departed from the interpretation according to the pesha¢ (we will see in the course of this study that pesha¢ in Rashbam’s comments does not necessarily mean ‘plain sense’!). Rashbam, thus, directs his readers’ attention to the interpretation according to the pesha¢ and at the same time relates pesha¢ exegesis to the stylistic-rhetorical dimensions of the text. ‫ יתור המקראות‬and ‫שינוי הלשון‬, thus, refer to rhetorical stylistic devices.14 With regard to the literary context in Gen. 1, the expression ‫‘( יתור המקראות‬superfluous language’ ) alludes further to a stylistic device that Rashbam explains in the course of these comments as haqdamah ‘literary anticipation,’ which is the exegetical target in his comments on Gen. 1:1.

13 In German: ‘das in der Schrift Mitgeteilte’ und ‘die Schrift als Mitteilung’ (cf. Arnold Goldberg, “Die Schrift der rabbinischen Schriftausleger,” Frankfurter Judaistische Beiträge 15 [1987]: 1–15, esp. 1–3). 14 On the important technical term ‫ כפל לשון‬/ ‫ כפל מלה‬see also Chapter Two, 4 and Seven, 1.

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Rashbam’s introductory statement is striking when compared to Rashi’s introduction to the book of Genesis: Rashi asks why the Torah starts with the creation narrative, answering as follows: Said R. Isaac:15 The Torah should have started with ‘This month is to you’ (Exod. 12:2), which is the first commandment that Israel [as a people] was commanded . . .16

Rashi’s remarks are revealing. The dictum of R. Isaac lacks the rationale which explains why Exod. 12:2 is the first commandment given to Israel as a people.17 Rashi agrees with the midrash that the commandments form the ‘essential character’ of the Torah. However, he expounds the midrashic statement: the midrash does not refer simply to commandments but to those commandments that—in contrast to e.g., the circumcision—were given to all the (cultic) congregation of Israel (‫ ;כל עדת ישראל‬Exod. 12:3). To him, the fact that the Torah does start with the creation narrative is grounded in the hostility of the non-Jewish world that might contest Israel’s claim to the land of Israel, surely an apologetic and polemical remark directed against his Christian and Muslim contemporaries.18 Rashi’s reference to the midrash, thus forms a kind of general introduction to his commentary; however, the subsequent explanations do not take up this question again. The introductory remark is only loosely connected to the following philological notes dealing with word ‫בראשית‬. The situation is different in Rashbam’s commentary. He takes up the question of why the Torah starts with Bereshit, but his answer is striking, since it rebuts Rashi in almost every detail: (Gen. 1:1) I shall now explain the explanations of earlier exegetes to this verse in order to let people know why I do not interpret [the verse] the way they did. Some explain the phrase ‫ בראשית‬to mean ‫בראשונה‬ ‘At first God created heaven and earth,’19 but this is impossible to say, since the [creation of the] water preceded . . . . The one who explains this word as being similar to [the phrase] ‘At the beginning of YHWH’s speaking to Hosea (Hos 1:2),’ meaning [that he understands the verse as] ‘At the

15 16

Cf. TanB Bereshit 11.

‫ אמר ר' יצחק לא היה צריך להתחיל את התורה אלא מהחודש הזה‬.‫בראשית‬ ‫ שהיא מצוה ראשונה שנצטוו ישראל‬,‫לכם‬.

In the midrash, R. Isaac’s statement is followed by Ps. 111:6 that is also quoted in Rashi’s comment. 18 See also Signer, “God’s Love for Israel,” 133–134. 19 Cf. bHag 12a. 17

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chapter four beginning of God’s creation of heaven and earth,’ i.e., before God [had] created heaven and earth, the earth was unformed and void . . . [would, then, have to explain the verse as] meaning that the water was created first. But this [interpretation] is folly, too20 . . . But this is the essence of the pesha¢ according to the order of verses, since it is customary to anticipate and explain a topic that is not required in one place for the sake of a topic mentioned later on in another place. [For example], when it is written: And the sons of Noah . . . were Shem, and Ham, and Japheth; and Ham is the father of Canaan (Gen. 9:18), [the last part of the verse21 had to be anticipated], since below it is written: Cursed be Canaan! (Gen. 9:25) Had we not known from the beginning who Canaan was, we would not have understood why Noah cursed him. [Another example is]: [And it came to pass] . . . that Reuben went and lay with Bilhah his father’s concubine, and Israel heard of it (Gen. 35:22). Why is it noted [already] in this place that Israel found out [about the affair], when at the same point it is not noted that Jacob said anything about it to Reuben? [This note is added at this point] since [later in the text] at the time of his death [ Jacob] would say: Reckless as water, you shall no longer excel, because you went up onto your father’s bed; then you defiled it—he went up to my couch (Gen. 49:4). Accordingly, [the biblical author] anticipated [the sentence] ‘And Israel heard of it’ (Gen. 35:22), so that you22 would not be astonished when you see that Israel towards the end of his days chastised Reuben on account of this incident. Similarly, [this literary pattern of anticipation can be found] in many places.23

20 Rashbam’s harsh critique of Rashi is not easy to reconcile with his comments in Merdler, ed., Dayyaqut me-Rabbenu Shemuel Ben Meir, 59, where he offers this very explanation. Lockshin, Rabbi Samuel ben Meir’s Commentary on Genesis, Translation, 31n1 assumed that Rashbam “at some point changed his mind.” See also Lockshin, Perush ha-Torah, vol. 1, 2n17. However, it seems here that Rashbam, although he agreed with Rashi that the water was created first, nevertheless criticized him for not having dealt with the issue of the sequential order of the narrative, since Rashi’s comments cannot explain why the biblical report anticipates the creation of the earth. 21 Gen. 9:18b. 22 I.e., the ‘erudite’ (‫)המשכיל‬. 23

‫עתה אפרש פירושי הראשונים בפס' זה להודיע לבני אדם למה לא ראיתי לפרש‬ ‫ יש מפרשים בראשונה ברא אלהים את השמים ואת הארץ; אי אפשר לומר‬.‫כמותם‬ ‫ כלו' בתחלת ברא אלהים‬,‫ והמפרש כמו תחלת דבר ה' בהושע‬. . . ‫ שהרי המים קדמו‬,‫כן‬ ‫ נמצא שהמים נבראו‬. . . ‫ הארץ היתה תוהו‬,‫ כלו' בטרם ברא שמים וארץ‬,‫את השמים‬ ‫ אך זה הוא עיקר פשוטו לפי דרך המקראות שרגיל להקדים‬. . . ,‫ גם זה הבל‬.‫תחלה‬ ‫ כדכת‘ שם חם ויפת‬.‫ולפרש דבר שאין צריך בשביל דבר הנזכר לפניו במקום אחר‬ ‫ אלא מפני שכת' לפניו ארור כנען ואילו לא פורש תחילה מי‬,‫וכת‘ וחם הוא אבי כנען‬ ‫ למה‬.‫ וישכב את בלהה פלגש אביו וישמע ישראל‬.‫כנען לא היינו יודעין למה קללו נח‬ ‫נכתב כאן וישמע ישראל? והלא לא נכתב כאן שדיבר יעקב מאומה על ראובן? אלא‬ ‫לפי שבשעת פטירתו אמר פחז כמים אל תותר כי עלית משכבי אביך אז חללת יצועי‬ .‫ שלא תתמה בראותך שהוכיחו על כך בסוף ימיו‬,‫ לפיכך הקדים וישמע ישראל‬,‫עלה‬ ‫וכן בכמה מקומות‬.

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At first, Rashbam opposes the interpretation given already by R. Saadiah Gaon24 inter alia whereby Gen. 1:1 introduces heaven and earth as the first to be created. Like Rashi, albeit based on a different biblical reference,25 Rashbam explains ‫ בראשית‬as a construct form. Although Rashi at the end of a lengthy explanation insists that the biblical text does not teach its readers anything about the sequence of the acts of creation,26 Rashbam simply ignores Rashi’s conclusion and instead applies his own literary theory to the text at hand. He introduces the sequence in this place as in many other biblical examples as ‘anticipation’,27 using the verb √‫ קדם‬hiph. (‫)להקדים ;הקדים‬ ‘anticipating.’28 Rashbam launches his literary-theoretical considerations on this stylistic device with the Bible’s first sentence and the implicit question of why the verse first mentions the creation of the earth, even though the water must have been created before. Whereas at the beginning of his commentary, Rashbam had related pesha¢ and derash to one another in general, he now turns to a concrete textual example (Gen. 1:1). The idea of literary anticipation according to Rashbam, originates in the relation between narrative pattern and reader expectation. Whenever we find in Scripture that it describes an event or introduces a state of mind in a certain place that is not necessarily needed for the understanding of its immediate context, we can assume that it follows the scriptural pattern of regularly anticipating topics and explaining subjects that become relevant at a later time. In Rashbam’s view, entire narrative blocks, thus, turn into literary anticipations.29 Literary anticipation draws the readers’ attention to future events,30 fills in gaps in content, or introduces a decisive turn of

24 25 26

Cf. R. Saadiah ad loc. Rashbam refers to Gen. 10:10, whereas Rashi refers to Jer. 26:1.

. . . ‫ולא בא המקרא להורות סדר הבריאה‬.

See e.g., Nahum M. Sarna, “The Anticipatory Use of Information as a Literary Feature of the Genesis Narratives,” in The Creation of Sacred Literature, Composition and Redaction of the Biblical Text, ed. Richard Elliott Friedman, University of California Publications: Near Eastern Studies, vol. 22 (Berkley: University of California Press, 1981), 76–82. 28 R. Eliezer of Beaugency uses the term in the same way as Rashbam does. It is remarkable that all of the Northern-French commentators use this term in its verbal form; no one ever uses the noun haqdama; see also R. A. Harris, “The Literary Hermeneutic of R. Eliezer of Beaugency,” esp. 172–186. 29 E.g., the story of Jacob and his sons (Gen. 37:2); Deut. 2:5 (the speech of Moses). 30 See also Rashbam on Gen. 25:28; Gen. 37:11; Exod. 2:23; 14:7; on the issue in 27

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action within the narrative composition31 (completive prolepsis).32 In this, Rashbam’s approach reveals an ‘aesthetic of reception’, a sort of ‘reader-response,’33 meant for an intellectual and well-educated reader who considers the Torah a piece of literature, composed according to literary standards. The biblical author has Jacob rebuke Reuben towards the end of his life (Gen. 49:4), and had, therefore, to let the reader know that Jacob knew what Reuben had done (Gen. 35:22), and had kept the incident in mind until the end of his life.34 In his analysis of Rashbam’s commentary on the narrative passages of the Torah, Elazar Touitou prefaces his remarks by insisting that “Rashbam wholeheartedly believed in the historicity of the stories [told] in the Torah.”35 According to Touitou, Rashbam regarded the Torah as a ‘historical book’ (‫ )ספר היסטוריה‬as well as a ‘literary creation’ (‫)יצירה ספרותית‬. If this is true, we should, then, try to establish criteria for distinguishing when these categories apply. Before we deal with this topic in more detail, let us turn to Rashbam’s explanation of the function of literary anticipation in the creation story: (Gen. 1:1) The entire section dealing with the six days of creation was literarily anticipated by Moses, our teacher, to explain to you what God said [later on] when he gave the Torah [on Mount Sinai], saying: ‘Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy [etc.], for in six days YHWH made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested on the seventh day . . . (Exod. 20:8–11). Therefore, it is written: And there was evening and there was morning, ‘the’ 36 sixth day (Gen. 1:31), [referring to] this aforementioned sixth day that marks the end of the creation process, and that God mentioned when he gave the Torah. This is the reason why Moses recounted it to Israel, to let them know that the word of the Holy One, Blessed be He, is true, [as if he said]: Should you think, that this world has existed forever in the way that you now see it—filled with all these good things—then [I must tell you] this is not the case! Rather, ‫בראשית ברא אלהים‬, i.e., at the beginning of the creation of heaven and earth by the time the general compare also Lockshin, Rabbi Samuel ben Meir’s Commentary on Genesis, Translation, 412–421; Touitou, Exegesis in Perpetual Motion, 146–158. 31 Cf. Gen. 35:22; see also in the following Rashbam’s comments on Gen. 25:28. 32 As e.g., in Gen. 9:18. 33 Touitou, Exegesis in Perpetual Motion, 129 explains it as ‫תקשורת בין מחבר לקורא‬. 34 See also Gen. 37:11: ‘. . . but his father kept the saying in mind.’ 35

‫ רשב"ם האמין באמונה שלמה בהסטוריותם של סיפורי‬,‫ראוי להקדים ולומר כי‬ ‫( התורה‬Touitou, Exegesis in Perpetual Motion, 126).

36 The story of creation presents the second till fifth day in an undetermined form (Gen. 1:8.13.19.23); only Gen. 1:31 writes in the determined form (‫)יום הששי‬.

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uppermost heavens and the earth had been created either a long time or a short while ago, then the earth that already existed was unformed and void, meaning that there was nothing in it.37

Like Rashi, Rashbam, too, deals with the question why the Torah starts with the account of the creation process. However, his answer is a challenge not only to Rashi, but also to the rabbinic tradition as a whole, and probably also to the majority of Jews of his day. Moses wrote this part of the Torah as part of a propaganda campaign, in order ‘to inform his people that what God said was true.’38 He shaped the section on the creation process rhetorically and stylistically. The only thing provided with regard to content was God’s statement in Exod. 20:8–11 describing that God had finished his creational work within six days, without outlining the details as to the chronological order of the creation of the heavenly bodies and the flora and fauna. According to Rashbam, then, the story of creation does not depict a six-day-scheme, because the creation process took place in six ‘days,’ but forms a retrospective account of a literary ‘master copy,’ the divine speech in Exod. 20:8–11. Accordingly, the report on the creation process forms an introduction to Israel’s histoire. Even though Rashbam’s commentary was meant only for the erudite audience, the maskilim, his characterization of Gen. 1 as a literary artefact written by Moses, is an exegetical ‘bombshell.’ Lockshin translates the term maskilim as ‘wise’.39 However, it seems that Rashbam intentionally used the idiom ‫משכילים‬ instead of ‫‘ חכמים‬wise,’ the latter referring to rabbinic knowledge, the former denoting erudition and knowledge other than rabbinic. This raises the question of what ‘Torah’ meant to Rashbam. What is the relationship between the Torah as a historical book and the

37 ‫גם כל הפרשה הזאת של מלאכת ששה ימים הקדימה משה רבינו לפרש לך מה‬ ‫שאמר הק' בשעת מתן תורה זכור את יום השבת לקדשו ]וגו'[ כי ששת ימים עשה‬ '‫ וזהו שכת‬,‫ה' את השמים ואת הארץ את הים ואת כל אשר בם וינח ביום השביעי‬ ‫אותו ששי שהוא גמר ששה ימים שאמר הקב"ה במתן‬, ‫ויהי ערב ויהי בקר יום הששי‬ ‫ וכי אתם סבורים‬,‫להודיעם כי דבר הקב"ה אמת‬,‫ לכך אמר להם משה לישראל‬.‫תורה‬ ,‫שהעולם הזה כל הימים בנוי כמו שאתם רואים אותו עכשיו מלא כל טוב? לא היה כן‬ ‫אלא בראשית ברא אלהים וגו' כלו' בתחילת בריאת שמים וארץ כלו' בעת שנבראו‬ ‫ הבנויה‬,‫ אז והארץ היתה‬,‫ הן זמן מרובה הן זמן מועט‬,‫כבר ]ה[שמים העליונים והארץ‬ . . . ‫ שלא היה בם שום דבר‬,‫כבר היתה תוהו ובהו‬. 38 The phrases ‫ להודיע‬/ ‫ להודיעם‬and ‫ להעיד‬as related to the literary motivation of the biblical author occurs frequently in Rashbam’s commentaries (‫להודיע‬: Gen. 1:1;

24:1; 25:28.34; 29:10; Exod. 6:14; 16:15; Num. 13:18 Deut. 2:5; Job 13:23; 20:27; ‫להעיד‬: Gen. 20:4; Exod. 2:23). 39 See Lockshin, Rabbi Samuel ben Meir’s Commentary on Genesis, Translation, 28.

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Torah as literary entity? According to Touitou Rashbam considers the narratives of the book of Genesis as subordinate to the ‘core’ of the Torah (the collections of laws), and these narratives serve to establish the truth of the historical assumptions of the halakhah.40 Yet, does that explanation do justice to Rashbam’s literary approach? The importance that Rashbam assigns to literary analysis becomes obvious when we examine sections of his commentary on Gen. 1 that have historically been halakhically significant. Right from the very beginning of his commentary—in particular in his explanations on Gen. 1:5—Rashbam refuses to consider later halakhic tradition: (Gen. 1:5) God called the light ‘day’—[reading the text] in accordance with pesha¢-exegesis [i.e., an analysis according to its literary context only] you should be astonished: Why would the Holy One, Blessed be He, have to call the light day, at the time of its creation? Rather, [we must understand] that Moses, our Teacher, wrote [as follows]: Whenever we find in the words of the Omnipresent41 [the terms] ‘day’ and ‘night’— like [in the verse] ‘Day and night shall not cease’ (Gen. 8:22)—, this refers to the light and darkness that were created on the first day. It is this very light that the Holy One, Blessed be He, throughout calls ‘day’ and ‘night.’ In this manner [we should understand all the occurrences of the phrase] ‘God called . . .’ written in this section. In the same way, Moses called Hoshea, the son of Nun, Joshua (Num. 13:16). The [very person] mentioned before and being referred to as ‘from the tribe of Ephraim, Hoshea ben Nun (Num. 13:8),’ is the same person that Moses called Joshua, son of Nun, when he appointed him his domestic attendant . . . And there was evening and there was morning. The text does not say ‘There was night and there was day,’ but rather ‘there was evening’ [‫]ערב‬, meaning that the first day subsided [‫ ]העריב‬and its light sank. ‘And there was morning’ [‫]בקר‬, i.e., the morning of the [subsiding] night when the morning star rose. This was the point in time, when one day of the six days described in the Decalogue was completed. And then, the second day began [and] God said: “Let there be a vault.” The verse does not aim to state that an evening and a morning [usually] constitute a single day; rather, we only have to explain how the six days came into being, i.e., when the day broke forth and the night came to an end, then one day was completed, and the second day began.42

Compare Touitou, Exegesis in Perpetual Motion, 115–116. For this translation of maqom compare BerR 68:9: ‫הוי הקב"ה מקומו של עולם‬ ‫( ואין עולמו מקומו‬see also TanB Vayyeshev 1:4; PesR 21 a.fr.; see also Rashi on Exod. 33:21). 40 41

42 ‫ תמה על עצמך לפי הפשט למה הוצרך הקב"ה לקרוא‬.‫ויקרא אלהים לאור יום‬ ‫ כ"מ שאנו רואים בדברי המקום יום‬,‫ אלא כך כתב משה רבינו‬.‫לאור בשעת יצירתו יום‬ ‫ קורא אותו‬,‫ הוא האור והחשך שנברא ביום ראשון‬,‫ולילה כגון יום ולילה לא ישבותו‬

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Rashbam’s comments on Gen. 1:5 and Gen. 1:843 have troubled exegetes and scholars to this very day. Not only does Rashbam strictly adhere to the above-mentioned principle of literary anticipation, again referring to the first Decalogue; but he also insists on what he called pesha¢, in this case indeed a sensus ad litteram that he grounds by means of straightforward wordplays with the roots √‫ ערב‬and √‫בקר‬. According to the plain sense of the text, a new day begins at sunrise, not at sunset. Rashbam must have known that this interpretation puts him in direct conflict with rabbinic exegesis that took Gen. 1:5 as the prooftext for the well-established halakhic teaching that a day begins at sunset.44 Modern scholars, therefore, have repeatedly tried to defend Rashbam against the charge of heterodoxy.45 The first part of his comments discusses the term ‘day.’ Rashbam ignores rabbinic exegesis that identified the primordial with the eschatological light that God separated for the righteous in the world to come.46 Instead, he explains that this verse does not speak about ‘day’ and ‘night’ in its usual sense, but rather about the primordial light and darkness, despite the fact that Moses wrote it down differently. Consequently, the second part of the verse could not refer to what

‫ וכן ויקרא משה‬.‫ וכן כל ויקרא אלהים הכתובים בפרשה זו‬.‫הקב"ה בכ"מ יום ולילה‬ ‫ הוא אותו שקרא משה‬,‫ האמור למעלה למטה אפרים הושע בן נון‬,‫להושע בן נון יהושע‬ ‫ אין כתיב כאן‬.‫ ויהי ערב ויהי בקר‬. . . ‫יהושע בן נון שמינהו קודם לכן משרתו בביתו‬ ‫ בוקרו‬,‫ ויהי בוקר‬,‫ שהעריב יום ראשון ושיקע האור‬,‫ויהי לילה ויהי יום אלא ויהי ערב‬ ,‫ הרי הושלם יום א' מן הו' ימים שאמר הק' בי' הדברות‬.‫ שעלה עמוד השחר‬,‫של לילה‬ ‫ ולא בא הכתוב לומר שהערב והבקר‬.‫ ויאמר אלהים יהי רקיע‬,‫ואח"כ התחיל יום שיני‬ ‫ שהבקיר יום ונגמרה‬,‫ כי לא הצרכנו לפרש אלא היאך היו ששה ימים‬,‫יום אחד הם‬ ‫ הרי נגמר יום אחד והתחיל יום שיני‬,‫הלילה‬. 43 Rashbam on Gen. 1:8: ‫ שנטה היום לערוב ואח"כ ויהי‬.‫ויהי ערב ויהי בקר יום שני‬ ‫ הרי נגמר יום שני מששת הימים שאמר הקב"ה בעשרת הדברות‬.‫בקר של יום שני‬ ‫והתחיל עתה יום שלישי בבקר‬.

44 According to bBer 2a; bPes 2a; bRH 58b; mHul 5:5; bMeg 20a a ‘day’ begins at sunset, in particular with the appearance of the stars (compare also Rashbam on Gen. 1:14). On the subject matter, whether the so-called Iggeret ha-Shabbat, in which Ibn Ezra depicts how he vindicated the (queen of ) Sabbath by destroying books that desecrate the Shabbat, was in fact directed against Rashbam, see below Chapter Four, 1.2. 45 Compare e.g., Lockshin, Rabbi Samuel ben Meir’s Commentary on Genesis, Translation, 38n2: “It is furthermore obvious that Rashbam drew no heterodox halakhic conclusions from that verse;” he reaches the same conclusion in Lockshin, Perush ha-Torah, vol. 1, 6–7n61. Dirk U. Rottzoll, “Kannte Avraham ibn Ezra Shemu’el ben Me’ir?” Frankfurter Judaistische Beiträge 25 (1998): 75–104, esp. 101–103 proposes that Rashbam probably wanted to establish a distinct counting for the six days of creation. 46 Cf. bHag 12a; BerR 3:6; 12:6; ShemR 15:21; 18:11 a.fr.: see also Rashi on Gen. 1:4.

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later rabbinic exegesis defined as the beginning of the day, i.e., the sunset and the appearance of the stars. Gen. 1:5, therefore, reports only the subsiding of the first day [‫ ]העריב‬and the ‘light’ of the (subsiding) night, both entities not yet separated from one another. Only in v. 14, when the lights have already been created, does the text correctly report the separation of ‘day’ and ‘night.’ Rashbam explains that man can accurately determine the beginning of the night (and the end of the day) by the sunset and the appearance of the stars. The commentary on Gen. 1 shows that Rashbam classifies the textual material in the Torah, not only subdividing it into aggadic and halakhic components, which would not have been so extraordinary, but also distinguishing between the ‘primary’ parts of the Torah (i.e., the divine speeches), and the ‘secondary’ parts, those texts that were written by Moses for educational or other purposes.47 1.2. Only Those Things that One Can See: Narrative Exegesis versus Philosophical Speculations As we have seen, even in his comments on Gen. 1, Rashbam remained faithful to his literary theoretical outlook. This holds true also for the biblical depiction of the creation of man that had so attracted medieval philosophers and seduced them to enter into an ontological debate. On Gen. 1:26–27, Rashbam notes: (26) And [God] said to his angels: “Let us make man.” Likewise, we find [this]48 in [the story of] Micaiah ben Imlah in [the book of] kings . . . In our image, i.e., in the image of the angels . . . (27) In his image, [i.e.] in the image of man; in the image of God, [i.e., in the image of the] angels.49 Do not be astonished that the forming of [the] angels was not explicated here, since Moses did not write here anything about angels, gehinnom [‘hell’], or the ma‘aseh merkavah [the ‘divine chariot’].50 [He recorded only] those things that one can see in the world that are referred to in the Decalogue, since this is the [only] reason why the entire six days of creation are described, as I have explained above.51

See also Touitou, Exegesis in Perpetual Motion, 121. I.e., the motif of God consulting his angels (following examples from 1 Kings 22:19–22; Isa. 6:8; Job 1:6–12). 49 Cf. Rashbam on Gen.1:26. 50 Cf. Ezek. 1; 10; see also bHag 12. 47 48

51 ‫ ואל תתמה‬.‫ מלאכים‬,‫ של אדם הוא בצלם אלהים‬.‫)רשב"ם ברא' א( )כז( בצלמו‬ ‫ כי לא כתב משה כאן לא מלאכים ולא גיהנם ולא‬,‫אם לא נתפרש יצירת המלאכים‬

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Whereas Rashi here discusses the rivalry between the angels and humankind,52 Rashbam focuses exclusively on the narrative string, addressing his comments to the implicit or actual critical reader (‘do not be puzzled!’). Rashbam draws the reader’s intention to the fact that the plural-form in Gen. 1:26 ( pluralis deliberationis53) denotes a consultation between God and the angels. In accordance with the opening words of his commentary on Gen. 1 where Rashbam elucidates the principle of literary anticipation, the problem may arise that the text nowhere introduces the angels as dramatis personae or reports their creation. Rashbam’s answer is as simple as it is striking: When Moses wrote down the creation narrative, the (first) Decalogue formed the yardstick for any further narrative framing. Since Exod. 20:11 refers only to heaven and earth, the sea, and everything that is in them, Moses had to limit his description in the creation narrative to the entities referred to in Exod. 20, “since this is the [only] reason why the entire 6–day creation narrative is told here” (Rashbam). Sarah Kamin considered whether Rashbam’s statement that Moses ‘recorded only those things that one can see’ was polemical. Rashbam might have sought to exclude intentionally those created entities that man cannot see,54 i.e., he might have rebutted any ontological dispute. For the rabbinic tradition, Rashbam would have set up a sharp demarcation line, since the rabbis did not avoid engaging in discussions of heavenly entities as well as of the chthonic world. Kamin’s argument, however, is also important since we find the motif of the Mosaic restriction of the visible world in contemporary Christian exegesis of the text at hand as well. In his commentary on Gen. 2:7, Hugh of St. Victor expounds that Moses acted as ‘historiograph,’ and was, thus, interested only in the visible word: . . . sicut historiographicus de visibilibus intendit.55 Likewise, Peter

‫ כי לכך‬,‫ אלא דברים שאנו רואים בעולם הנזכרים בעשרת הדברות‬,‫מעשה מרכבה‬ ‫נאמר כל מעשה ששת הימים כמו שפירשתי למעלה‬.

52 On this subject see Peter Schäfer, Rivalität zwischen Engeln und Menschen (Berlin and New York: de Gruyter, 1975), esp. 90–99. 53 See in particular Paul Joüon and Takamitsu Muraoka, A Grammar of Biblical Hebrew, subsidia biblica, vol. 27 (Rome: Editrice Pontificio Istituto Biblico, 2006), 347 (§ 114e). 54 See Kamin, “Rashbam’s Conception of the Creation,” 46*. 55 Adnotationes Elucidatoriae in Pentateuchon, Patrologia Latina 175, 38D; see also Kamin, “Rashbam’s Conception of the Creation,” 47*.

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Abelard (1070–c.1142/44) elucidates in his Expositio in Hexaemeron56 that the aim of the creation narrative and its descriptions of the visible world is to lead man to true worship and devotion: The purpose is surely that as we have stated before, namely, to draw to divine worship the people that were hitherto fleshly, from the visible works through the narration of these [books] or through teaching, so that man shall understand what obedience one owes God, who created him in His image and put him in paradise over other creatures as well as over the entire universe which was created for his sake.57

To Abelard, the creation of humankind forms the center of both creation narratives, and for this reason, Moses did not describe entities beyond the visible world: Now the earth was unformed and void (Gen. 1:2). For this treatise deals especially with the creation of man, who was shaped from earth and unto earth shall return, in which the prophet [i.e., Moses] intends to draw mankind to the worship of God as we have said, he adapts the style to the earthly works, omitting the creation of the heavenly, superior nature, i.e., of the angelic [nature], lest—if he had examined that nature and showed its excellence for the glory of its Creator—he might draw mankind to love God to a lesser extent because man would have noticed that God preferred another nature to his own.58

Compared to Rashbam, Abelard’s dictum is most appropriate, since it links the creation narrative to Christian ritual: The story of creation fulfills the didactic function of leading man to true worship. However, Kamin is right in stating that despite the striking parallels between 56 The Expositio in Hexaemeron ‘explanation on the six days of creation’ is a commentary on the creation reports in Gen. 1:1–2:25. Abelard does not only deal with the sequential order of creation, but also with the allegories hidden in these texts and their theological-ethical relevance. 57 Intentio vero est ea quam praemisimus, horum [librorum; i.e. the Old Testament books mentioned before: (hoc uetus testamentum in quinque libris scribere decreuit)] videlicet narratione vel doctrina carnalem adhuc populum ex visibilibus saltem operibus ad cultum allicere divinum, ut ex his videlicet homo intelligat quantam Deo debeat obedientiam, quem ipse et ad imaginem suam creavit et in paradiso collocatum caeteris praefecit creaturis tanquam propter eum conditis universis . . . ; Expositio in Hexameron, Patrologia Latina 178, 733B. 58 Terra autem erat inanis et vacua. Quoniam ad hominis creationem de terra formandi et in terra conversaturi specialiter iste spectat tractatus, quo propheta, ut diximus, ad cultum Dei hominem allicere intendens, ad terrena opera stylum convertit, coelestis et superioris naturae, id est angelicae creatione praeterita; ne forte, si eam perscrutaretur et ad Creatoris sui laudem ejus excellentiam ostenderet, minus hominem ad amorem Dei alliceret, qui sibi aliam praeferri naturam conspiceret; Expositio in Hexameron, Patrologia Latina 178, 734C.

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Rashbam and his Christian contemporaries with regard to the predominance of the visible world, fundamental differences remain. The interpretation of the Christian exegetes presupposes the philosophical distinction between the intelligible and material worlds as well as the different stages of the heavenly spheres, earthly elements, intelligences, etc. Their aim was to harmonize between the philosophical and the exegetical-philological approach, i.e., between cosmological speculations and the biblical text. Therefore, we have to be cautious about assuming a (literary or oral ) dependence of one on the other.59 For this reason, Kamin proposes that Rashbam was polemicizing not with contemporary Christian cosmological theories, but rather with his Jewish contemporaries, in particular those of the Rhenish academies that devoted themselves to cosmogonical and theosophical speculations on ma‘aseh bereshit (the workings of creation) and ma‘aseh merkavah (the workings of the divine chariot).60 Kamin’s proposal is problematic. First, the limitation to contemporary mystical speculations is not necessarily justified since already the Pirqei de Rabbi Eliezer (ch. 4) mentions ‘angels, gehinnom, and the ˜ayyot (the four Ezekielian creatures).61 We could equally read Rashbam’s rejection of the invisible world as an objection to rabbinic speculations on ma‘aseh bereshit and ma‘aseh merkavah as we find them already in the Talmud.62 This rejection would, thus, fit in with Rashbam’s general rejection of midrashic interpretations. It is, therefore, not necessary to see Rashbam’s comments as directed against the Jewish communities (in Ashkenaz). But it is still not clear which faction(s) Rashbam was referring to. We know of mystical speculations and an intensive preoccupation with ma‘aseh bereshit (e.g., Sefer Yetsirah ‘the book of Creation’ ) and with ma‘aseh merkavah (Merkavah Mysticism) in the circles of the so-called Æaside Ashkenaz (German Pietists) who copied

Compare also Sarah Kamin, “Affinities between Jewish and Christian Exegesis in 12th-Century Northern France,” in Sarah Kamin, Jews and Christians Interpret the Bible (in Hebrew and English) ( Jerusalem: Magnes Press, 1991), 12*–26*, 25*: “I did not mean to suggest any direct influence of one upon the other.” 60 Kamin, “Rashbam’s Conception of the Creation,” 57*: “I suggest that Rashbam’s motivation was polemical, his commentary being directed against views prevalent in the contemporary Jewish community.” 61 Compare PRE 4 (9a): ‫בשני ברא הקב"ה את הרקיע והמלאכים ואשו של בשר ודם ואש של‬ ‫ ואי‬,‫ שנ‘ בראשית ברא אלהים את השמים ואת הארץ‬,‫ והלא שמים וארץ נבראו ביום הראשון‬,‫גיהנם‬ ‫ שנ‘ ודמות על ראשי החיה‬,‫ ר‘ אליעזר אומ‘ הרקיע שעל ראשי החיות ארבע‬,‫זהו רקיע שנברא ביום שני‬ . . . ‫ רקיע כעין הקרח הנורא‬. 62 See in particular bHag 12. 59

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dozens of manuscripts of Hekhalot (‘heavenly palaces’ ) treatises.63 However, the most prominent representatives of the Æaside Ashkenaz, R. Judah ‘the Pious’ (he-Æasid; died 1217) and his pupil R. Eleazar ben Judah of Worms (1165–1230), to whom Kamin refers in particular, wrote their speculative treatises approximately fifty to seventy years after Rashbam, and none of them resided in Northern France, but in Speyer, Mainz, and Worms. Kamin has to admit “that we have no literary evidence confirming [the existence of mystical speculations on ma‘aseh merkavah] existence either from the time of Rashi and Rashbam or from the time of Bekhor Shor.”64 Likewise, the representatives of the Northern French mystical circles like the Æug Keruv ha-meyu˜ad (Special Cherub circle)65 or the author of the Sefer ha-Æayyim clearly belong to the Parisian circle of the early thirteenth century.66 Finally, the mystical and theosophical treatises by R. Judah the Pious and R. Eleazar included sources that Rashbam almost certainly had no access to, i.e., the excerpts of the Hekhalot treatises as well as the commentaries on the Sefer Yetsirah (The Book of Creation) by either R. Shabbetai Donnolo,67 or R. Judah ben Barzilai,68 or the Hebrew paraphrase of

63 Compare in particular Peter Schäfer and Margarete Schlüter, ed., Synopse zur Hekhalot-Literatur (Tübingen: Mohr-Siebeck, 1981); Peter Schäfer, The Hidden and Manifest God: Some Major Themes in Early Jewish Mysticism (Albany: State University of New York, 1992). 64 See Kamin, “Rashbam’s Conception of the Creation,” 67*. 65 See in particular Daniel Abrams, “The Evolution of the Intention of Prayer to the ‘Special Cherub:’ From the Earliest Works to a Late Unknown Treatise,” Frankfurter Judaistische Beiträge 22 (1995): 1–26; Joseph Dan, “The ‘Exceptional Cherub’ Sect in the Literature of the Medieval German Óasidism,” (in Hebrew), Tarbiz 35 (1966): 349–72. 66 See esp. Gerold Necker, Das Buch des Lebens. ‫ספר החיים‬. Edition, Übersetzung und Studien, Text and Studies in Medieval and Early Modern Judaism, vol. 16 (Tübingen: Mohr-Siebeck, 2001). 67 Compare Shabbetai Donnolo, Der Mensch als Gottes Ebenbild. Von dem Arzte und Astronomen R. Schabtai Donolo (geb. 913), nach einer Handschrift der kaiserlichen Bibliothek in Paris herausgegeben und dargestellt v. Adolph Jellinek (Leipzig, 1854); idem, Sefer Æakhmoni, ed. D. Castelli (Florenz, 1880); Elliot R. Wolfson, “The Theosophy of Shabbetai Donnolo, with Special Emphasis on the Doctrine of Sefirot in his Sefer Æakhmoni,” Jewish History 6 (1992): 281–316. 68 Compare Judah ben Barzilai, Commentar zum Sepher Jezira von R. Jehuda ben Barsilai aus Barcelona (Anfang des XII. Jahrhunderts). Nach der einzigen Handschrift in Padua zum ersten Male herausgegeben, mit Einleitung und Anmerkungen v. S. J. Halberstam, nebst ergänzenden Noten von D. Kaufmann (Berlin, 1885); compare also Joseph Dan, ‫ אופיו ומגמותיו‬- ‫פירוש ספר יצירה לר' יהודה בן ברזילי הברצלוני‬," in M. Oron and Amos Goldreich, ed., Massu‘ot. Studies in Kabbalistic Literature and Jewish Philosophy in Memory of Prof. Ephraim Gottlieb, Jerusalem 1994, 99–119.

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Sefer ha-Emunot we-ha-De‘ot by R. Saadiah Gaon.69 Recently, Ephraim Kanarfogel took up the issue, arguing that even Rashi might have been familiar with mystical traditions,70 but his argument is as unconvincing as Kamin’s. It does not seem at first blush, therefore, that Jewish mystics were on Rashbam’s mind when he was writing this passage. However, Kamin’s statement that Rashbam’s comments show “an absolute absence of all speculation regarding cosmogony and divine mysteries”71 allows more than a conclusion ex negativo that he polemicizes against philosophical or mystical speculations. His attitude towards philosophical speculations becomes obvious in his commentary on the book of Ecclesiastes. Here, Rashbam does not only rebut theosophical speculations, but also substantiates his idea with reference to ma‘aseh bereshit and ma‘aseh merkavah: (Eccles. 7:23) All this I tested by way of wisdom. With my great wisdom, I tested everything that [pertains] to this matter. For I said to myself that I want[ed] to become learned in the profound sciences. But it, [i.e.,] this profound learning, is far from me, for I am unable to understand it, or to handle it. (24) The past is far off.72 Profound [wisdom] that has already existed [long ago], like ma‘aseh merkavah and Sefer Yetsirah, this is far from me, for I cannot handle it. Deep, so deep is the working of this additional wisdom. Who is the one who in his great wisdom could fathom it?73

69 The Æaside Ashkenaz had no access to the Hebrew translation of Saadiah’s Sefer ha-Emunot we-ha-De‘ot that was prepared by Judah ibn Tibbon in 1186, but made use of an earlier anonymous translation that paraphrased the text (compare already Steinschneider, Die hebräischen Übersetzungen des Mittelalters, esp. 440; Abraham Ben Azriel. Sefer Arugat haBosem [in Hebrew], ed. Efraim E. Urbach. 4 vols. ( Jerusalem: Mekize Nirdamim), 1939–1963, 136–137; R. C. Kiener, “The Hebrew Paraphrase of Sa‘adiah Gaon’s Kitāb al-Amānāt wa’l-I’tiqādāt [Hebrew Text],” [Ph.D. Diss., Ann Arbor/Mich., 1988], esp. XXI–XXII; R. C. Kiener, “The Hebrew Paraphrase of Sa‘adiah Gaon’s Kitāb al-Amānāt wa’l-I’tiqādāt,” AJS Review 11 [1986]: 1–26). 70 See Ephraim Kanarfogel, “Rashi’s Awareness of Jewish Mystical Literature and Traditions,” in Raschi und sein Erbe: Internationale Tagung der Hochschule für Jüdische Studien mit der Stadt Worms, ed. Daniel Krochmalnik, Hanna Liss, and Ronen Reichman (Heidelberg: Universitätsverlag Winter, 2007), 23–34. 71 Kamin, “Rashbam’s Conception of the Creation,” 55*. However, we should note that in his explanation of Gen. 1:8 Rashbam does refer to the non-visible world, i.e., the creation of the ‘uppermost heavens’ (‫ )שמים העליונים‬as created before the first day and referred to in other places in the Bible like Neh. 9:6 and Deut. 10:14; compare also Rashbam on Gen. 1:1.6.9.14. 72 Literarily: ‘That which was, is far off.’

73 ‫ שהרי‬,‫ כל אודות דבר זה ניסיתי ברוב חכמתי‬.‫כג( כל זו ניסיתי בחכמה‬,‫)קהלת ז‬ ,‫ רחוקה ממני‬,‫ אותה חכמה עמוקה‬,‫ והיא‬,‫אמרתי בלבי שאחכמה בחכמות עמוקות‬ ‫ כגון מעשה‬,‫ עמוקה שהיתה כבר‬.‫ )כד( רחוק מה שהיה‬.‫שאיני יכול להבין ולעמוד בה‬

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Rashbam’s Ecclesiastes commentary presents two kinds of wisdom: ‘wisdom that had no depths, i.e., (the kind of wisdom) the world needs’ (Eccles. 2:3)74 and ‘profound wisdom (‫)חכמה עמוקה‬75 ‘that men neither need nor are conversant with’ (‫שאין בני אדם צריכין לה ואין רגילין‬ ‫)בה‬. As in his comments on Gen. 1:27, Rashbam’s explanation of Eccles. 7:23–24 identifies the wisdom that is beyond man’s scope with cosmological and mystical speculations in particular. Although Rashbam nowhere makes use of the term ‫סוד‬, it is more likely that he was taking issue with R. Abraham Ibn Ezra (c. 1089– 1164), a possibility that Kamin does not seem to have considered. Indeed, Ibn Ezra in his commentaries on Gen. 1:1–2 (long and short commentary); Exod. 20:7; Pss. 19:3.5–6, 89:13; Eccles. 1:3; 7:14, and 11:2 refers to the Sefer Yetsirah in a similar manner.76 As a philosopher and exegete whose Neoplatonic speculations were taken up later by the German pietists, Ibn Ezra played a prominent role in the development of later Jewish mysticism and theosophy. If we are to interpret Rashbam’s comments on Gen. 1:27 as polemical in nature, Ibn Ezra and his metaphysical exegesis might have been the most likely target, since he was not only a contemporary of Rashbam, but in addition spent a couple of years in Rouen. Lancaster has Ibn Ezra living in Rouen from 1152 to 115777 at the latest.78 Is it possible that Rashbam was familiar with at least the outline of Ibn Ezra’s

‫ ועמוק עמוק הוא אותו‬.‫ שאיני יכול לעמוד בה‬,‫ רחוקה היא ממני‬,‫מרכבה וספר יצירה‬ ‫ ומי הוא אותו שהוא ימצאנו ברוב חכמתו‬,‫מעשה של חכמה יתירה זו‬. 74 ‫ ;חכמה שאין בה עומק שהיא צריכה לעולם‬compare also Rashbam on Eccles. 2:13, where he uses the term ‫‘ חכמה הרגילה‬ordinary wisdom.’

75 Compare Rashbam on Eccles. 2:3.13–14; 7:23–24. See also Rashbam on Eccles. 1:18: ‫ ומתוך כך‬,‫ שהרי ברוב חכמתו מחשב ומעמיק על ראות עיניו‬.‫כי ברוב חכמה‬

,‫ שמתוך שהוא מוסיף חכמה יתירה ודעת הרבה‬.‫ כופל מלה‬.‫ ויוסיף‬.‫כועס ברוב כעס‬ ‫מחשב ומעמיק במעשיו של הקדוש ברוך הוא שהוא עושה בעולם על מה הוא עושה‬ ‫ ומתוך רוב מחשבותיו כועס ומוסיף מכאוב‬,‫ שאינו יכול לעמוד עליהם‬,‫אותם‬. 76 Ibn Ezra on Zech. 4:10 and Dan. 1:20 mention the ‫ ;בעל ספר יצירה‬the term ‫ סוד עמוק‬is found in Ibn Ezra on Exod. 23:25–26, 28:6, 33:2, 34:6 a.fr.

77 See the map of travels of Ibn Ezra in Irene Lancaster, Deconstructing the Bible: Abraham ibn Ezra’s Introduction to the Torah, Routledge Curzon Jewish Philosophy Series (London: Routledge Curzon, 2002), xv; according to Golb, Ibn Ezra lived in Rouen from 1150 to 1158 (see Golb, The Jews in Medieval Normandy, 253–307, esp. 299); as a reliable terminus a quo we might take the emergence of the longer commentary on the book of Exodus, which is usually dated to 1163 (see ibid. 269). Rottzoll, “Kannte Avraham ibn Ezra Shemu’el ben Me’ir?” 75n2 dates Ibn Ezra’s stay in Rouen to 1147– 1158. 78 The terminus ad quem must be the spring months of 1158, in which Ibn Ezra travelled to England; see Golb, The Jews in Medieval Normandy, 301.

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interpretation of the creation narrative? Ibn Ezra had explained Gen. 1:5 secundum physicam, i.e., metaphysically, and, thereby, defined ‘day’ and ‘night’ with reference to man’s distinction of the celestial ‘forms’ (‫)צורות‬. Rashbam is not interested in what the text describes, i.e., in the qualities inherent in the entities that God created in the six days of creation, but only in the literary criteria Moses used when recording the story of creation. Similarly, Rashbam opposes any metaphysical reading of Exod. 33:13 (‘… please, show me your ways’ ).79 Whereas Ibn Ezra lets his entire philosophical (Neoplatonic) worldview intrude into this passage, dealing mainly with the question of Divine Providence, Rashbam’s comments are quite laconic and matter of fact: ‘Show me your ways, and I will follow you,’80 meaning that Moses asks God for ‘travel directions.’81 We have no precise information about Ibn Ezra’s stay in Rouen. Although some scholars even deny any personal contact between Rashbam and Ibn Ezra, it is most likely that the two intellectuals knew each other personally. However, Ibn Ezra’s correspondence with other Jewish communities82 shows that his stay in Rouen was met with hostility, and he would probably never have darkened Rashbam’s door. The Northern French rabbinic elite was distrustful and hostile. Golb suspected that Rashbam’s “enthusiasm for the Andalusian sojourner . . . began to wane with Ibn Ezra’s continued presence in Rouen.”83 Yet, it is doubtful that Rashbam had ever developed any enthusiasm for the enigmatic wanderer of uncertain lineage (even today!), and unknown sources of livelihood. Ibn Ezra left Spain at the age of fifty and henceforth led a peripatetic existence. With nowhere to call home and quite a few holes in his biography, he was a riddle to his contemporaries. For his biography, we depend almost exclusively on his poems, although these essential sources unfortunately obscure the facts more often than not. In 1140 he lived in Rome, apparently earning a living as a tutor for wealthy benefactors. From one of his poems (‫ )נדוד הסיר אוני‬we may infer that his stay in Rome did not end happily, and that he did not have a good reputation. Rottzoll and Lancaster interpret this poem to mean that the Jews of Rome greeted him with disdain (‘In Edom there is no room

79 80 81 82 83

MT: ‫הודיעני נא את דרכך‬.

‫ שתראני דרכיך ואני אלך אחריך‬. . . (Rashbam on Exod. 33:13).

Compare Lockshin, Rashbam’s Commentary on Exodus, Translation, 407–408n12. See Rottzoll, “Kannte Avraham ibn Ezra Shemu’el ben Me’ir?,” esp. 78–79. Golb, The Jews in Medieval Normandy, 282.

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chapter four for a sage who dwells in the land of Kedar’ ).84 However, the mention of ‘Edom’ probably refers not to an inner-Jewish conflict, but rather to some disputes with the Christian world. One could as well assume that at first Ibn Ezra had good relations with Christian scholars, due to his familiarity with Christian philosophers and scientists, even as the Jews turned away from him. In any case, Ibn Ezra left Rome about the year 1145, and turned to Provence (Narbonne and Beziers),85 and later to Rouen (1152–57) and Dreux. At Dreux or at Rouen, Ibn Ezra apparently encountered Rabbenu Tam.86 Ibn Ezra left Northern France in 1158 for London. According to Lancaster he stayed there until 1164.87 Ibn Ezra died 1164. His burial place is unknown.

Rashbam never mentions Ibn Ezra explicitly.88 On the other hand, Ibn Ezra polemicizes against Rashbam or against comments cited in his name without mentioning his name openly. The fact that at Gen. 19:11 Rashbam refers to Exod. 7:18 and reaches almost the same exegetical conclusion as does Ibn Ezra on Exod. 7:18 can be used as further proof that Ibn Ezra had access to Rashbam’s teachings. Similarly, Ibn Ezra on Exod. 17:11 polemicizes against Rashbam’s explanation. It is likely then that Ibn Ezra knew at least parts of Rashbam’s commentary and teachings on the Torah.89 According to Lancaster, Ibn Ezra feared that Rashbam’s pesha¢-exegesis might lead to infringements of the halakhah.90 Whether the so-called Iggeret ha-Shabbat, in which Ibn Ezra depicts how he vindicated the Sabbath Queen by destroying books that desecrate the Sabbath,91 was in fact directed

See Dirk U. Rottzoll, Abraham Ibn-Esras Kommentare zu den Büchern Kohelet, Ester und Rut, Studia Judaica, vol. 12 (Berlin: de Gruyter, 1999), XXIV; Lancaster, Deconstructing the Bible, 3. 85 See Lancaster, Deconstructing the Bible, xv. 86 The tosafists quote Ibn Ezra’s inquiry to Rabbenu Tam; see the tosafists on bRH 13a; bQid 37b; see also Golb, The Jews in Medieval Normandy, esp. 261–269. 87 See Lancaster, Deconstructing the Bible, 17–21. 88 Compare already Rosin, R. Samuel b. Meir als Schrifterklärer, 74–77; Rosin, Der Pentateuch-Commentar des Samuel ben Meir, 144. 89 On the topic in general compare esp. Eliezer Margaliot, “‫היחס שבין פירוש‬. 84

,‫ ”הרשב"ם לפירוש הראב"ע על התורה‬in ‫ספר אסף קובץ מאמרי מחקר מוגש‬ ‫לכבוד הרב פרופ' שמחה אסף‬, ed. Umberto Cassuto, Joseph Klausner, and Jehoshua

Gutman ( Jerusalem: Mossad Harav Kook, 1953), 357–369. 90 See Lancaster, Deconstructing the Bible, 17. 91 Like Yesod Mora, the Iggeret ha-Shabbat was written 1159 in London (cf. Joseph Cohen and Uriel Simon, ed., R. Abraham Ibn Ezra. Yesod Mora ve-Sod Torah. The Foundation of Reverence and the Secret of the Torah. An Annotated Critical Edition. Second Revised and Enlarged Edition [Ramat Gan: Bar Ilan University Press 2007], 16). Ibn Ezra expounds an exegetical subtlety based on the biblical formula in Gen. 1:5. To date, the issue is under debate; however, most scholars assume that the Iggeret ha-Shabbat

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against Rashbam, remains an unanswered question. We cannot even be certain whether each knew his counterpart’s commentary in its literary form at all. They might have known of each other by word of mouth, or reached similar conclusions through the common study of the Bible. Both refer to the so-called Divrei ha-Yamim shel Mosheh Rabbenu (‘The Chronicles of Moses our Teacher’ )92 in the same place93 which is hardly coincidental, the more so since both hold similarly inconsistent views with regard to its exegetical authority and ‘canonicity.’94 In any case, we can easily imagine that by the time Rashbam and Ibn Ezra were both in Rouen, they both sought to minimize contact with each other, even though Ibn Ezra’s circumstances were not comparable to Rashbam’s. Rashbam was a well established scholar, prosperous, and probably running a yeshivah, gathering around him intellectuals of varied backgrounds, whereas Ibn Ezra was a marginal figure, though likewise an erudite and keen scholar. Rashbam knew that in times when doctrines are under attack and the Jewish community is stirred up by an ‘exegesis in perpetual motion’ (Touitou), he needed to assume responsibility for the community by emphasizing ‘wisdom, in which there is no depths, i.e., the kind of wisdom the world needs.’ Rashbam’s wisdom almost certainly encompassed not only practical wisdom, the “successful management of mundane life, the conduct of personal and public affairs,”95 but also intellectual wisdom that was au courant at the time, including literary theory and narrative practice. To Rashbam, Ibn Ezra must have represented some kind of ‘scatterbrain,’ that at best turns people’s heads, and at worst vitiates the relationship with contemporary intellectuals, thereby dash-

was probably not directed against Rashbam but rather against some representatives of the Karaites; on this subject compare Golb, The Jews in Medieval Normandy, 301n6; Rottzoll, “Kannte Avraham ibn Ezra Shemu’el ben Me’ir?,” esp. 98–104; Lancaster, Deconstructing the Bible, 19–20. 92 See Adolph Jellinek, ed., Bet ha-Midrasch: Sammlung kleiner Midraschim und vermischter Abhandlungen aus der ältern jüdischen Literatur. Based on manuscripts and prints, collected, with an introduction, vol. 2 (1853, reprint, Jerusalem: Wahrmann Books, 1967), vol. 2, 1–11: for a shorter version of this legend see Avigdor Shinan, ‫”דברי הימים של משה‬ ‫רבינו‬,” Hasifrut 24 (1977): 100–116. 93 Rashbam on Exod. 4:10; Num. 12:1; Ibn Ezra on Exod. 2:22; 4:10, and Num. 12:1; see in particular below Chapter Five, 2. 94 Compare Ibn Ezra on Exod. 4:20 (‫ כי הבל‬,‫ואל תסמוך אל דברי הימים של משה‬ ‫ )כל הכתוב בו‬with Rashbam comments on Exod. 4:10: ‫וכי איפשר נביא אשר ידעו‬

‫השם פנים אל פנים וקיבל תורה מידו לידו היה מגמגם בלשונו? ואין דבר זה בדברי‬ ‫ ואין לחוש לספרים החיצונים‬.‫התנאים והאמוראים‬. 95

Japhet-Salters, The Commentary of R. Samuel ben Meir Rashbam on Qoheleth, 66.

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ing the hope of the Northern French elite to play an important role in Normandy’s intellectual landscape, and to contribute to the contemporary society on an equal footing. To achieve this goal, Rashbam, thus, limits his explanation of the written text, and does not speculate on the metaphysical / ontological reality behind or beside the text. 1.3. Literary Anticipation and Literary Bias: The Narratives of the Patriarchs We have noted that the literary principle of anticipation plays a prominent role in Rashbam’s commentary on the Torah. Rashbam applies it in particular to the narrative parts of the biblical text, pointing out this stylistic device not only for single phrases, but also for extensive narrative discourses.96 Unfortunately, the section of the commentary on Gen. 2–17 is lost. We would have expected that Gen. 12 as the opening story of the Patriarchal narratives would have marked an interesting narrative turning point for Rashbam, as well, and that his commentary would have probably included a lengthy introduction similar to the one we find at Gen. 37:2. It seems appropriate to deal with Rashbam’s elucidation of the so-called toledot-formulae at this point: Now, let the erudite perceive how the earlier [rabbis] explained [the formula] ‫ אלה תולדות יעקב‬These are the generations of Jacob, [namely] ‘These are the events and occurrences that befell Jacob.’97 Behold, this interpretation is folly, since of all [occurrences] that [the formula] ‫ אלה תולדות‬These are the generations of [XZ ] in the Torah and in the Hagiographa [refers to], some of them tell of events that occurred to the children of a person, while many others tell of their grandchildren’s deeds, as I have already explained [in my comments on the verse) ‫אלה‬ ‫ תולדות נח‬These are the generations of Noah (Gen. 6:9).98 . . . Similarly, with regard to Esau, the first section [of the story] elaborates upon the sons

See also Touitou, Exegesis in Perpetual Motion, 146–158. It is not quite clear to me, which one of the contemporary commentaries Rashbam really had in mind. Lockshin, Rabbi Samuel ben Meir’s Commentary on Genesis, Translation, 242n2 points to Rashi’s commentary ad loc., since Rashi refers to ‘their settlements and wanderings.’ Rashi’s comments ad loc. as well as on Gen. 6:9 do not exactly fit Rashbam’s wording (see also Lockshin, Perush ha-Torah, vol. 1, 106n24), although it is clear that Rashi’s explanation of toledot in Gen. 37:2 refers to a character’s previous history. The only commentators who also use the term ‫‘ מאורעות‬occurrences’ to explain toledot are R. Joseph of Orléans (Bekhor Shor; c. 1130–1200) and R. Abraham Ibn Ezra in his short commentary on the book of Genesis, but both of these were Rashbam’s contemporaries and not ‘rishonim.’ 98 The commentary is lost. 96 97

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that were born to him at the place [where] his father [lived].99 Following [this section], [the text continues with] . . . and he went to [another] land etc. (Gen. 36:6), and [Esau] settled in the mountain-land of Seir (Gen. 36:8). And the section, in which it is written These are the generations of Esau, the father of the Edomites in the mountain-land of Seir—this second section [deals] with [the genealogy] of Esau’s sons. Just as we find in [the section] of Esau that [the biblical author] explained that his sons were born to him in [the land] of his father’s sojourning, before he went to [another] land, away from his brother Jacob (Gen. 36:6), whereas his grandsons were born to him in the mountain-land of Seir, we find it likewise concerning Jacob. Above, it is stated Jacob had twelve sons etc. (Gen. 35:22), [and after having listed their names], the text explains at the end These are the sons of Jacob who were born to him in Paddan-Aram. And [ Jacob] came to his father Isaac etc. (Gen. 35:26–27). Thus, the biblical text listed the sons of Jacob, and where they were born, as it did in the case of Esau.100

Based on the toledot-formulae, Rashbam sketches the literary outline of the biblical composition. The toledot-formulae constitute the structural principle of the biblical narratives, shaping the stories according to a particular literary pattern. Rashbam harshly rejects the opinion that the term toledot refers to certain occurrences and events, or even to a character’s individual qualities. He proposes the theory, that the toledotformulae turn the (erudite!) readers’ attention to the first and second line of succession of a biblical figure, i.e., on occurrences and events to happen in the future. The ‘generations of Jacob,’ thus, become the ‘generations subsequent to Jacob as the foremost motif of the literary context: Now [i.e., in line with the preceding story line] the text writes [the formula] ‫ אלה תולדות יעקב‬These are the generations of Jacob, i.e., the seventy sons of his sons [i.e., the subsequent generations] and how they were born. And how [were they born]? Joseph was seventeen years old, and his brothers became jealous of him. As a result, Judah went away

99 100

I.e., in the land of Canaan.

‫ אלה‬.‫ אלה תולדות יעקב‬.‫)ב( ועתה יראו המשכילים מה שפירשו הראשונים‬ ‫ כי כל אלה תולדות האמור‬.‫ והנה זה הבל הוא‬.‫מקראות ומאורעות שאירעו ליעקב‬ ,‫בתורה ובכתובים יש מהם שמפרשים בני האדם ויש מהם רבים שמפרשים בני בנים‬ ‫ וכן בעשו פרשה ראשונה מפרש בני עשו שנולדו‬. . .‫כאשר פירשתי באלה תולדות נח‬ ‫ ואחרי כן וילך אל ארץ וגו' וישב לו בהר שעיר וכל הפרשה וכת' אלה‬,‫לו במקום אביו‬ ‫ וכשם שמצינו‬.‫ וכל פרשה שנייה זאת בבני עשו‬,‫תולדות עשו אבי אדום בהר שעיר‬ ‫ ובני בניו נולדו‬,‫בעשו שפירש שבניו נולדו במגורי אביו קודם שהלך אל ארץ מפני יעקב‬ ‫ ומפרש לבסוף אלה‬,'‫ כן ביעקב למעלה כת' ויהיו בני יעקב שנים עשר וגו‬- ‫בהר שעיר‬ ‫ הרי פיר' בניו של‬,'‫בני יעקב אשר ילד לו בפדן ארם ויבא ]יעקב[ אל יצחק אביו וגו‬ ‫יעקב והיכן נולדו כאשר עשה בבני עשו‬.

98

chapter four from his brothers101 and had three sons in Chezib and Adulam: Shelah, Perez, and Zerah. And it came to pass that Joseph was taken down to Egypt,102 and there Manasseh and Ephraim were born to him, and [finally] Joseph sent for his father and his household so that their number totalled seventy.103 Moses, our teacher, had to write down [√‫ ]כתב‬all this, since [later in the biblical account] he would rebuke them, [saying]: Your ancestors went 104 down to Egypt, seventy persons in all, etc. (Deut. 10:22).

Akin to the creation narrative that Moses recorded as background for the first Decalogue,105 the legends of the patriarchs form a kind of narrative introduction to the Torah’s main subject, the emergence of Israel as a people, the exodus from Egypt, the legislation, and the wandering in the desert. In other words, to Rashbam the narrative of the patriarchs, that is to say the book of Genesis in toto represents the foundation story of Israel. From a modern Bible scholar’s point of view, this assertion about the relationship of the patriarchal tradition of the book of Genesis to the Exodus—Conquest-Tradition is old hat. Konrad Schmid, for instance, distinguishes between particular sections in the book of Genesis that anticipate the Exodus tradition, texts in the books Exodus to Deuteronomy that refer back to sections in the book of Genesis, and finally those sections in Joshua—2 Kings that refer to either of the traditions. Schmid refers more or less to the same textual material that Rashbam mentions when he explains the principle of literary anticipation. Schmid discusses the Patriarchal tradition and the Exodus tradition as two independent literary compositions that were later combined with the primeval history tradition (Gen. 1–11). In the ‘primary history’ (Gen.—2Kings) Schmid points out narrative breaks and historical transitions that serve as indicators of separate blocks of tradition.106 Cf. Gen. 38:1. Cf. Gen. 39:1. 103 Cf. Gen. 46:27: ‫כל הנפש הבאה ליעקב מצרימה יצאי ירכו מלבד נשי בני יעקב‬ ‫ ;כל נפש ששים ושש‬see also Exod. 1:1 and Rashbam ad loc. 101 102

104 ?‫ כיצד‬.‫ בני בניו שהיו שבעים והיאך נולדו‬,‫)ב( ועתה כותב אלה תולדות יעקב‬ ‫יוסף בן שבע עשרה שנה ונתקנאו בו אחיו ומתוך כך ירד יהודה מאת אחיו והיו לו‬ ‫ ונתגלגל הדבר שיוסף הורד מצרימה ונולדו לו‬,‫בנים בכזיב ובעדולם שלה ופרץ וזרח‬ ‫ וכל זה היה‬.‫במצרים מנשה ואפרים ושלח יוסף בשביל אביו וביתו עד שהיו שבעים‬ ‘‫צריך משה רבנו לכתוב שעל זה הוכיחם בשבעים נפש ירדו אבותיך וגו‬.

See above Chapter Four, 1.1. See Konrad Schmid, Erzväter und Exodus. Untersuchungen zur doppelten Begründung der Ursprünge Israels innerhalb der Geschichtsbücher des Alten Testaments, WMANT, vol. 81 (Neukirchen-Vluyn: Neukirchener Verlag 1999), esp. 56–78; 170–209; in Konrad Schmid, 105 106

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However, for a twelfth-century rabbi this viewpoint is bold and revolutionary, since Rashbam had not yet elaborated the literaryhistorical and traditio-historical implications of this argument. When we consider that modern exegetical methods such as literary-historical and source-criticism even today are problematic for some religious Jews, Christians, or Muslims, it is even more astonishing that Rashbam had Moses ‘record’107 or ‘write’(√‫ )כתב‬the Patriarchal stories as a preliminary and, thus, secondary account. The issue of how Rashbam envisages the literary formation of the Torah is not easy to deal with, since the terminology he developed is not well defined. Does Moses’ ‘writing’ imply that he composed a story? Does Rashbam present Moses as the author of the Patriarchal stories with respect to the selection of the subject matter of the narratives and their literary arrangement? If that is the case, Moses was not given a lot of leeway. The narrative thread finds its completion in the Mosaic speech at its narrative destination point, the Mosaic speech that refers (back!) to the seventy persons of Jacob’s household (Deut. 10:22). Moses’ speech forms the linchpin for the narrative parts of the Torah. Rashbam does not explain why he has Moses’ speech determine the content of the Patriarchal narratives. Most likely the decisive factor was the fact that for Rashbam the Mosaic speeches as well as the divine speeches promulgate the Divine law. 1.4. Stylistic Devices The biblical narratives are pieces of literature and have, therefore, to conform to literary-theoretical rules that not even the biblical author can override. Rashbam uses the narratives in the book of Genesis in particular as literary test cases for this exegetical approach. Compare his comments to Gen. 23:1–2:

“Die Versöhnung zwischen Jakob und Esau (Genesis 33,1–11),” in Jacob: Commentaire à plusieurs voix de / Ein mehrstimmiger Kommentar zu / A plural commentary of Gen. 25–36, Mélanges offerts à Albert de Pury, ed. Jean-Daniel Macchi et al. Le Monde de la Bible, vol. 44 (Geneva: Éd. Labor et Fides, 2001), 211–226, 212. Schmid characterizes the Patriarchal stories as “prelude” (in German: ‘Auftakt’ ) to the narratives of the Exodus and the conquest of the land. 107 This is the translation by Lockshin (Lockshin, Rabbi Samuel ben Meir’s Commentary on Genesis, Translation, 245).

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chapter four Sarah’s lifetime was . . . . Although other women’s lifespans were never explicitly stated, Sarah’s had to be. He had to mention her death because of the purchase of the burial cave, and, [therefore], he stated when she died, which [occurred] after she conceived at the age of ninety. . . . (2) Abraham came. Even if he did not come from elsewhere, it is appropriate to say it this way, since he came to mourn her.108

The events narrated in chapter 22–23 in the book of Genesis have their own narrative bias. Rashbam is not interested in the sequence of events (cours d’histoire), i.e., whether Sarah died immediately after the affair of Isaac’s binding. By indirectly rejecting Rashi’s calculations of 109 Sarah’s age Rashbam focuses on the narrative pattern according to which the account of the purchase of the burial cave at Machpelah without a reference to the aged Sarah’s death would have been unmotivated (discours). Furthermore, Rashbam’s comments on Gen. 23:2 are relevant for the linguistic comparison of Hebrew and French. Rashi and Ibn Ezra had explained the Hebrew phrase ‫ ויבא אברהם‬to mean that Abraham had been in some other place when Sarah died.110 Rashbam maintains that it is not necessary to say that Abraham had come from somewhere else for the Hebrew expression to make sense. This argument owes its exegetical force to Rashbam’s sense of linguistic style, since the French verb venir forms analogous syntactical / verbal combinations like il vient de pleurer that fit into the context at hand. With regard to the narrative pattern of the biblical stories, Rashbam does not only explain the text at hand, but also expounds why a particular passage had to be written at all. In his comments on Gen. 35:8, he points out: Allon-Bacuth (‘oak of weeping’ ). [The report of Deborah’s death111] is written only because the text proceeds by expounding all the places

108 ‫ בשרה הוצרך‬,‫ אע"פ שבשאר נשים לא נתפרשו ימי חייהן‬.‫)א( ויהיו חיי שרה‬ ‫ פירש מתי מתה לאחר‬,‫ בשביל שהוצרך להזכיר מיתתה בשביל קניין המערה‬.‫לפרש‬ ‫ אפילו לא בא ממקום אחר אעפ“י כן ראוי‬.‫ ויבא אברהם‬. . . (‫ )ב‬:‫תשעים של הורתה‬ ‫לומר כי בא לסופדה‬. 109 Compare Rashi (based on BerR 57:1) on Gen. 25:20: ‫ שהרי‬.‫בן ארבעים שנה‬ ,‫ ויצחק היה בן שלשים ושבע‬,‫כשהיה בא אברהם מהר המוריה נתבשר שנולדה רבקה‬ ;‫ ומשנולד יצחק עד שמתה שרה שלשים ושבע שנם היו‬,‫שהרי בו בפרק מתה שרה‬ ‫ שנאמר ויהיו חיי‬,‫ ובת מאה ועשרים ושבע כשמתה‬,‫כיצד? בת תשעים היתה בשנולד‬ ‫ הרי ליצחק שלשים ושבע‬,. . . ‫שרה‬.

110 See Ibn Ezra on Gen. 23:2: ‫ ;וכאשר מתה שרה היה אברהם במקום אחר‬according to Rashi, Abraham came from Beersheba. 111 Cf. Gen. 35:8: Then Deborah, the nurse of Rebecca, died. And she was buried below Bethel, under the oak, which was given the name Allon-Bacuth [oak of weeping].

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Jacob came to on his return [to Canaan]: Penuel (Gen. 32:31–32), Sukkot (Gen. 33:17), ‘El Elohei-Yisrael (Gen. 33:20),’ Salem, Shechem’s city (Gen. 33:18),112 Luz (Gen. 35:6), El Bet-El (Gen. 35:7), Allon-Bacuth (Gen. 35:8), the second Bethel113 [that is mentioned] after ‘And God appeared to Jacob again (Gen. 35:9),’ Bethlehem [that is] Ephrat (Gen. 35:19), and Migdal-Eder (Gen. 35:21).114

Gen. 24:59 refers to Rebecca’s nameless nurse (although she is not nameless in Gen. 35:8). Within the literary context (and the storyline) she does not play any further role. Rashi poses the question of how the nurse ever came to stay in the same place as Jacob, explaining that Rebecca had sent her to Jacob, in order to take him back from Paddan-Aram (Gen. 27:45). She then died on their trip back. Again, Rashi seeks the cours d’histoire rather than the cours de discours, smoothing textual inconsistencies or ambiguities. Likewise, Rashi does not distinguish between important narrative strings and insignificant details. Rashbam’s explanation seems rather prosaic. The story of the passing away of the nurse was written down only for the reason that the subsequent sections list all the places Jacob had come to, and some of their names, like Allon-Bacuth or El-Elohei-Yisrael bear special meanings because they are related to particular events.115 Had the death of the nurse not been noted down, the reader would not have understood either the semantic significance of the name Allon-Bacuth ‘oak of weeping,’ or the reason why Allon-Bacuth shows up in the list of localities. Rashbam presents a literary-theoretical reason for why the biblical text had to note such an insignificant detail.

112 See also Rashbam on Gen. 33:18–19. In this place, Rashbam refutes an understanding of ‫ עיר שכם‬as a city’s name. Instead, he explains the idiom as a person’s name. 113 Gen. 35:15; compare also Rashbam on Gen. 35,9: .‫וירא אלהים אל יעקב עוד‬

‫ כמו שמפרש והולך‬,‫אחר שנסע מלוז הוא בית אל קרא עוד את המקום השני בית אל‬

‘God appeared again to Jacob. After he travelled on from Luz, which is Bethel [cf. Gen. 28:19] he named another place Bethel, as the text continues to explain.’ The phrasing ‫ כמו שמפרש והולך‬occurs frequently in Rashbam’s commentary to clarify a narrative’s structure and the literary bias of entire narrative blocks; see Rashbam on Gen. 35:9; Exod. 17:16; 19:8; 20:8; 21:7; 28:23; Lev. 3:1; 11:24; 19:5; Num. 1:47; Deut. 3:29; 11:26; 32:4.

114 ‫ לא נכתב אלא מפני שכל המקומות שהלך יעקב בחזרתו הולך‬.‫אלון בכות‬ ‫ אלון‬,‫ אל בית אל‬,‫ לוזה‬,‫ שלם עירו של שכם‬,‫ אל אלהי ישראל‬,‫ סוכות‬,‫ פנואל‬,‫ומפרש‬ ‫ מגדל עדר‬,‫ בית לחם אפרת‬,‫ בית אל השני שאחר וירא אלהים אל יעקב עוד‬,‫בכות‬. 115

Cf. Gen. 35:7–8.

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chapter four 2. ‘Intentio auctoris’: The Narrator and His Perspective

2.1. History and Narrative Frequently, Rashbam deals with the problem of the extent to which he may allow the Torah’s main character, Moses, to be an ‘author.’ In his commentary on Exod. 11:4 Rashbam deals with the discrepancy between the divine decree and Moses’ ‘report’: Moses said to Pharaoh:116 Thus said YHWH: “At the time when the night splits . . .”117—‫ כחצות‬is [an infinitive construct] from √‫ חצה‬. . .118 In other words: [In the divine speech that Moses delivered to the Pharaoh, God meant to say] ‘When the time comes for Israel to leave Egypt, when the night splits I will go out into the midst of Egypt’ (Exod. 11:4). However, when the event [itself ] takes place then it makes sense to write at midnight [‫( ]בחצי הלילה‬Exod. 12:29)—with the letter Bet. This is [the explanation] according to the pesha¢, since when Moses spoke [to Pharaoh] before the time of the plague of the first-born, it was reasonable to say ‫כחצות‬, meaning ‘when the time comes when the night splits.’119

The problem lies in the deitic120 discrepancy between the divine decree in Exod. 11:4 and Moses’ ‘execution report’ in Exod. 12:29, the former making use of the infinitive construction ‫ כחצת הלילה‬with the letter Kaf, the latter using the noun phrase ‫בחצי הלילה‬, with the letter Bet. Rashbam explains the variations of the temporal deictic particles as deriving from the narrative scheme: The divine decree quoted in Moses’ speech to Pharaoh was issued before the event occurred. According to the course of events the plague of the first-born had not yet taken place. In contrast, Moses ‘report’ in Exod. 12:29 is post

116 In Gen. 41:10, Rashbam explains that the term ‫(‘ פרעה‬the) Pharaoh’ is not a name, but the Egyptian idiom for ‘king’: “All kings of Egypt are called ‘Pharao’.” 117 Compare the translations of the Jewish Publication Society ( JPS) and the Complete Jewish Bible (CJB, 1998): “About midnight will I go out . . .” Both the translations understand the verse in the way that the divine decree quoted in Moses’ speech to Pharaoh gives only a vague specification of time (Kaf ), indicating only an approximate time in the course of the night, since according to the course of events the plague of the first-born had not yet taken place. Most of the traditional Jewish commentary translations translate the phrase with ‘(at) about midnight.’ 118 There follow similar verbal constructions from lamed-he verbs.

119 ‫ כלומר‬. . . ‫ כחצות מן חצה‬.[‫ויאמר משה לפרעה כה אמר ה' כחצות ]הלילה‬ ‫ ובשעת מעשה ראוי‬.‫כשיגיע זמן יציאת ישראל כשיחצה הלילה אני יוצא בתוך מצרים‬ ‫ כי כשאמר משה לפני הזמן של מכת‬.‫ זהו לפי פשוטו‬.‫לכתוב ויהי בחצי הלילה בבי"ת‬ ‫ כלומר כשיגיע אותו זמן שיחצה הלילה‬,‫בכורות אז ראוי לאמר כחצות‬.

Deixis / deictic specifies identity or spatial or temporal location in an act of speech or writing (e.g., here, there, now, then, this, that, the former, or the latter). 120

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factum, meaning that according to the sequential pattern of the narrative Moses’ retrospective report had to determine the precise point in time (Bet).121 The technique by which Moses composed the narrative is based, therefore, not on the events as such, but on the narrative portrayal of these events. This means that Rashbam distinguishes between the level of history (histoire), i.e., the course of events, and the level of discourse (discours), i.e., the narrative arrangement and the course of the narrative (ordo narrationis).’ In this case, the level of histoire encompasses the law, the mitswot, whereas the level of discours is Moses’ own responsibility, ‘to let them [Israel] know that the word of the Holy One is true’ [‫( ]אמת‬Rashbam on Gen. 1:1). Rashbam insists on the truth of the histoire, i.e., on the truth that the law was given to Israel by God himself. It is not the truth of the mitswot as such. The veracity of the mitswot lies in their origin as divine commands. ‘Torah’, then, is limited in Rashbam’s commentary to the mitswot. That means that although Moses wrote the narratives within the ‘Torah’, i.e., the five books of the Pentateuch, (only) the law remains the “true word of the Holy One,” God’s Torah (‫)תורת האל‬. Rashbam’s literary approach is even more obvious when we compare it to Rashi’s comments on Exod. 11:4: At the time when the night splits. ‘When the night is divided.’ ‫ כחצות‬is [an infinitive construct], and it is like ‫‘ כעלות‬when it was time to bring the meal offering’122 (2 Kings 3:20) . . . This is the pesha¢ that fits into the context. However, our rabbis interpreted the phrase to mean ‘at midnight’ [‫בחצי‬ ‫]הלילה‬, saying that Moses [in his quotation of the divine decree (Exod. 11:4)] said ‘around the time when the night splits’ [‫ ]כחצת‬meaning [it could be] near [midnight], or before or after it, but he did not say ‘precisely when the night splits’ [‫]בחצת‬, lest the astrologers of the Pharaoh err and say “Moses is a liar.”123

121 Compare also Nahmanides ad loc. (translation taken from Charles B. Chavel, Ramban, Nahmanides: Commentary on the Torah, trans. and annotated with Index, 5 vols. [New York: Shilo Publishing House, 1971–1976], vol. 2, 113): “And Moses said . . . About midnight I will go out . . . Now he did not explain on what night this plague will take place, since this Divine communication to Moses and the transmission thereof to Pharao happened before the first of Nisan, and when he said ‘about midnight’ he did not yet know on which night it would be” ‫ כי‬,‫ ולא פירש עתה איזה לילה תהיה המכה הזו‬. . .

,‫ וכשיאמר כחצות הלילה‬,‫הדבור הזה והאמירה אל פרעה קודם ראש חדש ניסן היה‬ ‫לא יִ וָ דע איזה לילה הוא‬.

122 Compare JPS and CJB ad loc.: ‘about the time of making the offering / around the time for making the offering.’

123 ‫זהו פשוטו לישבו על‬... ,‫ כמו כעלות‬,‫ כחצות‬,‫ כהחלק הלילה‬.‫כחצת הלילה‬ ‫ דמשמע סמוך‬,‫ שאמר משה כחצות‬,‫ ורבותינו דרשוהו כמו בחצי הלילה ואמרו‬. . . ‫אופניו‬

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Rashi’s second comment is based on bBer 4a124 where the rabbis, too, dealt with the above-mentioned deictic discrepancy. He cites their explanation whereby Moses in his speech before Pharaoh simply changed the divine expression into the idiom ‘around the time when the night splits’ [‫ ]כחצת‬out of fear of Pharaoh’s astrologers. Whereas Rashi’s first explanation draws a distinction between histoire and discours, the second comment stays within the rabbinic interpretational context. Rashbam’s sophisticated distinction between histoire and discours as part of a literary analysis of the biblical text becomes even more apparent in his explanations on Exod. 13:15–16: When Pharaoh was unwilling [to let us go]. All this125 you should say to your son.126 A proof for this is from what is written YHWH brought us out of Egypt (Exod. 13:16), and the Holy One [Blessed be He] conveyed the entire section to Moses, and it is the Israelite who says to his son: ‘YHWH brought us out [of Egypt].’127 For Moses did not recite this verse to Israel on his own128 [‫]מעצמו‬, for what reason would Moses have to say to Israel ‘And it shall be a sign on your hand . . . with a strong hand YHWH brought us out of Egypt (Exod. 13:16).’129 Rather, this part [is what] a father shall say to his son.130

Exod. 13:1–16 has several problems. To Rashbam, it is odd that vv. 15–16 speak of God in the third person, even though the beginning of the entire section is introduced as divine speech (‫וידבר ה‘ אל משה‬

‫ ויאמרו משה‬,‫ שמא יטעו אצטגניני פרעה‬,‫ ולא אמר בחצות‬,‫לו או לפניו או לאחריו‬ ‫בדאי הוא‬.

124 See bBer 4a: ‘Says R. Zera: Moses certainly knew and David, too, knew (the exact time of midnight) . . . Although Moses knew (the exact date of time), why, then, did he say (to Pharaoh) ‘about the time when the night splits?’(This is because) Moses thought that the astrologers of Pharaoh might make a mistake, and then they would say that Moses was a liar . . .;’ see also Rashi’s explanations on bBer 4a ad loc. 125 I.e., vv. 14–16. 126 Compare also the explanation by Benno Jacob, The Second Book of the Bible: Exodus, trans. with an Introduction by Walter Jacob in association with Yaakov Elman (Hoboken, N.J.: Ktav Publ. House, 1992), 373. 127 The entire section is an embedded quotation within this speech conveying the words that an Israelite is commanded to say to his son. 128 I.e., a speech in his own responsibility. 129 To Rashbam, it would have made no sense to suggest remembrance to those people that had just left Egypt. 130

‫ כי‬.‫ וכן מוכיח מדכת' הוציאנו ה' ממצרים‬,‫ כל זה תאמר לבנך‬.‫ויהי כי הקשה‬ ‫ כי משה לא אמר‬.'‫ וישראל אומר לבנו הוציאנו ה' וגו‬,‫הק' אמר למשה כל פרשה זו‬ ‫לישראל פסוק זה מעצמו ]וגם מה צורך[ שיאמר משה לישראל והיה לאות על ידכה‬ ‫ אלא האב אומר לבנו כך‬,'‫כי בחוזק יד הוציאנו וגו‬.

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. . . ‫)לאמר‬.131 The end is ambiguous, since Exod. 13:3 continues with a Mosaic speech to the people (.  .  . ‫)ויאמר משה אל העם‬, as if the divine speech consisted of merely one verse (13:2). According to Childs, the entire section represents a Mosaic interpretation of divine commandments.132 However, the problem that arises from such an explanation is that in this case the commandments mentioned in vv. 6–10 were Moses’ commandments, meaning that they lacked divine authority. Furthermore, Exod. 13:2 (‘Sanctify unto Me all the first-born . . .’ ) is a commandment directed towards Moses himself, whereas in vv. 11–13 with reference to the same subject matter the Israelites133 are addressed (‘You are to set apart for YHWH everything that is first from the womb’ ). Rashbam’s difficulty with the text seem to be quite similar to ours today. He explains vv. 15–16 as a quotation that Moses put into the mouth of a later (parent-)generation in Israel. The interpretation of vv. 15–16 as an embedded quotation helps him to circumvent the syntactical pitfalls in this section: The text does not distinguish sufficiently enough between Moses as the author, and Moses as the protagonist of the story. It seems that Rashbam at this point distinguishes between what is known in current narratological discourse as ‘homodiegetic,’134 ‘heterodiegetic,’135 and ‘autodiegetic’136 narrative. In particular, the homodiegetic literary style that is not at issue in the book of Genesis becomes an important tool in Exodus to Deuteronomy, since these books encompass third-person-narratives as well as first-person reports (by Moses), divine commandments, and speeches. In the text at hand, Rashbam develops Moses into a literary I. As we will see in what follows, in the book of Deuteronomy where a narrator (Moses?) sets up a narrative framework (Deut. 1:1–5; 34), in which the discourses of

131 The passage has received a lot of scholarly attention, particularly because of its literary-critical problems. Brevard Childs notes: “The formal structure is particularly interesting because it disrupts the natural content units by separating the first-born stipulation in 13.2 from its detailed explication in vv. 11ff.” (Brevard S. Childs, Exodus: A Commentary [London: SCM Pr., 1974, repr. 1987], 203). 132 “. . . the section 13.1–2 is presented as a divine speech which is then interpreted by Moses in 13.3ff.” (Childs, ibid.). 133 Though for stylistic reasons (v5!) the people are addressed to in second-person sg. form. 134 ‘Homodiegetic’ (narrative): The narrator plays an active role in the story he is telling. 135 ‘Heterodiegetic’ (narrative): The narrator is not part of the story he is telling. 136 ‘Autodiegetic’ (narrative): The narrator tells the story from the point of view of the protagonist.

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Moses as well as divine speeches are inserted, Rashbam elaborates this concept of the ‘Mosaic narrator’ even further. 2.2. ‘Beyond the Jordan’ Rashbam draws his audience’s attention to the literary quality of the Torah especially in his treatment of the Book of Deuteronomy. His comments on the first phrase in the book of Deuteronomy (Deut. 1:1)137 form an introduction to the book’s overall literary structure: These are the words. According to the pesha¢ [i.e., an explication pertaining to the literary structure of the text] all of the [terms] mentioned in this verse are place names.138 We find as a characteristic feature of biblical style that the verses offer a clue within a clue [a detailed description]139 of where those places [are located] that [the text] wants to explain [e.g., Gen. 12:8; Exod. 14:2; Judg. 21:19]. Now it is all the more important to specify the place where the commandments were decreed. Therefore, it is written: YHWH spoke to Moses in the Sinai Desert (Num. 1:1), [YHWH spoke to Moses and Aaron] in the land of Egypt . . . this month shall be . . . (Exod. 12:1–2), YHWH spoke to Moses on Mount Sinai (Lev. 25:1), [God spoke to Moses] in the plains of Moab (Num. 33:50). Likewise, in this place [i.e., Deut. 1:1] [Scripture] provides a clue within a clue. The text states, restates, and reiterates it when Moses starts to explain the commandments: These are the testimonies, the statutes, and the laws that Moses spoke [and so forth] . . . beyond the Jordan, in the valley across from Beth-Peor, in the land of Sihon king of the Amorites . . . (Deut. 4:45–46).140

Rashbam begins by contesting Rashi’s explanation of the names of the locations given in this verse without even mentioning Rashi’s com-

137 Touitou, Exegesis in Perpetual Motion, 132–134 discusses the problem that Rashbam often deals with a subject matter generally and beyond the dibbur ha-mat˜il that might have been added later anyway. 138 Deut. 1:1: These are the words Moshe spoke to all Israel on the far side of the Jordan River, in the desert, in the Aravah, across from Suf, between Paran and Tofel, Lavan, Hatzerot and Di-Zahav. On Andrew of St. Victor’s comments ad loc., see Lockshin, Rashbam’s Commentary on Deuteronomy 27–28n1. 139 ‫ ;סימן בתוך סימן‬see bSot 13b.

140 ‫ לפי פשוטו כל הנזכרים בפסוק זה מקומות הן כמו שמצינו‬.‫)א( אלה הדברים‬ . . .‫שרגילים הפסוקים לתת סימן בתוך סימן אל המקומות שהוא רוצה לפרש היכן‬ ‫וכל שכן שצריך לפרש היכן נאמרו המצות כמו שכתוב וידבר ה' אל משה במדבר‬ ‫ אף כאן‬.‫ בערבות מואב‬,‫ וידבר ה' אל משה בהר סיני‬,‫בארץ מצרים החדש הזה‬,‫סיני‬ ‫ וכן הוא אומר וחוזר ושונה דבר זה כשבא משה לפרש את‬.‫עושה סימן בתוך סימן‬ ‫המצות אלה העדות החקים והמשפטים אשר דבר משה וגו' בעבר הירדן בגיא מול בית‬ ‫ פעור בארץ סיחן מלך האמרי‬.

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ments at all.141 Rashi (ad loc.) follows Sifre Devarim ad loc., arguing that the names given in this verse are not simply locations specifying the places of Moses’ speeches. Rather, Moses’ speeches consisted of words of rebuke, and Moses therefore enumerated all the locations where the Israelites had angered God.142 In order to not put Israel to shame, Moses listed only the names of the places without mentioning the incidents. Rashi’s explanation is also consistent with his comments on Lev. 25:1, where he insists that all the commandments were stated at Mount Sinai and only reiterated in the plains of Moab. In contrast, Rashbam cites a variety of biblical references that specify places in which Moses gave commandments to Israel (Exod. 12:8; 14:2; Judg. 21:19). In view of Rashbam’s comments on Deut. 4:41143 it is clear that according to Rashbam the ‘words’ (‫ )דברים‬mentioned in Deut. 1 are but (further) commandments to pass down to Israel. It is interesting that Rashbam does not primarily expound the sensus historicus in this place, but rather the literary-stylistic problem of the narrator’s perspective, an issue that he had discussed already in Num. 22:1. Compare both texts, Deut. 1:1 (as the immediate continuation of the passage quoted above), and Num. 22:1, Israel’s encampment in the plains of Moab: Deut. 1:1: [And thus it is written below ‘beyond the Jordan, in the plains of Moab’]144 Moses undertook [to expound this Torah] and so forth.145 Beyond the Jordan—[you might ask] on which ‘other side’? In the desert, i.e., on that side of the Jordan that is directed towards the desert in which Israel spent forty years. [That side of the river] is called ‘the other side of the Jordan’, from the point of view of those who live in the land of Israel,146 and not the side that is directed towards Jerusalem, which is also called

Similarly, Rashbam rebuts traditional rabbinic exegesis (incl. the Targum) on Num. 21:18. 141

142 ‫ לפיכך‬,‫לפי שהן דברי תוכחות ומנה כאן כל המקומות שהכעיסו לפני המקום בהן‬ ‫סתם את הדברים והזכירם ברמז מפני כבודן של ישראל‬. In the following, Rashi associ-

ates with each place a single event; the names, thus, do not simply represent locations, but names of places concerning which Moses had spoken words of chastisement to the Israelites. 143 See below Chapter, 2.3. 144 Concerning the brackets see Rosin, Der Pentateuch-Commentar des Samuel ben Meir, 198n12; see also Lockshin, Perush ha-Tora, vol. 2, 454. 145 Deut. 1:5. 146 Today, this side is called Trans-Jordan.

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chapter four ‘beyond the Jordan,’ from the perspective of those who were wandering through the desert where the Israelites were.147 Num. 22:1: Beyond the Jordan from Jericho.148 In other words: opposite the Jordan and opposite Jericho. Not lower down on the Jordan,149 nor above150 [the place] where people live in the land of Israel. The phrase ‘beyond the Jordan’ is appropriately written, [from the perspective of the Israelites] after they had crossed the Jordan. For them [i.e., from their point of view] the plains of Moab are called ‘beyond the Jordan.’151

According to Rashbam, ‘beyond the Jordan’ in both texts means on the east side of the Jordan. The understanding of this phrase, therefore, depends on the narrator’s point of view, not on the course of the events depicted in the text. However, this perception would be the pesha¢—if we understood pesha¢ simply as the ‘plain meaning’, i.e., the meaning on the textual surface: According to the course of events narrated in Num. 22 as well as in Deut. 1 ‘beyond the Jordan’ must be read as ‘when they were still on the Trans-Jordan side of the river,’ since neither Moses nor the Israelites had crossed the river at the time the speech was made.

147 ‫ בעבר‬:'‫]וכן בפרשה זו לפנינו כתוב בעבר הירדן בארץ מואב[ הואיל משה וגו‬ ‫ במדבר—באותו עבר הירדן שהוא לצד מדבר שהיו בו‬:?‫ ובאיזה עבר הירדן‬- ‫הירדן‬ ‫ ולא בעבר הירדן שהוא‬,'‫ישראל מ' שנה שהוא קרוי עבר הירדן ליושבים בארץ ישר‬ ‫לצד ירושלם שגם הוא קרוי עבר הירדן להולכי מדבר שהיו בו ישראל‬.—The expression ‫ עבר הנהר‬as referring to the territory to the west of the Jordan is found in Esra

8:36; Neh. 2:7.9; 3:7. 148 Num. 22:1: The Israelites then set out and pitched their camp in the plains of Moab, beyond the Jordan opposite Jericho. 149 Rosin, Der Pentateuch-Commentar des Samuel ben Meir, 189n11 interprets this expression as referring to the lower course of the river that leads into the Dead Sea. 150 According to Rosin, Der Pentateuch-Commentar des Samuel ben Meir, 189n12 this refers to the Jordan-wells eastward of the course of the river.

151 ‫ לא למטה בירדן ולא למעלה‬,‫ כלומר כנגד ירדן וכנגד יריחו‬.‫מעבר לירדן יריחו‬ ‫ שלהם קרוי‬,‫ ראוי ליכתב מעבר לירדן לאחר שעברו את הירדן‬.‫מיושבי ארץ ישראל‬ ‫ערבות מואב מעבר לירדן‬.—The manuscript used by Rosin reads ‫לאחר‬, which had been emended by Rosin into ‫( לאותם‬cf. Rosin, Der Pentateuch-Commentar des Samuel ben

Meir, 189n13). Rosin understood the comment to mean that Moses had written this text for future generations whose forefathers had already crossed the Jordan and conquered the land of Israel. Although Lockshin does not accept Rosin’s emendation, he, too, insists on Mosaic authorship (compare Martin I. Lockshin, Rashbam’s Commentary on Leviticus and Numbers: An Annotated Translation [Providence: Brown University, 2001], 260–261n60 and 61; see also Lockshin, Perush ha-Tora, vol. 2, 435–436n6 and 66).

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In the context of the discussion of the meaning of this turn of phrase, Rashbam uses an interesting expression: ‫ראוי ליכתב מעבר לירדן לאחר‬ ‫שעברו את הירדן‬.152 Lockshin translates Rashbam’s explanation as “the phrase . . . is appropriately written after they had crossed the Jordan,”153 thereby insinuating that “this verse was written after the Israelites had crossed the Jordan river, i.e., after Moses’ death”.154 As a corollary, Lockshin offers an elaborate discussion on Rashbam’s ‘orthodoxy’ or ‘heterodoxy’ on the question of who wrote the Torah, and on whether the entire Torah was written by Moses. He concludes with a vindication of Rashbam, stating that “nowhere else in the Torah commentary as we have it does Rashbam take a position inconsistent with Mosaic authorship of the Torah.”155 However, such a debate is not only unnecessary, but it misses the point of Rashbam’s argumentation. Rashbam is not interested in the issue of when (and by whom) the biblical text was written, but wants to provide his audience with further information with regard to the narrative perspective of the text at hand. Although we have to admit that Rashbam’s comments often show a blurring of the references with regard to the ‘author’ of the text and the ‘narrator,’ in this place, it seems quite obvious that Rashbam takes the talmudic phrase ‘Moses wrote his book’ not in a literary-historical sense but with respect to the narrative impetus and point of view. In other words, according to Rashbam, Moses designed a sort of literary blueprint, and with the literary cadences of the entire prose of the Torah in mind, he put together its narrative parts, bearing in mind the perspective of the reader, i.e., the perspective of all Jews from the first ‘Post-Desert-Generation’ onwards. We have to be careful not to retroject a modern understanding of the dogma of Mosaic authorship of the Torah into the Medieval Period. To modern orthodoxy, Mosaic authorship implies above all the belief that Moses wrote down an exact description of the events mentioned. This idea originates in the notion that the ‘truth’ of the Torah lies in its historicity, from which follows the idea that the sequential order of the text correlates with the order of the events depicted in

152 We find a similar wording in Gen. 23:2; Gen. 41:21; Exod. 11:4; Lev. 1:15; Num. 4:10; Deut. 5:12. 153 Lockshin, Rashbam’s Commentary on Leviticus and Numbers, Translation, 260. 154 Ibid. 261n61. 155 Ibid. 261n61.

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the stories, i.e., the events behind the text. This point of view will later be one of the most important theological and exegetical claims in the commentary of Nahmanides (1194–1270).156 However, this is by no means the notion in Rashbam’s œuvre. In the text at hand, Rashbam is not interested in the sensus historicus, but in the quality and style of the narrative. The phrase . . . ‫‘ ראוי‬it is appropriately written’ applies a strict standard of how a well-crafted story must be written. Furthermore, if the (historical ) events were the main concern, a discussion of the narrative’s literary mode and technique would have been a matter of only peripheral interest, if not misleading. 2.3. The Psychology of the Biblical Author The book of Deuteronomy, of all the books of the Torah, provides the most fertile soil for the cultivation of Rashbam’s interest in the composition and construction of a biblical story, its characters, and its author’s motivation. Concerning the territorial inheritances of other nations, Rashbam comments as follows (Deut. 2:5): [You shall not get into disputes with them],157 for I will not give you of their land. Similarly it is written: You shall not harass Moab (Deut. 2:9), and likewise concerning the descendants of Ammon: You shall not harass them (Deut. 2:19). Moses had to make all these warnings ‘now’ [i.e., at this particular point in time] lest they become faint-hearted,158 saying: If it really is the will of the Holy One to give us [an] inheritance, and [if ] he has the ability [to do so], why did he not cast out those nations which we passed through?159

156 See in particular his commentary on Lev. 16:1: ‘The meaning of the phrase after the death of the two sons of Aaron, is that immediately after the death of his sons He had warned Aaron against [drinking] wine or strong drink . . . and now He told Moses in addition to warn him so that he should not die when he draws near the Eternal . . . It is likely that these two commandments were both conveyed on the day after the death of Aaron’s sons . . . Scripture, however, preceded the prohibitions with which he warned Israel that they die not in their impurity . . . But in my opinion the whole Torah is written in consecutive order, and in all places where He changed the order, placing an earlier event in a later position, Scripture clearly states so …’ (translation taken from Chavel, Ramban, vol. 3, 210–211). 157 The descendants of Esau. 158 See the expression in Deut. 20:8. 159 Compare e.g., Gen. 34:24; Num. 14:12; 32:21; 33:52.

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Therefore, [Moses] let them know ‘now’ that the Holy One did not want this [to happen],160 because the Holy one had already assigned [those territories to those nations], for it is written: . . . because I have [already] given mount Seir to Esau as his possession (Deut. 2:5), . . . because I have [already] given Ar to the descendants of Lot as their possession (Deut. 2:9), and [the same holds true] for the Ammonites, too, since I have given it to the descendants of Lot as their possession (Deut. 2:19). [This was done] in Abraham’s honor,161 whose relatives they were, just as he did for Israel. Furthermore, Moses wrote down [these guarantees that God gave to the other nations] to let Israel know that they had no reason to worry: If God gave those nations an inheritance in honor of our forefathers, how much more so will he abide by [his promise to Israel] to give them the inheritance of peoples162 [‫ ]נחלת עמים‬that he had sworn to their fathers.163

Deut. 2:5 is part of the first speech that Moses made to Israel (Deut. 1:1–3:22). It comprises a geographical and military review of Israel’s wandering in the desert as well as a harsh rebuke. The text’s rhetoric has an interesting and unusual feature—a recurring alternation between the speech of Moses (in the first person) and God’s speech (incorporated into Moses speech, but in first person as well ).164 Rashbam’s commentary elucidates why Moses incorporated these ‘divine quotations’ in his review at this particular point. The backdrop for Moses’ speech is ‘beyond the Jordan, in the desert, in the Arabah . . .’ (Deut. 1:1). The problem Rashbam raises here is obvious: The narratives on the (military) conflicts with other nations (Num. 20:14–21; Num. 21) as well as the speech of Moses in Deut. 1–2 do not tell us anything about a divine promise to these nations. According to Rashbam, Moses incorporated the divine warnings on his own into the geographical and military review in order to shed new light on the events reported in the book of Numbers: Edom, Moab, and Ammon were allowed to remain in their territories not because of 160 161 162

I.e., he did not want to cast out the above-mentioned nations. Compare already Rashi ad loc. Cf. Ps. 111:6: ‫ נחלת גוים‬. . .

163 ‫ וכן בבני עמון‬,‫ וכן כת' במואב אל תצר את מואב‬.‫כי לא אתן לכם מארצם‬ ‫ כל האזהרות הללו הוצרך משה להודיע עכשיו פן ירך לבבם לאמר אם‬.‫אל תצורם‬ ‫ למה לא הוריש לנו אלה האומות שעברנו דרך‬,‫רצון הק' לתת לנו נחלה ויכולת בידו‬ ‫ לכך הודיעם עכשיו שהק' לא חפץ בדבר שהרי נתנה הק' להם כ]ד[כת' בכלם‬.‫עליהם‬ ‫ כי לבני לוט נתתי את ער ירושה וגם בעמון כי‬,‫כי ירושה לעשו נתתי את הר שעיר‬ ‫ וגם כתב‬.‫ כאשר עשה לישראל‬,‫ לכבוד אברהם שקרוביו היו‬,‫לבני לוט נתתיה ירושה‬ ,‫ אם לאומות הללו נתן נחלה לכבוד אבותינו‬.‫משה להודיע לישראל שלא ידאגו כלום‬ ‫כל שכן שיקיים לישראל לתת להם נחלת עמים שנשבע לאבות‬.

164 Cf. Deut. 2:1–2: speech of Moses (M), 3–6 speech of God (G), 7–9α M, 9 G, 10–12 M(?), 13a G, 13b-17 M, 18 / 19 G and so forth.

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Israel’s military weakness but because of God’s promise to the Patriarchs. To achieve this exegetical goal, Rashbam does not even have qualms about declaring the descendants of Esau who dwell in Seir (Deut. 2:4) as a people not identical with the Edomites mentioned in Num. 20:14–21 who refused to allow Israel passage through its territory: [… your brothers, the descendants of Esau] who live in Seir. These are not the same Edomites as [those] who went forth with the sword against Israel, since [with regard to the descendants of Esau mentioned in our text] it is written: […you, Sihon, supply me food to eat for money …] as the descendants of Esau who live in Seir did for me . . . (Deut. 2:28–29), but those Edomites [that are mentioned in the book of Numbers] did not sell anything [to them], and of them it is written: Israel turned away from them (Num. 20:21).165

By integrating God’s warnings into his own review—‘you shall not get into disputes with [the descendants of Esau],’ ‘you shall not be hostile towards Moab . . . ,’ and ‘you shall not harrass Ammon’—Moses remodels and reshapes the course of events reported in the book of Numbers. Rashbam, thus, lets Moses give a particular slant to his narrative recapitulation, focusing on God’s graciousness more than on Israel’s faintheartedness and military weakness. There is, however, another interesting point concerning Moses, since Moses turns his attention not only backwards but also forwards, i.e., to the conquest and distribution of the land. According to Rashbam, Moses decided to present the divine speeches ‘now’, i.e., in line with the course of events reported in the book of Deuteronomy just before Israel sets off to conquer the land. Moses’ aim is to encourage the Israelites to trust in God’s promise: God who stays faithful to the promise that he made to other nations will surely keep his promise that he had sworn to their fathers. The blurring of the level of the text with the level of events reported in the narrative is part of Rashbam’s hermeneutical program. Rashbam’s commentary implies that God had given Moses the territorial guarantee for the other nations at a certain point in time, but Moses had kept the divine promise to himself, in order to reveal it at a later point in time. This means that for Rashbam even the divine speeches in the Torah, anything other than the commandments166 are part of Rashbam on Deut. 2:4; ‫ לא אלה הם אותן אדום שיצאו‬.‫)ד( הישבים בשעיר‬ ‫ אבל‬,‫ שהרי באלה כתוב כאשר עשו לי בני עשו היושבים בשעיר‬,‫בחרב לקראת ישראל‬ ‫ וכתוב בהם ויט ישראל מעליו‬,‫אדום לא מכרו כלום‬. 165

166

Against Touitou, Exegesis in Perpetual Motion, 121.

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Moses’ ‘narrative,’ and may gain further shaping through their incorporation into a particular literary context. In Rashbam’s hands, Moses becomes the narrator of a story, and the book of Deuteronomy thereby develops into an auto-diegetic fiction.167 It’s fictitiousness lies in the combination of the narrative elements, Moses (first-person-)narrative as well as God’s speeches. Rashbam presents his viewpoint very subtly by introducing the distinction between √‫ ידע‬hiph. ‘notify’ and √‫כתב‬ ‘write’, the former denoting a ‘one-to-one-first-hand report,’ i.e., the original and authentic voice of God, the latter Moses’ narrative written down at some later point in time. Compare this with Rashbam’s comments on Gen. 1, where he explained that the creation narrative is but a literary anticipation that Moses introduced as a completion to the divine speech in Exod. 20:11 (‫)הקדימה משה רבינו לפרש לך‬. Since the commentary on Gen. 1 embraces the (contemporary) audience (. . . ‫)לפרש לך‬, we can assume that they are addressed in the comments on Deut. 2:5 as well: God’s promise is still valid, even though the opposite may seem to be the case. We should, however, beware of reducing Rashbam’s explanation to a pep talk for his contemporaries, since we would have to explain why Rashbam introduced this idea so indirectly. Like Rashi in his introduction to Gen. 1, who insists on the Jewish people’s theological claim on Erets Israel, Rashbam, too, could have fought more openly. It seems, therefore, that a perception of Rashbam’s comments here as simple theological polemics misses the point. Rashbam’s commentary was meant less as a theological apology for Jewish dominion over Erets Israel, and more as an attempt to persuade his contemporaries that Israel’s literary heritage could hold its own against the contemporary French literature which was developing at that time. Robert Chazan is correct in saying that, unlike Ashkenazi Jewry, the Jews in NorthernFrance never claimed for themselves roots in antiquity,168 meaning that they never seriously attempted to trace a geneological and historical line from Jewish antiquity in France up to their times to legitimate their presence not just as sojourners. Nevertheless, what made them ‘French,’ i.e., what made them a genuine and indisputable part of the

167 Autodiegetic (narrative): The narrator tells the story from the point of view of the protagonist. 168 See Chazan, The Jews of Medieval Western Christendom, 131.

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intellectual society in Northern France was their literary heritage that could compete with the newly emerging vernacular literature. Rashbam’s interpretation of the book of Deuteronomy as an autodiegetic narrative, in which Moses functions as the narrator as well as a vital character of the story becomes most obvious in his comments on Deut. 4:41: Then Moses separated [three cities beyond the Jordan].169 Why does the narrator170 interrupt Moses’ [first-person] narrative,171 in which the words are connected together one after another, to write about this affair in the meantime? One has to explain it as follows: Since the narrator wrote at length172 until ‘now’ [i.e., until this point in the course of the story], and now starts to explain the commandments, i.e., [to lay out] how [Moses] expounded ‘this Torah,’173 and Moses will have to tell [the Israelites] only in [the Torah Portion] Shoftim174 ‘You shall set aside three cities for yourselves in your land that YHWH your God gives you . . .’ (Deut. 19:2),175 ‘and if YHWH your God expands your territory . . .’ (Deut. 19:8)—[i.e.,] in the future—‘. . . then you shall add three more cities for yourselves, besides these three’ (Deut. 19:9). However, Moses does not mention those three cities that God had already commanded him [in the Torah Portion] Mas‘ei176 to set aside beyond the Jordan at the place in question [i.e., Deut. 19], nor does Moses command the Israelites in this place [i.e., Deut. 19] [to set aside these aforementioned177 cities]. Therefore, it is written in this place [i.e., Deut. 4:41–43] that Moses had already set them aside, and [Moses], therefore, did not have to command the Israelites [once again in the Torah Portion Shoftim to set aside those three cities beyond the Jordan].178

See also Num. 35:14. See also Rashbam on Gen. 29:16. 171 Deut. 1:6–4:40 (and 5:1–26:19). 172 Deut. 1:6–4:40. 173 Deut. 1:5: ‫ הואיל משה באר את התורה הזאת לאמר‬. . . ‘. . . Moses took it upon himself to expound this Torah, saying .’ 174 Deut. 16:18–21:9. 175 See also Deut. 19:7. 176 Num. 33:1–36:13; Num. 35:11–15 presents the commandment to separate three cities of refuge beyond the Jordan and three cities in Canaan. 177 I.e., those three cities ‘beyond the Jordan’ that are mentioned in Num. 35:13–14. 169 170

178 ‫ למה הפסיק דברי משה שהם מחוברים יחד זה אחר זה וכתב זה‬.‫אז יבדיל משה‬ ‫ ועתה מתחיל לפרש המצות‬,‫המעשה בינתים? אלא לפי שהאריך בדברים עד עכשיו‬ ‫ והוא צריך לומר בשפטים ושטרים שלש ערים תבדיל‬,‫היאך ביאר את התורה הזאת‬ ‫ ואם ירחיב לעתיד לבא ויספת לך עוד שלש‬,‫לך בתוך ארצך אשר ה' אלהיך נותן לך‬ ‫ ועל שלש הערים שצוה לו הק' באלה מסעי לעשות בעבר‬,‫ערים על השלשה האלה‬ ‫ לכך כתוב כאן כי משה הבדילם כבר‬,‫הירדן לא הזכיר שם ולא צוה משה לישראל‬ ‫ולכך לא צוה לישראל‬.

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Rashbam starts with the literary observation that the book of Deuteronomy consists largely of Moses’ speeches in first-person narrative,179 alternating with extensive sections of retrospective admonitions to Israel in second-person (pl.).180 The first speech changes topic abruptly in Deut. 4:41–49, to reports about Moses’ separation of three cities of refuge. The majority of Bible critics treat this passage as a later interpolation on literary-critical grounds.181 Rashbam is not primarily interested in the literary-critical question, but in the problem of why Moses or a second narrator inserted these verses in this place in the narrative discourse, i.e., between the first and second speech. Besides this portion, the commandment to separate cities of refuge is mentioned twice in the Torah, in Num. 35:9–34 and Deut. 19:1–13. The problem with these cities of refuge is that both Num. 35 and Deut. 19 specify six cities of refuge, but these passages do not necessarily speak about the same six,182 since neither Num. 35 nor Deut. 19 specify their names183 (the actual choice of the cities of refuge takes place only in Josh. 20:7–9!).

179 The first speech (Deut. 1:6–4:40) contains a geographical retrospective and a rebuke; the second speech (Deut. 5:1–26:19) encompasses besides the Decalogue and the Shema Yisrael the entirety of the commandments; Deut. 1:1–5 forms the narrative frame. 180 After an introduction in third-person narrative vv. 1–5, the first speech encompasses Deut. 1:6—4:40, the second speech starts with Deut. 5:1. 181 Compare e.g., the discussion in Lockshin, Rashbam’s Commentary on Deuteronomy, Translation, 55n19; N. MacDonald, “The Literary Criticism and Rhetorical Logic of Deuteronomy I-IV,” Vetus Testamentum 36,2 (2006): 203–224, esp. 203–210. 182 This topic is very problematic indeed, since with regard to the question of the origins of the cities of refuge and the cities of the Levites and their relationship one must take Josh. 20:1–21:42 into consideration as well. Ludwig Schmidt, “Levitenund Asylstädte in Num. XXXV und Jos. XX; XXI 1–42,” VT 52,1 (2002): 103–121, explains Num. 35:9–34 as a post-exilic layer of the narrative on the distribution of the cities of refuge in Josh. 20*, which was composed as an executive report on Deut. 19. The theory on the cities of refuge is based on the Deuteronomic commandments. However, Deut. 4:41–43 takes up a basic layer of Josh. 20*, as can be seen from the names of the cities mentioned. In contrast to Schmidt, Ehud ben Zvi, “The List of the Levitical Cities,” JSOT 54 (1972): 77–106, 93n1, postulates that Deut. 4:41–43 is already based on Num. 35:9–15; on the issue in general see also Alexander Rofé, “The History of the Cities of Refuge in biblical Law,” in Sarah Japhet, ed., Studies in Bible, Scripta Hierosolymitana, vol. 31 ( Jerusalem: Magnes Press, 1986), 205–239, esp. 205–210. 183 Num. 35:13–14: In regard to the cities you are to give, there are to be six cities of refuge for you. You are to give three cities beyond of the Jordan and three cities in the land of Canaan; they will be cities of refuge. Deut. 19:2.8–9: You are to set aside three cities for yourselves in your land that YHWH your God is giving you to possess. (. . .) This is why I am ordering you to set aside for yourselves three cities. If YHWH your God expands your territory (. . .) then you are to add three more cities for yourselves, besides these three.

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Only in the text at hand (Deut. 4:41) are three cities beyond the Jordan introduced by their names and precise locations: Bezer, Ramoth, and Golan.184 With regard to the literary technique, Rashbam explains that the narrator’s aim was to instruct a (later) reader by this insertion about the accomplishment of the first parts of Moses’ mission to separate three cities of refuge. In other words, according to Rashbam, the commandment to provide three cities of refuge in the territory of Sihon and Og (Num. 35) had already been fulfilled when Israel was ready to enter the land. Rashbam’s comments on the role of Moses in the literary development of the Torah become even more lucid when we compare them to Rashi’s comments ad loc.: Then Moses separated [three cities beyond the Jordan]. He was anxious to separate them [as soon as possible]. Even though they would not be ready to serve as cities of refuge until those of the land of Canaan had been separated,185 Moses said [to himself ]: “Any commandment that can be fulfilled [now], I will fulfill.”186

Based on bMak 10a, Rashi explains that Moses interrupted his speech in order to fulfill the commandment of separating three cities right ‘now,’ i.e., at the very time when he gave his speech to Israel, although he knew that they could serve as cities of refuge only when the other three had been separated.187 Rashi’s explanation therefore, blends together the level of histoire with the level of discours. In contrast, Rashbam has Moses separate these cities already by the time the commandment was given, at the very time of the events reported in Num. 35. Rashbam’s Moses describes this separation of the three cities at a later point in time and in his own words. The text’s position between the first and the second speech of Moses is, thus, grounded not in the

Compare also Josh. 20:8; it is probably due to the fact that the land ‘beyond the Jordan’ has already been distributed at the end of the book of Numbers, that in the book of Deuteronomy the cities beyond the Jordan are set aside. 185 Cf. Deut. 19:9. 186 Cf. bMak 10a.—‫ ואף על פי שאינן‬.‫ נתן לב להיות חרד לדבר שיבדילם‬.‫אז יבדיל‬ 184

‫ אמר משה מצוה שאפשר לקיימה אקיימנה‬,‫קולטות עד שיבדלו אותן שבארץ כנען‬. 187 See also Bekhor Shor on Deut. 4:41 (based on bMakk 10a): ‫)מא( אז יבדיל‬ ‫ ולפי שסידור התורה‬.‫ אחרי הכותו את סיחון ואת עוג וַ יִ רשום ישראל את ארצם‬.‫משה‬ ‫ שאעפ"י‬:‫ לקח פרשה זו הכא ללמוד זריזתו של משה‬,‫והבדלת הערים היו בפרק אחד‬ .‫ כדכתיב והיו שש הערים האלה למקלט‬,‫שלא קלטוּ עד שנבדלו אותם שבארץ ישראל‬ ‫ ולכך הוא אומר כאן זאת‬.‫בזמן שהם שם הם למקלט אע"פ כן לא נתעצל ַבּמצוה‬ ‫התורה אשר שם כי בפרק אחד נעשו שני דברים הללו‬.

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course of events, but by the need for a certain ordo narrationis.188 Simultaneously, Rashbam insists that only these narrative parts of the Torah are solely under Moses’ responsibility. However, Rashbam’s interpretation has secondary problems: Deut. 19 does not mention the cities ‘beyond the Jordan’ that are referred to in Num. 35. Instead, this text speaks of three cities (in ‘your’ land)189 to be complemented at a later stage in the history of conquests by three other cities, likewise within the borders of the land of Israel. Eventually, Rashbam proposes nine cities of refuge altogether, six in the land of Israel, and three beyond the Jordan.190 There can be no doubt that Rashbam knew that the Bible as well as later rabbinic tradition had always presupposed the number of six cities of refuge, but he is not interested here either in the lectio historica or in the discrepancy between Num. 35 and Deut. 19. It is the literary arrangement that mainly claims his attention, and in this, Rashbam demonstrates an almost modern understanding of a text’s compositional technique: Deut. 4:41–49 was written by Moses or a second narrator191 who—with the second speech of Moses in Deut. 5:1–26:29 (including the legal sections) already in front of him—inserted the explanation to inform the reader in advance of the issue of the cities of refuge which would be taken up only at a later stage in the narrative (Deut. 19). Rashbam (and, with him, his audience of maskilim) is interested only in the internal logic of the narrative.

188 See also Lockshin, Rashbam’s Commentary on Deuteronomy, Translation 57n23: “Rashbam . . . provides a literary explanation for the placement of these three verses . . . ” However, in this place Rashbam (correctly!) does not identify a literary anticipation (as Lockshin, ibid. explains). According to Touitou Rashbam distinguishes between God’s words (in first-person narrative) and Moses’ explanations and ‘background reports’ in third-person narrative, which do not match throughout. 189 Deut. 19:2–3, i.e., Cis-Jordan. 190 Likewise Lockshin, Rashbam’s Commentary on Leviticus and Numbers, Translation, 56–57n21 and 22. 191 See also Georg Braulik, “Deuteronomium 1–4 als Sprechakt,” Biblica 83 (2002): 249–257, 249: “Following the superscription and introduction, the narrator of the book of Deuteronomy quotes from 1:6 from a speech of Moses. It ends at 4:40, and only in some places do we find parentheses and explanatory notes by the narrator” (translated from the German; H.L.).

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2.4. Author vs. Redactor? We are still left with many questions concerning Rashbam’s understanding of the biblical ‘author,’ ‘narrator,’ or ‘writer.’ Whereas in Deut. 2:5 Moses is introduced as the one who ‘wrote down / reported’ God’s guarantee to the other nations, in his comments on Deut. 4:41, Rashbam avoids assigning the text to a specific author. Lockshin translates Rashbam’s initial question (. . . ‫ )למה הפסיק דברי משה‬with “Why does the text interrupt Moses’ words,”192 although in the following he constantly refers not to ‘the text’ as the ‘author,’ but to the biblical ‘narrator.’193 The question remains as to whether Rashbam had already developed a clear notion of a biblical redactor. Not even in his comments on Gen. 19:37 does he show a clear concept of a later redactional layer in Scripture: Until this very day. In the days of Moses. Similarly, every phrase ‘until this very day’ [means] ‘until the days of the scribe194 who wrote down the matter.’195

According to his remark, the scribe (sofer) is the one who ‘wrote (down?)’ the book. We may not delve too deeply here into the question of the extent to which the sofer (‫ )סופר‬in this place is also a mesapper (‫ )מספר‬a ‘story-teller,’196 since unfortunately Rashbam uses the term sofer only in this place. In Gen. 19:37 he introduces Moses as the one who ‘wrote’ the text at hand (√‫)כתב‬.197 But what does that mean? Is Moses the ‘writer’ in the sense of a composer, the (fictional ) narrator of the story, an ‘author’ in our modern sense, or an ‘author’ like Chrétien de Troyes whose romances draw heavily on written sources as well as on oral records of the Arthurian legends? Does Rashbam portray Moses as simply the one who recorded what God conveyed to him? Or is he something in between? Sarah Kamin, who dealt with the subject matter in detail, comes to the following conclusion:

See Lockshin, Rashbam’s Commentary on Deuteronomy, Translation, 55. Ibid., 57n23. 194 Lockshin, Rabbi Samuel ben Meir’s Commentary on Genesis, Translation, 80 translates ‘sofer’ with ‘author.’ 195 ‫ וכן כל עד היום עד ימי הסופר שכתב את הדבר‬.‫ בימי משה‬.‫עד היום‬. 196 See in particular (Ps.-)Rashbam on Song of Sol. 3:5; 4:1–6.7–8.12–15; 6:4–10. 197 See in particular his explanations on Gen. 1:1.5.27; 19:37; Deut. 2:5; compare also Rashbam on Gen. 21:22; 22:1. 192 193

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‘Moses wrote his book . . .’ as stated in b. B. Bat. 14b is not the same as ‘Moses wrote’ as stated by Rashbam . . . In the Talmud there is no indication of any connection between the writer and the meaning of his book. The character of Moses and the historic conditions under which he ‘wrote’ are irrelevant. In the words of Rashbam, however, ‘the writer’ is ‘the author’ in the sense that the personality of Moses, his audience, and the historic background are the key to understanding what Moses wrote.198

To Kamin, Rashbam’s Moses functions as the ‘author’ of the story, meaning that Moses not only selected the content, but was also responsible for the arrangement and the structure of the literary composition.199 This presents Moses as a ‘redactor’ more than an ‘author.’ The problem, however, is that the Medieval Hebrew sources from the early twelfth century have not yet developed an unambiguous terminology for literary activity. However, the concept of redactional re-working is not unusual in the writings of the Northern-French exegetes. R. Eliezer of Beaugency, for instance, uses the expression sofer in his commentaries on Isa. 7:2; 36:1–2; Ezek. 1:2–3; Jon. 1:9–10, and presents the sofer as the one who undertook the editorial work of the composition of the collection of the individual prophet’s words.200 Likewise, we find the term in that very sense in Joseph Qara’s comments on Ezek. 34:30; 37:25; Song of Sol. 1:1; Esther (first version) 6:13; 8:1; Esther (second version) 8:15–17. According to Elazar Touitou, Rashbam’s Torah consists of two parts—the law and the narratives.201 Moses wrote down the narratives in order to elucidate the law and to map out its individual details. According to Touitou, Rashbam regards the law as ‘iqqar ha-Torah, the essential part of the Torah. Robert Harris who also dealt with the literary theory of the Northern-French exegetes rejects this interpretation for the reason that in this case the book of Genesis represented not more than Prolegomena to the other four books of the Pentateuch.202

Kamin, “Rashbam’s Conception of the Creation,” 53*. Touitou, Exegesis in Perpetual Motion, 162 simply refers to a “‫ ”כותב התורה‬without further specification. 200 According to R. A. Harris, “The Literary Hermeneutic of Rabbi Eliezer of Beaugency,” 214, R. Eliezer even distinguishes between ‘author’ (navi) and ‘redactor’ (sofer). 201 Compare Touitou, Exegesis in Perpetual Motion, 170. 202 R. A. Harris, “The Literary Hermeneutic of Rabbi Eliezer of Beaugency,” 177; see also Touitou, Exegesis in Perpetual Motion, 121. Touitou insists on the fact that Rashbam distinguishes between the ultimate religious message, i.e., the law, and the narra198 199

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However, why should this approach raise a problem? As a tosafist, Rashbam would have always stressed the primacy of the law and Israel’s legal culture for determining Jewish self-understanding and behavior. 3. Fictional Dialogues in the Desert 3.1. Moses’ Refusal and the Awakening of a New Self-Awareness In Rashbam’s Torah commentary we find a number of attempts of ‘re-telling’ a biblical story. Our next examples deal with fictional dialogues between God and Moses. Here, Rashbam slips into the role of a narrator, informing his audience about Moses’ inner life and struggles. We will see that Rashbam turns out to be a word-painter of vivid scenes, portraying a biblical estoire that is characterized in particular by the depiction of the characters’ mental state. This technique played a prominent role in the chansons de geste and later on in the works of Chrétien de Troyes. Whereas in the earlier literature, we typically find portrayals of motivation in the speeches of the protagonists, later writers (from c. 1150 onward) expose their characters’ thoughts and feelings, joys and fears.203 The authors of the chansons de geste were probably influenced by the self-reflective literary works contemporary theologians and chroniclers had developed approximately at the same time. Among them were Guibert de Nogent (c. 1055–1124) in his autobiography De vita sua (Monodiae), written in 1115,204 Guy de Bazoche, a chronicler and writer in the days of Henry II of Champagne in his

tive parts, which Touitou describes as forming concentric circles around the law (see Touitou, Exegesis in Perpetual Motion, 121: “‫ המעגל‬. . . ‫כי התורה בנויה מעגל בתוך מעגל‬ ‫ מביא את המצוות—הוא דבר ה' עצמו‬,‫ העיקר‬,‫הפנימי‬.” Harris disputes Touitou’s approach, since more than one fifth of the Torah consists of (secondary) narratives. 203 For a detailed description of this development in Medieval French literature see Duggan, The Romances of Chrétien de Troyes, 133–182. 204 See Chris D. Ferguson, The Emergence of Medieval Autobiography. Guibert de Nogent, Peter Abelard, and Giraldus Cambrensis as alienated autobiographers. PhD Diss., State University of New York at Binghampton, 1979 (Ann Arbor/Mich.: Univ. Microfilms International, 1982); John Frederic Benton, Self and Society in Medieval France: The Memoirs of Abbot Guibert of Nogent (1064–c.1125) (New York: Harper Torchbooks, 1970, repr. Toronto: University of Toronto Press / Medieval Academy of America, 1984); for a new English translation see Paul J. Archambault, A Monk’s Confession: The Memoirs of Guibert of Nogent (University Park, Pa.: Pennsylvania State University Press, 1996).

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Apologia,205 and Abelard in his Historia calamitatum (during the 1130s).206 The twelfth century had become more and more interested in the human psyche and its constituent features. The Jews, in particular those from Northern France plunged into this new intellectual milieu and absorbed its qualities like a sponge. In Exod. 3:11–12, the biblical text presents a dialogue between Moses and God, in which Moses shows signs of ambivalence with regard to his mission. God’s response is meant to encourage and strengthen him to take up the challenge. The biblical text records a short dialogue between God and Moses: Exod. 3:11: Moses said: Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and lead the Israelites out of Egypt? (12) He said: I will be with you. This shall be your sign that it was I who sent you. When you lead [this] people out of Egypt you shall worship God at this mountain.

As in many other instances, Rashbam’s commentary on Exod. 3:11–12 interweaves exegetical remarks and the biblical text, creating a seamless narrative of text and interpretation, thrice as long as the original text:207 But Moses said [to God] (Exod. 3:11): “Who am I . . .”? Anyone who wishes to grasp the essential narrative pattern of these verses will gain insight from my commentary, for those who preceded me, did not understand it at all. Moses responded to two things that God had said to him: [that he] should go to Pharaoh, and [that he should] lead the Israelites [out of Egypt] at Pharaoh’s command. [The narrative pattern / pesha¢ is constructed in the way that] Moses responded to these [divine commands in order, i.e.] to the first [he answered] first: Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh, even to bring him a gift or a present? Am I worthy to enter the kings’s court, me, a foreigner as I am? [to the second he answered]: “[Who am I] that I should lead the Israelites out of Egypt? ” In other words: Even if I were worthy to enter Pharaoh’s court, I am a fool in other

Compare Benton, “The Court of Champagne as a Literary Center.” Duggan, The Romances of Chrétien de Troyes, 135–136. 207 For an easier overview of the complexity of Rashbam’s comments, the ‘fictional’ dialogues are set apart. 205 206

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chapter four matters.208 What could I say that would be acceptable to Pharaoh? Could it be that Pharaoh is such a fool that he would listen to me to send such a multitudinous people that are his slaves as free men out of his country? What could I say that would be acceptable to Pharaoh, and that would convince him to let me lead them out of Egypt with Pharaoh’s permission?” The Holy One, Blessed be He, [had the messenger]209 respond to him in the same order, and he said: I will be with you, and I will let you find favor in the king’s eyes [that] you might go to Pharaoh, and not be afraid! As for your fear [to appear] before Pharaoh: This shall be your sign that it was I who sent you. Don’t you see through the burning of the bush that I am a messenger of the Holy One, Blessed be He, and that this is the sign for you, so that you will be certain that I will be with you . . . As for that which you said ‘[who am I] that I should lead the Israelites out of Egypt,’ meaning ‘which claim might I make to Pharaoh so that he would listen to me and let me lead them out?’ When you lead [this] people out of Egypt, I command you right here that you shall worship God at this mountain, and offer burnt-offerings. This is a claim that you can state, for he will let them go to sacrifice to God. Even though it is not explained explicitly here, at the end [of the section the text] clarifies: They will listen to you; then you shall go with the elders of Israel to the king of Egypt etc. (Exod. 3:18). Each and every time Moses would answer Pharaoh in this way. Likewise, we find in [the book of] Samuel that when the Holy One, Blessed be He, commanded him to anoint David, and Samuel [then] said to the Holy One, Blessed be He: “If Saul hears of it, he will kill me” (1 Sam. 16:2), the Holy One, Blessed be He, said to him: “Take a heifer with you, and say: ‘I have come to sacrifice to YHWH’ ” (ibid.). Similarly in this place [God] commanded Moses wisely [with the words]: When you lead . . . etc. This is what you can say to him! Those who interpret these verses as referring to other matters are completely wrong.210

208 For the textual problem of ‫ שוטה אני‬see Rosin, R. Samuel b. Meir als Schrifterklärer p. 51n2; Lockshin, Perush ha-Tora, vol. 1, 179n7. 209 Rashbam on Exod. 3:4 states that even when the text uses the Tetragrammaton, it is actually an angel speaking (see also Lockshin, Rashbam’s Commentary on Exodus, Translation, 31n2).

210 ‫ מי שרוצה לעמוד על עיקר פשוטו של מקראות הללו‬.‫ויאמר משה מי אנכי‬ ‫ משה השיב על שני‬.‫ כי הראשונים ממני לא הבינו בו כלל כלל‬,‫ישכיל בפירושי זה‬ .‫דברים שאמר לו הק' ללכת אל פרעה וגם להוציא את בני ישראל על ידי מצות פרעה‬ ‫ ואפילו להביא לו מנחה‬,‫ומשה השיב על ראשון ראשון מי אנכי כי אלך אל פרעה‬ ‫ודורון? וכי ראוי אני ליכנס בחצר המלך איש נכרי כמני? וכי אוציא את בני ישראל‬

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This text is fascinating in that Rashbam uses both direct and (free) indirect discourse. In medieval manuscripts—whether in Hebrew, Latin, or French—there are no quotation marks, although the technique of succinct and quick replies is already found in Roman d’Enéas, and was even further elaborated in Chrétien’s romances.211 As to the question of how a listener more readily than a reader could identify the speaker, Duggan refers to “readerly engagement.”212 Unfortunately, we have no information as to how Bible teaching was conducted and performed in Medieval Northern France. Whatever, the format of Rashbam’s comments might have been originally, i.e., whether it was a gloss or a continuous text, in particular the dialogues show that Rashbam’s comments were not meant to be read in our sense of the word; perhaps Rashbam even read the stories aloud or maybe even performed them to an audience. Moses’ speech consists of an imaginary anticipation of the prospective meeting with Pharaoh, and self-reflection that exposes his lack of confidence (‘I am a foreigner. Who will listen to me?’ ). The first part of Moses speech addresses the worst case in which he might not even get access to Pharaoh. In the second part, Moses takes Pharaoh’s role (‘Could it be that Pharaoh is such a fool’; ‘What could I say that would be convincing to Pharaoh . . .’ ), in order to integrate his reaction into a feasible course of events as a kind of a ‘fictional rebound.’ Rashbam puts a very complex train of thoughts into Moses’ mouth and reveals

‫ איזה דבר‬,‫ממצרים? כלומר ואפי' ראוי אני ליכנס לפני פרעה שוטה אני לשאר דברים‬ ‫המתקבל לפרעה אומר לו? וכי שוטה הוא פרעה לשמוע לי לשלוח עם רב שהם עבדיו‬ ‫חפשים מארצו? ואיזה דבר המתקבל אומר לו שעל ידי אותו הדיבור אוציאם ממצרים‬ ‫ברשות פרעה? והק' השיב לו על ראשון ראשון ואמר כי אהיה עמך ואתן חנך בעיני‬ ‫ וזה לך האות כי אנכי‬,‫ ומה שאת ירא לפני פרעה‬.‫המלך ותלך אל פרעה ולא תירא‬ ‫ הלא אתה רואה בתבערת הסנה כי שלוחו של הק' אני וזה האות לך הוא‬.‫שלחתיך‬ ‫ ועל מה‬.‫ וכן מצינו בגדעון שאמר לו המלאך הלא שלחתיך‬.‫להיות בטוח שאהיה עמך‬ ‫ כלומר באיזה טענה שאומר לפרעה‬,‫שאתה אומר וכי אוציא את בני ישראל ממצרים‬ ‫ישמע אלי להוציאם? בהוציאך את העם ממצרים אני מצוה לך עכשיו שתעבדו את‬ ‫ כי לזבוח לאלהים יניחם‬,‫ וטענה זו תוכל לומר‬,‫האלהים על ההר הזה ותקריבו עולות‬ ‫ לבסוף מפרש ושמעו לקולך ובאתה אתה וזקני‬,‫ ואעפ"י )כן( שכאן לא פירש‬.‫ללכת‬ ‫ וכן מצינו‬.‫ וכן בכל פעם ופעם היה משה אומר כך לפרעה‬.'‫ישראל אל מלך מצרים וגו‬ '‫ והק‬,‫בשמואל כשציוהו הק' למשוח את דוד אמר שמואל להק' ושמע שאול והרגני‬ ‫ אף כאן דרך חכמה ציוה למשה‬.‫אמר לו עגלת בקר תקח בידך ואמרת לזבוח לה' באתי‬ ‫בהוציאך וגו' וכן תוכל לומר לו מי שמפרשים ]מקראות הללו על[ עיניינים אחרים אינם‬ . . .‫אלא טועים גמורים‬.

See Duggan, The Romances of Chrétien de Troyes, 305. On the use of reported speech in vernacular literature, see esp. Duggan, The Romances of Chrétien de Troyes, 303–305. 211 212

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the literary technique of ‘back-to-back-speech’: The biblical narrator, a role Rashbam actually slipped into, since he is the one to tell the true story (!), has done an excellent job, since he composed Moses’ reaction as a well arranged literary scene. The angel understands immediately what Moses’ problems are and replies to his objections directly (‘As for that which you said . . . meaning which claim might I make to Pharaoh so that he would listen to me’ ). The answer Rashbam puts into his mouth shows that the divine world knows that it is the psychology that counts. The advice given (‘I command you right here that you shall worship God at this mountain’ ) is taken by Rashbam to be a white lie (‘When you lead . . . etc. This is what you can say to him!’ ) in order to protect Moses from potential harm. What is striking in Rashbam’s commentary is his conviction that he knows what had been at issue between Moses and God, and what Moses had said to Pharaoh: ‘Each and every time Moses used to answer in this way to Pharaoh.’ This comment jibes with Rashbam’s remarks on the truth and falsity of other interpretations. Again, we find harsh criticism together with exaggerated self-confidence. It is the framing—one could also say ‘the prologue’ and ‘epilogue’—of his comments that must have been very important to him. The question arises as to why Rashbam emphasizes twice in this paragraph that all the other interpretations on these two verses—both contemporary and antecedent—were completely wrong. Elazar Touitou takes this statement as proof of Rashbam’s “intellectual self-confidence,”213 one of the main characteristics of the so-called ‘twelfth-century Renaissance.’214 But Touitou links this growing self-confidence almost exclusively to the assumption that “the Jews were threatened in their religious faith,”215 assuming as a matter of course that the threat against the Jews came from the outside, from Christian society. However, in this paragraph as in 90 percent of his commentary, Rashbam’s polemics are directed not against the Christians but against the traditional rabbinic understanding of the text. We may, therefore, assume that Rashbam’s polemics against ‘those who are completely wrong’ (among them his grandfather Rashi!) express less a Jewish rabbi’s view, i.e., an anti-Christian stance, but rather the intellectual self-confidence of the See Elazar Touitou, “Rashi’s Commentary on Genesis 1–6 in the Context of Judeo-Christian Controversy,” Hebrew Union College Annual 61 (1990): 159–183, 162. 214 Compare Touitou, Exegesis in Perpetual Motion, 106–107; 170. 215 Touitou ibid. 213

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French rabbi, who is part of the community of litterati. It is interesting that Rashbam’s remarks find their parallel in the following epilogue to Chrétien’s romance Yvain (6804–08): And so Christian brings to a close his romance about the knight with the lion. I have never heard tell more about him, and you will never hear more told unless someone wants to add lies.216

And likewise, in the above-mentioned prologue to Chrétien’s Érec et Énide we read: Now I am going to begin the story that henceforth will be remembered as long as Christianity endures.217

Chrétien, like Rashbam in his self-confident self-estimation, also claims that other stories about Yvain would not be as truthful or reliable as his. What is going on here? What both these intellectuals convey is a paradigm shift with regard to truth. Up to the eleventh and early twelfth centuries, Latin literature, in particular Christian treatises claimed ultimate theological truth. It seems that from the twelfth century on, the developing vernacular literature in its adaptation of classical religious topics and motifs competed with Latin literature for the right to be considered the repository of truth.218 We should not exaggerate the matter by claiming that Chrétien or Rashbam advocated an ‘antireligious’ attitude in the modern sense. However, this new type of narrative that developed at the latest with the romans antiques (Roman de Thèbes; Roman d’Enéas; Roman de Troie; Roman d’Alexandre219) and Wace’s Roman de Brut and Roman de Rou, and which is linked intrinsically to the development of a new art of writing promotes interpretation as a way of discovering sense and truth through a text’s aesthetics. Just

Epilogue to the Knight with the Lion, translation taken from Chrétien de Troyes, “The Knight with the Lion,” in David Staines, trans., Chrétien de Troyes. The Complete Romances of Chretien de Troyes, trans., with an introduction (Bloomington, Ind.: Indiana University Press, 1990), 338. For the French text as well as for a slightly different English translation see Duggan, The Romances of Chrétien de Troyes, 275. 217 Prologue to Érec et Énide, translation taken from Chrétien de Troyes, Erec and Enide, in Staines, trans., Chrétien de Troyes. The complete romances, 1. 218 Likewise, Schöning, Thebenroman, 24 takes up an expression by Raynaud de Lage, claiming a “laicization of literatures” beginning with the French romans antiques. 219 On the Hebrew version of the Roman d’Alexandre see Wout Jac. van Bekkum, “Alexander the Great in Medieval Hebrew Literature,” Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes 49 (1986): 218–226. 216

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as Chrétien presents himself as the first true trustee of the matière de Bretagne‚ Rashbam’s remarks, likewise, convey his sense of being the new literary guardian of the matière des Hebreux in the Hebrew Bible. In contrast to oral storytelling, and we may now add, the oral teaching of the Bible by a qara, in which the sense of a story depended exclusively on the narration and presentation of its main heroes and their deeds by the storyteller, the sens (sans) of a romance as well as the hidden truth of the biblical texts now had to be discovered through the complexity of its plot, its literary patterns, and the weaving of narrative segments220 (remember Rashbam’s numerous references to the socalled haqdamah).221 We might, therefore, call both Rashbam’s attempt to rewrite the Hebrew Bible and the newly emerging French romance as examples of the “art of reshaping through rewriting . . . within a network of shared forms and storymatters,”222 meant to provide the lay audience access to the subject matter of Antiquity. Walter Haug connected this new literary approach with the emergence of fictional elements in the courtly literature (especially in the romances of Chrétien de Troyes), and we will see that this is an important literary tool for Rashbam as well. 3.2. Moses’ Reproof In the previous chapter we saw how Rashbam set up a literary scenario presenting Moses’ doubts and fears, as well as his self-confidence visà-vis God. In the text at hand, Rashbam creates a fictitious dialogue between God and Moses to advance the idea that thought and mental state form a, if not the legitimate basis for human action. Since the book of Deuteronomy presents for the most part speeches that recall the wandering of the Israelites in the desert and the incidents that occurred on their way, it is clear that the book also mentions in extenso the people’s pusillanimity and their failures which are embedded in the rebukes found in the speeches of Moses. Like others before him, Rashbam had to deal with this material. His comments on Moses’

220 Compare Matilda T. Bruckner, “The Shape of Romance in Medieval France,” in The Cambridge Companion to Medieval Romance, ed. Roberta L. Krueger (Cambridge: University Press, 2000), 13–28, 14–24. 221 See also above Chapter Four, 1.1. 222 Bruckner, “The Shape of Romance in Medieval France,” 13.

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admonitions show in a remarkable way that he was not squeamish, neither with ancient Israel, nor with his contemporaries. His comments on Moses’ reproofs are an excellent indicator of the extent to which he polemicized with the Christians, but even more than this shed new light on the question of the Jews’ position within a non-Jewish environment. On Deut. 9:25 Rashbam offers a lengthy comment that deals with the consequences of rebelling against God: . . . Rather, there is a greater223 wisdom here, and its purpose is to admonish the Israelites [with the following words]: Lest you may say: ‘If [after] such a great sin like [the sin of ] of the golden calf Moses’ prayer helped and we were saved, if we sin likewise in the land of Israel the prayers of the prophets will help us.’ Moses, then, said to them: “Prayer will not help you in the land of Israel, since ‘now’224 you are forgiven only so that [God’s] name should not be desecrated, for this is how I prayed Remember your servants etc. . . . lest the country from which you led us out, will say: ‘Since YHWH was not able to bring them [into the land] . . .’ (Deut. 9:27–28). And therefore you were not sentenced to die in the wilderness. However, if after he will have killed the thirty-one [Canaanite] kings before your eyes, and after he will have given you the land as an inheritance, he will, then, drive you out and banish you from the land, this would not involve desecration of God’s name in that the nations would say ‘Since YHWH was not able.’ Rather, the nations would say [quite the opposite], namely, that Israel had sinned against him . . .” Accordingly, it is laid out [explicitly] in Parashat Nitsavim:225 All nations will ask: “Why did YHWH do thus to this land, wherefore this [great anger]?” Then [people] will say: “Because they forsook the covenant of YHWH, the God of their fathers . . . YHWH uprooted them from their soil in anger, fury, and great wrath, and cast them to another land, as is still the case.”226

223 The ‘first’ wisdom in this verse refers to the biblical style of repetition, i.e., the question of why the text had to mention again the forty days of prayer (‫וכי דרך‬ . . . ‫)המקרא לחזור ולכפול דבר‬, compare also Lockshin, Rashbam’s Commentary on Deuteronomy, Translation, 75–76n29 and 30. 224 I.e., in the wilderness, still on your way to the land. 225 Cf. Deut. 29:23–27.

226 ‫ והלא חטא גדול‬,‫ שמא תאמרו‬.‫אפס חכמה גדולה יש כאן ולהוכיח ישראל בא‬ ‫ אף בארץ ישראל אם נחטא יועילו‬,‫כמעשה העגל הועילה תפלתו של משה וניצלנו‬ ‫ כי עתה‬.‫ אמר להם משה לא תועיל לכם תפלה בארץ ישראל‬.‫לנו תפלות הנביאים‬ ‘‫ שהרי כך התפללתי זכור לעבדיך וגו‬,‫לא נתכפר לכם אלא כדי שלא יתחלל שמו‬

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In many respects, this is a key text for clarifying Rashbam’s view of how the nations face Israel in the Bible as well as in his own day. It is probably one of the most problematic and challenging texts in his commentary, displaying a remarkably sophisticated literary and compositional technique. Martin Lockshin is surely right in stating that Rashbam’s argument not only goes against the theological interest of his own community, but it also apparently flies in the face of the standard liturgy, which (today and in Rashbam’s days) calls upon God to end the desecration of His name that results from the exile.227

Rashbam’s comments on Deut. 9:25–28 that are not restricted to the two or three lemmata from vv. 25–28 but encompass the whole section from Deut. 9:4 until the end of the chapter,228 make the following argument: As long as the Israelites are still in the wilderness, God is, one might say, forced to ‘overlook’ their sins, accepting Moses’ prayers to propitiate him, lest the other nations might mock him for his ‘powerlessness,’ which, then, would mean a desecration of his name by the other nations. However, as soon as Israel will have entered and conquered the land, this argument cannot be upheld any more. The nations will acknowledge that the Israelites’ suffering and exile are by no means a result of God’s weakness, but are rather a divine punishment for their sins. This idea also forms the basis for the argument in Rashbam’s comment on Deut. 32:37 where he explains a second time that only the scoffing of the nations (‘where is now their God’?)229 means a desecration of God’s name that as one of its consequences

‫ ולכך לא נתחייבתם‬,‫פן יאמרו הארץ אשר הוצאתנו משם מבלתי יכולת ה' להביאם‬ ,‫ אבל לאחר שיהרוג לפניכם שלשים ואחד מלכים וינחילכם את הארץ‬.‫מיתה במדבר‬ ‫אז יוציאכם ויגרש אתכם מן הארץ שאין כאן עוד חילול השם לאמר האומות מבלתי‬ ‫ כמו שמפורש באתם נצבים ואמרו כל‬,‫ ישראל חטאו לו‬,‫ אלא יאמרו הגוים‬,'‫יכולת ה‬ ‫הגוים על מה עשה ה' ככה לארץ הזאת מה חרי האף וגו' ואמרו על אשר עזבו את‬ ‫ברית ה' אלהי אבותם וגו' ויתשם ה' מעל אדמתם באף ובחימה ובקצף גדול וישליכם‬ ‫ אל ארץ אחרת כיום הזה‬. 227 228 229

32:37.

Lockshin, Rashbam’s Commentary on Deuteronomy, Translation, 77n32. See also Touitou, Exegesis in Perpetual Motion, 132–133. Rashbam introduces this phrase from Ps. 115:2 to explain the idiom in Deut.

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requires divine retribution against the nations and protection of the Jewish people.230 What does Rashbam have in mind here, and how are his ideas wrapped up in his own literary composition? First of all, Rashbam creates a completely fictitious dialogue. In its first part (“Lest you may say: ‘If [after] such a great sin’ . . .”) he puts into Israel’s mouth a reassurance that once again reveals not only Israel’s stubbornness and defiance, but likewise an illusory self assurance, which is then followed by Moses’ harsh retort (“Prayer will not help you in the land of Israel . . .”). By basing his argument on the content in Deut. 9:4 (‘For my righteousness YHWH had brought me . . .’ ) that Israel is being rebuked for in the course of this speech, Rashbam, in a remarkable manner, deflates Israel’s self-assurance and self-confidence. The text and its co-text, the chronological order as indicated in the text and the narrative order are mobilized to destabilize the hitherto valid theological understanding of Israel’s status among the nations. Rashbam’s strict adherence to the text’s internal logic has disastrous theological consequences. We are at a loss to explain such an interpretation, which is another example of Rashbam’s conviction that he must follow the text wherever it may lead. However, this text might serve as a chief witness that the theological argument was least important to Rashbam’s exegetical endeavor. On the other hand this comment demonstrates a cultural and social self-confidence that does not even shy away from rebuking his own contemporaries with the fictitious speech put into Moses’ mouth. 3.3. ‘I, alone, should be distinguished’: Interweaving Narratives and the Status of Moses In his study Exegesis in Perpetual Motion, Elazar Touitou dealt with the Pentateuchal stories about Moses in detail. He interpreted many of Rashbam’s comments against the background of Christian-Jewish polemics and the issue of pesha¢ and apologetics. Moses played a prominent role in Christian typological exegesis that took Moses as

230 Compare Rashbam on Deut. 32:37: ‫ וגם האומות יאמרו איה‬.‫ואמר אי אלהימו‬ . . . ‫ ומפני כבוד שמי אצילם ואנקום באויביהם‬.‫( נא אלהיהם של ישראל‬see also Lock-

shin, Rashbam’s Commentary on Deuteronomy, Translation, 192–193n126).

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prefigurative of Christ (‘. . . Christus, cujus typum gerebat Moses’ ).231 Already the early church fathers regarded Moses as the prototype for imitatio dei. In addition, Christian theology had from the very beginning marked a sharp distinction between the ‘law of Moses’ and the ‘law of Christ,’ the latter, of course, being the only means to salvation. Although we can assume that Rashbam was familiar with some of the main issues concerning the position and estimation of Moses in Christian theology, in the following we will challenge Touitou’s interpretation that Rashbam’s comments are mainly polemical and directed against interpretations found in the Glossa Ordinaria or any other Latin text.232 We have already seen in the previous chapters that Rashbam portrays Moses as not only a strong, vital, and astute figure, but likewise as a dominant personality with even overreaching self-confidence. Moses’ refusal in Rashbam’s comments on Exod. 3:11—‘Could it be that Pharaoh is such a fool that he would listen to me to send such a multitudinous people that are his slaves as free men out of his country?’—can as well be understood as a harsh critique of God and the mission he imposes on Moses: ‘Are you such a fool to believe that Pharaoh would listen to me?’ Rashbam’s Moses is portrayed as a self-assured and unshrinking representative of the Israelites. His commentary on Exod. 33 gives additional insight into how Rashbam portrays Moses’ personality: (15) If your presence [does not go with us]. In other words: if you do not come with us, (16) wherein now shall it be known that we are distinguished, I and your people etc. This is the beginning of [another] request [by Moses saying]: Additionally, I request from you, that I, alone, should be distinguished and separated from the people of Israel, in order to know233 that I am a trustworthy prophet and rebuker234 that they may listen to my word. Furthermore, your people shall also be distinguished from every people on the face of the earth in that that you will go with them. (17) [Said YHWH to Moses]:

231 Glossa Ordinaria, Patrologia Latina 113, 188C (Walafridus Strabo, Liber Exodus Hebraice). 232 See in particular Touitou, Exegesis in Perpetual Motion, 164–176; on Exod. 33 see ibid., 174–175. 233 The intended meaning probably is ‘. . . in order to make known;’ see also Lockshin, Rashbam’s Commentary on Exodus, Translation, 410, “. . . that it will be known.” 234 I.e., appointed to serve as a prophet and rebuker.

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I will also do this thing that you have said, [namely] that you shall be distinguished [from your people] and appear a judge and a great [leader to them]—[this is] in addition to what I have already complied with, namely, that I will go with them.235

Rashbam’s elaborated comments on Exod. 33:15–17 have Moses leave the boat that until this request he had shared with the Israelites. To Rashbam, v. 16—‘wherein now shall it be known that we are distinguished, I and your people’—marks a new request by Moses, in which he asks for special treatment for himself, i.e. ‘I and the people in different ways and not together.’ To understand the scope of Rashbam’s interpretation let us first take a look at Rashi’s comments ad loc. Like Rashbam, Rashi understood the phrase ‘we are distinguished, I and your people’ (‫ונפלינו אני‬ ‫ )ועמך‬as making a further request. Compare his comments on Exod. 33:16: (16) For wherein now shall it be known. [For wherein] will the finding of favor be known? Is it not through your going with us? There is, yet, another thing that I ask of you, namely that your shekhinah should no longer rest upon the nations of the world.236

Although Rashi’s explanation seems quite similar to Rashbam’s, they are really poles apart. Both of them have interpreted the phrase ‫ונפלינו‬ as ‘we are distinguished;’ however, the crucial issue in this sentence is the question, who is distinguished from whom. Rashi’s comment interprets the expression ‫ אני ועמך‬literally in the sense of ‘I and your people against the rest of the world.’ In this respect, the Talmudic dictum by R. Johanan in bBer 7a that deals with the verse at hand fits perfectly. Like Rashi, Rashbam would have claimed for himself an understanding of the verse according to the pesha¢. However, in his understanding the phrase means ‘We are distinguished from one another: I 235 .'‫ במה ]יודע[ איפוא וגו‬,‫ כלומר שאם אין אתה בא עמנו‬.'‫)טו( אם אין פניך וגו‬ ‫ עוד אני מבקש ממך שאפלא‬.‫ תחילת בקשה אחרת היא‬.'‫)טז( ונפלינו אני ועמך וגו‬ ‫ואבדל אני לבדי מכל עם ישראל לדעת כי אני נאמן לנביא ולמוכיח ויהיו שומעים‬ (‫ )יז‬:‫ וגם עמך יהיה נפלא במה ש]ת[לך עמהם מכל העם אשר על פני האדמה‬.‫לדברי‬ ‫ מלבד‬,‫גם את הדבר הזה אשר דברת אלי להיות מופלא ונראה שופט וגדול עליהם‬ ‫ההליכה שאלך עמהם אשר נתרציתי לך כבר‬. 236 ‫ ועוד דבר אחר‬.‫ הלוא בלכתך עמנו‬,‫ יודע מציאות החן‬.‫)טז( ובמה יודע אפוא‬ ‫ ;אני שואל ממך שלא תשרה שכינתך ]עוד[ על אומות העולם‬cf. bBer 7a: ‫ואמר רבי‬ ‫ שלשה דברים בקש משה מלפני הקדוש ברוך הוא ונתן לו; בקש‬.‫יוחנן משום רבי יוסי‬ ‫ בקש שלא תשרה‬,‫ שנאמר הלא בלכתך עמנו‬,‫שתשרה שכינה על ישראל ונתן לו‬ ‫ שנאמר ונפלינו אני ועמך‬,‫שכינה על אומות העולם ונתן לו‬.

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and your people.’ Rashbam, therefore, drives a wedge into the relationship between Moses and Israel. The fact that the ‘I’ in ‘we are distinguished, I and your people’ stands out allows Rashbam to interpret that Moses asked to be treated differently from Israel. Although the Talmudic dictum in bBer 7a matches the idea that Moses and Israel (as one entity) shall be distinguished from the nations of the world, to Rashbam the notion of the shekhinah resting exclusively on Israel and not on the other nations does not find a parallel in the context of Exod. 33–34. His explanation refers exclusively to the immediate literary context of the text at hand. As a proof text for the truth of his interpretation of Moses’ second request (‘I, alone, should be distinguished . . . in order to know that I am a trustworthy prophet’ ) he brings up Exod. 34:10 in his comments on Exod. 33:17: . . . [The fact that YHWH complied with Moses’ personal request is proven by] the shining of [his] face,237 since below it is written: . . . In front of all your people I will single you out as extraordinary (Exod. 34:10). All this [must be understood] as I will explain there.238

Exod. 34:10 is usually translated as “He said: ‘Here, I am making a covenant; in front of all your people I will do wonders . . . ’ ”239 Rashbam reiterates his understanding of √‫ פלא‬ni. and explains the phrase ‫ אעשה נפלאת‬in the sense of Moses being singled out from all his people. Furthermore, Rashbam combines the notion that Moses shall be distinguished from the Israelites in Exod. 33:15–17 with the covenant mentioned in Exod. 34:10 in his comments on Exod. 33:18: (18) Show me, I beg you, your glory. [Regarding this request] you should be astonished: How could Moses, our teacher, dare240 to beg [YHWH] to [allow] him to enjoy the radiance of the shekhinah? . . . God forbid! He only intended that YHWH should make a covenant [as a proof ] that the Holy One, Blessed be He, complied in these two matters, namely that [his face] would be radiant241 . . . and [on the request] My ‘face’242 will go . . . to give you rest from all your enemies.243 Moses, thus, said: Show

237 238

Cf. Exod. 34:29–35.

‫ וזהו קירון פנים שכתוב בו לפנינו נגד כל עמך אעשה‬. . . (‫יז‬,‫)רשב'ם שמ' לג‬ ‫ הכל כמו שאפרש שם‬.‫נפלאות‬. 239 . . . ‫ויאמר הנה אנכי כרת ברית נגד כל עמך אעשה נפלאת‬. 240 241 242 243

Literally: ‘How could his heart be so full of himself?’ Referring to the request Rashbam related to v. 16. I.e., ‘my presence.’ Cf. Deut. 25:19.

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me, I beg you, your glory by making a covenant with me pertaining to those things that you promised me.244

To Touitou, Rashbam’s comments are directed against an exceptional Vulgate reading of Exod. 33:13 (sic!).245 The quotation he offers246 stems from the Vetus Latina, but it is not likely that Rashbam had any access, if ever, to variant readings of the Vulgate. Furthermore, Rashbam’s comment on v. 13 is almost laconic (‘You will show me the way, and I will follow you’247), and his explanation of v. 18 does not respond to any Christian understanding of either of these verses. However, we do not have to turn to Latin literature to find polemical targets in Rashbam’s writings. It seems rather probable that his comments on Exod. 33:18–23 are directed against R. Abraham Ibn Ezra who (in both his commentaries on the book of Exodus)248 develops a lengthy philosophical (Neoplatonic) argument in this context. In particular, Ibn Ezra’s theology of the divine glory (kavod ) is worth mentioning, since in the late twelfth century the. Æaside Ashkenaz (‘German Pietists’ ) relied heavily on this speculative system.249 As laid

244

‫ היאך מלאו לבו למשה רבינו להנות‬.‫ תמה על עצמך‬.‫)יח( הראני נא את כבודך‬ ‫ חס ושלום לא נתכון אלא לכרות לו ברית על שני דברים שנתרצה לו‬. . . ?‫מזיו שכינה‬ .‫ וכן אמר‬.‫ ועל פני ילכו להניח לך מכל אויביך‬,‫ על קירון של ונפלינו אני ועמך‬,'‫הק‬ ‫הראני נא את כבודך בכריתות ברית על מה שהבטחתני‬.

Compare Touitou, Exegesis in Perpetual Motion, 175n159. Touitou’s argument is most problematic for several reasons: First, the Latin reference he offers reads mistakenly ‘suam’ instead of ‘sciam.’ Touitou emphasizes that the quotation does not stem from the standard Vulgate version (. . . ostende mihi viam tuam ut sciam te et inveniam gratiam . . .) but from “another version” that he does not specify. However, the quotation is found in the Hetzenauer edition (1906) of the Vetus Latina: ostende mihi faciem tuam vt sciam te (Cod. Ludg., ed. Robert 1881 reads: ostende mihi te ipsum manifeste, ut uideam te . . .). Hans-Georg von Mutius, Die hebräischen Bibelzitate beim englischen Scholastiker Odo: Versuch einer Revaluation (Frankfurt am Main, Berlin, et al.: Lang, 2006), esp. 21–22 does not list any further variant readings. 247 ‫ שתראני דרכיך ואני אלך אחריך‬. . . 248 The shorter Torah-commentary was written c. 1145 (Lucca); the longer commentary of which only the book of Exodus is left was written after 1147, probably in Rouen. However, the authorship and redactional process of the longer commentary has been a subject of debate from the earliest days on. Joseph Bonfils, the author of the first super-commentary on Ibn Ezra’s Exodus commentary discussed in his Zaphenath-Paneah the question of whether the longer commentary on Exodus stems originally from Ibn Ezra, or whether it was a later compilation by his students; on the issue, see esp. Dirk U. Rottzoll, Abraham Ibn Esras langer Kommentar zum Buch Exodus. Vol. 1, Parascha Schemot bis Beschalalach, Studia Judaica 17,1 (Berlin: de Gruyter, 2000), XVI–XLIX. 249 See Joseph Dan, “An Ashkenasic Story on the Conversion to Judaism of an Arab King,” (in Hebrew) Zion 26 (1960/61): 132–137; Ivan G. Marcus, “Prayer Gestures in German Hasidism,” in Karl. E. Grözinger and Joseph. Dan, eds., Mysticism, 245 246

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out in his commentaries on Exod. 33 as well as in his treatise Yesod Mora’,250 the divine presence—kavod 251—is emanated from the creator, the ‘universe’—‫ הכל‬or ‫‘ הטוב כולו‬the perfect Good’—and adheres to him (devequt; √‫)דבק‬. The kavod has two sides, the ‫‘ פנים‬face’ is directed towards God, the other side, i.e., the ‫‘ אחור‬the back’ (cf. Exod. 33:23) is directed towards the created world.252 The ‫אחור‬, the ‘back,’ is the only side the prophets and some electi can see. Ibn Ezra’s concept of divine emanation allows for substantial contact between the world and the creator; for him, the ontological relationship between the world and the creator was paramount. Ibn Ezra’s Neoplatonic speculations make use of the rabbinic motif of the vision of the shekhinah / kavod that is reserved for the righteous in the world to come. The rabbinic texts call that the ‘deriving of Magic and Kabbalah in Ashkenazi Judaism. International Symposium held in Frankfurt/M. 1991 (Berlin and New York: de Gruyter, 1995), 44–59, 56–59; Daniel Abrams, “‘The Secret of Secrets’: The Concept of the Divine Glory and the Intention of Prayer in the Writings of R. Eleazar of Worms,” (in Hebrew) Daat 34 (1995): 61–81, 72; Hanna Liss, El’asar ben Yehuda von Worms: Hilkhot ha-Kavod. Die Lehrsätze von der Herrlichkeit Gottes. Edition. Übersetzung. Kommentar, Texts and Studies in Medieval and Early Modern Judaism, vol. 12 (Tübingen: Mohr-Siebeck, 1997), esp. 47–50; 126–137; idem, “Die Herrlichkeit Gottes (kavod) in der mittelalterlichen Bibel- und Gebetsauslegung,” Mitteilungen für Anthropologie und Religionsgeschichte 13 (1998, published in 2001): 271–292; see also above Chapter Four, 1.2. 250 Cohen and Simon, R. Abraham Ibn Ezra. Yesod Mora ve-Sod Torah, 199–212, esp. 208–209; compare also David Rosin, “Die Religionsphilosophie Abraham Ibn Ezra’s,” Monatsschrift für Geschichte und Wissenschaft des Judentums 42 (1898): 17–32; 58–73; 108– 115; 154–161; 200–214; 241–252; 305–315; 345–362; 394–407; 444–457; 481–505; 43 (1899): 22–31; 75–91; 125–133; 168–184; 231–240. 251 Whereas the rabbinic sources usually refer to the term ‘Shekhinah’ as representing the divine presence, the philosophers, starting with R. Saadiah Gaon use mostly the term kavod ‘the (divine) glory.’ 252 See Abraham Ibn Ezra, Yesod Mora’, Twelfth Gate (ed. Cohen and Simon, R. Abraham Ibn Ezra. Yesod Mora ve-Sod Torah, 208–209): ‫ומזה הדרך יוכל המשכיל לדעת‬

‫ והמשל‬.‫האחד מפאת שהכל בו הוא דבק רק מפאת הטוב כולו אין כח בנברא לדעתו‬ ‫כאור השמש שעוברת על פני שתום העין ולא יוכל לראות פני אור השמש רק עד שיע־‬ ‫ והנה הדבקו בטוב כולו כדמות הפנים‬. . .‫בור על כן כתיב אני אעביר כל טובי על פניך‬ ‫ ;והדבק הנבראים בו כדמות אחורים וזהו וראית את אחורי‬see already Abraham Ibn Ezra on Exod. 33:13 (excerpt): . . . ‫ ודעת הנבראים איננה‬. . . ‫והיודע מתאחד עם הידוע‬ ‫ שמעלת משה‬.‫ והנה טעם ידעתיך בשם‬.‫ בעבור העצם‬,‫ כי אין היודע הוא הידוע‬,‫כן‬ ‫דבקה עם הכל‬. . . ; see also Abraham Ibn Ezra on Exod. 33:18 (short commentary; excerpt): ‫ כמו עצמך; וכן והיה בעבור‬:‫ פירושו‬.‫כ( ויאמר הראני נא את כבודך‬-‫)יח‬ ‫ ויאמר הגאון כי כבודך הוא‬.‫ ואמר ויעבור ה' על פניו‬,‫ שאמר עד עברי‬,‫כבודי; והעד‬ ‫ בראו השם לעתו; ופרש עד עברי עד עבור כבודי; וטעם וראית את אחורי האחרון‬,‫אור‬ ‫ יש לו פנים‬,‫ כי כל גוף הוא מורכב‬,‫ ודע‬. . . ‫ הם הפנים‬- ‫ וטעם אעביר כל טובי‬. . . ‫מהאור‬ ‫ אין לו פנים ואחור; אף כי‬,‫ שאין בנבראים גוף נכבד וגדול ממנו‬,‫ והנה השמש‬.‫ואחור‬ ‫ אין לו ראשית‬.‫ והוא לבדו‬,‫ ואף כי יוצר בראשית! לכן כל ָכּבוֹד דבק בשם‬,‫בוֹדים‬ ִ ‫הכּ‬ ְ ‫ ויש לו ראשית מפאת כבוד אחר; גם אין‬,‫וה ָדּ ֵבק אין לו אחרית מפאת השם‬ ַ .‫ואחרית‬ ‫ לו אחרית כנגד הכבוד האחר‬.

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pleasure from the radiance of the shekhinah,’ (‫)זיו השכינה‬,253 a phrase that Rashbam, too, refers to in his comments ad loc. It is obvious that Rashbam’s explanation of Exod. 33:18 rejects any ontological notion, although we must admit that we have only a vague idea about the extent of Rashbam’s familiarity with philosophical exegesis. In any case, he would surely have rejected such an interpretation, since philosophical arguments invariably transcend the semantic level of the biblical text. Rashbam’s exegetical and narrative technique in his comments on Exod. 33 is exceptional, since he interweaves large sections of biblical material, in order to create a consistent storyline. In discussing Exod. 33:15–17, he spans the narrative string from Exod. 33:13 to 34:35, the passage reporting that Moses’ outstanding position is made known by the shining of his face. Since Exod. 34:10 explicitly states that God would single out Moses as extraordinary, Rashbam saw Moses’ further request in Exod. 33:15–17 as necessarily linked to his personality and not to general matters (such as Israel’s position among the nations). Therefore, even if we were to admit that Rashbam’s characterization of Moses as the ‘trustworty prophet’ hints at some polemic against Christian theological claims, it does not represent the central issue in Rashbam’s exegesis of this passage. With regard to the question of pesha¢ we may say that the pesha¢ as Rashbam sees it, discloses a section’s intrinsic narrative thrust. This means that the pesha¢ does not merely consist of ‘stories’ re-narrated. Rather, as we can see in particular from those narratives in which Rashbam composes substantial dialogues between the (literary) characters, the pesha¢ elicits the correct underlying story, the ‘story behind the story.’ 4. Character Sketches in the Biblical Narratives: The Stories of the Patriarchs 4.1. Rebecca’s Dilemma Throughout the history of biblical exegesis, the conflict between Jacob and Esau has been almost continuously paradigmatic of the conflict

253 See also Ibn Ezra on Exod. 24:11 (long commentary): ‫ כי הוצרכו‬,‫כי טעם ויאכלו‬ ‫ אעפ"י שנהנו מזיו השכינה‬,‫ ;שיאכלו‬compare already bBer 17a; bShab 30a; bBB 10a

a.fr.

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between Israel and the nations.254 From the period of the Early Church on it has symbolized in particular the conflict between ecclesia and synagoga. There was hardly a text that was not used by both sides to affirm their theological prejudices, each claiming to be the true Israel (verus Israel ), and condemning the other as Esau / Edom. Rashi’s commentary, for instance, shows his bias very clearly. His depiction of Esau remains more or less true to the midrash, and takes up its tendentious distortions. It is, therefore, striking to see how and to what extent Rashbam emancipates himself from the exegetical biases of his contemporaries (Rashbam on Gen. 25:22–24): They struggled [‫ ]ויתרוצצו‬stems [from √‫רץ‬, like the phrase] ‫רץ לקראת‬ ‫‘ רץ‬runner to runner.’255 They fidgeted [with their legs] and moved about inside her body, like fetuses are wont to do. . . . to inquire of YHWH. From the prophets of those days, as in ‘[one man] through whom we may inquire of YHWH’ (1 Kings 22:8), and in ‘it is because the people come to me to inquire of YHWH’ (Exod. 18:15).256 (23) YHWH said to her through a prophet. Two nations. Do not be afraid! The discomfort of your pregnancy is because you are carrying twins in your womb, and the discomfort of a pregnancy with two [fetuses] is greater than of a pregnancy with [only] one [child] . . .257 Since the prophet began talking to her, he finished by expounding all the future events for her. The elder shall serve the younger. Therefore, she loved Jacob,258 since the Holy One, Blessed be He, loved him, as it is written: I have loved Jacob (Mal. 1:2). (24) And, behold, there were twins. In any situation where new information is introduced it is customary to say it this way [with ‫])ו(הנה‬, as in: When morning came, behold, it was Leah! (Gen. 29:25), since until ‘now’ [i.e., at that very moment] he

254 See Gerson D. Cohen, “Esau as Symbol in Early Medieval Thought,” in Jewish Medieval and Renaissance Studies, ed. Alexander Altmann (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1967); Gerhard Langer, “Bruder Esau: Zur Frage nach der jüdischen Identität am Beispiel der Auslegung zu Jakob und Esau in Bereshit Rabba,” in Text, Ethik, Judentum und Christentum, Gesellschaft, ed. Gabriella Gelardini, Kontexte der Schrift, vol. 1, Festschrift Ekkehard W. Stegemann (Stuttgart: Kohlhammer, 2005), 373–390; Anneliese Butterweck, “Die Begegnung zwischen Esau und Jakob (Gen. 33,1–18) im Spiegel rabbinischer Ausdeutungen,” Biblische Notizen 116 (2003): 15–27; Hanne Trautner-Kromann, “From ‘Jacob or Esau?’ to ‘has the Messiah come?’ Controversies between Jews and Christians as reflected in Bible exegesis,” Zutot 2 (2002): 95–101. 255 Jer. 51:31. Rashi ad loc. explains (cf. BerR 63:6): “Our masters interpreted [this word] as an expression of running [‫]ריצה‬.” Both, Rashi and Rashbam explained the idiom as stemming from √‫רץ‬. However, the verb stems from √‫ רצץ‬hitpolel. 256 Rashbam probably adjusted the wording, since MT reads: ‫ לדרש אלהים‬. . . 257 As to the syntactical explanation of synonym parallelism [‫]כפל לשון‬, compare also R. A. Harris, Discerning Parallelism, esp. 55–73. 258 Cf. Gen. 25:28.

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had thought that she was Rachel, or [as in the verse]: And Pharaoh awoke, and, behold, it was a dream (Gen. 41:7), since [likewise] he had not become conscious [of the fact] that he was dreaming until he woke up.259

Rashbam’s exegesis of the introductory chapter of the Jacob-Esaucycle has interesting features that are even more striking when compared with Rashi’s commentary ad loc. At the outset, Rashbam sets up an interesting relationship between Rebecca’s pain and discomfort during her pregancy (‘They struggled . . .’ ) and the subsequent oracle. His explanation of Rebecca’s discomfort is purely biological, without any theological overlay. The ‘struggling’ that causes pain to the mother is the fetal movement, more intense in a biparous than in a uniparous pregnancy. As a corollary, Rashbam goes on to explain that the subsequent oracle (‘Two nations . . .’ ) that he puts into the mouth of an unknown prophet of those days refers only to these biological conditions. The prophet’s answer ‘Two nations are in your womb’ marks, therefore, the conclusion of the prophecy: Rebecca felt uncomfortable, and the prophet explains why. Her discomfort caused by the fetal movement has no further implications. However, since the subsequent clause (third person sing.; v. 23bß) refers to the two children / nations and not to Rebecca’s pain, Rashbam’s exegetical task is to configure the narrative situation anew by presenting a new setting for the prophet’s oracle: Since he began telling her, he continued spontaneously to inform her about the children’s later destiny. Rashbam turns Rashi’s commentary upside-down. According to Rashi, every single event to occur in the boys’ future life is predestined ab ovo. Rashi’s interpretation relies heavily on the midrashic tradition that sees Rebecca’s pain as a prefiguration of the boys’ prospective religious inclinations and their future destiny: When she passed by the entrances of [the] Torah [academies] of Shem and Eber, Jacob would run and struggle to come out. When she passed the entrance of [a house of] idolatry, Esau would run and struggle to

259 ‫ שהיו רצים ומתנענעים‬,‫ לשון רץ לקראת רץ‬.‫כב( ויתרוצצו‬,‫)רשב"ם ברא' כה‬ ‫ אל הנביאים שבאותן הימים כדכת' לדרוש‬.'‫ לדרוש את ה‬. . . ‫בתוך גופה כדרך עוברים‬ ‫ שני‬.‫ ע"י נביא‬- ‫ )כג( ויאמר ה' לה‬.'‫ וכת' כי יבא אלי העם לדרוש את ה‬,‫את ה' מאתו‬ ‫ אל תיראי כי צער העיבור שלך בשביל ששני תאומים יש בבטנך שמרובה צער‬.‫גוים‬ ‫ גמר ופירש לה כל‬,‫ ומתוך שהנביא התחיל לומר לה‬. . . .‫העיבור של שנים מעיבור אחד‬ ‫ ולכך אהבה את יעקב שאהבו הקב"ה וכדכת' ואהב את‬.‫ ורב יעבוד צעיר‬.‫העתידות‬ [‫ וכן ויהי בבקר והנה ]היא‬.‫ בכל דבר חידוש רגיל לומר כן‬.‫ )כד( והנה תומים‬.‫יעקב‬ ‫ כי לא היה סבור‬.‫ וכן ויקץ פרעה והנה חלום‬.‫ כי עד עתה היה סבור שהיא רחל‬,‫לאה‬ ‫ שהיה חלום עד שניעור משנתו‬.

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chapter four come out. Another explanation: They were struggling with one another and quarreling about the inheritance of the two worlds.260

Both the explanations from the midrash insist on the presupposition that the quarreling about the two-competeting nations had already broken out in Rebecca’s body. Accordingly, to Rashi the prophet’s oracle covers v. 23 in toto: Rebecca’s pain anticipates the future quarrel between Jacob (Israel ) and Esau / Edom (Christianity): “From the womb they are separated, this one to his wickedness, and this one to his innocence.”261 The fetal struggling in Rebecca’s womb anticipates Israel’s future destiny as well as the forthcoming course of events, all wrapped up in this crucial oracle. Since in Rashi’s interpretation the prophetic oracle has a much greater importance than in Rashbam’s, Rashi is eager to determine its precise circumstances. There is no question that the prophet whom Rebecca turns to does not belong to a group of anonymous and unknown prophets. The midrash has her go to the academy of Shem, which embodies a subtle pun based on the biblical phrase ‘'‫ לדרוש את ה‬. . .’262 In using the second midrash on Shem, Rashi at the same time relates both midrashic traditions to each other. This is a brilliant example of Rashi’s hermeneutical method as explained in the locus classicus in Gen. 3:8.263 Whereas Rashi based his interpretation on the theological discourse of the midrashic tradition and did not deviate from its content, Rashbam emancipates himself from this discourse and refrains from jumping to theological conclusions. He not only limits the ‘struggling’ to simple fetal movement, but also imagines a new narrative situation, in which the second part of the oracle (‘One people shall be mightier than the other . . .’; v. 23b) was delivered accidentally. The second part of the oracle is independent of the first, and the unnamed prophet conveyed his prophecies to Rebecca spontaneously. In that, the oracle takes on a completely different meaning, and Rashbam’s retelling has the plot develop into a different story: The future course of events in the life

Rashi on Gen. 25:22; compare BerR 63:6. Rashi on Gen. 25:23. 262 See Rashi on Gen. 25:23 ‫ לשם אמר ברוח הקודש‬,‫ על ידי שליח‬.‫ויאמר ה' לה‬ ‫והוא אמר לה‬. I am not convinced that Rashi’s comments here reveal any ‘historical’ attitude (see Lockshin, Rabbi Samuel ben Meir’s Commentary on Genesis, Translation, 132n2). 263 See above Chapter Two, 2. 260 261

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of the boys is not yet strictly determined ab ovo, even though the end of the story according to the biblical text, is already fixed. This means that even though the destiny of the boys, i.e., the purpose of the entire story, is fixed, Rashbam allows Jacob and Esau as its heroes the freedom from their perspectives to encounter a variety of coincidences and concurrences and not live their lives like marionettes on a string. They are not limited to certain roles and behavior, but have to grow into their characters during the course of the narrative, i.e., the retelling in Rashbam’s commentary. The text in the gloss commentary in MS Vienna Cod. hebr. 220 that is attributed to Rashbam presents a slightly different reading: If so, why do I [exist]? She feared to die of her distress, and the prophet answered her: “Do not be afraid! You are not going to die. This is just the way it is when one is pregnant with twins, since two nations are in your womb.”264

In his comments on Gen. 25:32, Rashbam explicitly refers to his father, R. Meïr’s, explanation.265 In this case, this reference is missing; however, a comparison of both comments shows that structurally they bear many similarities. The interpretation of Rebecca’s distress largely matches Rashbam’s explanation: As explained to her by the prophet, the fetal movement of twins is the cause of her discomfort. However, the rest of the ‘story’ that is found only in the printed edition, that constitutes the ‘fictional element’ in Rashbam’s commentary, i.e., in MS Vienna Cod. hebr. 220 the circumstances under which the prophet continues with his oracle, is completely missing. We may, therefore assume, that we have here either another explanation of R. Meïr, or, as we already suggested above,266 a later stage in Rashbam’s thinking. If the latter, then Rashbam broadens and expands the literal explanation with an additional story line. We may clarify Rashbam’s new approach that gives a life of its own to each of the biblical figures, by examining the different treatments of Rebecca. Rashi fixes her role from the very start of the events. She is merely the ‘physical vessel’ for both the protagonists, without 264 ‫ היתה‬.‫ למה זה אנכי‬. . . (23 ‫ כתב יד וינה‬,‫לב‬,‫)פירוש מיוחס לרשב"ם ברא' כה‬ ‫יריאה למות על עצבונה והנבי' השיבה אל תיראי כי לא תמות אך מנהג יולדת תומים‬ ‫( הוא זה שהרי שני גוים בבטנך‬MS Vienna Cod. Hebr. 220, fol. 11r; edited by Touitou,

Exegesis in Perpetual Motion, 201; Touitou presents a slightly different reading). 265 See below Chapter Four, 4.2. 266 See above Chapter Two, 3.

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any specific personality traits. According to Rashi’s commentary, she will act only in keeping with the predetermined course of events, and, consequently, will support only the protagonist chosen by God in advance. This is not the case with Rashbam. To him, the second part of the oracle (‘One people shall be mightier than the other . . .’; v. 23b) is the reason why Rebecca favors Jacob. However, following the course of the narrative she can make this decision only after the children have been born, i.e., after v. 24. Therefore, Rashbam draws his readers’ attention to the fact that the biblical narrator mentions Rebecca’s personal preference for Jacob only in v. 28. In addition, the narrator emphasizes this turn within the course of the narrative by introducing the formula ‘Behold!’ (we-hinneh) into the report on the birth of the boys. Rashi does not pay attention to this syntactical ‘eye-catcher,’ but Rashbam exploits it to support his literary hypothesis by explaining that the biblical narrator wanted to add a new and innovative facet (˜iddush) to the story.267 The new facet is not the birth of the twins as such, since this was already part of the prophecy, but the order in which the boys were born. This was an open question until Rebecca had given birth and Rashbam uses it as a ‘narrative anchor.’ It is remarkable that Rashbam’s explanation of the syntactical-semantic function of (we)-hinneh matches the conclusions of modern Biblical scholarship. With regard to the literary function of this idiom, Adele Berlin mentions two aspects: 1) The use of (we)-hinneh as introducing a turn of perception from the narrator’s perspective to a character’s viewpoint,268 and 2) the introduction of a new character and, along with this, the opening of a new narrative setting, in which (we)-hinneh also conveys the meaning of ‘at the same time / simultaneously.’269 Based on Berlin’s investigations, Simcha Kogut calls (we)-hinneh an elliptic expression for ‫ )ו(הנה‬. . . ‫ וירא‬/ ‫ראיתי‬.270 The book of Genesis in particular uses (we)-hinneh to disclose that the events depicted in

See also the examples given in his comments on Gen. 29:25 und 41:7. See e.g., Gen. 24:63; 1 Sam. 19:13-16; compare Adele Berlin, Poetics and Interpretation of Biblical Narrative, Bible and Literature Series, vol. 9 (Sheffield: Almond Press, 1983), 62-63.91-92; Simcha Kogut, “On the Meaning and Syntactical Status of ‫ִהנֵּ ה‬ in Biblical Hebrew,” in Sara Japhet, ed., Studies in Bible, Scripta Hierosolymitana, vol. 31 ( Jerusalem: Magnes Press, 1986), 133–154, esp. 137. 269 See e.g., Num. 25:5–6. 270 Compare Kogut, “On the Meaning and Syntactical Status of ‫ ִהנֵּ ה‬in Biblical Hebrew,” esp. 144–145. 267 268

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the text are not yet perceivable to a certain literary character, either because they refer to episodes that are to occur in the future or they are presented from another character’s perspective. In any case, the idiom (we)-hinneh widens a narrative’s plot and perspective. We find both these aspects mentioned in Rashbam’s linguistic explanations. At Gen. 25:24, Rashbam discerns a moment of innovation (˜iddush) which enables him to introduce a turn in the plot which is not dependent on Rabbinic exegesis. Rebecca loves Jacob (v. 28) not because he was a ‘mild man,’ but because the oracle favored the younger. In Rashbam’s commentary, therefore, the literary character Rebecca gains a narrative existence of her own, arriving at her decisions on her own and thus developing into an independent person. Due to the oracle that does not disclose its final message to her by the time of its proclamation by the prophet, she favors the younger boy. Rashbam introduces the figure of Rebecca as a ‘literary contingent,’ a part of the narrative constellation that at the same time grants the figure of Jacob an extended scope of action. He finds himself on the winner’s side not because God wanted him to be there, but because Rebecca had made up her mind beforehand. Rashbam’s commentary takes a narrative course on its own, which opens up new fictional realms, outside the biblical-rabbinic discourse. Exegesis becomes narration, a (re-)telling of ‘old-new’ stories. 4.2. Jacob’s Deceit and Esau’s Selling of His Birthright In keeping with his account of the first part of the Jacob-Esau- cycle, Rashbam portrays the scene of Esau selling his birthright (Gen. 25:29–34): (31) First, sell me today, i.e., right away. [ Jacob says]: Sell me at once your share of the birthright that is entitled to you of [my] father’s money in return for the money that I will give you, and afterwards I will give you the food as corroboration and conformation [of our deal]. This is similar of what we find it in [the verse]: . . . and they ate there by the pile of stones.271 [Esau says]:

271 Gen. 31:46, i.e., to confirm the pact between Laban and Jacob; see also Gen. 31:48: And Laban said: ‘This heap is witness between me and thee this day . . .’

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chapter four (32) ‘Behold, I am about to die: Every day I go to hunt animals in the forest, where one can find bears and lions and other ferocious animals. I am [always] in danger of dying. What use is there for me to await the share of the first-born after our father’s death’? – Thus elucidated my father, R. Meïr, may he rest in honor272– [And this is the reason why the text continues]:273 Thus Esau spurned his birthright (Gen. 25:34). He sold his birthright for money. And afterwards Jacob gave him [bread and lentil stew] as is the common custom to confirm a transaction. And Esau spurned [his birthright]. Since [according to the plot of the story] in the end he would regret this [arrangement]—as it is written [later on]: [First] he took away my birthright (Gen. 27:36)—the biblical [author] anticipates this verse274 in order to make known his foolishness: ‘Now’, [i.e., at this point of the narrative] when he was eating, he spurned his birthright. However, later on he had regrets.275

As with the rest of his commentary, the uniqueness of Rashbam’s interpretation of the story of Esau selling his birthright becomes clear when it is compared with Rashi’s comments ad loc. Rashi’s commentary is based on the correlation of the rights of the first-born and the sacrificial service as already stated in the midrash (BerR 63:13). The midrash puts into Jacob’s mouth the idea that the wicked Esau did not deserve to be appointed to the sacrificial service of the divine; furthermore, when Esau was told that the sacrificial service entails many prohibitions, punishments, and death penalties he rejected it 272 ‫ מ"כ‬should be read as an abbreviation of ‫מנוחתו כבוד‬, see Lockshin, Perush ha-Tora, vol. 1, 57n46. Lockshin, Rashbam’s Commentary on Leviticus and Numbers, Translation, 292n24 emends his reading in Lockshin, Rabbi Samuel ben Meir’s Commentary on Genesis, Translation, 137. The fact that Rashbam in this place refers to his father explains why the gloss commentary in MS Vienna offers a different reading (MS Vienna Cod. hebr. 220, fol. 11r). His father’s interpretation comprised only the initial statement ‫הולך למות לסוף ימיי‬, followed by a shortened biblical reference from Josh. 23:14, which, then, formed the starting point for Rashbam to compose a detailed soliloquy visualizing Esau’s living circumstances and his inner state of mind. 273 ‫ וזהו‬is an interpolation by Rosin ad loc. Lockshin, Perush ha-Tora, vol. 1, 57–58n47 wonders, if it is necessary. 274 . . . ‫ויבז עשו‬, i.e. the narrator informs the reader ahead of time.

275 ‫ מיד מכור לי חלק בכורתך הראוי לך‬.‫ כלומר לאלתר‬.‫לא( מכרה כיום‬,‫)ברא‘ כה‬ ‫ כדרך שמצינו‬.‫]ב[ממון אבי בממון שאתן לך ואחר כך אתן לך המאכל לעדות ]ו[לקיום‬ ‫ בכל יום‬.‫ )לב( הנה אנכי הולך למות‬:‫ויאכלו שם על הגל לקיום ברית בין לבן ליעקב‬ ‫אני הולך לצוד חיות ביערים המצויים שם דובים ואריות וחיות רעות ואני מסוכן למות‬ ‫ כך פירש אבי הרב רבי מאיר‬.‫למה זה ]לי[ להמתין חלק בכורה לאחר מיתת אבינו‬ ‫ ואחר כן ויעקב‬.‫ בדמים‬.‫ )לג( וימכור את בכורתו‬:‫ ]וזהו[ ויבז עשו את הבכורה‬.‫מ"כ‬ ‫ לפי שלסוף נתחרט על כך‬.‫ )לד( ויבז עשו‬:‫נתן לעשו וגו' כמנהג בני אדם לקיום דבר‬ ‫ עתה בשעת אכילה ביזה את‬.‫ לכן הקדים כאן להודיע שטותו‬,‫כדכת' את בכורתי לקח‬ ‫ אבל לבסוף היה מתחרט‬,‫ הבכורה‬.

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because he thought he would die because of it.276 Rashi’s explanations end as they started at the beginning of the story of Jacob and Esau: The spurning of the right of the first-born entails the spurning of the sacrificial service. This contempt is further evidence of (√‫ עוד‬hi.) Esau’s wickedness.277 Rashi’s commentary has the protagonists behave according to the oracle to Rebecca at all stages of their life. Wherever the biblical text has ‘gaps’ in content (e.g., Gen. 25:32), thereby allowing the interpreter to give the literary characters more leeway within the story line, Rashi fills them in with material from the midrash.278 Rashbam ignores rabbinic interpretation. He does not have Esau exchange his first-born rights for bread and lentil stew, but rather arranges the scene as a financial transaction, in which the lentil stew functions as a corroboration of the deal. He can even refer to the parallel motif in Gen. 31:41 (the covenant between Laban and Jacob). In pointing out that the request for the deal comes from Jacob, Rashbam, as does the biblical text, liberates Esau from the cloud of malice that hovers over him in rabbinic literature. In Rashbam’s portrayal, Esau is a young man ready to make a useful bargain, since—as Rashbam’s fictional dialogue shows—his profession puts him in mortal danger on a daily basis, and he never knows whether he will survive to the next day. ‘Today’ is the day to benefit from Jacob’s money. Why, therefore, wait for ‘day X’ when his father will die? On the other hand, Rashbam’s depiction of the scene likewise absolves Jacob of the charge of having ‘stolen’ the birthright, since this was a straightforward transaction—he paid for it with hard cash. In contrast to the theologically overloaded discourse on both sides of the Jewish-Christian debate279 that had always focused either on Esau’s 276 Compare Rashi on Gen. 25:31–32: ‫ אמר יעקב‬,‫ לפי שהעבודה בבכורות‬.‫בכרתך‬ ‫ )לב( הנה אנכי הולך למות אמר מה טיבה של‬:‫אין רשע זה כדאי שיקריב להקב"ה‬ ‫ כאותה ששנינו אלו הן‬,‫ אמר לו כמה אזהרות ועונשין ומיתות תלוין בה‬,‫עבודה זו‬ ‫ אם כן מה חפץ לי בה‬,‫ אמר אני הולך על ידה למות‬.‫;שבמיתה שתויי יין ופרועי ראש‬

see also bSan 83a. 277 See Rashi on Gen. 24:34: ‫ העיד הכתוב על רשעו שביזה עבודתו של‬.‫ויבז עשו‬

‫מקום‬.

278 In midrashic literature, the motif of Esau’s malice is very common. Targum Yerushalmi I (Ps.-Jonathan) describes Isaac’s fear of eating a non-kosher meal (e.g., a dog) that might cause him to be punished since the meal prepared by Esau had the ‘odor of the fire of gehinnom’ (on that topic see Marc M. Epstein, Dreams of Subversion in Medieval Jewish Art and Literature [University Park, Pa.: The Pennsylvania State University Press, 1997], esp. 25n37). 279 Compare for instance Bekhor Shor’s commentary on Gen. 25–27 (see Kurt Schubert, “Das christlich-jüdische Religionsgespräch im 12. und 13. Jahrhundert,”

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wickedness, or on Jacob’s deception, Rashbam sets up a straightforward plot: Esau has a dangerous occupation that might deprive him of his life on any given day. The idea of the share of the first-born and the expectation of inheriting it after his father’s death is much too remote to have any significance for the young hunter. As a corollary, Rashbam links v. 34 (. . . ‫ )ויבז עשו‬to the ‘first-born deal’. Esau spurned his first-born rights only because his current situation (age, profession) discouraged him from expecting to inherit from his father’s estate. The upshot is exactly as predicted by the prophet’s oracle: The elder [Esau] shall serve the younger [ Jacob] (Gen. 25:23). However, Rashbam just sticks to the story line. Whereas Rashi takes v. 34 as a further proof for Esau’s malice, Rashbam argues on the narrative level: The biblical author inserted this sentence at this place in the text in order to be able to demonstrate that the dialogue between Isaac and Esau in Gen. 27:33–40 (Esau’s lost blessing) is literarily coherent with the rest of the story. As with his comments on Gen. 1, Rashbam identifies here the narrative technique of haqdamah (‘literary anticipation’ ).280 Rashbam has to explain why the biblical text reports Esau’s complaint that at first sight seems to be unmotivated. In this context, therefore, pesha¢ does not denote simply a literal interpretation, but the literary principle upon which the biblical composition is based. It is noteworthy that, again, the reading in the gloss commentary in MS Vienna Cod. hebr. 220 deviates from the printed edition: ‘I am going to die.’ At the end of my life,281 as in: ‘Behold, today I am going the way of all the earth.’282

In the printed edition, Rashbam refers to his father at the end of Esau’s soliloquy, but it remains unclear, whether the entire soliloquy originates in R. Meïr’s comments. From the Vienna manuscript, however, the history of chronology and inner development of these explanations seems quite obvious. His father’s interpretation comprised only the

Kairos 19 [1977]: 161–186, 177). The Christian side mostly regarded Esau as the representation of Israel that had discarded and abrogated the first covenant. 280 √‫ קדם‬hi. (‫ ;)להקדים ;הקדים‬see above Chapter Four, 1.1. 281 Lit. ‘my days.’ 282 ( Josh. 23:14); MT reads: ‫לב( והנה אנכי הולך‬,‫)פירוש מיוחס לרשב"ם ברא' כה‬ ‫ כמ' הנה אנכי הולך בדרך‬.‫ לסוף ימיי‬.‫( הולך למות‬23 ‫ כתב יד וינה‬. . . ‫היום בדרך‬ ‫ כל הארץ‬MS Vienna Cod. Hebr. 220, fol. 11r; edited by Touitou, Exegesis in Perpetual Motion, 201; Touitou presents a slightly different reading; MT reads: ‫והנה אנכי הולך היום‬ . . . ‫)בדרך‬.

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initial statement ‫ לסוף ימיי‬. . ., followed by a reference to Josh. 23:14. This short explanatory note, then, formed the basis for Rashbam’s detailed soliloquy depicting Esau’s living circumstances and inner state of mind. R. Meïr was the first to bring up Esau’s ‘memento mori,’ however, there seems to be no foundation for this comment, since Esau as he is depicted in the biblical story was a strong and vital man. Therefore, Rashbam added to his father’s comment Esau’s sequence of thoughts that link the biblical phrase ‫ הנה אנכי הולך למות‬to the transaction with Jacob. The discrepancies between Rashi’s and Rashbam’s comments are clear. Basing himself on the midrash, Rashi portrays Esau typologically and has him act as if he were a puppet, controlled from above by a (divine) manipulator.283 It is not only about fulfilling the prediction of the oracle. Moreover, Rashi’s comments determine the biblical figures’ characters from the very beginning, one as mild and innocent, the other as irredeemably wicked. Rashi, therefore, takes over the polemical discourse initiated in the midrash. In contrast, Rashbam seeks to avoid polemics. However, he, too, has to deal with the fact that according to the biblical text the oracle will be fulfilled. His commentary, therefore, takes the viewpoint of the biblical characters and lets them arrive at their destination by coincidence. Comparable to the knights in Chrétien de Troyes’ âventiures, for whom fortuitous situations and accidental occurrences on the level of the story line make sense only on a meta-level, i.e., that of the narrator, Rashbam’s Esau acts impulsively and makes his own mistakes. Likewise, in Gen. 24:58 Rashbam maintains the interpretive principle whereby the protagonists’ sovereignty over their deeds and their individual acts must be upheld, even though they are subject to a divine decree. Compare his comments on the story of Rebecca and Abraham’s servant. After the servant makes his pitch to Laban and Bethuel, to try to convince them to let Rebecca come back with him to Canaan, they answer: “The matter proceeded from YHWH; we cannot say anything to you, either bad or good” (Gen 24:50). Both, Rashi and Rashbam rely on the local custom whereby a girl has to agree to a marriage proposal.284 Although Rashbam concedes the inevitability Contra Touitou, Exegesis in Perpetual Motion, 171, I cannot identify any negative portrayal of either Esau or Ishmael in Rashbam’s comments. 284 On the unsolved exegetical problem whereby a divine decree supplants local customs see Touitou, Exegesis in Perpetual Motion, 139–140. 283

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of Rebecca’s immediate departure for the sake of a coherent plot, he insists on Rebecca’s own decision: “She said: ‘I will go. I am not concerned to delay simply for the benefit of my jewelry.’ ”285 In sum, Rashbam grants his protagonists an ‘independent’ literary existence and a scope of action of their own. He rejects the polemical argument with its black-and-white portrayal of biblical characters that forms a constant element in Rashi’s commentary.286 Whereas Rashi explains that Esau was reddish (‫ )אדמוני‬as a ‘sign that he will be a person who sheds blood,’287 repeating this motif in his comments on Gen. 25:29 (‘he was exhausted from committing murder’ ),288 Rashbam explains concisely ‫‘ אדמוני רוש ב"ל‬red289 in Old-French,’290 and ignores v. 29. Only his explanation on the term ‫ אדרת שׂער‬could perhaps be regarded as a polemic remark: ‘a hairy mantle: [the type] worn by [Christian] pilgrims / monks’ [‫]התועים‬.291 4.3. Sibling Rivalry: Joseph and His Brothers Rashbam’s appreciation of the Bible as a literary work can also be seen in his treatment of the narratives of Joseph and his brothers (Gen. 37–50). The starting point for the course of all further events as well as the key motif in the sections subsequent to the Jacob-Esau-cycle is the jealousy that the brothers show towards Joseph. Rashbam does not take the brothers’ envy for granted. Instead, he explains the reasons

285

‫ איני חוששת להתעכב בשביל קישוטי עצמי‬.‫ותאמר אלך‬.

On the typology of Esau in the Medieval period, esp. in the Sefer ha-Qabbalah by Abraham ibn Daud, see G. D. Cohen, “Esau as Symbol in Early Medieval Thought.” 287 Rashi on Gen. 25:25: ‫ ;סימן הוא שיהא שופך דמים‬compare BerR 63:8. 288 Rashi on Gen. 25:29: ‫ ברציחה‬.‫ ;והוא עיף‬compare already BerR 63:12. 289 Roux / rouge. Le Glossaire de Leipzig. Corpus Glossariorum Biblicorum Hebraico-Gallicorum Medii Aevi. Tomus Secundus, ed. Menahem Banitt, 4 vols. ( Jerusalem: Académie Nationale des Sciences et des Lettres d’Israël, 1995–2005), vol. 1, Nr. 741 reads ‫רוגא‬ roje ‘rouge.’ 290 Compare also Rosin, R. Samuel b. Meir als Schrifterklärer, 73n1 who compares Rashbam’s explanation on Gen. 25:25 and 25:30 with Joseph Qara’s comments on Gen. 25:25 (cf. Berliner, Pletath Sofrim, 15). Qara, too, did not pick up on Rashi’s explanations, but explained the word ‫ אדום‬not as ‘red’, but linked it to ‫‘ אדם‬man’, denoting ‘nubile.’ 291 Lockshin, Rabbi Samuel ben Meir’s Commentary on Genesis, Translation, 134n4 translates ‫ תועים‬with ‘(Christian) pilgrims.’ Among the Northern French exegetes only R. Joseph Bekhor Shor uses ‫( התועים‬determ.) in the sense of ‘Christians;’ see Bekhor Shor on Deut. 6:4–5: ‫ ולכך‬,‫ שלשה חלקים הם והם אחד‬:‫ שאומרים‬,‫ועל אילו התועים‬ 286

‫ הרי תשובתו בצידו‬.‫אמר שלש אזכרות וכללם כאחד‬.

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for it, thereby psychologically profiling the participants in this familydrama (on Gen 37:2–3): . . . he used to pasture the flock with his brothers, the sons of Leah;292 according to the way of the world [i.e., in keeping with common usage] he calls [them)] his brothers and not the sons of the concubines. But he was a boy with the sons of Bilhah etc.,293 his youthful activities and partying were usually with Bilhah’s and Zilpah’s sons. As a result, his brothers, the sons of Leah, began to hate him. With his brothers. He pastured the flocks with his brothers, but during his youthful revelries he withdrew himself from them, staying commonly with the sons of the concubines, like a youth . . . The text goes on to list up a number of factors that caused the brothers to hate him. In addition, Joseph brought bad reports about them to their father. A bad report about his brothers [i.e., the sons of Leah]. Akin to the aggadic midrash,294 my explanation [expounds] that he said to his father: In this [evil way] they scorn the sons of the concubines. I, however, treat them with respect, and I spend time regularly with them. Other pesha¢ exegetes [simply] missed the point.295 Now, Israel loved Joseph etc.296 All this brought forth their hatred.297

292 The following sons of Jacob were born to him by Leah: Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar and Zebulun; the sons that Jacob had with Zilpah were Gad and Asher; with Bilhah Dan and Naphtali; Rachel gave birth to Joseph and Benjamin. 293 Compare the translations in CJB, NJB, and JPS; regardless of the Atna , CJB understands the second half of v. 2a as belonging to v. 2b: “… he used to pasture the flock with his brothers, even though he was still a boy. Once when he was with the sons of Bilhah . . . he brought a bad report about them to their father.” 294 Cf. BerR 84:7. 295 Rashbam might have been referring to Rashi ad loc., who (among other subjects) explains that Leah’s sons ate limbs from living animals, they were suspected of illicit sexual relationships, and they scorned the sons of the concubines. Rosin, Der Pentateuch-Commentar des Samuel ben Meir mentions the commentary of R. Abraham Ibn Ezra (short commentary) ad loc. (‫ כי‬,‫בעבור היותו קטן שמוהו בני השפחות שמש להם‬ ‫ וזאת היא דבתם רעה‬,‫)אם ישרת אחיו בני הגבירה לא היה דבר רע‬, but it is uncertain whether Rashbam in this place took note of Ibn Ezra’s comment: to me, it seems that he was mainly reacting to Rashi. 296 Gen. 37:3.

297 :‫ בני לאה לפי דרך ארץ קורא אחיו ולא בני השפחות‬.‫היה רועה את אחיו בצאן‬ .‫ נערותו ורגילותו ומשתאיו היו עם בני בלהה ובני זלפה‬.'‫והוא נער את בני בלהה וגו‬ ‫ ובשמחת‬,‫ עם אחיו רועה‬.‫ את אחיו‬:‫ומתוך כך התחילו אחיו בני לאה לשנוא אותו‬ ‫ הולך ומונה כל‬. . . ‫נערותו היה נבדל מהם ורגיל עם בני השפחות ולא עמהם כמו נער‬ ‫ את דבתם של אחיו‬,‫ וגם ויבא יוסף ]את[ דבתם רעה‬.‫מיני עניינים שגרמו לשנוא אותו‬ ‫ שאמר לאביו כך מבזים הם בני השפחות אבל אני‬,‫ כמדרש אגדה לפי פרושי‬,‫רעה‬ ‫ כל‬.'‫ וישראל אהב וגו‬:‫ פשטנים אחרים לא עמדו על העיקר‬.‫מכבדם ואני רגיל אצלם‬ ‫זה גרם הקנאה‬.

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Rashbam’s comments draw special attention to the drama of the relationship between Joseph and a subgroup of his brothers, the sons of Leah. To him, the biblical author had systematically arranged the course of events. The brothers’ hatred forms the chief motif in this section that at the same time necessarily leads to Joseph’s sale to the Ishmaelites and his subsequent sojourn in Egypt.298 As a typical feature of his methodological approach, Rashbam focuses on the psychological level, seeking sufficient evidence within the text for the brothers’ hatred. Although the biblical text merely sets up a connection between Jacob’s love for Joseph and his brothers’ hatred (Gen. 37:4),299 by creating a fictional dialogue, Rashbam puts the blame on Joseph’s wiliness, having him squeal on his brothers for too class-conscious behavior. While Rashi illustrated the ‘bad reports’ by means of intertextual and inner-biblical references,300 Rashbam limits the issue to psychological grounds: Joseph sought to endear himself to his father, and therefore, denigrated his brothers. The linguistic phrase Rashbam uses here—. . . ‫—הולך‬signifies the narrative progress. In Rashbam’s commentary on the Megillot, the phrase is 302 304 connected either to √‫ ספר‬pi.,301 √‫סדר‬, √‫ דבר‬pi.,303 or √‫ פרש‬pi. / pu. thereby clearly indicating that Rashbam sought to develop a literarytheoretical terminology.305 The Torah, thus, becomes a kind of prototype for the art of storytelling. 4.4. Adventures and Coincidences in the Story of Joseph An important similarity between Rashbam’s comments on the literary structure of the text and Chrétien’s narrative compositions is the stylistic device of a coincidental and ‘marvelous’ arrangement of events that follow each other by mere chance on the characters’ course to

Cf. Gen. 37:28. A verse that Rashbam does not comment on. 300 Rashi ad loc. refers to Ps. 105:17; Gen. 39:7. 301 Compare Rashbam on Job 36:2; 40:20; Eccles. 10:3; Esther 1:1. 302 Compare Rashbam on Job 41:15. 303 Rashbam on Eccles. 8:16 304 See also Rashbam on Gen. 35:8. 305 Compare also the addition by the copyist in Rashbam’s commentary on Deut. 1:2 (Rosin, Der Pentateuch-Commentar des Samuel ben Meir, 199): ‫ זה‬.‫אחד עשר יום מחורב‬ 298 299

‫אמיתת הדבר שמתחיל לספר כי לא עיכבו בדרך לבד אחד עשר יום מחורב עד קדש‬ ‫ ואחר כך הילך ומספר האיך באו למדבר פארן‬. . . ‫ברנע‬.

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their final destination.306 Repeatedly, Rashbam ‘detects’ this narrative pattern, in particular in the narrative cycles of the Patriarchs. It is noteworthy that Rashbam’s ‘marvels’ or negative coincidences are not simply gezerot ‘divine decrees’ that befall a person on his way. Rather, the coincidences—Rashbam calls it miqreh (sg.)307 (‫—)מקרה‬are related to a biblical character’s perspective and actions. Every single event marks a link in this chain of coincidental occurrences that only later will be added up and bundled together. Despite ‘coincidences,’ the characters proceed within their ‘here and now,’ acting intentionally on their own decisions and mapping their adventures (‘âventiures’ ) by themselves. We find that Rashbam introduces the concept of coincidence in two prominent contexts that mark key events in the story of Joseph’s growth and development into the role of the ‘minister of the 308 king.’ The first time Rashbam insists on the motif of coincidence is around the story of Joseph’s sale (Gen. 37). The crucial issue in this story that has always troubled the exegetes is the role of Joseph’s brothers in this drama, culminating in the question of who sold Joseph and to whom. The narrative sequence in the biblical report seems quite clear: v. 24: the brothers throw Joseph into the cistern [‫ויקחהו וישלכו אתו‬

...‫]הברה‬ v. 25: a caravan of Ishmaelites passes by [‫וישבו לאכל לחם וישאו עיניהם‬ ‫ הולכים להוריד מצרימה‬. . . ‫]ויראו והנה ארחת ישמעאלים באה מגלעד‬ vv. 26–27: Judah suggests to sell Joseph to the Ishmaelites [‫ויאמר יהודה‬ ‫ וישמעו‬. . . ‫ לכו ונמכרנו לישמעאלים‬. . . ‫אל אחיו מה בצע כי נהרג את אחינו‬ ‫]אחיו‬ v. 28: Midianite merchants pass by, lift Joseph out of the pit and sell him to the Ishmaelites who bring him to Egypt [‫ויעברו אנשים מדינים סחרים‬

‫וימשכו ויעלו את יוסף מן הבור וימכרו את יוסף לישמעאלים בעשרים כסף‬ ‫]ויביאו את יוסף מצרימה‬ Based on midrashic traditions, Rashi informs us that Joseph was sold many times. In addition, in a deviation from the syntactic structure 306 See in particular Uta Störmer-Caysa, Grundstrukturen mittelalterlicher Erzählungen: Raum und Zeit im höfischen Roman ( Berlin: de Gruyter, 2007), 148–196. 307 At Gen. 37:28, Mikra’ot Gedolot ‘Haketer’ (electronic version) reads in accordance ֶ ; cf. Rosin, Der Pentateuch-Commentar des Samuel ben Meir, 53n1 with the manuscript ‫מקרא‬ ( Rosin, ibid., and Lockshin, Perush ha-Tora, vol. 1, 113 emend to ‫)מקרה‬. 308 See Rashbam’s explanation of the phrase ‫ אברך‬in Gen. 41:43: ‫ הוא אב‬.‫אברך‬

‫ שר לצורך המלך‬.‫ אב‬. . . ‫ כי פרעה לשון מלך‬. . . ‫למלך‬.

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of v. 28, Rashi associates the verbs ‫וימשכו‬, ‫ויעלו‬, and ‫ וימכרו‬with the brothers, not with the implicit subject of the sentence, the Midianites:309 The sons of Jacob lifted him out of the cistern and sold him to the Ishmaelites, who sold him to Egypt. Similarly, R. Joseph Bekhor Shor insists on the identity of the Ishmaelites with the Midianites and, thus, reaches the conclusion that Joseph’s brothers sold him: ‫ כי‬,‫והאמת‬  . . . ‫‘ אחיו מכרוהו‬And the truth is that his brothers sold him.’ Rashbam (on Gen. 37:28) maintains that Joseph was sold by the Midianites, simply because the brothers were sitting at their meal at some distance from the cistern. While they were still arguing about selling Joseph to the Ishmaelites (who had not yet reached the group), the Midianites passed by, saw him, and pulled him out of the cistern, and sold him to the Ishmaelites. According to Rashbam, the brothers had no knowledge of this deal. With regard to Joseph’s later confession in Gen. 45:4 (I am Joseph, your brother, whom you sold into Egypt) he states that this phrase means that their actions had led indirectly to his being sold to Egypt.310 Rashbam could have closed with these remarks. However, he offers a second argument that he introduces as the ‫עומק דרך פשוטו של מקרא‬ ‘the profound way [to explain the verse] according to the pesha¢:’ To me, the following represents the ‘profound way [to explain the verse] according to the pesha¢.’ For [the phrase] ‘Midianites passed by’ [v.28] implies that the [events] happened by mere coincidence. And they [the Midianites] sold him to the Ishmaelites. And even if you argued that [the phrase] ‘they sold Joseph to the Ishmaelites’ [v.28] means that his brothers sold him, we still would have to say that they [the brothers] commanded the Midianite merchants to pull him out of the pit, and only then sold him to the Ishmaelites.311

See Rashi on Gen. 37:28: ‫ והודיעך‬,‫ זו היא שיירא אחרת‬.‫ויעברו אנשים מדינים‬ ‫ בני יעקב את יוסף מן הבור וימכרוהו לישמעא־‬.‫ וימשכו‬.‫הכתוב שנמכר פעמים הרבה‬ ‫ והמדינים מכרו אותו למצרים‬,‫ והישמעאלים למדינים‬,‫לים‬. 310 Rashbam on Gen. 37:28 (first part): ‫ בתוך שהיו יושבים‬.‫ויעברו אנשים מדיינים‬ ‫לאכול לחם ורחוקים היו קצת מן הבור לבלתי אכול על הדם וממתינים היו לישמעאלים‬ ‫ וקודם שבאו הישמעאלים עברו אנשים מדיינים אחרים דרך שם וראוהו בבור‬,‫שראו‬ ‫ ואעפ"י אשר‬,‫ ויש לומר שהאחים לא ידעו‬,‫ומשכוהו ומכרוהו המדיינים לישמעאלים‬ ‫ י"ל שהגרמת מעשיהם סייעה במכירתו‬,‫כתב אשר מכרתם אותי מצרימה‬. 311 Rashbam on Gen. 37:28 (second part): ‫ זה נראה לי לפי עומק דרך פשוטו של‬. . . ‫ ואף‬.‫ כי ויעברו אנשים מדיינים משמע על ידי מקרה והם מכרוהו לישמעאלים‬.‫מקרא‬ ‫ אף כן צריך לומר‬,‫אם באתה לומר וימכרו ]את[ יוסף לישמעאלים כי אחיו מכרוהו‬ ‫שהם ציוו למדייני' סוחרים למושכו מן הבור ואחר כן מכרוהו לישמעאלים‬. 309

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Whatever R. Joseph Bekhor Shor might have read from Rashbam’s comments, to him, they are a ‘taradiddle,’ a lie (‫)בדאות‬.312 We might even translate the Hebrew term Bekhor Shor uses in this place— ‫—בדאות‬as meaning ‘invention / fiction’ rather than a lie. In any case, Bekhor Shor has a subtle grasp of what happened to the narrative under Rashbam’s hands. First, Rashbam probably wanted to exculpate the brothers from the reproach of having sold their brother to an Egyptian. However, more important is his use of the word ‫מקרה‬, since it points to the ‘coincidence’ as the decisive motive force for the chain of events. Before characterizing this narrative pattern, let us examine the second biblical reference, where Rashbam maintains that the events happened to the main character by mere chance. In this case, he uses √‫ ארע‬pi. ‘to happen / to come about’. Like Joseph’s sale to an Egyptian, the story of Joseph and Potiphar’s wife marks a turning point in the course of events. Without the suspicion of disloyalty, Joseph would not have been sent to jail. Without the imprisonment, he would not have come to interpret the dreams of the other two prisoners, and, as a corollary, would not have ended up in Pharaoh’s court. The Bible tells us (Gen. 39:10) that Potiphar’s wife kept talking to Joseph, day after day [trying to seduce him]. Nevertheless, he didn’t listen to her; he refused to sleep with her or even be with her. Rashbam explains at Gen. 39:10: . . . or even be with her. He was careful not even to be alone with her, until it so happened that he remained perforce alone to attend to the affairs of the household as was his wont. On this very day, it happened that no one else remained in the house. An aggadic midrash says they had gone to see the Nile, Egypt’s river, which had overflowed its banks.313

Rashbam’s comment emphasizes that the initial starting point—‘Joseph being home alone’—was not simply against his will, but happened by mere chance (√‫ ארע‬pi. being highlighted by means of repetition!), since the rest of the household went to see the overflowing river.

312 See Bekhor Shor on Gen. 37:28; see also Bekhor Shor on Gen. 25:33–34; 42:14–17. 313 (Cf. BerR 87:7) ‫ נזהר היה אפי' להתייחד עמה עד שארע מעשה‬.‫להיות עמה‬

‫שנשאר יחידי בעל כרחו לעשות מלאכת צורכי הבית כדרכו ואירע באותו יום שלא‬ ‫ שהלכו לראות נילוס נהר מצרים שעלה על כל גדו־‬,‫ ומדרש אגדה‬.‫נותר איש בבית‬ ‫תיו‬.

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4.5. Tracing ‘Âventiures’ in Rashbam’s Commentary Although Rashbam does not use the Old-French term âventiure in our ֶ and the use examples, his understanding of the idiom ‫ מקרה‬/ ‫מקרא‬ of √‫ ארע‬pi. come very close to the later sense of âventiure in Chrétien’s writings. The âventiure is the initial anthropological condition for any action that a human being undertakes.314 In the (later) courtly literature, the âventiure as coincidence is anchored in every human being’s existence. From the perspective of the hero, the events that occur to him are coincidental: exterior signs, actions or fights to be fought, or other persons that appear within the course of events. Whether by dispatched villains, released young maidens, or expiated iniquities, the âventiure restores the (social or any other) order.315 In the Arthurian romances, the term âventiure316 denotes the tests of courage and the adventures the hero is obliged to endure. To Chrétien, the âventiure does not represent a mere arbitrary fate or destiny befalling the hero, but rather a coincidence arranged by a marvelous and fabulous predestination, and at the same time an adventure that the hero must experience on his own account.317 The Arthurian romances relate the concept of âventiure exclusively to knights. Chrétien lays out the story in such a way that the âventiure reveals the best knight, the best hero. The knightly heroes always act expeditiously and correctly. Although from the knight’s point of view the action has an unpredictable ending, the âventiure as such is not coincidental. It is part of a broader and more comprehensive concept of contingentia futura and providentia not being known and revealed to human beings:318

314 See in particular Walter Haug, “Eros und Fortuna: Der höfische Roman als Spiel von Liebe und Zufall,” in Fortuna, ed. Walter Haug and Burghart Wachinger (Tübingen: Niemeyer, 1995), 52–75, 54–55. 315 See Störmer-Caysa, Grundstrukturen mittelalterlicher Erzählungen, esp. 164–167. 316 Middle High German âventiure (Old French aventure; avanture; lat. Adventura; in its basic meaning ‘fate / destiny / providence’ ). 317 Compare also Franz Lebsanft, “Die Bedeutung von altfranzösisch aventure. Ein Beitrag zu Theorie und Methodologie der mediävistischen Wort- und Begriffsgeschichte,” in Im Wortfeld des Texte: Worthistorische Beiträge zu den Bezeichnungen von Wort und Schrift im Mittelalter, ed. Gerd Dicke; Manfred Eickelmann, and Burkhard Hasebrink, Trends in Medieval Philology, vol. 10 (Berlin et al.: de Gruyter, 2006), 311–337, esp. 324–330. 318 See Störmer-Caysa, Grundstrukturen mittelalterlicher Erzählungen, 157–162; see also Hans-Hugo Steinhoff, Die Darstellung gleichzeitiger Geschehnisse im mittelhochdeutschen Epos:

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Only if the figures that unexpectedly meet each other are introduced beforehand in their own actions and at places separate from each other, can the arrangement of the accidental meeting succeed. Both or all matching figures have their own history before their meeting: Therefore, a coincidence plot always and necessarily is based on the literary means that literarily represent simultaneousness.319

Akin to Chrétien’s concept of âventiure, the sale of Joseph as well as his imprisonment mark turning points in his life whose outcomes are unpredictable while at the same time demanding good results. Every single event occured to Joseph coincidentally, although—compare in particular the literary relationship between Gen. 37:11 and 45:27320— the divine ‘puppeteer’ had already prepared the entire scene. Rashbam had not yet fully developed a coherent concept of a deeper meaning of ‫ מקרה‬as âventiure, but his emphasis on the coincidence of events within these literary contexts points remarkably in this direction. It is noteworthy that the Leipzig Glossary from the thirteenth century brings up the term âventiure (e.g., ‫ אן אוונטורא‬or ‫)ליש אוונטוריש‬ as translation for either ‫פתע‬, ‫קורות‬, ‫מקרה‬, ‫קרי‬, and ‫‘ הוה‬aventure, événement, hazard, chance, destin, malheur, or accident.’321 In most cases, the Glossaire introduces the term in the sense of a sudden incident without any further suggestion of what effect this incident might cause. The Glossaire would, for instance, explain its glossing with ‫מקרה של פתאום‬ or ‫כמו מקרה הוא‬. A look at Rashbam’s Ecclesiastes commentary, however, reveals a quite similar use of ‫ מקרה‬that shows that Rashbam (Ps.-Rashbam?), too, uses the Hebrew idiom ‫ מקרה‬exclusively in the sense of ‘fate.’322 Just like the Glossaire, the Ecclesiastes commentary has no inkling of Chrétien’s later use of âventiure. To sum up, Rashbam’s emphasis on the protagonists’ perspective, and his attempt to harmonize the notion of divine providence with the idea that a narrative’s main character stays within his own scope

Studien zur Entfaltung der poetischen Technik vom Rolandslied bis zum ‘Willehalm’ (Munich: Eidos, 1964), esp. 7–18. 319 Störmer-Caysa, Grundstrukturen mittelalterlicher Erzählungen, 184 [translated from the German; H.L.]. 320 See Rashbam’s comments on the latter verse that describe Gen. 37:11 correctly as a literary anticipation: Jacob had kept in mind that Joseph would eventually become a ruler. 321 Compare Menahem Banitt, Le Glossaire de Leipzig. vol. IV, Introduction, Corpus glossariorum biblicorum Hebraico-Gallicorum medii aevi, no. 2 ( Jerusalem: Acad. National des Sciences et des Lettres d’ Israel, 2005), 275. 322 See Rashbam on Eccles. 3:19; 9:2–3.

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of action, brings him very close to the later concept of âventiure as it is fully developed in the Arthurian romances. We may cautiously state that our results demonstrate that Rashbam’s understanding of ‫מקרה‬ as revealed in his commentary on the Torah may be a ‘missing link’ between a concept of mere coincidental and unexpected ‘fateful’ events on the one hand and the later concept of âventiure on the other. 5. Exegetical Psychology and the Inner Life of Its Protagonist: Jacob’s Escape We have already demonstrated that one of the most extraordinary features of Rashbam’s commentary on the Torah is the way he develops the personalities of the biblical characters and sometimes even imagines them in a haunted mental state. Rashbam turns out to be a word-painter of vivid scenes and a ‘re-narrator’ of the biblical estoire. In this chapter, we will see that he repeatedly slips into the role of the narrator, portraying the biblical characters’ inner life and their personal struggles to his audience. A wonderful example is the story of Jacob’s wrestling at Peniel (Gen. 32:22–33), which is embedded in the larger context of the meeting between Jacob and his brother Esau. Let us first turn to the story itself: By teaching Jacob to encounter his brother in a suitable and right manner, God leads him to an unharmed and peaceful homecoming that he had already longed for from the very beginning of his escape from home.323

Axel Graupner’s theological interpretation reads the narratives of the Jacob-Esau-cycle—starting with Esau’s selling of his birthright, followed by Jacob’s escape to Haran, his return, and as its climax the meeting of Jacob and Esau—as a prime example of how God directs the paths of the Patriarchs, leading their descendants on the path to the birth of the people of Israel. Likewise, Biblical critics interpret the short scene of Jacob’s wrestling with the angel exclusively from a theological point of view. Although always part of the literary-historical

Axel Graupner, Der Elohist: Gegenwart und Wirksamkeit des transzendenten Gottes in der Geschichte, Wissenschaftliche Monographien zum Alten und Neuen Testament, vol. 97 ( Neukirchen-Vluyn: Neukirchener Verlag, 2002), 276 (translated from the German; H.L.). 323

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exegetical tradition, theological research even today seeks to reveal the deeper theological meaning of the Jacob-Esau-cycle. The history of Jewish exegesis shows a corresponding approach. In particular, the story of Jacob and Esau / Edom was read against the background of the Jewish-Christian debate over the Hebrew Bible. From rabbinic times onwards, and especially during the ‘Dark Ages’ of the crusades the conflict between the brothers and their competition with each other became a paradigm for the conflict between Judaism and Christianity, between Israel and the Church. The claim for Israel’s (theological ) heritage asserted by both parties led to oversimplifications and tendentious distortions in the midrash as well in later exegetical literature like the commentaries of Rashi and his successors. Rashbam’s commentary represents a significant exception to this general trend in Jewish exegesis in all respects. His exegetical renarration of the story does not only show how he tries to free himself from the claims of the ongoing theological discourse, but pursues consistently the literary structure of the story, its stylistic devices, and rhetoric. In the present example, one can see that Rashbam portrays the story’s main hero in such a way that the story takes on a completely new form (Gen. 32:21–33). (Gen. 32:21) For he reasoned “I shall propitiate him . . .” This is what Jacob thought to himself, and it is not part of the words of [his] messengers. He himself is right behind us. Jacob planned to flee in a different direction that night, [and he would have succeeded in escaping from him] if the angel had not delayed him. Accordingly, Jacob was trying to mislead Esau so that they would not meet up.324 (23) That night he arose, intending to flee in another direction. For that reason he crossed the stream at night325 . . . the ford of the Jabbok, i.e., the fords of the water in order to flee. (25) Jacob was left alone. In other words, he got his entire household326 across and there was no one else who had to cross over except him. He wanted to cross over after them,327 since he intended to flee in another direction so as not

324 In other words, Jacob wanted Esau to assume that Jacob was on his way right behind the groups carrying presents. 325 There follow biblical references to David (cf. Ps. 3:1; 2 Sam. 17:21–24). 326 Cf. Gen. 32:23: . . . his two wives, his two maidservants, and his eleven children. 327 Jacob is still on the other side of the river, whereas his family is already beyond. Based on the aggadic traditions (cf. BerR 77:2; bHul 91a) Rashi puts forward the argument that after having brought his family across the river, Jacob went back to take ‘small jars’ that he had forgotten (‫)שכח פכים קטנים וחזר עליהם‬. Likewise Ibn Ezra

156

chapter four to meet up with Esau. But an angel328 wrestled with him, so as to not allow him to flee in order that he might see the fulfillment of God’s promise that Esau would not harm him. (26) When he saw that he could not prevail, i.e., the angel saw, and that [ Jacob] was trying to cross and flee against the angel’s will, he wrenched [ Jacob’s hip]. It became dislocated from the hip (27) . . . For Dawn is breaking. Since it is now daylight, you [ Jacob!] must proceed on your way. Unless you bless me [meaning] that you send me away in peace, and I shall not be harmed because of my wrestling with you. And now that dawn was breaking329 Jacob understood that [the man] was an angel. (29) . . . But the reason that Jacob was punished and lamed was because the Holy One, Blessed be He, promised him,330 but he still [repeatedly] attempted to flee. Similarly we find that anyone who attempts a journey or refuses a journey against God’s will, is punished. In the [story of the call of ] Moses it is written [first]: “Send someone else, whomever you want! ” (Exod. 4:13), [and then the text goes on]: And YHWH’s anger blazed up against Moses. [ This is according to] the pesha¢. Albeit, the sages said: Whenever [the text mentions God’s] wrath, there is a perceivable effect;331 but here [ Moses refusal] what is the effect? [God said]: “Is there not Aaron, your brother, the Levite? ” ( Exod. 4:14). [ What God meant to say was]: Aaron had been destined to be a Levite and you [had been destined] to be a priest—now he will be a priest, and you a Levite. However, according to the pesha¢ [there is a more explicit perceivable effect]: Since Moses was reluctant to go, YHWH met him and sought to kill him.332 Likewise, in [the case of ] Jonah, who was swallowed up into the belly of the fish [as a result of his refusal to go].333 Similarly, in [the case of ] Balaam, God’s anger blazed up, because he was going (Num. 22:22), and [as a result] he became lame, as it is written: And [the ass] squeezed Balaam’s foot . . . (Num. 22:25) and he went off lame [‫( ]שפי‬Num. 23:3) [which means] ‘lame,’334 [as in] ‘And his bones were dislocated’ ( Job 33:21). (32) . . . He was limping on his hip. Now that the sun had risen, [every] one could see that he was limping on his hip. And it is like [the verse]: When morning came, behold, it was Leah! (Gen. 29:25), for until then it was not known that [the woman in question] was Leah.335 (33) That is why [the

has Jacob go back and investigate whether there is anything left (‫ושב באחרונה לבקש‬

‫)אם נשאר כלום‬. 328 MT: ‫ויאבק איש עמו‬.

Jacob had no time to escape. Gen. 28:13–15; see also Gen. 28:20–21; 32:10–13. 331 Cf. bZev 102a. 332 Exod. 4:24. 333 Cf. Jon. 2:1. 334 Rashi on Num. 23:3 explains the idiom ‫ שפי‬according to the Targum, in the sense of ease and quietness (‫ שאין עמו אלא שתיקה‬,‫ לשון שופי ושקט‬,‫;)כתרגומו יחידי‬ likewise, Ibn Ezra refers to Job 33:21. 335 See also Rashbam on Gen. 25:24. 329 330

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children of Israel] do not eat . . . . In commemoration of Jacob’s valor and the miracle that God performed for him, namely, that he did not die.336

This passage is novelistic in every respect. The biblical quotations and Rashbam’s interpretive remarks form an innovative narrative with seamless transitions. Rashbam’s starting point is Jacob’s fear of Esau, a motif already mentioned in Gen. 32:8 ( Jacob was greatly afraid and distressed ),337 now given a prominent role in Rashbam’s reading of the story. Moreover, Rashbam introduces Jacob’s fear and his desire to flee as the leitmotif in the story already in his comments on Gen. 31:19, in which Rachel stole her father’s idols (terafim),338 to bring out her theft as a literary anticipation of subsequent events. The idea that Jacob wished to escape and the description of his preparations for flight are unique motifs that are not found in any other medieval commentary, or in earlier rabbinic literature. The reason that no other commentator had ever focused on that topic is probably that at first sight it does not seem to jibe with the successful reconciliation between Jacob and Esau as depicted in the biblical text. The fact that Rashbam repeats

336

‫ כן חשב יעקב בלבו ואין זה מדברי השלו־‬.‫ כא( כי אמר אכפרה פניו‬,‫)ברא' לב‬ ‫ לפי שרצה יעקב לברוח בלילה דרך אחרת אם לא מפני‬.‫ וגם הנה הוא אחרינו‬.‫חים‬ .‫ )כג( ויקם בלילה ההוא‬.‫ לכך היה מתכוין להטעותו לעשו שלא יפגשהו‬,‫שעכבו המלאך‬ ‫ כדי‬,‫ מעברות המים‬.‫ מעבר יבק‬. . . ‫נתכוין לברוח דרך אחרת ולפיכך עבר הנחל בלילה‬ ‫ שלא היה עוד לעבור אלא‬,‫ כלומר שהעביר כל אשר לו‬,‫ )כה( ויותר יעקב לבדו‬.‫לברוח‬ ‫ ויאבק‬.‫ כי לברוח דרך אחרת שלא יפגשנו עשו נתכוון‬,‫ ורצה לעבור אחריהם‬,‫הוא לבדו‬ ‫ )כו( כי‬.‫מלאך עמו שלא יוכל לברוח ויראה קיום ]הבטחתו[ של הק' שלא יזיקהו עשו‬ (‫ )כז‬. . . ‫ נבדלה מן הירך‬.‫ ותקע‬.‫ ורצה לעבור ולברוח בעל כרחו‬.‫ המלאך‬,‫לא יכול לו‬ ‫ שתשלחני‬,‫ כי אם ברכתני‬.‫ וכיון שהאיר היום מעתה יש לילך לדרכיך‬,‫כי עלה השחר‬ ‫ אז ידע‬.‫ כי עתה עלה השחר‬,‫ שלא אהיה נזוק במה שנתאבקתי עמך‬,‫מאתך בשלום‬ ‫ ומה שלקה יעקב ונצלע לפי שהקב"ה הבטיחו והוא היה‬. . . (‫ )כט‬.‫יעקב שהוא מלאך‬ .‫ שנענשו‬,‫ וכן מצינו בכל ההולכים בדרך שלא ברצון הק' או ממאנים ללכת‬.‫בורח‬ ‫ ולפי הפשט אעפ"י שאמרו חכמים‬.‫ ויחר אף ה' במשה‬,‫במשה כת' שלח נא ביד תשלח‬ ‫בכל מקום חרון אף עושה רושם וכאן מה רושם יש? הלא אהרן אחיך הלוי עתיד היה‬ ‫ אך לפי הפשט לפי שהיה מתעצל‬,‫להיות לוי ואתה כהן ועכשיו הוא יהיה כהן ואתה לוי‬ .‫ וכן ביונה שנבלע במעי הדגה‬.‫ללכת כת' ויהי בדרך במלון ויפגשהו ]ה'[ ויבקש המיתו‬ ,‫ כדכת' ותלחץ ]את[ רגל בלעם‬,‫וכן בבלעם ויחר אף אלהים כי הולך הוא ונעשה חיגר‬ ‫ עתה כשהיה השמש‬.‫ )לב( והוא צולע על יריכו‬.‫ חיגר כמו ושופו עצמותיו‬,‫וילך שפי‬ ‫ כי עד עכשו לא נודע‬,‫ כמו ויהי בבקר והנה היא לאה‬.‫]זורח[ ראוהו צולע על יריכו‬ ‫ לזכרון גבורתו של יעקב ונס שעשה לו הק' שלא‬.‫ )לג( על כן לא יאכלו‬.‫שהיא לאה‬ ‫מת‬. 337 . . . ‫ויירא יעקב מאד‬. 338 Rashbam on Gen. 31:19: ‫ שלא יגידו ויודיעו ללבן כי‬.‫ותגנוב רחל את התרפים‬ ‫ רוצה יעקב לברוח‬. . . ‘Rachel stole the terafim, so that they would not tell Laban and let

him know that Jacob wanted to flee . . .’ What is interesting is that Rashbam doesn’t question their effectiveness. Here, again, we can see that Rashbam does not worry about any theological ramifications, but sticks firmly to the story line of the biblical text.

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the motif of Jacob’s distress eight times throughout this paragraph,339 shows its importance for him. First, Jacob does not await confidently the meeting with Esau. Instead, Rashbam has him pondering how to escape. Second, the servants’ message for Esau (Behold, your servant Jacob is right behind us; Gen. 32:20) turns out to be a selective deception. Rashbam, thereby, even emphasizes Jacob’s ambiguous character—his sneakiness and cowardice—in accordance with the biblical portrayal. It would be impossible to imagine Rashi giving such an explanation. However, the attempt to escape is foiled. According to Rashbam’s telling of the narrative, escape is not a possible solution for Jacob. Rashbam offers two reasons for this: First, Esau approaches him in a friendly manner and should, therefore, be given the opportunity to prove his lack of hostility. For this reason Rashbam rejects the rabbinic reading, which was accepted by Rashi as well, that the ‘man’ (‫)איש‬ that wrestles with Jacob is one of the princes of Esau.340 Second, Jacob must make his way back to Canaan. Rashbam takes seriously God’s promise to Jacob that he would protect him, and bring him back to his land, and relates it to this crucial meeting, Jacob’s first reunion with his brother Esau after their unfortunate encounter over the paternal blessing. Brilliantly, Rashbam does not only feature Jacob’s deceit as the principal factor driving the story-line; psychologically, he takes his act of deceit to be the decisive turning point in Jacob’s life. The psychological sensitivity Rashbam shows in this passage is quite fascinating: Jacob’s fear of Esau is the main reason for his attempt to flee. However, Rashbam’s commentary does not refer to this emotional state of mind explicitly,341 but rather indirectly through the motif of Jacob’s attempt to flee, i.e., the depiction of his preparations for escape and the events occurring to him. This literary technique that Rashbam sets up here, in which a character’s activities are indicators of his internal state of mind,342 comes quite close to literary features in the romances of Chrétien de Troyes who often makes use of this specific literary practice. According to Barbara Nelson Sargent, one See Rashbam on Gen. 32:21.23 (3 times); 32:25 (2 times); 32:26.29. Rashi on Gen. 32:25 (cf. BerR 77,3): ‫ופירשו רבותינו שהוא שרו של עשו‬. 341 Compare the glossae in MS Vienna Cod. hebr. 220; see above Chapter Two, 3. 342 See also his comments on Gen. 37:22, where he interprets the particle ‫ למען‬as indicating Reuben’s calling “Throw him [ Joseph] into this cistern here in the wilderness …” a sign of his good intentions to save Joseph: ‫ הפסוק מעיד על ראובן כי‬.‫למען הציל‬ ‫ ;להצילו נתכוון כמו שמוכיח סופו‬compare Rashi ad loc. who summons up the Holy Spirit to testify for Reuben that he wanted to save his brother. 339 340

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of the main literary characteristics in Chrétien’s romances is the tracing of the “the homo interior from the homo exterior.”343 Chrétien sometimes conveys a character’s (A) inner thoughts, fears, or desire by introducing a second persona (B) and describing its immediate reaction. Moreover, he can put speeches or monologues into a second character’s (B’s) mouth matching the emotional state of character A.344 Chrétien might even introduce an irrelevant person into the story (a young girl; a maidservant etc.) that serves only as a personification or even projection of the main character’s inner thoughts.345 Describing a character’s inner life, is an innovation that was not known in French literature until the mid-twelfth century: “That the interior life of characters should be the subject of narrative does not go without question. In the major narrative genre of medieval French literature, the chanson de geste, characters are typically seen acting according to decisions they have made, but the narrators seldom tell us, how they have come to be made.”346

It seems rather astonishing that a Jewish Bible commentator’s remarks would show traces of literary techniques used by a non-Jewish French poet. Yet, it seems obvious that Rashbam is eager to integrate the motif of Jacob’s fear into his own narrative. Why is it that Rashbam insists pertinaciously on Jacob’s attempt to flee? Besides saying that he was afraid (Gen. 32:8.12), the biblical account does not give further details about Jacob’s inner fights and struggles prior to the meeting with Esau, and provides a different ending: Jacob meets his brother. Rashbam—as a commentator on a canonized text—cannot simply ‘invent’ a character, or change the plot. What he can do is, to renarrate the story in such a way that its main character gains (more) freedom of action. Rashbam, thereby, lets Jacob take an active role in the drama at hand and builds in a new twist to the plot.

343 Barbara Nelson Sargent, “Old and New in the Character-Drawing of Chrétien de Troyes,” in Innovation in Medieval Literature: Essays to the Memory of Alan Markman, ed. Douglas Radcliffe-Umstead (Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh, 1971), 35–48, 38. Sargent (ibid., 36) emphasizes that “Chrétien is often praised for his interest in the human psyche and his attention to states of mind and of feeling in his characters.” 344 See Sargent, “Old and New,” 40–44. 345 Sargent, ibid., 43–44 interprets the young maiden (dameisele) Lunete as a projection of Yvain’s sense of guilt vis-à-vis his lady (dame) Laudine. Similarly, Brody, “Reflections of Yvain’s inner life,” 280 regards Lunete as “materialization of his insight.” 346 Duggan, The Romances of Chrétien de Troyes, 3.

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We find the aforementioned interpretive configuration vis-à-vis the narrative construal of the oracles and events frequently in Rashbam’s Torah-Commentary, in particular in the Jacob-Esau-cycle. As a commentator—not as writer or author—Rashbam does not have much leeway, since the outcome of the events described in the Bible is fixed, the biblical narrative already completed. Nevertheless, in Rashbam’s interpretation, the biblical figures (re-)gain their situational autonomy, reaching their target ostensibly coincidentally.347 In order to make it possible for Jacob to make decisions on his own, thereby preventing him from ‘dancing’ through the biblical story like a marionette, Rashbam not only re-writes, but also transforms the biblical narrative. According to Rashbam, Jacob is already on his way to escape (And he rose up that night . . .). Viewed from the perspective of Jacob it is by mere chance, by a couple of unexpected and unforeseen coincidences, that this meeting with Esau finally takes place. First, the ‘man’ ( Jacob is not yet aware of his angelic identity!) wrestling with him prevents his flight. Second, the fight continues until the night is over, and he can no longer run away. Rashbam puts these words into the angel’s mouth: And since it is now daylight, you must proceed on your way.348 It is not the angel who has to proceed on his way ( . . . ‫ ;שלחני כי‬compare Rashi ad loc.!!); rather it is Jacob who has to fulfill the mission assigned to him (‫ יש לילך לדרכיך‬. . .), i.e., the meeting with his brother. This narrative twist marks the exegetical innovation in Rashbam’s interpretation that he sometimes himself marks as such (˜iddush).349 The literary characters meet their fate while at the same time they take responsibility for their actions within the narrative. Rashbam’s narrative approach is remarkable, since he grants his literary characters as much freedom of action as possible. Jacob’s escape had been foiled by mere chance, but he is trying to make the most of the current situation by begging to be saved from physical harm. Jacob’s appeal implies a ‘psychological turn’ that allows him to accept his mission and destiny. Jacob continues on his way limping on his hip. To Rashbam, the limping (as a punishment!) symbolizes Jacob’s attempt to escape his destiny. Likewise, it denotes a development in Jacob’s personality See above Rashbam’s interpretation of Esau’s selling of his birthright Chapter Four, 4.2. 348 Rashbam on Gen. 32:27. 349 See his comments on Gen. 25:24. 347

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(se-ipsum), which has now become publicly known: “Now that the sun had risen, [every]one could see that he was limping on his hip.”350 The limping proves that Jacob contended successfully against God, and is worthy to bear this new title ‘Israel.’ The intuition that stands behind this narrative turn matches a related topic to be found over and over again in Chrétien’s romances: What use is there for the ‘hero’ to perform heroic deeds, if no-one even notices?351 Even more than Jacob’s new name that Rashbam is only grammatically interested in,352 the limping is clear evidence of Jacob’s heroism (gevurah)353 and, thus, his personal development from the ‘coward and sneaky little brother’ to a mature man. It is certainly not coincidental that Chrétien’s Lancelot not only gets a new name (after having been introduced as chevalier de la charette), but is also limping. The proof of his successful âventiure is his bodily disability and his new name. Likewise, Yvain’s personal development is bound to his new title ‘Knight of the Lion’ (Le Chevalier au lion).354 The angel develops into Jacob’s alter ego forcing him to face and overcome his ‘demons,’ i.e., his inner conflicts, and to cope with his destiny. He is the prototype of a man who has turned into ‘a scarred hero.’ 6. Rapprochments Littéraires: The Biblical ‘Âventiure’ and Pesha Exegesis as ‘mout bele conjointure’? By means of the exposure of the literary design Rashbam transforms the discrete and sometimes even unrelated ‘scenes’ of the biblical story (as in Gen. 32: the selection of the flocks; the crossing over of the river of his household; his getting up in the night) into a coherent and

Cf. Rashbam Gen. 32:32. For example, Yvain had left for the âventiure at the spring without any entourage. When he got back to the Arthurian court, Sir Kay admonished him for having taken to his heels (ll. 2175–2206). Therefore, in order to prove his knightly strength and courage, he enters into the combat anew, this time as Laudine’s husband and the knight of the spring. Finally, he revealed his name and his identity, putting Sir Kay to shame (ll. 2218–2328; in Staines, trans., Chrétien de Troyes, 283–285). 352 Rashbam simply explains the root √‫שׂרה‬. 353 Rashbam on Gen. 32:33; cf. Rashbam on Gen. 29:10. 354 See esp. Sargent, “Old and New,” 44. The question of the extent to which Chrétien relied on biblical motifs and narrative structures from within the Bible, is beyond the scope of this study. However, this example shows above all that the literary relationship between the developing vernacular literature in Northern France and pesha¢ exegesis requires further study. 350 351

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well-arranged literary composition. His comments are about not only the exegesis of the text, but also its ‘literary rehabilitation.’ Rashbam is mostly interested in the literary structure and aesthetics of the text. The distinct episodes of the biblical story (‘estoire’ ) develop into a biblical tale, a narrative of the ‘matière des Hebreux.’ The literary structure that Rashbam elicits from the biblical narrative has much in common with the so-called ‘twofold path’ or ‘double course’ (‘Doppelweg / Doppelschleife’), one of the main literary features of Chrétien’s (later!) Arthurian romances, e.g., Érec et Énide (c. 1170), Cligés (c. 1176), Lancelot and Yvain (c. 1177–81), and to a certain extent already in the chansons de geste. In Chrétien’s romances the hero gains social stature at the court of king Arthur by a so-called âventiure. Through his own fault, though, he gets into conflict with his comrades and loses the favor of his lady; but he can rehabilitate himself in a second course by renewed knightly deeds and a learning process, thereby regaining his reputation and the affection of the lady. Similar to Rashbam’s endeavour to depict the biblical protagonists as autonomous individuals, Chrétien’s storytelling, too, intends to portray his characters as making decisions about choices they face. He depicts them not merely on the basis of external manifestations . . . but as creatures who think and who have an interior life.”355

We have already noted that in Chrétien’s romances the âventiure represents a coincidence arranged by a marvelous predestination, but at the same time an adventure that the hero strives for on his own account. These adventures may include a joust against another knight as well as struggles and fights against sorcerers and mythical creatures.356 To achieve his narrative goal, Chrétien developed the literary technique of the ‘twofold path’ or ‘double course’ (‘Doppelweg / Doppelschleife’ ) in which the discrete episodes of the âventiures taken typically from the matière de Bretagne, are composed with particular sequences and motifconjunctions.357 Chrétien called this compositional aim and technique ‘conjointure’, a term that is laid out in detail in his famous Prologue to Érec et Énide as follows: 355 356

1289.

Duggan, The Romances of Chrétien de Troyes, 133. Compare I. Kasten, “Aventure (âventiure),” in Lexikon des Mittelalters, vol. 1, col.

357 Compare also Lebsanft, “Die Bedeutung von altfranzösisch âventiure,” esp. 330– 332. Lebsanft refers not only to Chrétien of Troyes, but also to Marie de France, the âventiure forming the stuff of which the Lais are composed.

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That is why Christian of Troyes maintains it is right that all always aspire and endeavor to speak eloquently and to teach well. And he elicits a most pleasant pattern [conjointure] from a tale of adventure [âventiure], in order to demonstrate and to prove that the man does not act wisely who fails to make full use of his knowledge so long as God grants him grace to do so.358

To Chrétien, it is not just about ‘telling’ a story somehow, but about composing a carefully constructed literary work. In this prologue, he draws the significant distinction between the conte and his own art, the word conte usually denoting a simple tale or story, typically based on the tales of the matière de Bretagne.359 The ‘bele conjointure’ as Chrétien understands it, does not merely ‘tell’ the âventiures of the protagonists, but presents these âventiures in a well-shaped literary form.360 In his Didascalicon, Hugh of St. Victor (d. 1141) wrote on (Pagan) poetry: All the songs of the poets are such as tragedies, comedies, satires, heroic as well as lyrical poems, and iambics and certain didascalic poems, likewise fables and histories and even the writings of those authors that we are used to calling philosophers who are accustomed to extend even a short argument in long circumlocutions, and to obscure an easy meaning with confused words or even to make one picture bring together diverse things at once as if they were many colors and forms.361 358 ‘. . . Por ce dit Crestiens de Troies / Que reisons est que totes voies / Doit chascuns panser et atandre / A bien dire et a bien aprandre / Et tret d’un conte d’avanture / Une mout bele conjointure / Par qu’an puet prover et savoir / Que cil ne fet mie savoir / Qui sa sciance n’abandone / Tant con Deus la grasce l’an done (9–18);’ (Prologue to Érec et Énide, l. 9–18; translation taken from Staines, Chrétien de Troyes, 1). 359 Compare also Staines, Chrétien de Troyes, xxviii. 360 Compare Beston, “Une bele conjointure;” Kelly, “Narrative Poetics” esp. 55–59; Jr. D. W. Robertson, “Some Medieval Literary Terminology, with Special reference to Chrétien de Troyes,” Studies in Philology 48 (1951): 669–692; Haiko Wandhoff, “‘Une moult bele conjointure’: Die Schrift, der Roman und das kulturelle Gedächtnis des mittelalterlichen Adels,” in Medium und Gedächtnis. Von der Überbietung der Grenze(n). Deutscher Romanistentag 28 (Kiel ): September 2003, ed. Franziska Sick and Beate Ochsner (Frankfurt am Main: Lang, 2004), 111–124; idem, “‘Aventiure’ als Nachricht für Augen und Ohren: Zu Hartmanns von Aue ‘Erec’ und ‘Iwein’,” Zeitschrift für deutsche Philologie 113 (1994): 1–22. 361 Hugh of St. Victor, Didascalicon 3,4, De duobus generibus scripturarum 768D–769A (emphasis in Italics H.L.): Huiusmodi sunt omnia poetarum lyrica, ut sunt tragoediae, comoediae, satirae, heroica quoque et lyrica, et iambica, et didascalica quaedam, fabulae quoque et historiae, illorum etiam scripta quos nunc philosophos appellare solemus, qui et brevem materiam longis verborum ambagibus extendere consueverunt, et facilem sensum perplexis sermonibus obscurare, vel etiam diversa simul compilantes, quasi de multis coloribus and formis unam picturam facere.

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The pictura, thus, as the new narrative configuration, consists of an artificial combination of elements. We cannot imagine Rashbam having read Hugh’s Didascalicon, but Chrétien probably did. He must have been familiar with the literary and poetic theories as part of the Trivium that circulated in particular among the French masters of the Bible in St. Victor and in Paris.362 The poet does not write histories which include events as they actually took place. Instead, he combines elements in ways in which they are not combined in nature.363 When Chrétien says that his poem is “une mout bele conjointure,” he implies (1) that it is a fable as opposed to an actual sequence of events, a conjunctura of events not joined in nature; (2) that this conjunctura is “bele,” that is, that it is made “cum decore aliquo;” and (3) that this pleasing cortex covers a nucleus of truth.364

How can we relate Rashbam’s commentary to Chrétien’s romances, and how might we trace similarities in their conception of ‘literature’ and its characteristics? Both authors show an innovative interest in the human psyche and a remarkable attention to the states of mind and the inner life and feeling of their characters. There is, yet, another striking parallel between Rashbam’s literary observations on the biblical text and Chrétien’s concept of âventiure and conjointure. From Rashbam’s commentary on the Jacob-Esau-cycle it is obvious that he strives not only to deviate from the straight and narrow paths of rabbinic exegesis, but to scrutinize the biblical text with respect to its plot, literary make-up, and narrative qualities. The story of Jacob’s crossing of the river and his wrestling with the angel stands out from other exegetical attempts in that, under Rashbam’s hand, it develops into a coherent and wellarranged literary composition. Rashbam’s re-narration represents an attempt to override the usual verse-by-verse exegesis as well as the midrashic interpretation that typically remains on the level of the single

362 See Robertson, “Some Medieval Literary Terminology,” 691–692; compare also Thomas Haye, Das lateinische Lehrgedicht im Mittelalter: Analyse einer Gattung (Leiden: Brill, 1997), esp. 77–97. 363 Robertson, “Some Medieval Literary Terminology,” 683. 364 Robertson, “Some Medieval Literary Terminology,” 685. On the meaning of cortex as an exegetical term for the literal / historical sense, the integumentum, and nucleus as representing the higher meaning (allegorical; anagogical ), compare ibid., 671–675.

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scene and, thereby, loses sight of the story as a whole.365 To Rashbam the ‘conte’ of Jacob and Esau had too often been dismembered in rabbinic exegesis and deconstructed into small units. Rashbam’s emphasis on literary anticipation as well as on ‘dramatic writing’ shows that he is not simply concerned with the question of ‘what happened.’ In delineating the scope of a literary unit, Rashbam seeks to unveil the literary means by which the biblical author—Moses—composed ‘biblical fiction.’ In Rashbam’s commentary, Moses develops into a biblical ‘dramatist:’ This verse aims to relate the miracles that befell Jacob, for if Esau had come only one moment earlier, Jacob would not have received the blessing.366 To me, the following represents the ‘profound way [to explain the verse] according to the pesha¢.’ For [the phrase] Midianites passed by (Gen. 37:28) implies that the [events] happened by mere coincidence.367

It is the artificial combination of elements that constitutes this new narrative picture (in Hugh’s words: pictura). Although Rashbam does not explicitly portray the Torah as entirely consisting of ‘poetry,’ he nevertheless describes and portrays the literary and stylistic means by which the biblical text was composed almost exclusively through poetic devices. The ‘literary anticipation’ (haqdamah) and the ‘parallelismus membrorum’ (kefel lashon)—to mention but two of his numerous devices—refer exclusively to literary aspects of the biblical text. If we assumed that Rashbam indeed started his exegetical career as a commentator on the Hagiographa,368 it would seem quite reasonable to assume that he applied the results of the literary-theoretical interpretation of the poetic books of the Hebrew Bible to the text of the Torah. Rashbam’s literary approach and his high opinion of himself as an exegete can be compared to Chrétien’s self-estimation as the only praiseworthy composer of romances. In his introductory comments to Exod. 3:11–12, Rashbam notes:

365 Köhler’s characterization of conte matches precisely the midrash (Erich Köhler, Trobadorlyrik und höfischer Roman: Aufsätze zur französischen und provenzialischen Literatur des Mittelalters, Neue Beiträge zur Literaturwissenschaft, vol. 15 [ Berlin: Rütten und Loening, 1962], 13–20). 366 Rashbam on Gen. 27:30; see below, Chapter Five, 1. 367 Rashbam on Gen. 37:28; see above Chapter Four, 4.3. 368 See also the arguments above in Chapter Three, 1.

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chapter four Anyone who wishes to grasp the essence of the narrative pattern of these verses [‫ ]עיקר פשוטו‬will gain insight from my commentary at hand, for those who preceded me, did not understand it at all.369

This harsh criticism together with an almost overreaching self-confidence vis-à-vis earlier exegesis and those ‘who do not grasp the basic principle of pesha¢,’ its essence, resembles in a remarkable way Chrétien’s disapproval of the storytellers of his day. In expressing a comparable self-assurance, Chrétien regards his literary works as the only works worthy to be kept in the cultural memory of Christianity: This is the tale of Erec, the son of Lac, which those who wish to make their living by storytelling in the presence of counts and kings usually mutilate and spoil.370 Now I am going to begin the story that henceforth will be remembered as long as Christianity endures. This is Christian’s boast.371

Both these men ‘boast;’ the one about his ability to expose the essence of pesha¢ (‘iqqar peshu¢o), the other about his compositional technique of conjointure. Both of them draw a sharp line of demarcation between them and their predecessors, and both of them are convinced that their works are the pinnacle of the achievements of their generation in their respective fields. Chrétien, in his romances, is clearly reacting against storytellers and ballad mongers. He wanted to raise the literary activity within the courtly milieu to a new level. No longer should the stories of the matière de Bretagne be ‘mutilated and spoiled.’ The ‘spoiled stories’ will vanish from the scene; only his tales will survive and, Arthurian legends will thereby remain in a perennially youthful state. But what about Rashbam? Akin to Chrétien, Rashbam dismisses ‘those who preceded him’ as fools, and their explications simply as ‘foolish.’ Granted that we have discovered a new sense of individual self-awareness and a fascination for the vernacular culture among the Jews, but should we believe this factor to be the only reason for the radicalization of pesha¢ exegesis in the early twelfth century and for the narrative approach Rashbam reveals in his writings? Despite a great deal of commonality between Rashbam and Chrétien, the latter wrote his works approximately ten to twenty years after Rashbam’s

369

‫ כי‬,‫מי שרוצה לעמוד על עיקר פשוטו של מקראות הללו ישכיל בפירושי זה‬ ‫הראשונים ממני לא הבינו בו כלל כלל‬. 370 371

. . . depecier et corronpre. Prologue to Érec et Énide, translation taken from Staines, Chrétien de Troyes, 1.

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death. Are there other internal developments and changes that might have caused Rashbam to turn to literary theories and techniques at the dawn of the new literary age within the royal court? Martin Lockshin has described Rashbam’s commentary as a reaction mainly against Rashi.372 But we can even go a step further and say that the reason Rashbam opposes Rashi’s commentary so vehemently lies in the way Rashi treated the midrash. In our days, midrashic literature is universally regarded not only as ‘classical’ literature, but as an important component of the religious heritage of the Jews. This is due not to the formal structure of the textual material, but rather to the fact that Rashi’s commentary which is firmly anchored in the midrash, selects from it passages that to Rashi were most useful for interpretive and educational purposes. As the (Hebrew) ‘glossa ordinaria,’373 Rashi’s commentary for the first time had set up a ‘canon’ of midrashic texts, i.e., a canon of literature required for the proper understanding of the text and for ascertaining its theological meaning. Rashi, thus, condensed in particular the aggadic midrashim on respective motifs and topoi that to him formed the core content of a story. The midrash, thus, became part of the theological heritage of the Jews. In contrast, Rashbam regarded the midrash as an exegetical text whose major aim was the literary exploration of a passage.374 To achieve this goal the midrash fills textual gaps and creates stories that at times were tied to the biblical text only loosely, too loosely in Rashbam’s eyes. With regard to the anecdote that Rebecca went to the academy of Shem and Eber,375 the midrash uses an exegetical technique that cannot be drawn from any inner-biblical parallel. According to Rashbam, she simply went to ‘one of the prophets of those days;’ he concludes this exclusively from inner-biblical exegesis (referring to 1 Kings 22:8 and Exod. 18:15).376 Moreover, in the story of Joseph, Rashbam even refers to a midrashic explanation377 and stresses the fact that his (psychological ) explanation is akin to (one of ) the numerous midrashic

Lockshin, “The Connection,” 139; see also Lockshin, Introduction, 30. See above Chapter Two, 2. 374 Likewise, Lockshin, Rashbam’s Commentary on Leviticus and Numbers, Translation 198n71 notes with regard to Rashbam’s explanation on Num. 11:35 that “Rashbam was not an anti-midrash crusader.” 375 Cf. BerR 63:6 376 See above Chapter Four, 4.1. 377 Cf. BerR 84:7. 372 373

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interpretations of the brothers’ jealousy;378 he refrains, however, from introducing any extraneous topics. In contrast to Rashi’s approach towards the midrash, Rashbam uses midrashim as a resource for his literary approach to the text.379 As long as midrashic explanations are not part of the theological discourse and can be applied to a literary exploration of the text, its plot and narrative string, Rashbam can even utilize peculiar midrashic texts like the Divre ha-Yamim shel Mosheh Rabbenu.380 Pesha¢-exegesis as Rashbam puts it is therefore not necessarily opposed to derash, and certainly not restricted to exegesis ad litteram. It represents the exploration of a text’s literary structure, its compositional techniques, or its narrative principles that is so far-reaching that Rashbam can even become a master of ‘biblical conjointure’ as we see in the story of Jacob’s escape, or in the exploration of the courtly love between Abimelech and Sarah. Only by means of pesha¢-exegesis does the biblical ‘âventiure’ develop into a consistent ‘conjointure.’ Pesha¢-exegesis, thus, takes every single element of the biblical matière and assigns it to its proper place within the story line.

378 Rashbam on Gen. 37:2: Akin to the aggadic midrash, my explanation [expounds] that he said to his father: “In this [way] they scorn the sons of the concubines . . .” Other pesha¢ exegetes [simply] missed the point . . . 379 Compare also his explication of Hazeroth in Num. 11:35 that is based mainly on the midrashim ad loc. 380 See in particular Chapter Five, 2.

CHAPTER FIVE

RASHBAM’S COMMENTARIES BETWEEN ‫ רומנץ‬AND ‘ROMANCE’ 1. ‘The Voice is the Voice of Jacob . . .’: The Motif of Recognition by a Person’s Voice Within the course of the Jacob-Esau-cycle, Jacob’s deception of his father followed by Esau’s lost blessing (Gen. 27) forms a constitutive element for the turn of events within the narrative. Jacob’s and Rebecca’s deception gives Jacob the chance to obtain his father’s blessing surreptitiously in order to shift the narrative in the direction of Jacob and his prospective twelve sons. From the very beginning, the story subtly hints at the deception, pointing e.g., to Isaac’s physical state (he was old and his eyes were too dim to see; Gen. 27:1). In what follows, the narrative concentrates on Jacob’s disguise and actions that finally overcome the suspicions of the blind old man who blesses the younger son who had taken his older brother’s place. The Jewish exegetical tradition has always struggled with Jacob’s deception, even though the Bible reports that Esau ‘sold’ his birthright to Jacob, who from that point on in the story is the legitimate heir to the rights of the first-born. The narrative of Isaac’s blessing continues the conflict between the brothers. Therefore, Rashi’s exposition of the encounter between Isaac and Jacob leads the reader in the same direction indicated by his comments on Gen. 27: (22) The voice is the voice of Jacob, since he speaks suppliantly: “Please, rise” (Gen. 27:19) but Esau spoke harshly: “Let my father arise” (Gen. 27:31).1 (24) He said: “I am.” He did not say ‘I am Esau,’ but ‘I am.’2 (27) And he smelled etc. Is there any odor more offensive than that of hairless and washed goatskin? Rather, this teaches us that the fragrance of the

1 2

Cf. TanB Toldot 15. Cf. BamR 10:6.

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chapter five Garden of Eden entered with him3 . . . (30) Jacob had barely left. This one was leaving, and the other was entering.4

Rashi’s comments concentrate on the comparison of the protagonists. In referring to the biblical depiction of Jacob as a quiet and mild man (Gen. 25:27),5 he portrays Esau in a bad light. In addition, Rashi ignores the fact that Jacob had lied. In fact, according to Rashi, Jacob actually had not lied, since he did not tell his father that he was Esau. Rashi explains the ‘voice’ of Jacob (in contrast to the voice of Esau) as referring to the idiom and the parlance (in this case: ‫)תחנונים‬, i.e., the contents and ‘tone’ of their verbal communication. Rashbam’s comments stand out due to a significant shift in subject matter, since he focuses on the brothers’ voices: (Gen. 27:22) The voice is the voice of Jacob. Since they were twins, their voices were somewhat similar. Therefore, Isaac mistook [ Jacob’s] voice since he had found him to have a hairy neck. (24) You are indeed my son Esau [meaning] you appear to be my son Esau.6

Rashbam does not concentrate on Jacob’s deception, but rather on Isaac’s mistake, meaning that Isaac should have recognized his firstborn’s voice.7 Simply because they were twins, he was mistaken and trusted in his sense of touch. Rashbam bases his explanation on the notion that the voice forms the intrinsic recognizable characteristic of an individual. Isaac has not recognized his favorite son, and Rashbam elucidates this point specifically: Since they were twins, their voices

Cf. TanB Toldot 16. Cf. BerR 66:5.—‫ אבל עשו‬,‫ שמדבר בלשון תחנונים קום נא‬.‫ כב( קול יעקב‬,‫)ברא' כז‬ ‫ )כז( וירח‬.‫ לא אמר אני עשו אלא אני‬.‫ )כד( ויאמר אני‬. . . .‫בלשון קנטוריא דבר יקום אבי‬ (‫ )ל‬. . . .‫ אלא מלמד שנכנס עמו ריח גן עדן‬,‫ והלא אין ריח רע יותר משטף העזים‬.'‫וגו‬ ‫ זה יוצא וזה בא‬.‫יצא יצא‬. 5 See also his comments on Gen. 42:7 ( Joseph’s disguise in the presence of his brothers): ‫נעשה להם כנכרי בדברים לדבר קשות‬. 6 ‫ לפי שתאומים היו היה קולן דומה קצת זה לזה‬.‫ כב( הקול קול יעקב‬,‫)ברא' כז‬ .‫ )כד( אתה זה בני עשו‬.‫ולכך טעה יצחק בקולו מאחר שמצאו איש שעיר על צוארו‬ ‫ ;נראה שאתה בני עשו‬compare the translation of Benno Jacob: “ ‘Are you really my son Esau’?” (Benno Jacob, The First Book of the Bible: Genesis, abridged, ed., and trans. by Ernest I. Jacob and Walter Jacob [New York: Ktav Publ. House, 1974], 181). Rosin, R. Samuel b. Meir als Schrifterklärer, 32n10 explicitly rejects an understanding of this verse as a question. 7 Compare Benno Jacob: “He relies more on touch, particularly regarding Esau, who has a mark on his body” ( Jacob, The First Book of the Bible: Genesis, 181). 3 4

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were similar,8 and this similarity in their voices led to the confusion. Rashbam is the first of the Northern French commentators to explain that a person’s voice is the crucial means of recognition (anagnorisis). To us, the idea of a person’s voice as a means of recognition (anagnorisma) seems to be self-evident. Who has not wondered about the midrash depicting Jacob and Leah together during their wedding night, while poor Rachel was speaking (from underneath the bed)?9 Should he not have recognized his beloved’s voice as well? The importance of a person’s voice for Rashbam is seen from his comment on v. 24: ‘You appear to be my son Esau.’ Except for the Septuagint and the much later Samuel David Luzzatto, Rashbam is the only commentator reading the Hebrew phrase ‫אתה זה בני עשו‬ not as a question, but as a statement.10 Since Rashbam has no interpretive choice—the story reports Isaac’s mistake!—he comments on the subject matter ironically. It only appears to Isaac (√‫ ראה‬ni.), and one should not trust in such an appearance, since Isaac was sand-blind in any case. A man may disguise himself, but his voice remains the decisive feature, exposing his personality even against his will. Accordingly, Rashbam’s comments let Isaac tremble because he has trusted his sense of touch more than his sense of hearing, and, therefore, was lured into a trap: (33) Isaac was seized with violent trembling: because he found hair on the smooth part of Jacob’s neck.11

Rashbam presents the idea of a person’s voice as anagnorisma also in his commentary on Gen. 42:7, i.e., the initial re-encounter between Joseph and his brothers during which Joseph ‘made himself strange unto them’ (‫)ויתנכר אליהם‬. The brothers did not recognize him, because he had a full beard and was wearing royal clothes. What’s more, they could not recognize him by his voice since he spoke to them through

8 Of course, Rashbam’s times had not yet reached our state of knowledge in twin research. Likewise, the difference between identical and fraternal twins was not on his mind. 9 Cf. BerR 70:19 ‫ בצפרא והנה‬,‫וכל ההוא ליליא הוה צווח לה רחל והיא עניא ליה‬ ‫היא לאה‬. 10 Compare also Lockshin, Rabbi Samuel ben Meir’s Commentary on Genesis, Translation, 155n3. 11 ‫ על שמצא שיער בחלקת צוארו של יעקב‬.‫)לג( ויחרד יצחק‬.

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an interpreter.12 To Rashbam, the interpreter, thus, does not simply function as a ‘language mediator’13 (for ‘Joseph the Egyptian’ ) but also as a ‘voice-veiler.’14 With regard to our general topic, it is noteworthy that the emphasis on the human voice also forms a decisive element in the vernacular courtly literature. Ulrich Mölk was the first to detect this concept and to prove that it appears neither in ancient classical texts nor in the early medieval literature, but only in the courtly romances in twelfthcentury Northern France. One can prove that especially for the chansons de geste in the twelfth and thirteenth century, it is characteristic that in jousts or any other encounter between humans who are particularly close to each other, in which the persons’ identities are veiled or distorted, mutual recognition occurs only with reference to the content of a person’s speech, but never voice recognition. The chansons de geste never consider the voice to be a characteristic trait of a person’s individuality. This concept was first developed in the courtly romance.15

With selected examples from Chrétien’s romances Érec and Yvain, Mölk shows that Chrétien introduces the notion of recognizing a person by his voice as an essential motif for the narrative development of the story.16 Furthermore, Chrétien brings up the recognition of the human voice in the opposite case, i.e., when the protagonists do not recognize each other! In this case, the narrator has to explain why the characters fail to recognize their counterparts, for instance, because a person’s voice is croaky or impaired, or the combatants remain silent.17 In any 12 Rashbam on Gen. 42:8: ‫ וגם מן הקול לא היו מכירי' אותו כי‬. . . ‫והם לא הכירוהו‬ ‫על ידי מתורגמן היה מדבר עמהם כדכת‘ כי המליץ בינותם‬.

13 As for example in the commentary of Æizzequni (Hezekiah ben Manoah) ad loc. who mentions not only Joseph’s royal garments and his new name (ZaphenathPaneah; Gen. 41:45), but also concludes his explanations with a reference to the Egyptian language: ‫ומדבר לשון מצרית‬. 14 It is noteworthy that Rashbam does not refer to this notion in places where we would expect it, e.g., Jacob’s wedding night (Gen. 29:23–25), or the story of Tamar and Judah, who did not recognize his daughter-in-law (Gen. 38). 15 Ulrich Mölk, “Das Motiv des Wiedererkennens an der Stimme im Epos und höfischen Roman des französischen Mittelalters,” Romanisches Jahrbuch 15 (1964): 107–115, 108 [translated from the German; H.L.]; compare also Stanley B. Greenfield, “The Authenticating Voice in Beowulf,” Anglo-Saxon England 5 (1976): 51–62; Lewis J. Owen, “The Recognition Scene in ‘Sir Orfeo’,” Medium Aevum 40:3 (1971), 249–253. 16 See also Störmer-Caysa, Grundstrukturen mittelalterlicher Erzählungen, 150. 17 See the examples in Mölk, “Das Motiv des Wiedererkennens an der Stimme,” 112–114. Likewise, Óizzekuni (Hezekiah ben Manoah; 13th century) explains in his comments on Gen. 29:25 that Jacob did not recognize Leah only because he did not

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case, akin to Rashbam, Chrétien, too, insists on the intrinsic relationship between human individuality, the ‘self ’ of a person (seipsum) and the human voice. Consider this example from Yvain (‘The Knight with the Lion’ ). During the joust between Yvain and Gauvain, they failed to recognize each other: ‘Each spoke not a word to the other, for had they conversed, their encounter would have been different . . .’ Chrétien goes on to portray the course of their duel as follows:18 Brave and courteous as he was, Sir Yvain was the first to speak. His good friend did not recognize him from his words, which were almost inaudible. His voice was weak, hoarse, and cracking, for he was badly shaken by the blows he had received. “Sir,” he said, “night advances. I am certain you will not be reproached or blamed if it separates us. For my part, I admit that I both fear you and esteem you. I have never been in a battle that caused me so much discomfort. There has never been a knight I so wanted to see and to know . . .” “I swear you are not so stunned and dizzy,” answered Sir Gawain, “for I am just the same or perhaps more so. If I were to know who you are, I doubt that I would be displeased . . . But however that is, since you would have me tell you my name, I shall not keep it from you. I am Gawain, son of King Lot.” When Yvain heard these words, he was taken aback, and completely at a loss from anger and vexation. He flung his bloodied sword and his shattered shield to the ground and dismounted. “Ah, alas, such misfortune!” he cried out. “We have waged this battle in such shameful ignorance because we did not recognize each other. Had I known you, never would I have fought you. I would have surrendered, I assure you, before the first blow.”

Unfortunately, Mölk does not elaborate on the question of why we find such a paradigm shift within the concept of anagnorisis. Primarily, the emphasis on the human voice as the interior, internal self of a person in contrast to the exterior, focuses on the character as such. External features such as a knight’s armor, Tamar’s disguise (Gen. 38:14), or the artificial hairiness of Jacob (Gen. 27:15–16) are hence subordinate to the individual quality of a person’s voice. However, all these features are distinguishing traits that mark an affiliation of a person to a certain group. During the twelfth century, people for the first time began to reflect on the relationship between individuals and groups. speak with her: . . . ‫ שאילו דבר עמה היה מכירה בקול‬. . . (compare also R. Abraham Ibn Ezra and Radaq on Gen. 45:12). 18 Chrétien de Troyes, “The Knight with the Lion,” lines 6193–6278, in Staines, trans., Chrétien de Troyes, 331.

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Humans became aware of the fact that behind any specific group uniform or disguise (mask, shield, etc.) one finds a homo interior in the sense of the ‘self ’ of a person, the seipsum,19 represented by the human voice. The voice, therefore, forms an interior entity that emerges towards the exterior, and thereby enables person A to get a deeper knowledge of the inner life of person B.20 Moreover, it seems that medieval society increasingly became aware of the attitude that the external manifestation of a person might not necessarily be congruent with his interior. In any case, it seems that this new psychological consciousness had an impact also on Rashbam’s characterization of biblical figures. For instance, Rashbam rejects the view that Moses’ self-evaluation ‘I am slow of speech and slow of tongue’ was an indication that he stuttered: “Is it possible that a prophet whom God had known face to face, and who received the Torah in his hand [directly] from God’s hand would stutter?”21 There is yet another aspect linked to this ‘discovery of the individual.’ Chrétien uses the motif of recognition by the human voice as a vital feature in the pattern of the ‘twofold path’ or ‘double course’ of the protagonists’ âventiures (‘Doppelweg / Doppelschleife’ ).22 That the heroes do or do not recognize each other by their voices seems at first sight to be a negligible point; it is, however, an important, if not the most important incident within the story line.23 Herein, we find a second connection between Rashbam’s exegesis that traces literary structures and Chrétien’s narrative compositions, namely, the coincidental and ‘marvelous’ arrangement of events that follow one after the other 19 Compare Caroline W. Bynum, Jesus as Mother. Studies in the Spirituality of the High Middle Ages, Publications of the Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies, UCLA, vol. 16 (Berkeley and Los Angeles, London: University of California Press, 1982), esp. 82–109; idem, “Did the Twelfth Century Discover the Individual?” Journal of Ecclesiastical History 31,1 (1980): 1–17. 20 It is an interesting question whether the medieval treatises on ˜azzanut, i.e., liturgical chant, have ever discussed the matter, although there are cases in which the texts discuss not only vocal skills and rabbinic eruditio but likewise the voice of a ˜azzan. 21 Rashbam on Exod. 4:10: ‫וכי איפשר נביא אשר ידעו השם פנים אל פנים וקיבל‬

‫ ואין‬.‫תורה מידו לידו היה מגמגם בלשונו? ואין דבר זה בדברי התנאים והאמוראים‬ ‫לחוש לספרים החיצונים‬.

Compare also Chapter Four, 6. Compare, once again, the joust between Yvain and Gauvain: “Ah, alas, such misfortune!” he cried out. “We have waged this battle in such shameful ignorance because we did not recognize each other. Had I known you, never would I have fought you. I would have surrendered, I assure you, before the first blow”; quotation taken from: Chrétien de Troyes, “The Knight with the Lion,” lines 6193–6278, in Staines, trans., Chrétien de Troyes, 331. 22 23

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by mere chance on the characters’ course to their final destination. Repeatedly, Rashbam ‘detects’ this narrative pattern, in particular in the narrative cycles of the Patriarchs.24 This is all the more obvious in the account of Isaac blessing Jacob. Whereas Rashi deconstructs the biblical narrative into a variety of small single units that he explains one by one, without paying much attention to plot and story line, Rashbam emphasizes the narrative arc. Thus, Rashi explains the scene in Gen. 27:30 (When Jacob had barely left . . . Esau his brother came in) undramatically and matter-of-factly: ‘This one was leaving, and the other was entering.’25 In contrast, Rashbam emphasizes the dramatic turn that the biblical text denotes by the figura etymologica ‫יצא יצא‬: And it came to pass . . . This verse aims to relate the miracles that befell Jacob, for if Esau had come only one moment earlier,26 Jacob would not have received the blessing.27

Rashbam insists on the narrative quality of the text and traces the linguistic indications for the ‘miracles.’ It is important to note that Rashbam’s marvels do not simply refer to a theological context denoting gezerot, ‘divine decrees’ to befall a person on his or her way. Rather, the ‘miracles’ are related to the literary character’s perspective. Each single event marks a link in a chain of coincidental occurrences that only at a later point can be sufficiently evaluated. Despite the ‘miracles’ the characters proceed within their here and now, acting intentionally on their own decisions and mapping their ‘âventiures’ by themselves. Again, Rashbam’s miracles are equivalent to Chrétien’s ‘marvelous’ events. As a corollary, Rashbam plays down the relationship that Gen. 27:36 sets up between the name of Jacob and the twofold deceit:28 Is he not rightly named Jacob . . . [Esau asks] with incredulity: “Was he not named Jacob [‫ ]יעקב‬at birth because his hand seized my heel [‫]עקבי‬,

See above Chapter Four, 4.4. Cf. BerR 66:5. Compare also the comments on this verse in the Artscroll edition ad loc. p. 298n2. 26 Compare the translation by Benno Jacob who also neglected the dramatic crisis in this sentence: “Jacob had not just left . . . Esau does not enter immediately after him” (B. Jacob, The First Book of the Bible: Genesis, 182). 27 ‫ שאילו הקדים עשו‬,‫ להגיד ניסים שנעשו ליעקב בא הכתוב‬.‫)ל( ויהי אך יצא יצא‬ 24 25

‫ לא נתברך יעקב‬,‫לבא רגע אחד קודם‬. 28 Gen. 27:36: ‫ויאמר הכי קרא שמו יעקב ויעקבני זה פעמים‬.

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chapter five proving me the first-born, not he, and should he not inherit less than I? [Is it, therefore, fair] that he inherit twice as much as I?”29

Both, Rashi30 and Rashbam use the expression ‫ )לשון( תימה‬/ ‫בתמיה‬ in their commentaries. The two explanations, however, could not be more different. To Rashi, the biblical text has Esau pose the rhetorical question,31 since God had already named Jacob the first-born,32 knowing that he would end up as a deceiver: “Perhaps for this reason he was called Jacob, because in the future he was destined to deceive me.”33 In contrast, Rashbam points out Esau’s consternation.34 Jacob’s name is grounded in his seizing of Esau’s heel (‘aqev) that designated him as the second-born. His name, therefore, does not hold any predictive quality as to his eventual personal behavior and character.35 It is no more than an accident of birth. Esau’s question shows his indignation at the fact that Jacob is to inherit twice as much as he is supposed to. Rashbam’s explanation reads the text as if Esau were addressing his father, appealing to his father’s sense of justice. Again, with regard to the plot, Rashbam grants the biblical characters a life of their own that is not wholly pretermined by a divine decree. Rashbam’s retroactive psychological shaping of the characters reveals the protagonists’ inner conflicts, as seen, for example in Isaac’s concluding remark to Esau concerning Jacob’s blessing (Gen. 27:33): Now he must remain blessed. Since he hastened to serve me. Furthermore, Isaac knew that Jacob had done everything on Rebecca’s advice, and that she had recognized him to be worthy of [his father’s] blessings.36

29 ‫ הלמען אשר קרא שמו יעקב בשעת לידה בשביל‬.‫ בתמיה‬.‫)לו( הכי קרא שמו יעקב‬ ‫ יטול פי‬,‫שידו אוחזת בעקבי ונמצאתי אני בכור והוא פשוט והיה לו ליטול פחות ממני‬ ‫שנים ]יותר[ ממני‬. 30 Compare Rashi on Gen. 27:36: . . . ‫הכי קרא שמו לשון תמיה‬.

31 See also Lockshin, Rabbi Samuel ben Meir’s Commentary on Genesis, Translation, 158n1. 32 See already Rashi on Gen. 25:26 (based on BerR 63:10). This explanation is indirectly refuted in Rashbam’s comments ad loc., since he changes the Singularclause ‫ ויקרא‬into a Plural-clause ‫ויקראו‬. 33 Rashi on Gen. 27:36: ‫שמא לכך נקרא שמו יעקב על שם סופו שהיה עתיד‬ ‫ ;לעקבני‬compare also the comments of Ibn Ezra and Radaq ad loc. 34 Lockshin, Rabbi Samuel ben Meir’s Commentary on Genesis, Translation, 158n1 observes correctly that “Rashbam’s interpretation preserves more of Esau’s likely feelings of amazement at the incongruity of the events.” 35 Compare also Rosin, R. Samuel b. Meir als Schrifterklärer, 33n4. 36 ‫ וגם ידע שבעצת רבקה עושה הכל והיא היתה‬.‫ שמיהר לעובדני‬,‫)לג( גם ברוך יהיה‬ ‫מכרת בו שראוי לברכות‬.

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According to Lockshin,37 Rashbam’s comments agree with the explanation given by the midrashim and Rashi,38 whereby Isaac concurred with Rebecca and validated his blessing retroactively.39 However, it seems rather that Rashbam’s explanation points to Isaac’s guilty conscience. He had not been able to control the tide of events, because Rebecca had sided with Jacob beforehand. Rashbam expresses this view explicitly in his comments on Gen. 25:28: Rebecca loved Jacob, because she recognized his ‘innocence,’ and also because of what the Holy One, Blessed be He, said: ‘The elder shall serve the younger’ (Gen. 25:23). The biblical author had to anticipate [i.e., to tell ahead of time] [the motif ] of Isaac’s love of Esau and Rebecca’s love of Jacob to have [the reader] understand what is written below, namely that Isaac wanted to bless Esau, but Rebecca acted with guile so that [in the end] he blessed Jacob.40

Therefore, Rashbam does not aim to justify theologically the blessing of Jacob in place of his brother, but to explain psychologically how this occurred. His comments seek to highlight the narrative quality of the text insisting on a well-set story line and portraying the literary characters more subtly than had been done previously. Thus, poetic licence prevails over theological burden. 2. From Midrash to Romance: The ‘Chaste’ King of Cush The episode of Moses’ Cushite woman is one of the strangest stories in the Pentateuch, in terms of content as well as linguistic idiom. Medieval and modern commentators have discussed the problematic nature of the story and struggled with its exegetical tradition, in particular with the commentary of Rashbam ad loc. The first matter referred to is the motif of the Cushite woman whom he [Moses] had married (Num. 12:1), which poses the problem of the identity of Moses’ wife(s), and additionally raises the question of the right of Miriam and

See Lockshin, Rabbi Samuel ben Meir’s Commentary on Genesis, Translation, 157n4. See Rashi ad loc.: ;‫ לא נטל את הברכות‬,‫שלא תאמר אילולי שרימה יעקב לאביו‬ ‫לכך הסכים וברכו מדעתו‬. 39 Compare BerR 67:2. 40 ‫ שהיתה מכרת בתומתו וגם ממה שאמר הק' ורב‬.‫כח( אוהבת את יעקב‬,‫)ברא' כה‬ 37 38

'‫ והוצרך להקדים כאן אהבת יצחק לעשו ורבקה את יעקב להודיע מה שכת‬.‫יעבוד צעיר‬ ‫לפנינו יצחק רצה לברך עשו ורבקה הערימה לברך את יעקב‬.

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Aaron to pass judgement over Moses and to insist on their claim for divine inspiration as well. Finally, the Hebrew syntax in Num. 12:1 is somewhat enigmatic:41 Had Miriam and Aaron spoken about, to, or against Moses? Do they claim that God had spoken either through or with them, or, at least, in their presence?42 The midrash had already raised the question of whether Moses had taken another woman, as a concubine, or whether this passage refers to his wife Zipporah.43 The rabbis decided in favor of Zipporah. The ‘Cushite’ woman simply refers to a beautiful woman, attractive and pleasant in appearance as well as deed.44 Rashi offers a lengthy explanation on the issue:45 To him, the slanderous talk of Miriam and Aaron was a reproach to Moses for having separated himself from his wife. Zipporah had informed Miriam about the issue when she heard that Eldad and Medad were prophesying in the camp and expressed sympathy for their wives, whereupon Miriam appeared before Moses on behalf of Zipporah, although she did not intentionally disparage Moses.46 Rabbinic exegesis concluded from Exod. 18:2 (‫ אחר שלוחיה‬. . .) that Moses had divorced his wife.47 However, the motif of Moses’ divorce (‫ )על אודות גירושיה‬does not in fact match the subsequent motif of Moses’ abstinence and chastity which is the pivotal topic in this section. From what we find in the biblical account, it seems quite difficult to agree with the rabbinic exegesis that turned Zipporah into a Cushite woman, or vice versa to identify the Cushite woman with Moses’ first 41 ‫ותדבר מרים ואהרן במשה על אדות האשה הכשית אשר לקח כי אשה כשית‬ '‫ )ב( ויאמרו הרק אך במשה דבר ה' הלא גם בנו דבר וישמע ה‬.‫לקח‬.

42 Rashbam (on Num. 12:2) interprets the verse in particular with regard to the task of prophetic mediation: ‫ כלומר עוד זאת אמרו על משה‬.[ '‫ויאמרו הרק אך במשה ]וגו‬ ‫ בנו—על ידינו‬.‫במה יכול להתפאר עלינו הלא גם בנו דבר ]ה'[ לישראל‬. 43 See SifBam 99. 44 Compare SifBam 99: ‫על אודות האשה הכושית אלא מה ת"ל כי אשה כושית‬ ‫ זאת נאה בנויה‬. . . ‫לקח יש לך אשה נאה ביופיה ולא במעשיה במעשיה ולא ביופיה‬ ‫ונאה במעשיה לכך נאמר כי אשה כושית לקח‬. Rashi adds a gematria that is later one inserted also in midrash Tanhuma: ‫( כושית בגימטריא יפת מראה‬Tan Tsav 13 [not in the Buber edition]; compare also Torat Èayyim ad loc. n54). 45 Rashi’s comments are based on SifBam 100–103. 46 Compare Rashi on Num. 12:1 ,‫ומנין היתה יודעת מרים שפרש משה מן האשה‬

‫ מרים היתה בצד צפורה בשעה שנאמר למשה אלדד ומידד מתנבאים‬,‫רבי נתן אומר‬ ‫ אמרה אוי לנשותיהן של אלו אם הם נזקקים לנבואה‬,‫ כיון ששמעה צפורה‬,‫במחנה‬ ‫ ומשם ידעה מרים והגידה לאהרן‬,‫;שיהיו פורשין מנשותיהן כדרך שפרש בעלי ממני‬ see also Rashi on Num. 12:4. 47 Compare for instance bPes 87ab where Hosea (with Moses’ divorce in mind) is requested to part from his wife Gomer.

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wife.48 It is, therefore, quite reasonable that Rashbam’s commentary on Num. 12:1 maintains that Moses had taken yet another wife who was a Cushite: . . . the Cushite woman, [i.e.] from the clan of Ham.49 For he had married a Cushite woman as it is written in the Divre ha-Yamim de-Mosheh Rabbenu [‘the chronicle of the life of Moses, our master’] that Moses, our master, reigned in the land of Cush for forty years and married a certain queen [of the Cushite clan]. Yet, he had never had intercourse with her. Thus, it is written there50 that when [Miriam and Aaron] spoke with him they did not realize that he had never had sexual relations with her. This is the essence of the pesha¢ [i.e., the narrative pattern]. For if they talked to him concerning Zipporah, why should [the biblical author] have to explain ‘for he had married a Cushite woman?’ Furthermore, did we not know already that Zipporah was a Midianite? And [there is] another argument for the reason that Zipporah was not a Cushite, because Cush was from the clan of Ham, whereas Midian was from the descendants of Keturah who had born him to Abraham.51

Martin Lockshin comments: “The claim that Moses never had intercourse with this Cushite wife is the strangest part of this difficult comment of Rashbam.”52. Indeed, one is puzzled by Rashbam’s explanation that “integrates a peculiar and fantastic midrash into his commentary and calls it ‘pesha¢’.”53

48 Likewise, R. Abraham Ibn Ezra (on Num. 12:1) spends much effort on proving the identity of the two women. To him, Miriam and Aaron reproached Moses of not having sexual relations with his wife for the reason that in his eyes she was no longer beautiful: ‫ ומדינים הם‬,‫ כי היא מדינית‬,‫והישר בעיני הזאות הכושית היא צפורה‬ ‫ וצפורה היתה‬,‫ ובעבור חום השמש אין בהם לבן כלל‬. . . ‫ והם דרים באהלים‬,‫ישמעאלים‬ ‫ והנה‬. . . ‫ וטעם כי אשה כושית לקח—זה הדבור שדברה מרים‬.‫שחורה דומה לכושית‬ ‫ ;חשדו משה כי לא נמנע לשכב עם צפורה רק בעבור שאיננה יפה‬compare also ibn Ezra on Exod. 2:22 (long commentary): ‫ וזאת צפורה היא האשה‬,‫ משה‬.‫ כי אמר‬.‫ותלד‬

‫ כל‬,‫ וכלל אומר לך‬.‫ ואשר כתוב בדברי הימים דמשה אל תאמין‬.‫הכושית אשר לחק‬ ‫ ואף כי יש בו דברים‬,‫ספר שלא כתבוהו נביאים או חכמינו מפי הקבלה אין סומכין עליו‬ ‫ גם ס‘ אלדד הדני והדומה להם‬,‫ וככה ספר זרובבל‬.‫המכחישים הדעת הנכונה‬.

Cf. Gen. 10:6. I.e., in Divre ha-Yamim shel Mosheh Rabbenu. 51 Midian was a Semite, not a Hamite, cf. Gen. 25:2—‫ שהיא ממשפחת‬.‫)א( ]ה[כושית‬ ‫ כדכת' בדברי הימים דמשה רבנו שמלך בארץ כוש ארבעים‬.‫ כי אשה כושית לקח‬.‫חם‬ 49 50

‫ והם לא ידעו כשדיברו בו שלא‬,‫שנה ולקח מלכה אחת ולא שכב עמה כמו שכתוב שם‬ ‫ מה צורך לפרש כי אשה כושית‬,‫ שאם בשביל צפורה דיברו‬.‫ זהו עיקר פשוטו‬.‫נזקק לה‬ ‫לקח? וכי ]עד[ עתה לא ידענו כי ציפורה מדיינית היא? ועוד תשובה כי לא היתה כושית‬ ‫ ומדיין מבני קטורה אשר ילדה לאברהם‬,‫כי כוש מבני חם הוא‬. 52 53

Lockshin, Rashbam’s Commentary on Leviticus and Numbers, Translation, 200n75. Ibid., 200n78.

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The Divre ha-Yamim de-Mosheh Rabbenu 54 contains legends and motifs that we find in parts already in Josephus;55 however, the date of the composition is no earlier than the tenth or eleventh century.56 The account Rashbam refers to reads as follows: Moses reigned in [the land of ] Cush for forty years. And it came to pass that one day, when he was sitting on his throne, and his lady was sitting next to him, the lady said to the princes: Look at the king that you appointed to reign over you. For forty years he has not come close to me. Now, appoint over you a king who is a descendant of your [assembly] of lords—Niqnos / Qiqnos57—because [only one of the lords] is entitled to the kingship. Do not appoint a foreigner to reign over you. All the princes of the hosts said to Moses: You are a very fine man in our eyes. However, the people of the provinces advise [us] to appoint over them one of their lords. Now, take your wealth and your possessions, leave our people and return to your place in peace. Moses went to Midian and sat there by the well, and the priest of Midian had seven daughters . . .58

The story of Moses having reigned over Cush for forty years is in fact a bizarre story, but it was apparently well known among the Jews in

54 On Dibrê ha-yamim shel Moshe see Günter Stemberger, Introduction to the Talmud and Midrash, trans. and edited by Markus Bockmuehl, 2nd Edition (Edinburgh: T&T Clark, 1996), 336. The text was edited (inter alia) by Adolph Jellinek. “Chronik des Moses,” in Bet ha-Midrasch: Sammlung kleiner Midraschim und vermischter Abhandlungen aus der ältern jüdischen Literatur, nach Handschriften u. Druckwerken ges. u. nebst Einl. hrsg. von Adolph Jellinek. 3rd edition [ Jerusalem: Wahrmann, 1967], vol. 2, 1–11, Introduction VII–XI, and by Shinan, “‫דברי הימים‬.” Shinan based his edition on MS Oxford, Bibliotheca Bodleiana Heb. d. 11,30–50, Catal.no. 2979 of 1325. The passage Rashbam refers to is found in Jellinek, “Chronik des Moses,” 7. 55 See Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews, 2:252–253. 56 Stemberger and Shinan date the text to the eleventh century (cf. G. Stemberger, Introduction to the Talmud and Midrash, 336; Shinan, “‫דברי הימים‬,” 102). 57 The Sefer ha-Yashar introduces the king of Cush always as ‫‘ קיקנוס‬Qiqnos’ (compare also Jellinek, “Chronik des Moses,” Introduction ixn7). In the text edited by Shinan, “‫דברי הימים‬,” 111, the princes appoint ‫ מוברוס בן קינקנוס‬to reign over them. 58 Jellinek, “Chronik des Moses,” 7: ‫ ויהי‬.‫והימים אשר מלך משה על כוש מ‘ שנה‬

‫היום והוא יושב על כסאו והגבירה יושבת אצלו ותאמר הגבירה לשרים ראו המלך‬ ‫אשר המלכתם עליכם זה מ' שנה ולא קרב אלי ועתה שימו עליכם מלך בן אדוניכם‬ ‫ ויאמרו כל שרי החיילים‬.‫ניקנוס כי לו משפט המלוכה ולא תמליכו עליכם איש נכרי‬ .‫למשה טוב אתה בעינינו מאד אך כל עם המדינות יועצים להמליך עליהם בן אדוניהם‬ ‫ וילך משה לארץ מדין‬.‫ועתה קח לך עושר ונכסים ולך מעמנו ושוב אל מקומך בשלום‬ ‫ וישב על הבאר ולכהן מדין שבע בנות‬. The text edited by Shinan, “‫דברי הימים‬,” 111 presents a slightly different reading.

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Western Europe, since besides Rashbam, R. Abraham Ibn Ezra also refers to it in his (long) commentary.59 It is noteworthy that even Ibn Ezra who does not rely on midrashic tradition very often, does not reject it out of hand.60 The legend’s irony inheres in that Moses’ sexual self-restraint deprives him of his royal position and also in the fact that the woman sends away her husband, and not vice versa. The lady expresses a request that matches exactly the law of the (prospective Israelite) king as laid out in Deut. 17:15. In that, Divre ha-Yamim deMosheh Rabbenu ironically takes the Deuteronomic prohibition against appointing a foreigner over Israel to extremes. Rashbam (intentionally?) does not retell the second part of the story that reports Moses’ life under the heels of the mistrustful Reuel / Jethro (both names are mentioned). Moses must keep himself in hiding another seven years while Zipporah secretly provides him with his daily needs. In addition, he must pass several trials of strength which he does with the help of the shem ha-meforash, the Tetragrammaton. It is noteworthy that Divre ha-Yamim de-Mosheh Rabbenu accuses him of idolatry, whereas Zipporah follows in the footsteps of the matriarchs.61 Why does Rashbam insert the story of Moses’ ‘royal past’ into his commentary ad loc.? If Rashbam were to explain that Moses took two wives, one after the other, taking the Cushite woman after Zipporah had been sent away, one could not plausibly explain why Miriam and Aaron should have taken offense at this marriage. Martin Lockshin proposed that Rashbam read the story in such a way that Moses had taken another (non-Israelite) wife, in addition to Zipporah. To Lockshin, Rashbam’s religious principles might have been offended by the idea of Moses’ polygamous practice.62 Rashbam’s emphasis on Moses’ sexual abstinence suggests indeed that he means to minimize Miriam and Aaron’s rebuke concerning the second wife. I would agree with Lockshin that to Rashbam the biblical text reports in plain language that Moses had taken another wife while his first marriage was still 59 Compare R. Abraham Ibn Ezra on Exod. 2:22; 4:10, and Rashbam on Exod. 4:10; see also Rottzoll, “Kannte Avraham ibn Ezra Shemu’el ben Me’ir?” 90–91. 60 See his comments on Num. 12:1: ‫ כי משה מלך על כוש ולקח אשה‬,‫יש אומרים‬

‫ כאשר יקראו הישמעאלים לזפת‬,‫ וטעמו לשון כבוד‬.‫ שפירתא‬,‫ והמתרגם אמר‬,‫כושית‬ . . .‫ ;הלבן‬compare also his subsequent comments that focus on the motif of the darkskinned Ishmaelites. 61 Compare Jellinek, “Chronik des Moses,” 7. 62 Compare Lockshin, Rashbam’s Commentary on Leviticus and Numbers, Translation, 199n75. Lockshin had possibly come to this conclusion on account of the biblical story line that reports Moses’ relations with the Cushite woman (Num. 12) only after the union of Moses with Zipporah (Exod. 4).

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in effect. However, I am not convinced that his comments convey that his first wife was Zipporah since Divre ha-Yamim de-Mosheh Rabbenu informs us that Moses had met Zipporah only after having been sent away by the Cushite woman. Rashbam’s comments make sense only if we assume that when Miriam and Aaron spoke to Moses, they knew that Moses’ first marriage with the Cushite woman was still in effect; what they did not know was that he never had sexual relations with her (. . . ‫ ;והם לא ידעו כשדיברו בו‬Rashbam on Num. 12:1).63 The reason for Rashbam’s argument rests on his theory about the biblical text’s literary and narrative quality. Num. 12 is the only place in the Torah that brings up the marriage with the Cushite woman. To Rashbam, the Hebrew text repeats the report on Moses’ marriage with the Cushite woman (‫ )האשה הכשית אשר לקח כי אשה כשית לקח‬to inform the reader that the text bears new or at least peculiar information about this marriage that exegetically has to be linked to Miriam’s and Aaron’s rebuke. Whether Rashbam identifies the narrative pattern of literary anticipation (haqdamah) in this context, is uncertain, since his comments do not explicitly relate to it. Likewise, he does not mention the exegetical term kefel lashon (‘parallelismus membrorum’ ) that plays a prominent role in his commentaries. According to Lockshin, Rashbam reads the biblical text as if it indicated an anticipation post factum.64 To me, it does not seem that Rashbam refers to literary anticipation in this passage. The fact that Rashbam answers the question of why the text mentions twice Moses’ marriage with the Cushite woman with the aforementioned midrash, is because he reads the repetition as emphasizing the peculiarity of the nuptial relationship. Furthermore, his comments aim to free Miriam and Aaron from the accusation of having slandered Moses; their rebuke would have been justified; they simply had not known that Moses and the Cushite woman had never

The motif of sexual abstinence plays a prominent role in Divrei ha-Yamim shel Mosheh Rabbenu, in particular with regard to forthcoming descendants, as can be seen clearly in the story of Moses’ birth. Miriam prophesied to her parents the birth of a future son to release the Israelites from the yoke of Egypt. As soon as Amram became aware of Miriam’s prediction he resumed sexual relations with his wife from whom he had separated before on account of Pharaoh’s edict: ‫ויהי כשמוע עמרם את דברי‬ ‫ ( הילדה ויקח את אשתו אשר פירש ממנה בעת הגזרה מקץ ג‘ שנים‬Jellinek, “Chronik des Moses,” 2); later in the text we read: ‫ואביו קרא לו חבר כי בעבורו נתחבר עם‬ ‫ ( אשתו‬Jellinek, “Chronik des Moses,” 3). 64 Cf. Lockshin, Rashbam’s Commentary on Leviticus and Numbers, Translation, 199n77; compare also R. A. Harris, Literary Hermeneutic of Rabbi Eliezer of Beaugency, 188– 189n68. 63

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come close to each other (how would Thomas Mann have coped with this interpretation?). Accordingly, and in contrast to Rashi and Ibn Ezra ad loc., Rashbam interprets the second part of Miriam’s and Aaron’s speech against Moses as a reproof independent of the subject matter of the Cushite woman (Is Moses the only one . . . . In other words: they voiced a further [complaint] about Moses).65 The rebuke concerning Moses’ exclusive entitlement to prophecy is independent of his marital situation.66 Rashbam’s commentary on Num. 12:1–4 shows in a remarkable way his endeavor to liberate the text from any theological discussion. In addition, he connects his explanation to the perspective of the protagonists in the plot. Any explanation of Miriam and Aaron’s slander must correspond with the individual perspective and reasoning of the protagonists. As in many other places, Rashbam grants the biblical figures—in this case, Miriam and Aaron—their personal form and line of reasoning. At the same time, Rashbam’s explanation reveals new aspects of Moses’ personality. Moses cultivated a very special relationship with a certain woman of royal lineage that Miriam and Aaron could not have known about. The way Rashbam explains Moses’ marriage to the Cushite woman reminds the reader not only of Abimelech who had married a woman (Sarah) without having sexual relations with her, but even more of the courtly love of the trouvères towards their ‘ladies,’ although Rashbam does not refer explicitly to a courtly ‘setting’ here. However, the later Hebrew romance Melekh Artus uses the term ‫ גבירה‬for (engl.) ‘lady’ (‘dame’ in Old French).67 The question remains as to what Rashbam means when he labels his interpretation the ‘basic principle of pesha¢’ or ‘essential pesha¢’ [‫עיקר‬ ‫ ?]פשוטו‬The pesha¢ as Rashbam sees it in this place as in many other instances does not simply convey a grammatical or syntactical explanation of a word or a phrase. Rather, it emerges from a renarration of the story that, thereby, elucidates a story line that is intrinsically tied to the affairs (âventiures) of the protagonists. Rashbam does not want to 65 . . . ‫ כלומר עוד זאת אמרו על משה‬.[ '‫ויאמרו הרק אך במשה ]וגו‬. Note that Rashbam explains this speech as directed against (‫ )על‬Moses (on Num. 12:2). 66 See also his comments against Rashi in v. 4: ‫ בשעה שהיו מדברים במשה‬.‫פתאום‬ ‫ולא היתה שעה רגילה לדבר עמהם אלא לגעור בהם מפני משה ולחלוק לו כבוד‬. Likewise, Lockshin, Rashbam’s Commentary on Leviticus and Numbers, Translation, 201n78 states correctly that “all the proposed ways to reading vs. 2 as an elaboration of vs. 1 are weak.” 67 See Leviant, King Artus, 32 a.fr.

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expound the ‘meaning’ of the text, but rather its narrative flow. His commentary strictly adheres to the techniques of literary and narrative theory. In that, Rashbam’s definition of pesha¢ / ‘iqqar peshu¢o differs from the common understanding of pesha¢ as ‘plain / simple meaning’, or, as repeatedly found in Joseph Qara’s commentaries, the lectio historica. Although Rashbam would not have rejected a lectio historica, his interests focus exclusively on the narrative, the literary level as the only appropriate object of an exegetical investigation whose purpose is to clarify ‘iqqar peshu¢o shel miqra, the essential narrative flow of the text. To reach this goal, Rashbam does not hesitate to incorporate nonbiblical and midrashic references into his argument. However, unlike Rashi he uses this material for his own purposes. The passage from Divre ha-Yamim de-Mosheh Rabbenu does not fill any ‘historical’ gaps or answer any question with regard to the sensus historicus. Rather, Rashbam uses it only because the biblical text, i.e., Miriam and Aaron’s speech, introduces a certain plot and events that can only be resolved with the help of this midrash. That Rashbam bases his pesha¢ reading of Num. 12 upon Divre haYamim de-Mosheh Rabbenu is even more remarkable since in his commentary on Exod. 4:10 he speaks disparagingly of this very same text as belonging to the ‘apocryphal books’ (‫ )ספרים חיצונים‬that have no exegetical authority. Like Ibn Ezra,68 Rashbam is not consistent with regard to Divre ha-Yamim de-Mosheh Rabbenu. Each exegete evaluates it differently in its respective literary context. Rashbam explains in Exod. 4:10 (‫‘ כי כבד פה וכבד לשון אנכי‬I am slow of speech, and of a slow tongue’ ) that Moses was no longer an expert in speaking the Egyptian language,69 rejecting70 the famous legend told in the midrash that Moses stuttered as a result of an incident that took place in his childhood.71 The rejection of this legend as being taken from an apocryphal

See R. Abraham Ibn Ezra on Exod. 2:22; 4:10; Num. 12:1. Rashbam ad loc.: ‫ איני בקי בלשון מצרים בחיתוך‬.‫כי כבד פה וכבד לשון אנכי‬ ‫ כי בקטנותי ברחתי משם ועתה אני בן שמונים‬,‫ ;לשון‬compare also Ibn Ezra ad loc. who explains in the short commentary on Exodus that Moses’ pronunciation of the dentals and labials was not correct. 70 Rashbam on Exod. 4:10–11: ‫וכי איפשר נביא אשר ידעו השם פנים אל פנים‬ 68 69

.‫וקיבל תורה מידו לידו היה מגמגם בלשונו? ואין דבר זה בדברי התנאים והאמוראים‬ ‫ואין לחוש לספרים החיצונים‬.

71 To weaken Balaam’s oracle and to save Moses’ life an angel led his hand to the burning coals (instead of to the crown’s diamonds) and caused him to burn his mouth. It is, nevertheless, noteworthy that Rashbam does not refer further to Divrei ha-Yamim shel-Mosheh Rabbenu to refute the legend of Moses’ stuttering, since the midrash reports

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185

book is not convincing, since the story is also found in the midrash Leqa˜ ¢ov, a text that Rashbam knew and used in his commentary.72 Rashbam’s comments on Num. 12 are an excellent test-case for the question of the extent to which his comments may have been polemically motivated. The late Sarah Kamin suggested that Rashbam’s primary aim was to polemicize against Christian allegorical interpretations, such as that of Origen, according to which Moses’ marriage with the Cushite woman prefigures Jesus’ marriage with the church.73 Kamin discusses at length the writings of Origen and Rupert of Deutz (c. 1075 / 1080–ca. 1130), although these Latin authors were of course not an integral part of the Hebrew curriculum, and Kamin had to admit that Rashbam almost certainly had no direct access to the Latin (and Greek) sources.74 Even, if one assumes that the Jewish intellectuals gained their knowledge of these sources from (vernacular) oral traditions in rough outlines, and that they might even have known about typological exegesis,75 I am as unconvinced as Lockshin “that Christians were on Rashbam’s mind when he was writing this passage.”76 As in many other instances, his main target is the midrashic reading and Rashi’s embrace of it that he consistently rejects. Moreover, the interpretation that Moses had taken yet another wife, a Cushite woman, would have been grist for the Christians’ mill who could have adopted it for their purposes.77 The main argument, however, against seeing Rashbam’s commentary as a polemic against Christian exegesis is the commentary itself that in no way engages in theological debate, either on the divine nature of Jesus, or on the identity of Verus Israel.78 Rashbam never

that the Hebrew boys were subjected to Pharaoh’s edict only because they were all ‘silver-tongued like scholars’ ( Jellinek, “Chronik des Moses,” 2–4). 72 In his comments on Gen. 41:10, Rashbam refers explicitly to Leqa˜ ¢ov (‫ובספר‬ ‫)לקח טוב פירש כמותי‬. 73 See Sarah Kamin, “The Polemic against Allegory in the Commentary of Rabbi Joseph Bekhor Shor,” (in Hebrew) in Sarah Kamin, Jews and Christians Interpret the Bible (in Hebrew and English), 73–98 ( Jerusalem: Magnes Press, 1991), esp. 84n31. 74 Ibid. 75 Compare the argument in Touitou, Exegesis in Perpetual Motion, 164–176. 76 Lockshin, Rashbam’s Commentary on Leviticus and Numbers, Translation, 200n78. 77 Lockshin, Rashbam’s Commentary on Deuteronomy, Translation, 22 (Introduction) offers a similar argument: “It seems that sometimes Rashbam and other exegetes abandoned pesha¢ for the sake of polemics and sometimes they interpreted verses according to their understanding of pesha¢, letting the chips fall as they may. Both of these phenomena show that polemics was not the main impetus for pesha¢.” 78 See e.g., Touitou, Exegesis in Perpetual Motion, 166.

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addresses specific Christian interpretations which interpret the biblical text christologically or typologically. If this commentary were ever meant to serve polemical purposes, its target was either theological reading in general or the Jewish exegetical (midrashic) tradition in particular. 3. Abimelech’s Self-Restraint and the Honor of Sarah Akin to the story of Moses and his Cushite wife, Rashbam’s explanation of Gen. 20 focuses on the motif of sexual abstinence and moral chasteness: (4) Now Abimelech had not yet approached her. [ This verse is written in this place] to attest to the truth of what the Holy One, Blessed be He, said: . . . This is why I did not let you touch her (Gen. 20:6). . . (12) My sister, [i.e.] my father’s daughter, since grandchildren are regarded equal to children79 . . . though [she is] not my mother’s daughter. She is not really my sister who came out of my mother’s womb. She is permitted to me, and [therefore] became my wife. . . (16) And to Sarah he [Abimelech] said words of appeasement and comfort: Behold! When in the beginning I took you [as my wife, I did] not [take you] with coercion or force, but rather according to the customs of marriage, since I gave your brother a thousand pieces of silver as bride-price thinking that he [in fact] was your brother as you had told me. This [bridal] money [mentioned here] was not the gift of sheep and oxen that Abimelech gave to Abraham afterwards,80 but [it refers to the bride price] that [Abimelech gave to him] before he brought her into his house. For even with regard to Pharaoh, who was punished more harshly,81 it is written And he dealt well with Abram for her sake (Gen. 12:16), i.e., before taking her in marriage. How much more so [must we presume that] Abimelech [did so]. . .82

Sarah was the daughter of Haran who was a son of Terah. Cf. Gen. 20:14. 81 Cf. Gen. 12:17. 82 The subsequent comment ‫ וכדכת' הרבו‬,‫ כדכת' בפרעה‬,‫נתתי אלף כסף מתחילה‬ ‫ וכדכת‘ ומגדנות נתן לאחיה ולאמה‬.‫ )עלי ]מאד[( מהר ומתן‬seems to be a doublet that does not add any further information to the first phrase starting with . . . ‫ולשרה אמר‬, and in part refers to the same biblical passages (Gen. 12:16). It is hard to decide whether this sentence was a (later) gloss, or whether Rashbam’s commentary was comprised of short pesha¢-explanations that were revised only later into a more literary renarration. In addition, the story of Sarah and Abimelech is glossed in MS Vienna 79 80

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Behold! This will serve you as vindication [that you are not besmirched] before all who are with you and before all . . .: The thousand pieces of silver that I gave to your brother before constitute a great honor for you and serve as a ‘covering for the eyes’ for all your household who are with you and for all the world, in order that they will not look at you in a negative light, gossiping ‘This woman—Abimelech treated her like fair game, [i.e., as a loose woman].’ All will know that he took her [as a gentleman] in an honorable manner, and that he returned her against his will.83 . . . And you are cleared. It is made known in public and well-proven84 that I conducted myself honorably towards you. [Please,] keep [our encounter] in your mind only for the good! This is the essential meaning according to the principle of pesha¢, since it was only for the honor of Sarah that Abimelech said all this, and not to chide or rebuke her.85

Rashbam’s comments on the encounter between Sarah and Abimelech show in exemplary fashion that his primary aim is not to explain a text according to its ‘plain sense.’ The fact that he inserts three extensive speeches from Abimelech to Sarah reveals that he essentially (re-)

Cod. hebr. 220 (ed. Touitou, Exegesis in Perpetual Motion, 198). What is striking is the fact that the fictitious dialogues that Rashbam composes according to the Rosin edition are written in 3rd person narrative in MS Vienna Cod. hebr. 220. This text is, thus, a further proof for the claim that Rashbam’s commentary shows time and again traces of manifold revisions, or even that he wrote different commentaries for diverse audiences. 83 Again, the subsequent sentence (‫ ותחז בציון‬. . . ‫ שלא יראו בך לגנאי‬.‫כסות עינים‬ ‫ )עינינו‬likewise seems to be a doublet. 84 Compare Lockshin, Rabbi Samuel ben Meir’s Commentary on Genesis, Translation, 86nn 1 and 2. 85 ‫ להעיד מה שהק' אומר על כן לא נתתיך לנגוע‬.‫)ד( ואבימלך לא קרב אליה‬ ‫ לא אחותי‬.‫ אך לא בת אמי‬. . . ‫ כי בני בנים הרי הם כבנים‬.‫ )יב( אחותי בת אבי‬. . . :‫אליה‬ ‫ )טז( ולשרה אמר דברי‬. . . :‫ והיא מותרת לי ותהי לי לאשה‬,‫ממש שיצאת מבטן אמי‬

‫ הנה בקחתי אותך בתחילה לא באונס ולא בכח אלא כמנהג נישואין‬,‫פיוסים ותנחומים‬ ‫שהרי נתתי מהר ומתן אלף כסף לאחיך בשביל שהייתי סבור שהיה אחיך כמו שאמרת‬ ‫ ולא זהו מתן של צאן ובקר שנתן אבימלך לאברהם לבסוף אלא קודם שהביאה‬.‫לי‬ ,‫ קודם נישואין‬,‫ שאפילו פרעה שנענש יותר כתוב בו ולאברם היטיב בעבורה‬.‫אל ביתו‬ ‫ אלף כסף שנתתי‬.‫ הנה הוא לך כסות עינים לכל אשר אתך ואת כל‬. . . ‫וכל שכן אבימלך‬ ‫לאחיך מתחילה כבוד גדול הוא לך וכסות עיניהם של כל בני ביתך אשר אתך וגם לכל‬ ‫ כי הכל‬,‫ שלא יסתכלו בך לגנאי לומר אשה זו מנהג הפקר נהג בה אבימלך‬,‫העולם‬ ‫ מפורסם ומתוכח יפה כי דרך‬.‫ ונוכחת‬. . . :‫ידעו כי דרך כבוד לקחה ובעל כרחו החזירה‬ ‫ כי לכבודה של שרה‬.‫ זהו עיקר לפי פשוטו‬.‫כבוד נהגתי בך ואל תשימי ללבך רק טוב‬ ‫אמר אבימלך כל זה ולא לקנתרה ולהוכיחה‬. See Rosin, Der Pentateuch-Commentar des Samuel ben Meir, 18n1.

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narrates the story into something quite different from the biblical account. Let us first turn to the biblical narrative itself. Compared to Gen. 12, Gen. 20, the second report on Sarah at a foreign king’s palace, smooths over Abraham’s lie by stating that she was ‘in truth his sister,’ i.e., his father’s daughter. Therefore, he was not only allowed to take her as his wife (v. 12), but also to proclaim her as his sister. In addition, Gen. 20 does not focus on the motif of Abraham, the protagonist’s wealth,86 but rather on the ‘reevaluation of moral values.’ Abraham, who had expected that ‘there could not possibly be any fear of God in this place,’ (v. 11) finds quite the opposite to be the case, that there is indeed fear of God (Gen. 20:4), moral conscience, and responsibility on Abimelech’s part who rebukes Abraham for his unjustifiable behavior: “What have you done to us? How have I sinned against you to cause you to bring on me and my kingdom a great sin? You have done things to me that ought not to be done” (v. 9). Abimelech’s offer to Abraham to dwell in his land wherever he would like to, is primarily a response to Abraham’s mistrust. In any case, the biblical narrative portrays Abimelech as a paragon of virtue.87 Rashbam’s comments follow the biblical story line and clarify Abimelech’s relationship with Sarah, thereby putting Abimelech in a very positive light. The three(!) speeches he puts into Abimelech’s mouth downgrade Abraham to a minor character and concentrate entirely on Sarah as his ‘grande dame.’ The topic Rashbam’s Abimelech dwells on is the legality of the nuptial alliance. A thousand pieces of silver were given to Abraham as a bride price. They were paid independently and had nothing to do with the sheep and oxen that Abimelech gave to Abraham afterwards as a gift. Rashbam not only emphasizes that Abimelech had acted morally and ‘halakhically’ correctly—he had taken Sarah according to proper custom ‫—כמנהג נישואין‬but also maintains that he had conducted himself in an honorable manner towards her. He had not taken her by force. Abimelech’s relationship with Sarah is exemplary due to his respect and love for her. Here, Rashbam uses an expression that we find also in the (Ps.-)Rashbam commentary on the Song of Songs, in which the commentator has the lovers utter ‘words of appeasement and comfort’ to each other: “My beloved is to me a bag

86 87

Cf. Gen. 12:16. Compare e.g., Graupner, Der Elohist, 211.

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189

of myrrh. Now both lie on their divan and speak to each other words of appeasement and comforting praises . . .”88 In contrast, Rashbam lets Abraham explain himself for having taken Sarah as his wife, but his justification does not show any sign of respect and love for Sarah—he merely says that she was allowed to him. Abimelech on the other hand is mostly interested in Sarah’s honor and her good reputation, for which he is even willing to make further financial restitution. From our point of view, Rashbam has Abimelech behave as a nobleman towards Sarah, in courtly fashion. Rashbam interprets the story of Sarah and Abimelech essentially ‘profanely,’ removing its theological dimension. The commentary turns the biblical patriarch’s role as prime example of piety and devotion upside down, exposing Abraham as a liar (‘she is not really my sister . . .’ ). Likewise, the dialogue between God and Abimelech as well as the divine intervention to prevent Abimelech from sinning and to protect him from punishment, is downplayed. To Rashbam, only the narrative line of the story and its literary quality is at issue. The biblical narrator anticipates the divine speech in v. 6, verifying God’s remark that attests to Abimelech’s blamelessness and purity. Like in many other instances, Rashbam focuses on the literary character’s individual and contingent decision that only later (in this case two verses later!) gains its deeper meaning without the character being guided by a hidden divine lord. Abimelech had refrained from consummating the marriage with Sarah not because God had coerced him, but because of his own virtue.89 The essential meaning according to the pesha¢ follows from the depiction of the literary features that do not submit to any theological or midrashic preconception: “Rashbam . . . does not attempt to ‘teach’ Judaism.”90 Instead, he presents the story of Sarah and Abimelech

88 Compare e.g., (Ps.-)Rashbam on Song of Sol. 1:13: ‫ עכשיו‬.‫צרור המור דודי לי‬ ‫( שניהם שוכבים על מטתם ומדברים יחד דברי ריצוי ופייוסי שבח זה לזה‬MS Hamburg

Cod. hebr. 32, fol. 77v, col. 2 / 78r, col. 1; see also Liss, “The Commentary on the Song of Songs,” esp. 19); (Ps.-)Rashbam on Song of Sol. 2:3: ‫ושם נתרצו ונתפייסו יחד‬ ‫‘ כאילו שניהם נחבקים ונדבקים על מיטה אחת באהבת נעורים‬There it was, that they found pleasure in one another, saying words of appeasement to each other, like those two (in the Song of Songs) when they adhere to one another, hugging each other on the divan in young love’ (MS Hamburg Cod. hebr. 32, fol. 78r, col. 1; see also ibid., esp. 15). 89 Cf. Gen. 20:6: ‫ כי בתם לבבך עשׂית זאת‬. . . 90 Lockshin, “Rashbam as a ‘Literary exegete’,” 88.

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as an attempt to overcome prejudice and to encourage cultural contact.91 As for the three speeches that Rashbam puts into Abimelech’s mouth we could, again, ask whether his commentary was written to be read out loud as a public performance. On this we can only speculate. 4. Hebrew Commentary Literature and the ‘Knightly Aftermath’ One can safely assume that Rashbam read the story of Sarah and Abimelech against the background of his contemporary society. He seems to have no reservations about the chivalric and gallant ideal. The knight as well as his ‘dame’ belong to the same society that keeps a jealous watch over every single member’s action (‘. . . for all your household who are with you and for all the world, in order that they will not look at you with the purpose of finding a disgrace’ ). At any rate, in Rashbam’s story of Sarah and Abimelech, the two of them had separated from each other under compulsion, and Abimelech’s ‘words of appeasement and comfort’ inform the reader that Abimelech remained not only affectionate, but in some ways frustrated. The question arises as to whether Rashbam’s ‘stories’ that time and again focus on the biblical characters’ virtue and chasteness were somehow meant to serve a comparable purpose as the thirteenthcentury Hebrew treatise entitled ‫‘ מלך ארטוש‬Melekh Artus’ (i.e., a Hebrew version of King Arthur). Melekh Artus was intended to ridicule the chivalric culture and courtly literature that by that time had become widespread.92 Rashbam’s stories of the honorable Abimelech and the chaste Moses could be read both as rejections of the milieu described in the legends of the matière de Bretagne, whose story lines are often based on adulterous relationships among the members of the court,93 and at the same time as parallels to the stories of the dignified and even tempered King Arthur. One can assume that by the twelfth century at the latest, knightly culture and courtly romances became popular not only among Northern French courtly society, but in some Jewish circles as well.

91 92 93

See already the interpretation given by Graupner, Der Elohist, 209. See in particular Przybilski, “Ein anti-arturischer Artusroman.” For instance Lancelot’s relationship with Arthur’s wife, queen Guinevere.

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191

With regard to the situation in twelfth-century Northern France, we have only vague indications of the Jewish attitude towards knights and chivalric culture. E.E. Urbach refers to a halakhic responsum ascribed to Rashbam that shows a rather positive attitude towards the chevaliers. Rashbam directs his Jewish contemporaries to sell weapons to knights, even if these weapons were to be used in a battle against another city, in which other Jews live and, who, therefore, might be endangered. Rashbam argues that they (i.e., the knights) ‘strive to save us from the hands of our enemies.’94 Concerning contemporary Old French literature, we must admit that we have no direct evidence that romance literature influenced Rashbam’s writings. He never refers explicitly to courtly romance in the Torah commentary, and there is only one reference in the (Ps.-) Rashbam commentary on the Song of Songs that refers to the chants of the trouvères.95 The sources from the thirteenth century—Sefer Æasidim and the Tosafists—are more effusive on the issue and disclose a rather enthusiastic attitude towards chivalric culture. Similarly, one should not cover [rebind] any of his book(s) with vellum upon which things are written in ‘Romance’ [‫]רומנץ‬.96 It once happened that a man bound his ˜umash with a parchment, upon which were written Old French (texts), worthless matters about royal tournaments. A righteous man [‫ ]צדיק‬came, tore it up, and removed it.97

This episode taken from the Sefer Æasidim shows that by the time R. Judah the Pious (‘he-Æasid’; died 1217) was writing (or editing) the Sefer Æasidim (approximately about the year 1200), there circulated Old French copies of courtly romances, chivalric heroes, and chivalric tournaments among his contemporaries. Moreover, R. Judah’s contemporaries obviously did not regard these binding fragments as sacrilegious

94 ‫ואפילו נלחמים על מדינה אחרת להצילנו שלא יבואו בני אותה מדינה עלינו‬ ‫ שהרי‬,‫ אפילו הכי אנו מוכרין להם‬,‫ויש גם יהודים באותה מדינה שבני עירנו נלחמים‬ ‫ ;להצילנו הם מתכוונים ושמא לא יהרגו שום ישראל‬ed. Urbach, The Tosafists, vol. 1,

55; compare also Taitz, The Jews of Medieval France, 120. 95 MS Hamburg Cod. hebr. 32, fol. 79r, col. 1. 96 In this case, R. Judah the Pious probably refers not only to texts in Old-French, but also to (Old-French) ‘romances;’ sometimes the idiom is also used for Greek. 97 Sefer Æasidim, ed. Margoliot, #142; ‫וכן אל יכסה את ספרו בקלפים הכתובים בהם‬

‫רומנץ ומעשה באחד שכיסה חומש שלו בעור והיה כתוב בו לועזים של דברי הבאי‬ ‫תגרי מלכי האומות ובא צדיק וקרעו והסירו‬.

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or prohibited material. A ˜umash had to be provided with a cover, and any parchment, regardless of what was written on it, would do. It is noteworthy that R. Judah mentions this event, for it shows that the Old-French literary testimonies, with their chivalric heroes, circulated among Northern French and Ashkenazic Jewry of the twelfth and thirteenth century to a greater extent than it seemed appropriate to the pious. A tosafist’s gloss on bSuk 45a reports that chivalric tournaments were performed on the occasion of Jewish (!?) wedding celebrations. The Talmud describes how, at the end of Sukkot, the children would throw down their lulavim and eat their ’etrogim.98 The tosafists on bSuk 45a illustrate it as a competitive amusement comparable to jousting that obviously took place regularly at weddings. Mounted and suitably decked out young men jousted while riding towards the groom.99 However, it is not necessary that the young men and the groom be Jewish. The comparison between throwing down of the lulav and the knightly joust could have been simply an illustration. However, it presumes, at least, that the Jews were familiar with chivalric jousts. Likewise, the tosafists on bShab 116b mention R. Judah’s disapproval of reading ‘those tales of battles written in the vernacular’ that were obviously popular among the Jews at that time.100 Chivalric tournaments could even serve as exempla in biblical commentaries. In his Pa‘nea˜ raza, R. Isaac ben Judah ha-Levi101 quotes a (pesha¢-)explanation by R. Judah the Pious on Gen. 32:30, in which R. Judah compares Jacob’s wrestling with the angel to a chivalric tournament, the angel representing the defeated knight: Why are you asking about my name? Since this is the way combatants and fighters behave, that the victor asks for the name of his defeated oppo-

‫ ואוכלין אתרוגיהן‬,‫ ;מיד תינוקות שומטין את לולביהן‬in his translation (Isidore Epstein, The Babylonian Talmud. Translated into English with Notes, Glossary, and Indices, London 1961), Mas. Sukkah 45an16 explains the act as “a form of sport associated with the jollity of the day.” 98

99 ‫ויש ללמוד מכאן לאותן בחורים שרוכבים בסוסים לקראת חתן ונלחמים זה עם‬ ‫זה וקורעין בגדו של חבירו או מקלקל לו סוסו שהן פטורין שכך נהגו מחמת שמחת‬ ‫חתן‬. 100 Cf. tosafot on bShab 116b: ‫ כדי‬.‫ כתבי הקדש אין קורין בהן‬,‫)מפני מה אמרו‬ ‫ וכן הגיה בפי' כתב ידו‬. . . .‫ בכתבי הקדש אין קורין( וכל שכן בשטרי הדיוטות‬:‫שיאמרו‬ ‫ומיהו אותן מלחמות הכתובין בלע"ז נראה לרבינו יהודה דאסור לעיין בהן דלא גרע‬ ‫מהא‬. 101

R. Isaac ben Judah ha-Levi lived in Sens (second half thirteenth century).

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193

nent, and boasts in the city of his exploits, but the defeated [knight] keeps his name secret [from him] for this very reason.102

Last, but not least, Monford Harris has shown that the concept of courtly love must have been well-accepted among the Jews in France and Ashkenaz during the twelfth and thirteenth century, since the people depicted in Sefer Æasidim often exhibit a behavior typical of courtly and romantic love.103 Harris refers to numerous episodes reported in Sefer Æasidim that deal with the temptation presented by (married!) women, or the question of how a man succeeds in marrying a woman he loves passionately: A constant theme in Sepher Hassidim is the deep, passionate love between man and woman that of necessity remains frustrated. The most common example of this frustrated passion is a man’s desire for a married woman.104

As in the case of Sefer Æasidim, we discover in the late twelfth and early thirteenth centuries a peculiar conjunction between the ideal of piety, imposing self-restraint and self-denial upon men (and women) and the concept of vibrant and passionate love between the sexes. For now, we may conclude that the fact that “the romantic love themes of the non-Jewish environment infiltrated [even!] the thirteenth-century Ashkenazic Jewish community”105 gives us sufficient grounds to assume that during the Golden Age of Chivalry, i.e., between 1152 and 1190, the Jews in Northern France were even more infected by this ‘cultural virus.’

102 Isaac bar Judah ha-Levi, Sefer Pa{nea„ Raza’ (Warsaw 1867), 37a ‫למה זה‬ ‫ כי כן דרך המתאבקים ומתלחמים זה עם זה שהנוצח ישאל לשם המנוצח‬.‫תשאל לשמי‬ ‫וישתבחו בעיר אשר כן עשו בניצוח עליו והמנוצח יעלים שמו מטעם זה‬.

See Monford Harris, “The Concept of Love in Sepher Hassidim,” Jewish Quarterly Review 50 (1959–1960): 13–44, esp. 15–28. 104 Ibid., 24. 105 Ibid., 44. 103

CHAPTER SIX

PESHA” AND HALAKHAH His explanation accords with the preceding verses, the way of the world, and secular wisdom. (The above is) from the commentary of Rabbi Samuel1

1. Jewish Maskilim or Christian Adversaries: Rashbam and the Expertise of the Human World 1.1. Introduction It is widely known that Rashbam repeatedly refers to explanations that conform to the ‘way of the world’ or to ‘human knowledge’ (‫חכמת דרך‬ ‫)ארץ ;דבדי בני אדם‬.2 However, when it comes to the question of how these terms should be understood and translated, interpretive certainties are dashed. Does Rashbam call an interpretation lefi derekh erets in the sense of the ‘natural ways of the world,’ comprising a meaning of a verse ‘secundum physicam’ as in the case of Exod. 14:21?3 Does derekh erets denote social knowledge and class-consciousness as expounded in Gen. 37:2 (the sons of Leah versus the sons of the concubines),4 or is it simply a reference to medical and anthropological knowledge as in Gen. 34:25 (the weakness of a human body three days after an operation, in this case: circumcision)?5 ‘Human knowledge,’ thus, seems to encompass more than plain ‘common sense,’ even though

1

‫הרי פירושו לפי הפסוקים שלמעלה ודרך ארץ ודבר חכמה מיסוד רבי שמואל‬

(edited in Moshe Sokolow, “‫ קטעים חדשים מפירוש התורה‬:‫הפשטות המתחדשים‬ ‫לרשב"ם—כ"י‬,” Ale Sefer 11 [1984]: 72–80, 78–79). 2 See in particular Touitou, Exegesis in Perpetual Motion, 139–146. 3 Compare ibid., 286 [English Table of Contents] and ibid., 143. 4 See above Chapter Four, 4.3. 5 See Touitou, Exegesis in Perpetual Motion, 141: ‫'דרך ארץ' כאן פירושו—חוקי הטבע‬ ‫האנושי‬.

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we have seen that Rashbam’s comments here and there support such a suggestion.6 With regard to the question of the meaning of ˜okhmat divrei benei adam ‘human knowledge’ we should take into account the fact that Rashbam constantly turns to an exceptional type of audience, the maskilim, who, likewise, seem to represent not only (rabbinic) ˜akhamim ‘wise men’ (or even women?), but otherwise erudite and critical readers. On the other hand, we are faced with the striking fact that Rashbam’s suggestions for an interpretation lefi derekh erets are at times intended to rebut the interpretations of the so-called minim (as in the phrase teshuvat ha-minim), a term that is mostly, but, as we shall see, not necessarily taken as a synonym for (Christian) heretics.7 We shall first turn to two hermeneutical renderings of lefi derekh erets that frame Rashbam’s commentary on the legal parts of the book of Exodus, i.e., ch. 25–40. Rashbam’s introduction to Exod. 21 (Par. Mishpatim) reads as follows: Let those who know reason know and understand that, my purpose, as I have already explained [in my commentary on the book of ] Genesis, is not to explicate halakhic rules, even though they are [the Torah’s] essential part, since the aggadot as well as the halakhot are derived from superfluities in the biblical verses. One can find some of these in the explanations of our teacher Solomon, my mother’s father [Rashi]—may the memory of the righteous be a blessing! But I have come only to elucidate the pesha¢ [i.e., the narrative flow] of the verses,8 and, thereby, will explain the laws and the halakhic rules according to the way of the world. Nevertheless, the halakhic rules are the essence [of the Torah] as our rabbis have already said: ‘halakhah uproots [the plain meaning of ] the biblical text.’9

Compare e.g., his comments on Lev. 11:3. Compare Rashbam on Lev. 11:34; 19:19; Deut. 22:6. 8 Here, Rashbam obviously takes up Rashi’s phraseology in his commentary on Gen. 3:8. 9 ‫ הקדמה( ידעו ויבינו יודעי שכל כי לא באתי לפרש הלכות אעפ"י שהם‬,‫)שמ‘ כא‬ 6 7

‫ ומקצתן‬,‫עיקר כמו שפירשתי בבראשית כי מיתור המקראות נשמעין ההגדות וההלכות‬ .‫ ואני לפרש פשוטן של מקראות באתי‬,‫ימצאו בפירושי רבינו שלמה אבי אמי זצ"ל‬ ‫ ואעפ"כ ההלכות עיקר כמו שאמרו רבותינו‬.‫ואפרש הדינין וההלכות לפי דרך ארץ‬ ‫—הלכה עוקרת משנה‬for the last sentence see bSot 16a: The quotation in the Talmud reads ‫(‘ הלכה עוקבת מקרא‬In three places) the halakhah crushes the scriptural text under heel’; see already the Rosin, Der Pentateuch-Commentar des Samuel ben Meir, 113n3; on the probable reading of ‫ מקרא‬instead of ‫ משנה‬see Lockshin, Rashbam’s Commentary on Exodus, Translation, 226n4.

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To whom does Rashbam refer to as yod‘ei sekhel ‘those who know reason?’ Are they the same as the maskilim? In what way are they distinguished from ‘ordinary’ Jewish scholars? Rashbam’s intention to convey only interpretations lefi derekh erets, i.e., interpretations in a manner that conforms to the ‘way of the world,’ suggests a group of people that base their arguments on reason. We might assume that Rashbam’s subsequent comments would help us achieve a clearer picture of his intellectual milieu, its interests and his exegetical proposal. Before we turn to the legal sections in Rashbam’s commentary, we might look at his closing remark to the book of Exodus. Rashbam states (on Exod. 40:35): Whoever wants to heed the word of our creator,10 should not move from the comments of my grandfather, R. Solomon, and should not deviate from them, for most of the halakhic and midrashic interpretations in them are close to the plain meaning of Scripture, and all can be derived from [the superfluities in language or from changes] in its wording. It is best that you grasp the one—i.e., [the things in the way that] I have explained—without letting go of the other.11

Rashbam proposes a two-pronged approach to the study of the Torah each path requiring its own exegetical methodology. Rashi’s commentary is the gateway for religious instruction, i.e., the study of the Torah as a ‘sacred text,’12 focusing on the rabbinic understanding of halakhah and aggadah, around which Jewish life is organized. In contrast, Rashbam proposes a reading that does not focus on halakhic and midrashic interpretations as part of a Jewish heritage. It is noteworthy that the closing formula of Rashbam’s commentary on Exodus in particular introduces Rashi as the ‘magister theologiae,’ and thus—probably for the

10 I.e., ‘whoever wants to heed to this text as representing the divine word of our creator . . .’; Lockshin, Rashbam’s Commentary on Exodus, Translation, 437 translates: ‘Whoever is loyal to God’s words . . .’ To me, this translation misses the point since it emphasizes the personal devotion and piety of a reader, but Rashbam does not target a man’s religious attitude, but rather a certain ‘art of reading’, in this case Bible study as part of a Jewish religious curriculum aimed at grasping the deeper meaning of its aggadot and halakhot. 11 (Eccles. 7:18) ‫ סוף הפירוש( ואשר שם לבו לדבר יוצרינו אל יזוז מנימוקי‬,‫)שמ' מ‬

‫ כי רוב הלכות ודרשות שבהם קרובים לפשוטי‬,‫זקני רבנו שלמה ואל ימוש מהם‬ ‫ וטוב אשר תאחוז בזה אשר‬,‫ ]ומיתורם או משינוי[ הלשון יש ללמוד כולם‬,‫המקראות‬ ‫ ;פירשתי וגם מזה אל תנח ידיך‬see Rosin, Der Pentateuch-Commentar des Samuel ben Meir,

144n6. Rosin added the words in brackets to emend a textual lacuna (cf. Rashbam on Gen. 1:1). 12 See above Chapter Two, 2.

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first time!—launches a reading strategy that is close to our understanding of ‘˜umash with Rashi.’13 Especially for halakhic interpretations, that is to say for explanations pertaining to Jewish legal practice, one should read and interpret the biblical laws only with the help of Rashi’s commentary. Several questions arise from these hermeneutical statements. First, of what does Rashbam’s interpretation lefi derekh erets ‘according to the way of the world’ consist? How does it differ from the halakhic and midrashic interpretations lefi Rashi ‘according to Rashi’? Second, which audience does he have in mind or even in front of him as a teacher (cui bono?), and what would have been the educational setting for this new ‘art of reading?’ Does his commentary show any signs of opponents? Finally, we shall ask why Rashbam considers his way of interpretation to be necessary. From the collection of the references to interpretations lefi derekh erets14 we may derive at least three categories: 1. Interpretations conforming to the laws of nature In Exod. 14:21 Rashbam explains that God caused the sea to recede as a divine act conforming with the laws of nature, since ‘winds can dry up and freeze rivers.’ The above-mentioned example in Gen. 34:25 of the circumcision of the Hivites also belongs to the category of scientific principles, where Rashbam’s comment relies on medical knowledge. Finally, in his explanation of Lev. 11:3 (the classification of pure and impure animals) Rashbam explicates that God declared certain animals unfit for consumption, since they are ‘repulsive, and damage and heat up the body.’15 2. Comments that address social or living circumstances and class-conscious behavior At Gen. 41:2 (Pharaoh’s dream of seven cows coming up out of the river), Rashbam explicates that ‘it is the common way of cows to drink 13 Likewise, Rashbam’s elder colleague, R. Joseph Qara, shows a very similar approach. In his commentary on the Minor Prophets (Perush Tere Asar) he relies heavily on Rashi’s commentary, and often only ‘super-comments’ on Rashi’s explications on a verse or an idiom. 14 Touitou, Exegesis in Perpetual Motion, 139 mentions sixteen references in the Torah commentary; I count only thirteen, since some of them are part of composite idioms, such as ‫ דרך ארץ פלישתים‬etc. 15 ‫ ומקלקלים ומחממים את הגוף‬,‫מאוסים הם‬.

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together . . . .’ Gen. 37:2 informs the reader that Joseph was feeding the flock with his brothers. Rashbam clarifies that ‘brothers’ refers to the sons of Leah, not to the sons of the concubines. In the commentary on Esther 1:9 ascribed to Rashbam (Queen Vashti giving a banquet for women), the commentator explains that it was the common way for men and women not to celebrate their feast together.16 3. Comments that mention linguistic and stylistic devices At Gen. 28:12, Rashbam explains that one cannot draw any conclusions from the order of the elements in the Hebrew phrase ‫עלים וירדים‬ ‫בו‬, since people ‘usually mention ascending before descending.’17 In all the above-mentioned examples, Rashbam compares biblical portrayals of living conditions with examples from contemporary Northern France. His purpose was probably to emphasize that the narratives of the Torah (and most likely the Hebrew Bible in general ) have much in common with contemporary medieval society and, therefore, are relevant not only to Jews, who are the legitimate heirs of the Hebrew tradition, but also to non-Jews. In my view, this contemporization of the ancient literary heritage is indicative of a newlyawakened self-consciousness among Northern-French Jewry rather than a polemical approach towards the non-Jewish environment. We will also see that the vernacular glosses (le‘azim) form an important tool for the interpretation lefi derekh erets, although Rashbam never presents hermeneutical ‘meta-texts’ for a respective gloss.18 So far, we have mentioned almost exclusively those comments that find their immediate literary context in the narrative parts of the Torah. However, what about explanations of legal texts lefi derekh erets? What purpose do they serve? Elazar Touitou has dealt with some of the issues at length.19 With regard to Rashbam’s above-mentioned comments on Exod. 21, he has pointed out that Rashbam’s use of the term halakhot in his introduction

16

‫דרך ארץ שלא היו ביחד אנשים ונשים‬.

His younger contemporary R. Joseph Bekhor Shor ad loc. limits this explanation to the Hebrew language (. . . ‫ כי דרך העברי לומר עליה תחילה‬. . . ), referring to bHul 17b. I am almost certain that Rashbam did not intend to limit his statement to the Hebrew language only, since we observe this linguistic pattern in French (‘montaient et descendaient’ ) and in most other European languages as well. 18 See below Chapter Seven. 19 Compare Touitou, Exegesis in Perpetual Motion, 139–146; on Exod. 21 see ibid., 104–105. 17

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is somewhat inconsistent. On the one hand he rejects the explanation of the ‘halakhic rules,’ while concurrently conveying the intention to ‘explain the pesha¢ of the biblical verses’ and ‘the laws and halakhic rules according to the way of the world.’ Without mentioning the methodological approach lefi derekh erets, Rashbam writes as an introduction to Lev. 1:1: There are many laws in it [i.e., in this book]. Wise men should examine the explanations of my grandfather [Rashi], since I [myself ] will elaborate only on [those] sections, where [it is necessary] to explain the pesha¢ot [‘plain meaning’] of the verses.20

It is noteworthy that this dictum addresses wise men, viz. rabbinic scholars (˜akhamim21) instead of ‘maskilim.’ Rashbam’s introductory remarks are problematic because he does not elaborate on what is meant by pesha¢ot. In addition, the rhetorical function of Rashbam’s introductory remarks is not clear. As a foreword to the sections dealing with the tabernacle and the priestly garments (Exod. 25–28), Rashbam makes an assertion similar to the one at Lev. 1:1, stating that he would only write ‘in brief ’ on the subject matter, referring his readers to Rashi’s elaborate commentary on the texts at hand.22 However, even a cursory survey of the legal sections of Rashbam’s commentary shows that Rashbam’s introductory statement is somewhat misleading, since he repeatedly offers quite lengthy explanations of the biblical texts. Martin Lockshin’s observation on Rashbam’s introduction to Exod. 25 holds true for most of his halakhic comments: I must admit that Rashbam’s introductory comment here raises more questions . . . than it solves. What precisely is the purpose of the comment at this point in the text? Did Rashbam in fact ‘write in brief ’ . . .? To my mind it appears that he wrote about many of these topics in an uncharacteristically lengthy manner. Is he simply trying to help the reader who wants to learn how the tabernacle was constructed . . . Or is the major purpose of this comment to demonstrate his deference—real or feigned—to Rashi and through him to traditional exegesis?23

20 ‫ כי לא אאריך‬,‫ והתבוננו החכמים בפרושי זקני‬,‫א( הלכות מרובות יש בו‬,‫)ויקר' א‬ ‫אלא במקומות שיש לפרש פשוטי מקראות‬. 21 On the use of the term ˜akham compare also Rashbam on Gen. 41:39 (MT: ‫אין‬. . . ‫)נבון וחכם כמוך‬, where he explains that a ˜akham is someone who has gathered (√‫)קבץ‬

knowledge by what he has heard and seen (cf. Rashi on Exod. 31:3). 22 See Rashbam’s introduction to Exod. 25:2: ‫פרשיות של משכן חשן ואפד אם‬ ‫אקצר בפרושן יימצאו בפרושי רבנו שלמה אבי אמי זצ"ל‬. 23 Lockshin, Rashbam’s Commentary on Exodus, Translation, 303n2.

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When it comes to the question of deference or polemics, we are faced with the fact that close to 90 percent of Rashbam’s exegetical comments include open or hidden polemics against Rashi, and we cannot even begin to tally the countless ‘polemical jabs’ that Rashbam gives Rashi in almost every single comment.24 Most famous is his introduction to the Joseph cycle (Gen. 37–50), in which he maintains that Rashi would not have left his commentaries alone, but would have written new ones in line with pesha¢-exegesis, if only he had had the time.25 This is a quite mild description of what Rashi’s attitude towards the exegetical attempts of the ‘Wild Ones’ of the younger generation might have been. Rashbam could even present himself as the ‘new kid on the block’ without any respect for the elder generation. In MS Bodleiana Opp. 34,26 fol. 116, we find a short passage, obviously not related to its immediate literary context,27 in which Rashbam combines harsh criticism of earlier commentaries (including Rashi’s) and his own approach ‘according to the ways of the world.’ The text reads as follows: Those who encounter earlier explanations that tend towards another pesha¢ with different perspectives,28 should consider that these are neither explanations in accordance with the way of the world, [based on] common knowledge, nor are they in line with the [meaning of ] the verse. I29 am only able to explain but a little the reasons for the textual difficulties, since sufficient ink, quill[s], or parchment to [deal with the issues] adequately does not exist.30

24 On this subject compare Lockshin, Rashbam’s Commentary on Deuteronomy, Translation, (Introductory essay), esp. 7–22. 25 Rashbam on Gen. 37:2. 26 Adolf D. Neubauer, Catalogue of the Hebrew Manuscripts in the Bodleian Library and in the College Libraries of Oxford. Including Mss. in other languages, which are written with Hebrew Characters, or relating to the Hebrew Language or Literature; and a few Samaritan Mss. (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1886), No. 186. 27 Compare Sokolow, “‫”הפשטות המתחדשים‬, 74n13; the text is edited ibid. 78–79; see already Poznański, Kommentar zu Ezechiel und den XII kleinen Propheten, ‫מבוא‬ XLVn2. 28 Lockshin, Rashbam’s Commentary on Deuteronomy, Translation, 205 translates “pesha¢ explanations of different types [than found in my works].” 29 Lockshin, Rashbam’s Commentary on Deuteronomy, Translation, 205 translates as if written ‫ ואיני‬or ‫ואינני‬, which is a suitable emendation. However, one could also translate the sentence in the sense of ‘One is unable to explain . . .’ 30

‫אם יראו הרואים פירושי׳ קדומים שנוטים לצד פשט אחר בעניינים אחרים יתנו‬ ‫ או כפי‘ הפסוק אינו כן ואינו יכול‬,‫לב כי אינם דרך ארץ לפי חכמת דברי בני אדם‬ ‫לפרש כל כך ולפרש טעמי הקושיות אלא מעט מזער כי לא יכיל דיו וקולמוס וקלף‬ ‫—להספיק‬Lockshin, Rashbam’s Commentary on Deuteronomy, Translation, 205 translates as

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Rashbam complains that the older commentaries are dissatisfying, partly, because they do not explain the text according to the logic of the verses, partly, because their comments do not match ‘the way of the world.’ Were we to believe Rashbam’s exaggerated statements on the multitude of exegetical mistakes, we would have to assume that the situation must have been almost unbearable for him, an intellectual suffering from his ancestors’ devotion to rabbinic teachings. As an example of his critique, he discusses Rashi’s comments on Deut. 20:19. From the fact that he has no qualms about embarrassing his grandfather, we might surmise that Rashbam was probably very young when he wrote this passage, and that Rashi had not yet attained his later esteem and reputation.31 The biblical verse under debate says: When you besiege a city a long time, in making war against it to take it, you shall not destroy the trees . . . Is the tree in the fields human, that you should besiege it, too? Rashbam comments: Look at what my grandfather—‘May the memory of the righteous be a blessing!’—explained concerning the verse ‘Is the tree in the fields human, that you should besiege it, too?’32 ‘You might perhaps say that the tree of the field is a human being who should withdraw before you to go unto the siege and to stand up against you.’ This is foolishness. For who would [ever] be such a simpleton and a fool to think that a tree has the same strength as a human being? Why would it have been necessary for our teacher Moses to tell us such a [stupid] thing that is not worthy of being heard at all? I, however, explained that verse well in line with the [logic of ] the verses [i.e., according to its literary context] and consistent with the way of the world.33

if the text reads ‫‘ קוראים‬readers,’ which definitely fits more smoothly into its context. However, the handwriting in the manuscript is legible without a doubt, and Sokolow’s edition reads correctly ‫( הרואים‬compare Sokolow, “‫הפשטות המתחדשים‬,” 78). 31 Compare above Chapter three, 1, where I suggest that when Rashbam studied with Rashi and disputed with him ‘face to face’ he had probably not yet reached the age of twenty. 32 Rashi reads: ‫ שמא האדם‬.‫ הרי כי משמש בלשון דלמא‬.‫כי האדם עץ השדה‬

‫עץ השדה להכנס בתוך המצור מפניך להתייסר ביסורי רעב וצמא כאנשי העיר למה‬ ‫תשחיתנו‬. 33 ‫הלא תראה מה פירש זקיני זצ"ל כי האדם עץ השדה לבא מפניך במצור שמא‬ ‫תאמר עץ השדה אדם הוא לבא מפניך במצור לעמוד כנגדך הלא זה הדבר הבל וכי‬ '‫מי הוא הדיוט וכסיל שסבור שהעץ יש בו כח כאדם ולמה הוצרך משה רבינו לומ‬ ‫ הרי פירושו‬. . . ‫דבר שאינו ראוי להשמע ואני פירשתיו יפה לפי הפסוקים ולפי דרך ארץ‬ ‫ ;לפי הפסוקים שלמעלה ודרך ארץ ודבר חכמה מיסוד רבי' שמואל‬compare Sokolow, “‫”הפשטות המתחדשים‬, 74n13; the text is edited ibid. 78–79.

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What is going on here? Is Rashi’s interpretation in fact that foolish. To Rashbam, the foolishness in Rashi’s understanding is that he takes the biblical phrase as a rhetorical question (‘Are trees like people?’ ), expecting a negative answer. Rashbam holds the view that no one would ever think that trees and people are in any way comparable to each other. Therefore, Moses must have meant something else. In sharp contrast to all exegetical endeavors prior to him, Rashbam introduces the concept of exegetical explanations ‘in accordance with the way of the world, (based on) common knowledge,’ thereby referring to his own explanation ad loc. However, in his comments on the verse at hand, Rashbam, likewise, does not have an easy time of it. The only way for him to get out of the tight spot is a massive textual intervention, in which he not only transposes the order of the words, but also broadens the semantic range of the conjunction ‫ כי‬to be understood as ‘rather’ or ‘except.’34 In Deut. 20:19, he explicates this specific rule of warfare in the way that every ‫ כי‬used after a negation means ‘except’ [‫]אלא‬: That [tree] you should not cut down, but trees of the field which people use to hide in during a siege, those you may cut down. [The phrase] ‫כי האדם עץ‬ ‫ השדה‬should be taken as ‫אלא האדם עץ השדה‬, [and then transposed to read] ‫אלא עץ השדה האדם לבא מפניך במצור‬, i.e., [do not cut down trees] except a tree of the field that someone enters to escape from you [in times] of siege.35

Rashbam’s comments here are rather intricate and difficult to grasp.36 As to our problem at hand, two things are worth noting: the transposition of words, which entails a textual emendation and the question of what is meant by pesha¢ in this context. Rashbam rearranges the verse. Perhaps because he introduces Moses as the author of the passage (‘Why would it have been necessary for our teacher Moses to tell us . . .’ ), he was more audacious with regard to inversion of the word

34 However, this translation is listed among others in Holladay’s dictionary ad loc.; see also the critical remarks by Lockshin, Rashbam’s Commentary on Deuteronomy, Translation, 123n58. 35 ‫ כל כי שאחרי לא מתפרש‬.‫ כי האדם עץ השדה לבא מפניך במצור‬. . . (‫יט‬,‫)דבר' כ‬ ‫ כי‬. . . ‫ אותו תכרות‬,‫ אותו לא תכרת אלא עץ השדה לבא האדם מפניך במצור‬.‫אלא‬ ‫ אלא עץ השדה האדם לבא מפניך במצור‬,‫האדם ]עץ השדה[ אלא האדם עץ השדה‬ ‫שגורם את האדם לבא מפניך במצור‬. 36 Compare in particular the extensive remarks on this explanation by Lockshin, Rashbam’s Commentary on Deuteronomy, Translation, 123–125.

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order (‘sorsehu we-dorshehu’).37 Indeed, Rashbam’s explanation makes more sense, but this is not what the verse says. However, Rashbam’s modified reading fits perfectly into the literary context that instructs the Israelites to cut down either those trees that do not generate foodstuffs, or those that could develop into a useful tool for the enemy’s defense. At the same time, the logic of the entire passage fits a military context. Rashbam’s comments, therefore, fall under the category of ‘expertise of the human world.’ In the context of Rashbam’s polemics against Rashi and the older commentaries, we might suggest that his interpretation of this difficult verse aims to persuade a critical audience to consider that the Torah could offer useful advice on such profane issues as warfare. 1.2. The Impurity of Animals and the Unambiguity of Divine Speech Yet, Rashbam’s exegesis of the legal sections of the Torah go beyond polemics. Since, aside from the introduction to his commentary on Exodus, Rashbam mentions the methodological approach of lefi derekh erets only in Leviticus and Deuteronomy, we shall deal with these sections first. On Lev. 11:34 Rashbam notes: [Any food that may be eaten], it will become impure if water gets on it: Whoever wishes to give a reason for the commandments according to the ways of the world and as a rebuttal to the heretics [minim] [may rely on the following explanation]: The Holy One, [Blessed be He,] did not impose [the concept of impurity] on any foods or beverages until they were being prepared to serve as food. Pouring water over them marks the beginning of their preparation and, therein, the essential [condition for their] value as food.38

Rashbam’s problems with the verse seem to be quite similar to those of contemporary Christian exegetes and scholars who repeatedly stated that the rules of ritual impurity make no sense on the literal level. Indeed, one cannot easily grasp the decree that pure and edible food over which water has passed, is rendered impure. This seems to go 37

Compare e.g., Rashi on Num. 19:7; Deut. 4:38.

‫ מי שרוצה לתת טעם במצות לפי דרך‬.‫לד( אשר יבא עליו מים יטמא‬,‫)ויקר' יא‬ ‫ארץ ולתשובת המינין לא הזקיק הק' טומאה למיני אוכלים ומשקין עד שתיקנם לצורך‬ ‫ ונתינת מים היא תחילת תיקונם ועיקר חשיבותם לצורך אכילה‬,‫ ;מאכל‬compare Rashi ad loc.: ‫למדנו מכאן דברים הרבה למדנו שאין אוכל מוכשר ומתוקן לקבל טומאה עד‬ . . . ‫‘ ;שיבאו עליו מים פעם אחת‬We have learnt that food becomes predisposed and 38

prepared to contract impurity only when water first comes into contact with it. . .’

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against common sense, since water is the means for cleaning and rinsing. Rashi obviously struggles with the same problem. However, he does not stick close to the biblical text, but rather seeks to harmonize the later halakhic discourse with the biblical idiom, offering a lengthy and complicated comment on the verse at hand. It deals with the issue that the Mishnah called ‫)ב(כי יותן‬,39 i.e., the discussion of the susceptibility to impurity of liquids or items (like seeds) that have come in contact with water, and the problem of primary and secondary sources and degrees of impurity. As a solution to the problem, Rashi sets up a connection between verses 33 und 34, explaining that food that is fit for consumption becomes impure only if it is inside an impure earthenware vessel.40 Rashbam does not at all engage with Rashi’s extensive halakhic discourse, since it is part of an internal rabbinic discourse that does not address the problem at hand. The verse makes sense only if one sets up a more subtle definition of what is meant by ‘food.’ Any meat, beverages, or other foodstuff becomes ‘food’ only from the beginning of its preparation. To Rashbam, God assigned the category of impurity only to foodstuff that is being prepared as food. Impurity or purity, thus, is not a category as such. Touitou has argued that Rashbam’s comment is a polemical response to the Christian critique that the laws of kashrut and the rules of ritual purity contradict the testimony in Gen. 1 that the entire world that God created is ‘good.’41 According to Touitou, Rashbam sets up here a distinction between the domain of human life, i.e., a social area, and the domain of nature.42 However, I am not convinced that ‘nature’ and the question of ritual purity secundum physicam are at issue here. Rashbam makes use of this argument in his

39 See mMakh 1:3; bQid 59b; R. Joseph Bekhor Shor on Lev. 11:34 refers explicity to this matter: ,‫ טהור‬,‫ומיהו רבותינו דרשו שאם בא עליו מים שלא ברצון הבעלים‬. ‫מדכתיב כי יתן וקרינן כי יותן‬. 40 See Rashi on Lev. 11:34: Of any food that is (usually) eaten: This refers back to the preceding verse: Whatever is inside it shall become impure. Of any food that is (usually) eaten, upon which water comes—if it is inside an impure earthenware vessel—will become impure. Likewise, any liquid that is (usually) drunk, in any vessel, i.e., in the inner space of an impure earthenware vessel, will become impure (.‫מכל האכל אשר יאכל‬

‫ מכל האוכל אשר יאכל אשר באו עליו‬,‫ כל אשר בתוכו יטמא‬,‫מוסב על מקרא העליון‬ ‫ והוא‬,‫ וכן כל משקה אשר ישתה בכל כלי‬.‫ יטמא‬,‫מים והוא בתוך כלי חרס הטמא‬ ‫ יטמא‬,‫)בתוך כלי חרס הטמא‬. 41 42

Compare Touitou, Exegesis in Perpetual Motion, 143,183–184. Touitou, Exegesis in Perpetual Motion, 184: ‫הטומאה והטהרה הן ספירות השייכות‬

‫לתחום חיי אנוש ולא לתחום הטבע‬.

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comments on Lev. 11:3, where he offers a comment that serves as an explanation ‘following the verse’s pesha¢’ and, likewise, forms a ‘rebuttal to the heretics’ (teshuvat ha-minim). Here, he states that all the domesticated and wild animals, birds, fish, and different sorts of locusts and insects that God forbade to the Israelites are repulsive, and damage and heat up the body. Therefore, they are called impure. Even outstanding physicians concur [with this view] . . .43

Rashbam here clearly equates ‘impurity’ with ‘repulsiveness,’ although one should take his formulation seriously: he does not declare the repulsive animals to be impure but only to be denoted impure. In contrast, Rashbam’s explanation of Lev. 11:34 does not make any reference to animals or other foodstuffs secundum physicam, but to the context’s definition of ‘food’. The biblical definition of food needs clarification. In other words, the biblical idiom must be logically justified. The Hebrew terminology Rashbam uses in this context, in particular the idiom ta‘am be-mitswot deserves a closer look. Lockshin equated it with the later (philosophical ) idiom ta‘amei ha-mitswot.44 Rashbam, thus, would have sought to explain the intrinsic reason for which a certain rule was given. But this is not what the text says, and it would have been an unusual rationale for Rashbam that is not compatible with his subsequent comments. It does not say ta‘amei ha-mitswot, but rather ta‘am be-mitswot. In this context ta‘am refers to finding an explanation that would harmonize the biblical text’s language with an objection based on an isolated understanding of the verse’s immediate meaning. Since izzequni quotes Rashbam’s explanation on Lev. 11:34 without the label lefi derekh erets u-le-teshuvat ha-minim even Touitou must admit that we cannot necessarily conclude that Rashbam’s comments are directed at Christians.45 Therefore, we should be wary of always translating Rashbam’s phrase teshuvat ha-minim as ‘rebuttal to the heretics’ in the sense of ‘Christians.’ Couldn’t it be that teshuva at least in the verse at hand simply denotes an ‘explanatory answer,’ and that the minim

43 .‫ מובדלת הפרסה לשנים ולא פרסה אחת שלימה כסוס וחמור‬.‫ושסעת שסע‬ ‫ולפי פשוטו של מקרא ותשובת המינים כל הבהמות והחיות והעופות והדגים ומיני‬ ,‫ ומקלקלים ומחממים את הגוף‬,‫ארבה ושרצים שאסר הקב"ה לישראל מאוסים הם‬ ‫ ואף בתלמוד גוים שאוכלים‬,‫ ואף רופאים מובהקים אומרים כן‬.‫ולפיכך נקראו טמאים‬ ‫]שקצים[ ורמשים חביל גופייהו‬.

44 Compare Lockshin, Rashbam’s Commentary on Leviticus and Numbers, Translation, 65n74. 45 Compare Touitou, Exegesis in Perpetual Motion, 45.

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mentioned refer to a critical audience that call for a more rational and thus secular ‘scholarly’ elucidation?46 There are some other arguments that prevent a simple equation between teshuvat ha-minim and ‘anti-Christian polemics.’ During the twelfth century, more and more Christian exegetes were interested in pesha¢-exegesis, above all the school of the Victorines (Andrew and Richard of St. Victor), Herbert of Bosham, and others. Already in 1969, Beryl Smalley published an anonymous gloss commentary on the book of Leviticus (its author simply called ‘X’ ) that is dedicated exclusively to the literal sense of the book. On Lev. 11:1, X offers an explanation that matches exactly Rashbam’s statement on the repulsiveness of pork. X might have taken his information from Rashbam, just as Rashbam might have taken his explanation from X: Here he teaches that according to the Old Law there are things which are [ritually] pure and permitted to be eaten, and others which are impure and forbidden. Note that, although every creature of God is good according to that verse And God saw that everything was very good (Gen. 1:31) nevertheless the Lord forbade in the Law to eat some things as impure either on account of the weakness of humankind like carcasses and poisonous [animals] or on account of their significance like pork and some other [animals].47

X explicitly addresses the problem that the creation narrative describes God’s creatures as good (omnia bona) and seeks for answers on the literal level. Smalley explained X’s comments here as written “with an eye on Raban [Maur]”48 who held the view that the law’s true intention was spiritual. X’s explanations of the literal sense, thus, would have formed likewise a ‘teshuvah’, a rebuttal against certain opinions among the Christian exegetes and theologians. Why did X not accept the spiritual exegesis of his contemporaries and instead developed an exegetical approach focusing exclusively on the plain meaning of Scripture? 46 See above Chapter One, n59. On the term minim compare Cohen, “Does Rashi’s Torah Commentary Respond to Christianity?,” esp. 459–467; Compare also Elazar Touitou, “‫למשמעות המוסג 'תשובת המינים' בכתבי רבותינו הצרפתים‬,” Sinai 99 (1986): 144–148. 47 Hic docet que iuxta legem veterem sunt munda et ad esum licita, et que immunda et ad esum illicita. Et nota cum omnis creatura Dei sit bona iuxta illud: Et videt Deus quod erant omnia bona (cf. Gen. 1:31), tamen Dominus prohibuit in lege quedam comedere tamquam immunda, sive propter infirmitatem hominum ut morticina et venenosa, sive propter significationem, ut porcum et quedam alia (fol. 60rb); quoted in Smalley, “An Early Twelfth-Century Commentator on the Book of Leviticus,” 90. 48 Ibid., 90.

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To Smalley, he was interested in particular in what he called inusitata locutio ‘extraordinary idiom / unusual speech,’ and within this horizon he dealt mainly with rhetorical techniques, of which repetition (in Rashbam’s comments mainly referred to as kefel lashon) plays a prominent role.49 X’s commentary gives clear indications that he must have consulted his Jewish neighbors regularly (dicunt hebrei )50 and regarded them as authorities on the literal sense of legalia. Smalley located him at a Northern French cathedral school before 1125,51 which means that he thought and taught in an intellectual environment that allowed him to approach the biblical text in a non-theological, literary manner. He might have been inspired and motivated by his Jewish contemporaries, meaning that with regard to our text at hand Rashbam’s explanation on Lev. 11:3 might be considered just as much a rebuttal to Raban as exegetical support for X. X’s glosses on Lev. 11:34 deserve special attention. X refers to contemporary ‘hebrei’ stating that they told him that they were allowed to eat meat that had been in contact with impure items: Although he says that food and every other thing become impure through contact with carcasses—it seems that the Israelites were not allowed to eat food from carcasses or from other things which became impure through contact; actually they were not allowed to use them without incurring guilt—nevertheless Jews say that they are allowed to eat meat of carcasses or from other things which became impure through contact.52

In this case, X’s comments do not match Rashbam’s. To Smalley, the Jewish position cited in X’s account “may have been a relaxation necessitated by medieval living conditions.”53 She regards X’s glosses as drawn from Rashi or any other standard commentary of that time. However, since X obviously struggled with the Hebrew language,54 he 49 Compare the example given ibid., 83: “Breviter repetendo predicta magis reddit attentos auditors ad ea observanda,” or “Repetitio eiusdem rei propter confirmationem.” 50 See the references ibid., 85–87. 51 See ibid., 83. 52 Cum dicat cibum et quodlibet aliud immundum fieri contactu morticinorum, videtur quod non liceret hebreis vesci cibis a morticinis vel ab alia re immunda contactis; non enim licebat eis immunis uti. Et tamen hebrei dicunt sibi licitum esse vesci carnibus a morticino vel ab alia re immunda contactis (fol. 62rv–va); quoted ibid., 87. 53 Ibid., 85. 54 Compare ibid., 87.

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might not have taken his information from a written commentary, but from an oral explanation provided to him by Jewish contemporaries. With regard to his explanations on Lev. 11:34 he might have been referring to Rashi (or a Rashi-based oral account) on Lev. 11:29. Here, Rashi explains as follows: The following shall be impure for you. All these [cases] of impurities do not refer to the prohibition of eating, but rather to actual impurity, [meaning] that one will become impure by [merely] touching them. [As a corollary, the one who touched such an animal] is prohibited from eating terumah [the priestly portion] or holy [sacrifices], and from entering the sanctuary.55

It seems as if X had taken only the first part of Rashi’s dictum and, therefore, completely missed the point. I cannot imagine any (halakhically-oriented) explanation X could have relied on for his argument. An interesting case of Rashbam’s commitment to ‘the laws and the halakhic rules according to the way of the world’ is his explanation of Lev. 13:2 that is part of the biblical description of leprosy / psoriosis,56 i.e., swellings, rashes, or discoloration on a person’s skin, as well as the subsequent section on fungeous houses. Rashbam offers the following comments: A man who will develop in the skin of his flesh . . . As for all the sections [dealing] with human afflictions, and afflictions of clothing and houses, their appearance, the calculation of the [time-period for] isolation, as well as the issue of white, black, and yellow hairs57—we can learn nothing from following the pesha¢ of the biblical text, nor from the expertise gained from human experience.58 Rather, the midrash [interpretation] of [our] Sages, their laws and their traditions [that they received] from the mouth of the earlier rabbis, is the essence.59

‫ אלא לטומאה ממש להיות‬,‫ כל טומאות הללו אינן לאיסור אכילה‬.‫זה לכם הטמא‬ ‫ וליכנס במקדש‬,‫ ונאסר לאכול תרומה וקדשים‬,‫טמא במגען‬. 55

56 Compare Jacob Milgrom, Leviticus 1–16, A New Translation with Introduction and Commentary, (New York and London: Doubleday, 1991), 774–776. 57 Cf. Lev. 11:30. 58 Rashbam says here that following the pesha¢ of the biblical text, or basing ourselves on the expertise gained from human experience, there is nothing left for us to explain. 59 ‫ כל פרשיות נגעי אדם ונגעי בגדים ונגעי‬.‫ב( אדם כי יהיה בעור בשרו‬, ‫)ויקר' יג‬

‫ אין לנו אחר‬,‫בתים ומראותיהן וחשבון הסגרם ושערות לבנות ושער שחור וצהוב‬ ‫ אלא המדרש של‬,‫ ולא על בקיאות דרך ארץ של בני אדם‬,‫פשוטו של מקרא כלום‬ ‫חכמים וחוקותיהם וקבלותיהם מפי החכמים הראשונים הוא העיקר‬.

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At first blush, this introduction to the sections of the nega{im ‘afflictions’ seems to concur with Rashbam’s initial remarks in Lev. 1:1. We should draw as a first conclusion that ‘the pesha¢ot’ in these sections are unambiguous enough that Rashbam has ‘nothing’ (‫ )אין כלום‬to add to Rashi’s commentary based on rabbinic sources, even more as the rabbinic dicta form the ‘essential meaning’ of these issues.60 However, in the following we are faced with the striking fact that Rashbam subsequently has many remarks to add, explanations on Hebrew phraseology,61 word-explanations,62 and slight improvements on Rashi’s comments.63 I disagree with Lockshin’s conclusion that Rashbam “seems to argue further that pesha¢-exegesis is especially inappropriate when dealing with sections of text like these.”64 Neither do I think that Rashbam simply holds the position that “since we have no first-hand experience with the ‘afflictions’ of these chapters, we cannot really comment on them on the pesha¢ level.”65 In particular his comments on the legalia show an enormous interest in the Hebrew syntax and morphology, seeking to restrain the exegetical leeway and to assert the biblical text’s unambiguity. Exegesis on the pesha¢ level is the means to apprise his audience of the literary quality of the divine word, ‘to let them know that the word of the Holy One is true [‫]אמת‬.’66

60 Touitou has taken Rashbam’s statement literally and, thereby, freed himself from any further discussion on the subject matter (see Touitou, Exegesis in Perpetual Motion, 106): ‫הרי כאן הודאת הפשטן בחוסר יכולתו ובחוסר יעילותו של הפשט לפרש‬

‫ אין אפוא לדון בפרשה זו במסגרת דיוננו על דרכי הפרשנות של‬.‫את פרשת נגעים‬ ‫רשב"ם‬.

61 Immediately following his introductory statement, Rashbam deals the Hebrew phrasing ‘on his skin’ (Lev. 13:2), thereby making arguments against Rashi and the rabbinic sources (Sifra ad loc.) by explaining that since later in the passage it says A man or woman—when he has an affliction on the head or (a man) in his beard . . . (Lev. 13:29), the verse at hand has to specify that the affection referred to is ‘on the skin.’ 62 Compare as an example his explanation on the Hebrew term ‫ לנגע צרעת‬in Lev. 13:2 ‫ כך נקרא הנגע‬.‫ כדכת' מצורעת כשלג‬,‫ שיהיה מקום הנגע בשר לבן‬.‫לנגע צרעת‬ ‫‘ כשהוא לבן‬the spot of the affliction will be white flesh, as it is written (Num. 12:10) Miriam had tsara’at—as white as snow—therefore the affliction is called (‘tsara’at’ ), since it is white.’ Similarly, on Lev. 13:30 we read: [‫ מקום שער קורא נתק שעל ]ידי‬.‫צרעת‬ ‫‘ כך מתנתק השיער‬It is a crusted area: tsara’at located on hair is called ‫נתק‬, since by this (affliction a person’s) hair is cut off.’ 63 In Lev. 13:18 Rashbam cites an explanation from mNeg 9:1 according to which ‫‘ שחין‬boil / inflammation’ is caused by the heat from a beating: ‫ פירשו רבותינו‬.‫שחין‬ ‫שבא על ידי חמימות מלקות שהכוהו‬. 64 Lockshin, Rashbam’s Commentary on Leviticus and Numbers, Translation, 72n11. 65 Ibid. 66 Rashbam on Gen. 1:1; compare also the commentary on Job 36:3 ascribed to Rashbam.

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1.3. Bodily Purity and Figurative Speech The literary perfection of the divine commandments is also the subtle subtheme in our last example, the commentary on Lev. 15:11 that is part of the section on genital discharges:67 If one with a discharge, without having rinsed his hands in water, touches another person, that person shall wash his clothes, bathe in water, and remain impure until evening. Rashbam explains as follows: Without having rinsed his hands in water. ‘The one with a discharge had not immersed [in a miqveh].’ Thus the rabbis explained. But to me it appears that according to the pesha¢, [ yadaw ‘his hands’ is a euphemism for the male member]. Since it says above (v. 3) . . . whether his flesh [i.e., his member] runs with the discharge or is stopped up so that there is no discharge . . ., i.e., [that the discharge] becomes encrusted and sticks to his flesh, therefore, it now says euphemistically and he didn’t rinse “ his hands” in water. For, if he did not scrub his flesh properly, including the opening of his membrum virile which is stopped up68—as it is explained in tractate Niddah69—even if he immersed [in a miqveh], he would still be impure, because he did not scrub [his flesh including his member] properly before the immersion, and anyone who touches him becomes impure. Since it is through the opening of his membrum virile that the discharge comes out and that [i.e., the membrum] requires scrubbing [before immersing], he used the same language used for rinsing one’s hands figuratively . . . [ There follow examples on euphemistic speech and figurative language from Prov. 30:20; Judg. 3:24].70

Rashbam’s comments here are striking. There can be no doubt that he was familiar with the halakhic discourse on the complicated issue of transfer of impurity. A person who had not immersed in a miqveh

67 Lev. 15: Abnormal male discharges / pathological emission: gonorrheic discharges (vv. 1–15); regular male discharges / non-pathological emission: semen (vv. 16–18); regular female discharges / non-pathological emission: menstrual discharges (vv. 19–24); abnormal female discharges / pathological emission (vv. 25–30). 68 I.e., it becomes encrusted. 69 Cf. bNid 43b; Rosin, Der Pentateuch-Commentar des Samuel ben Meir, 158n1 does not relate the reference in Tractate Niddah to the issue of the ‘encrusted discharge,’ but to the issue of a person remaining impure if he had not rinsed himself properly before immersing in a miqveh (cf. bNid 66b); compare also the arguments in Lockshin, Rashbam’s Commentary on Leviticus and Numbers, Translation, 81n22. 70 ‫ ולי נראה לפי‬.‫ כך דרשו חכמים‬.‫ הזב לא טבל‬.‫יא( וידיו לא שטף במים‬, ‫)ויקר‘ טו‬

‫ שהוגלד ונדבק על‬,‫פשוטו לפי שאמר למעלה רר בשרו את זובו או החתים בשרו מזובו‬ ‫ שאם לא שיפשף יפה את בשרו וגם‬,‫ לכך דבר לשון נקייה וידיו לא שטף במים‬,‫בשרו‬ ‫ הואיל ולא‬,[‫ אעפ"י שטבל עדיין טמא ]הוא‬,‫ כמפורש במסכת נדה‬,‫פי האמה שהחתים‬ ‫ ולפי שדרך פי האמה הזוב יוצא וצריך‬.‫שיפשף יפה קודם טבילה וכל הנוגע בו טמא‬ . . . ‫ דיבר לשון שטיפת ידיו למשל‬,‫שיפשוף‬.

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remains impure and thus can transfer impurity to anyone else whether or not he might have washed his hands or any of his other limbs. The later halakhic rule, thus, expands the biblical wording.71 However, Rashbam is not interested in harmonizing the biblical idiom with later halakhah, nor does he elucidate the verse according to its ‘plain meaning.’ An explanation according to the ‘plain meaning,’ i.e., the literal sense would have raised the problem that Ibn Ezra had already brought up in his commentary ad loc., that the biblical commandment could be understood to mean that a person who has ‘washed his hands’ does not transfer impurity even if he has not immersed in a miqveh.72 A clarification of the biblical expression according to its pesha¢, means, therefore, the exegetical elucidation of its linguistic clarity and subtlety, which can even include figurative speech. The prime example of the point we are making here is Rashbam’s comment on Exod. 13:9 that has puzzled generations of scholars. The biblical verse forms the basis for the later rabbinic rule of putting on phylacteries (tefillin): And this shall serve you as a sign on your hand and as a reminder between your eyes [traditionally translated as ‘on your forehead’]. Rashbam explains: A sign on your hand. According to the profundity of this [verse’s] pesha¢, it will always be a remembrance for you, as if it were written on your hand. [This verse is] similar to [the verse] ‘Set me as a seal upon your heart.’73 Between your eyes. Like an ornament or a gold chain that one generally puts on the forehead as a decoration.74

This example shows exceptionally clearly that pesha¢ / omeq peshu¢o in this context does not denote ‘straightforward sense’ or ‘plain meaning,’ since Rashbam refers to Song of Sol. 8:6, a verse containing figurative language. Pesha¢ in Rashbam’s view refers to the literary dimension of a 71 Therefore, Rashi’s commentary ad loc. harmonizes the biblical idiom with the halakhic rule, stating that ‘washing someone’s hands’ is synonymous with ‘immersing in a miqveh:’ ‫ ואפילו פסק מזובו וספר‬,‫ בעוד שלא טבל מטומאתו‬.‫וידיו לא שטף במים‬ ‫ מטמא בכל טומאותיו‬,‫שבעה ומחוסר טבילה‬. 72 Ibn Ezra ad loc.: ‫וידיו לא שטף במים היה נראה לנו כי כל מאכל והדומה לו‬

‫ בעבור שלא נגע במקום‬,‫ וידיו שטופות איננו טמא‬,‫ והנגיעה היא בידים‬,‫שיגע בו הזב‬ ‫ ועל דרך הפשט כי‬.‫ רק כאשר ראינו אבותינו פירשו וידיו גופו קבלנו דבריהם‬,‫הזוב‬ ‫ ואם לא היו שטופות יטמאו‬,‫כל טהור שיגע בו הזב וידיו שטופות הוא יטמא ולא בגדיו‬ ‫ וזה כמו הנוגע בכל אשר יהיה תחתיו‬.‫בגדיו‬. 73

Song of Sol. 8:6.

‫ לפי עומק פשוטו יהיה לך לזכרון תמיד כאילו כתוב‬.‫ט( לאות על ידך‬, ‫)שמ‘ יג‬ ‫ כעין תכשיט ורביד זהב שרגילין ליתן‬.‫ בין עיניך‬:‫ כעין שימני כחותם על לבך‬.‫על ידך‬ ‫על המצח לנוי‬. 74

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verse and does not necessarily denote an understanding ad litteram. In other words, just as the derekh ha-meshorerim ‘the way of the trouvères’ refers to a particular genre, the interpretation lefi derekh erets refers to a particular quality of the biblical text as literature. The notion that divine speech uses figurative language has consequences for the understanding of the Torah’s legal sections. It releases the exegete from having to choose between pesha¢ and derash. The derash as rabbinic correlation of the biblical text through the use of halakhic hermeneutic devices often does not match the biblical wording, while the pesha¢ time and again does not make sense. Although the Talmud already states that the ‘Torah employs human phraseology’ (‫)דברה תורה כלשון בני אדם‬,75 it seems that one of Rashbam’s goals was to revamp this dictum for his own purposes. Perhaps Rashbam developed this approach, because either non-Jews or some of his coreligionists held the view that pesha¢-exegesis does not make sense when it tries to explicate the legal portions of the Torah. 1.4. Exceeding Denominational Boundaries: The Various Faces of ‘Maskilim’ The perception that the narrative and legal sections in the Torah often contradict one another, and therefore, necessitate an allegorical reading of the texts, was a central issue in the Jewish-Christian debate as well as within each religious community. It formed a decisive argument in the Disputatio Iudaei at Christiani of Gilbert Crispin,76 written between 1090 and 1095,77 that circulated during the eleventh and twelfth centuries not only among Christians, but also among the Jews in the second half of the twelfth century at the latest. In 1170, Jacob ben Reuben wrote his book Mil˜amot ha-Shem ‘Wars of the Lord,’ a treatise in which he translated Latin works into Hebrew for antiChristian polemical purposes. One of the passages he translated comprises four questions, dealing with the exegetical necessity of allegorical

Cf. bArakh 3a; bBM 94b; bSan 64b a.fr. Born ca. 1045, Normandy; died in 1117 as abbot of Westminster. 77 Edited by Bernhard Blumenkranz (Disputatio Iudaei et Christiani. Et Anonymi avctoris Dispvtationis Iudei et Christiani continvatio, Stromata patristica et mediaevalia, vol. 3, Ultraiecti et al.: Spectrum, 1956); see also Michael Borgolte, “Christen und Juden im Disput. Mittelalterliche Religionsgespräche im ‘spatial turn’ (Christians and Jews in Dispute. Mediaeval Religious Dialogue in the ‘spatial turn’ ),” Historische Zeitschrift 286,2 (2008): 359–402, esp. 379–393. 75 76

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interpretation. Without delving too deeply into this matter,78 I would like to focus on two topics relevant to Jacob’s arguments in Mil˜amot ha-Shem. First, Jacob addresses the Christian critique which states that the prohibition of certain animals and classifying them as impure contradict the literal understanding of the statement in the creation narrative that God saw all that he had made, and behold, it was very good (Gen. 1:31): Moses wrote further in his book And God saw all that he had made, and behold, it was very good (Gen. 1:31). He thus brought all his creatures together [under the category] ‘very good’—every one that he had made above and below. However, in another place, in [the section] of the classification of the animals, he wrote: These are the ones that are impure for you . . . (Lev. 11:31); these you may eat (Lev. 11:9). Furthermore, with regard to the impure beasts, he did not warn only against eating, but also against touching: . . . anyone who touches their carcass will be impure until the evening (Lev. 11:24). How [is it possible] that those [animals] that are so repulsive in the eyes of the creator that touching them renders one impure are [nevertheless] included in the category of ‘very good?’ . . . Now, if you were to grasp [the meaning] of the Torah according to the written letter alone, you should wonder how the creator could have made all the animals [and called them] ‘very good’ and later on have declared some pure and others impure. And he did not declare impure [only] those animals which are harmful to man by nature; rather, he prohibited many which are very good to eat. Consequently, we should understand some figura and allegoria [‫ ]דמיון ומשל‬in these words and even though God [himself ] had declared them according to the letter their meanings are inconsistent with one another with regard to the issue of the ‘shell of the [creator’s] statement.79

78 See in particular David Berger, “Gilbert Crispin, Alan of Lille, and Jacob ben Reuben: A Study in the Transmission of Medieval Polemic,” Speculum 49,1 (1974): 34–47. 79 Jacob ben Reuben, Mil˜amot ha-Shem (ed. Judah Rosenthal [ Jerusalem: Mossad Harav Kook, 1963]), 24–25: ‫ וירא אלהים את כל אשר עשה‬,‫עוד כתב משה בספרו‬

‫ כל הנבראים מעלה ומטה אשר‬,‫ והביא כל יצוריו בכלל טוב מאד‬,‫והנה טוב מאד‬ ‫ את זה תאכלו ובטמאות‬,‫ ובמקום אחר בחילוק הבהמות כתב אלה הטמאים לכם‬,‫עשה‬ ‫ שנאמר כל הנוגע בנבלתם יטמא עד‬,‫ אך גם כן במגע‬,‫לא בא להזהיר באכילה לבד‬ ‫ איך נכללו בכלל‬,‫ להיותם טמאים למגע אדם‬,‫הערב ואלה אשר נמאסו בעיני הבורא‬ ‫ איך יצר הבורא‬,‫ אם תתבונן בתורה כפי המכתב לבד‬,‫ ויש עליך לתמוה‬. . . ?‫טוב מאד‬ ‫ ולא טימא הבורא‬,‫ ואחרי כן טיהר את אלה וטימא את אלה‬,‫כל הבהמות טובות מאד‬ ‫הבהמות המזיקות לאדם בעד התולדת? אך רבות מהן אשר אסר אחר שהן טובות מאד‬ ‫ אעפ"י שהבורא אמרם כפי‬.‫ על כן יש לנו להבין בדברים האלה דמיון ומשל‬.‫לאכול‬ ‫ המכתב אין פתרונם שוה זה עם זה בעניין קליפת המאמר‬.

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It is interesting that Jacob proposes a solution that in every aspect resembled what the Christians had always been arguing, namely that interpreting the Torah ad litteram would cause unsurmountable problems, and one should, therefore, make every effort to interpret the Bible figuratively and allegorically. Moreover, Jacob’s conclusion that God’s words are inconsistent with each other, if interpreted ad litteram, shows that the Jews were not immune to rational arguments, even when they were made by the church. The fact that we find these arguments in an explicit anti-Christian polemical treatise ( Jacob, for instance, addresses his Christian counterpart as ‘the denier’)80 suggests that it might have been an issue for the Jewish community some 30–50 years earlier. Just as our above-mentioned X was interested in the exegesis ad litteram and, therefore, walked along the well-trodden paths, shoulder to shoulder with some of the Jewish intellectuals, likewise Jacob had to cope with a problem that in the end he dealt with exegetically in the same way as did Christian exegetes. There is, yet, another topic that needs further treatment. It is noteworthy that Jacob addresses his audience or his implied reader in a way quite similar to that of Rashbam: Let me start with an initial statement, [namely] to establish in truth . . . that all the words of Moses are true and correct to one who understands, and his Torah and his testimony are faithful, and his word is correct. However, the erudite should examine [the] words [of the Torah] with [their] intellect, and observe the commandments at the proper time, for if we will examine the words of the Torah only according to the [written] letter, many things will be difficult for us [to understand].81

More plainly than in the writings of Rashbam, we might understand Jacob’s maskilim as ‘rationalists,’ i.e., theologians that apply logic and rationalism to the biblical texts. For them, the allegorical method proved a useful tool to cope with textual difficulties more than any other exegetical method. Among the Jewish exegetes, Ibn Ezra likewise had taken refuge under the wings of allegory at times when midrashic exegesis did not seem appropriate. For the Jews, however, 80

Jacob ben Reuben, Mil˜amot ha-Shem, 23: ‫ואלה הם ארבע שאלות אשר שאל‬

‫המכחד‬.

81 Jacob ben Reuben, Mil˜amot ha-Shem, 24–25: ‫ לקיים‬,‫החילותי לדבר בתחילת דברי‬ ,‫ ותורתו ועדותו נאמנה‬,‫ כי כל דברי משה אמתיים ונכוחים למבין‬. . . ‫בקיום האמת‬ ,‫ ולשמור בעתם כל המצות‬,‫ ויש למשכילים להתבונן בדברים מתוך השכל‬.‫ומילתו נכונה‬ ‫ אך כפי המכתב יקשו עלינו דברים רבים‬,‫כי אם לא נתבונן בדברי התורה‬.

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allegorical interpretation of the legal sections would have caused a dilemma with regard to the practical observance of the commandments. Therefore, Ibn Ezra harshly rejects allegorization of the legal sections of the Torah: However, concerning [verses dealing with] laws, statutes and regulations [in contrast to non-legal texts], if we find two [possible] meanings to a verse, one of which follows the exegesis of the official interpreters [of Oral Torah], tsaddiqim, every one of them, we must, without a doubt, lean with all our might on their true [interpretation]. Heaven forbid that we should get mixed up with the Sadducees [i.e., Karaites] who say that the tradition[al interpretation of the official interpreters] contradicts the written biblical text and grammatical rules.82

In view of the exegetical difficulties raised by the younger Jacob ben Reuben, we may now well envision the problems Rashbam had faced when dealing with either Jewish maskilim or Christian adversaries. We have no clear information about the neglect of halakhah in Rashbam’s times, but any notion that could abet such an approach must have been an intellectual challenge to him that he sought to withstand by means of a new exegetical concept. Last, but not least, there is another interesting facet of the question of the educational framework for this new ‘art of reading’ for an audience of maskilim. As I have already demonstrated, the Jewish community of Northern France, at least its critical and ‘enlightened’ members, made every effort to participate as much as possible in all aspects of the contemporary society. Rashbam’s comments on Exod. 23:19 mirror exactly this approach: You shall not boil a kid in its mother’s milk: Usually, goats give birth at once to two kids, and it was customary to slaughter one of them. Since goats [typically] generate much milk . . . it was customary to boil it in its mother’s milk. The text speaks of what usually occurs. However, to consume the mother’s milk together with her offspring is disgraceful, gluttonous and greedy. This is similar to ‘. . . it and its young . . .83 and [the duty of ]

82 R. Abraham Ibn Ezra, Introduction to his Torah-Commentary (translation taken from Lancaster, Deconstructing the Bible, 172): ‫ אם מצאנו‬,‫רק בתורות ובמשפטים ובחקים‬

‫ נשען על‬,‫ שהיו כולם צדיקים‬,‫ והטעם האחד כדברי המעתיקים‬,‫שני טעמים לפסוקים‬ ‫ האומרים כי‬,‫ וחלילה חלילה להתערב עם הצדוקים‬.‫אמתם בלי ספק בידים חזקים‬ ‫ והדקדוקים‬,‫העתקתם מכחשת הכתוב‬.

83 Lev. 22:28 refers to the commandment that one may not slaughter a mother and her kid on the same day.

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‘letting the mother bird go’ [‫]שילוח הקן‬.84 The text gave this commandment in order to teach civilized behavior. And since during a pilgrim festival85 people used to consume many animals, [the biblical author] warned [the Israelites] in [this] section on the pilgrim festivals not to boil a kid in its mother’s milk . . . This rule applies to all milk and meat, as already explained by our teachers in [Mishnah] She˜i¢at ˜ullin.86

What Rashbam explains here is that the Torah and the later rabbinic tradition (i.e., the Oral Torah) do not only teach a Jew to conduct his life according to halakhah, but to live according to the mores of contemporary non-Jewish society. His comments on Exod. 23:19 match almost exactly his explanations on Deut. 22:6, with one important variation—the reference to ‘the way of the world’ instead of the ‘way of civilized behavior,’ and the answer to the ‘minim:’ You shall not take the [bird’s] mother together with her offspring: According to the way of the world, and as an answer to the minim I have already explained at You shall not boil a kid in its mother’s milk (Exod. 23:19) and likewise in [the verse] . . . it and its young . . . (Lev 22:28)87 [that] it is barbarous and gluttonous to take, slaughter, cook, and eat a mother and offspring together.88

There is no doubt that Rashbam presumes that Jewish society performs the divine commandments properly, but this is the internal, Jewish viewpoint. In his comments ad loc., Rashbam takes the viewpoint of the non-Jewish culture, emphasizing that Jewish law and lore do not contradict the moral teaching of Christian tradition and feudal culture. Based on the passage in Deuteronomy, Touitou assigned

84 ‫( שילוח הקן‬cf. Deut. 22:6–7) refers to the prohibition of taking the mother bird together with the young birds when a nest is taken out. The Torah prescribes that one should let the mother bird go. 85 In Hebrew ‫רגל‬, i.e., Passover, Shavuot, and Sukkot, cf. Exod. 23:14–17.

86 ‫ ורגילים היו לשחוט‬,‫ דרך העזים ללדת שני גדיים יחד‬.‫לא תבשל גדי בחלב אמו‬ ‫ ולפי ההוה דבר‬,‫ היו רגילים לבשלו בחלב האם‬. . . ‫ ומתוך שרוב חלב בעזים‬,‫אחד מהם‬ ‫ ודוגמא זו‬.‫ וגנאי הוא הדבר ובליעה ורעבתנות לאכול חלב האם עם הבנים‬.‫הכתוב‬ ‫ ולפי שברגל היו אוכלין‬.‫ וללמדך דרך תרבות צוה הכתוב‬.‫באותו ואת בנו ושילוח הקן‬ ‫ והוא‬.‫ הזהיר בפרשת הרגלים שלא לבשל ולא לאכול גדי בחלב אמו‬,‫בהמות הרבה‬ ‫ ;הדין לכל בשר בחלב כמו שפירשו רבותינו בשחיטת חולין‬cf. mHul 8:4; on the term

she˜i¢at ˜ullin see bZev 69a; yNaz 4 (53c). Lockshin, Perush ha-Tora, vol. 1, 277n17 identifies she˜i¢at ˜ullin as the common name of the tractate ullin in the medieval sources (‫)תקופת הראשונים‬. 87 See above n83 ad loc.

88 ‫ לפי דרך ארץ ולתשובת המינין כבר פירשתי בלא תבשל‬.‫לא תקח האם על הבנים‬ ‫גדי בחלב אמו וכן באותו ואת בנו שדומה לאכזריות ורעבתנות לקחת ולשחוט ולבשל‬ ‫ולאכול אם ובנים יחד‬.

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both comments to the realm of Christian-Jewish religious rivalry and polemical discourse. He argued that both the comments were written from the very beginning as a rebuttal of the Christian allegation that the Jewish religion was strict and harsh, and the laws of the Torah lacked compassion.89 According to Touitou, Rashbam, thus, saw himself as a defender of the merciful nature of the Torah that was frequently attacked by Christians who claimed to have a monopoly on compassion. Rashbam’s comments on Deut. 22:6 are a fine example of the difficulties one encounters when dealing with medieval texts of whose Sitz im Leben we know next to nothing. First, we need to establish how these texts influenced each other. It is obvious that Rashbam offers a cross-reference for his reader. However, does that mean that the comments on Deut. 22:6 as an answer to the minim also apply to the explanation of Exod. 23:19? It might have been the other way round. Even Touitou admits that Rashbam’s remarks on Exod. 23 do not show any sign of polemical intent. Possibly, Rashbam knew about the theological allegations by for example the later Peter ‘the Chanter’ (c. 1130–1197) published in the 1150s.90 However, the ‘answer’ or ‘rebuttal’ to the Christian side was certainly not Rashbam’s chief motivation for writing a commentary in the way he did. We would not do justice to Rashbam’s comments if we regarded them exclusively in the light of anti-Christian polemics. Rather, it seems that Rashbam wants to present Judaism and Jewish culture (including the legal aspects) as being on a par with the surrounding civilization. He could just as well have been directing his comments against internal opponents and Jewish critics. Rashbam’s aim was, thus, not to distance the Jewish community from the outside world, but to integrate it into medieval society. We might, therefore, describe Rashbam’s commentary not as a means for gaining Jewish self-confidence in a hostile Christian environment, but as the result of a growing cultural assimilation and social self-assurance within the surrounding culture. With regard to the striking parallels between Jacob ben Reuben and Rashbam’s targetting of Compare Touitou, Exegesis in Perpetual Motion, esp. 44,186. Compare Gilbert Dahan, “L’article Iudei de la Summa Abel de Pierre le Chantre,” Revue d’ Etudes Augustiniennes et Patristiques 27 (1981): 105–126, 105, idem., “Les Interprétations juives dans les Commentaires du Pentateuque de Pierre le Chantre,” in The Bible in the Medieval World: Essays in Memory of Beryl Smalley, ed. Katherine Walsh and Diana Wood (Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1985), 131–155, esp. 13–25; Touitou, Exegesis in Perpetual Motion, 186 refers mainly to Peter the Chanter. 89 90

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the maskilim, we might suggest that Rashbam’s primary goal was to bring those intellectuals back to the Jewish literary heritage that they had already become estranged from. The conflict between an (antirabbinic) intellectual elite and rabbinic Judaism that broke out openly at the beginning of the thirteenth century with the Maimonidean controversy, focusing mainly on the issue of the ‘right’ understanding of Scripture might well have been foreshadowed in Rashbam’s days. Rashbam’s focus on the literal and contextual interpretation avoids the unsavory alternative that Jacob ben Reuben proposes, viz., abandoning pesha¢, declaring the divine speech as inconsistent, and replacing it with a figurative reading of the biblical text. 2. The ‘Ipssissima Verba Dei,’ the ‘Redactor,’ and the Question of Pesha We have seen that Rashbam’s interests focus on the divine word’s unambiguity and the literary quality inherent in divine speech. However, so far we have not yet accounted for Rashbam’s distinctive and sophisticated terminology with regard to the legal sections that are relevant for his perception of Moses’ role in the compositional process of the Torah. One of the most essential prerequisites for Rashbam’s definition of what the ‘Torah’ comprises, is his belief that the commandments were given by God himself, and, therefore, form the central part of the Torah.91 For this reason, Rashbam designates four categories of legalia, distinguishing between ‘aseret ha-dibberot, i.e., the ‘(ten) Words,’ / the Decalogue; mitswot, i.e., the ‘commandments;’ halakhot and dinim, i.e. ‘(halakhic) rules’ and ‘laws,’ and ˜uqqim and mishpa¢im, i.e., ‘statutes’ and ‘ordinances.’ Rashbam refers to the ‘(ten) Words’ in his commentaries on Gen. 1:5.8.27, Exod. 23:13, Num. 1:1,92 Num. 10:33, and Deut. 5:12. At Gen. 1 Rashbam writes:

91

Compare also Touitou, Exegesis in Perpetual Motion, 113: ‫ כי‬. . . ‫תפיסתו של רשב"ם‬

‫גרעינה של התורה ועיקרה הוא החלק ההלכי שלה‬.

92 See also Rashbam’s commentary on Num. 10:33: ‫ כי עדיין לא זזו מכנגד‬.'‫מהר ה‬ ‫ ]ואף על פי שבכל הדברות שנאמרו בשנה שניה לא‬.‫הר חורב שהוא במדבר סיני‬ ‫ זה לאחר שהוקם המשכן כמו שפירשתי למעלה‬,[‫;נאמר בהר סיני אלא במדבר סיני‬

the text in brackets is a completion by Rosin, Der Pentateuch-Commentar des Samuel ben Meir, 176n9.

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chapter six (Gen 1:5) Thus, the first day of these six days that the Holy One, Blessed be He, mentioned in the [first] Decalogue [‫]י' הדברות‬,93 was completed, and afterwards the second day began . . .94 (Gen. 1:8) Thus, that the second day of these six days that the Holy One, Blessed be He, mentioned in the [first] Decalogue [‫]עשרת הדברות‬,95 was finished, and now, in the morning, the third day began.96 (Gen. 1:27) In his image of man, which is in the image of God, [i.e.], of the angels. Do not be astonished that the forming of [the] angels was not explicated, since Moses did not write here anything about angels, gehinnom [‘hell’], or the ma‘aseh merkavah [the ‘divine chariot’],97 but [only] those things that one can see in the world that are referred to in the [first] Decalogue [‫]עשרת הדברות‬, since this is the [only] reason why the entire six days of creation are described, as I have explained above.98

We have already dealt with Rashbam’s introduction and explanations on Gen. 1 in the context of the question of Moses’ authorship.99 Moses wrote the creation report as part of the narrative framing of the Decalogue. The Decalogue represents the original word of God as a kind of ‘live-recording’ that achieves theological priority. Although in Exod. 23:13 and Num. 1, Rashbam’s terminology is somewhat fuzzy, from his comments on Gen. 1 it is obvious that in talking of the ‫דברות‬ he is primarily referring to the first(!) Decalogue,100 but his comments on Num. 1 enlarge the application of this term to subsequent divine commandments as well. The Decalogue in Exod. 20 forms the yardstick by which all other explanations, addenda, and completions are measured. As for the importance of Exod. 20, we must read Rashbam carefully and pay attention to a sentence that at first sight seems to be insignificant. Rashbam emphasizes ‘those six days that the Holy One, Blessed be He, mentioned in the [first] Decalogue.’ Whereas the first

93

Exod. 20:11.

,‫ הרי הושלם יום א' מן הו' ימים שאמר הק' בי' הדברות‬. . . (‫ה‬,‫)רשב"ם ברא' א‬ ‫ואח"כ התחיל יום שיני‬. 94 95

Exod. 20:11.

‫ הרי נגמר יום שני מששת הימים שאמר הקב"ה בעשרת‬. . . (‫ח‬,‫)רשב"ם ברא' א‬ ‫הדברות והתחיל עתה יום שלישי בבקר‬. 96 97

Cf. Ezek. 1;10; see also bHag 11–14.

‫ ואל תתמה‬.‫ מלאכים‬,‫ של אדם הוא בצלם אלהים‬.‫)רשב"ם ברא' א( )כז( בצלמו‬ ‫ כי לא כתב משה כאן לא מלאכים ולא גיהנם ולא‬,‫אם לא נתפרש יצירת המלאכים‬ ‫ כי לכך‬,‫ אלא דברים שאנו רואים בעולם הנזכרים בעשרת הדברות‬,‫מעשה מרכבה‬ ‫נאמר כל מעשה ששת הימים כמו שפירשתי למעל‬. 98

See above Chapter Four, 1.1. Lockshin, Rashbam’s Commentary on Exodus, Translation, 281n22 did not distinguish between the first and the second versions of the Decalogue. 99

100

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221

version of the Decalogue says ‘And God spoke all these words, saying . . .’,101 the text in Deuteronomy 5 notes clearly that Moses merely retold the Decalogue to the Israelites, mentioning God’s speech in 3rd-Personnarrative: YHWH spoke with you face to face in the mount out of the midst of the fire—At that time I stood between YHWH and you in order to tell you what YHWH was saying; because, on account of the fire, you were afraid and wouldn’t go up onto the mountain. He said . . .102 Rashbam took the biblical text and its literary design exceptionally seriously. Therefore, in his exegesis of Deut. 5:12 (the commandment of observing the Sabbath) he again insists on the theological supremacy of Exod. 20:8–11 that reads ‘Remember . . .:’ Observe the day of the Sabbath. I have already explained [in the section] of the first Decalogue why it says ‘Remember!’ there, and ‘Observe!’ here as YHWH your God has commanded you. In other words: [one has to understand the verse and, thus, observe the Sabbath] in the same sense as it is explained in the first [version] of the Decalogue, for in six days YHWH made heaven and earth, etc.103

Rashbam’s interpretation goes against Rashi (on Deut. 5:12) who explained that both phrases—‘Remember!’ and ‘Observe!’ were spoken and heard simultaneously as one word.104 Akin to his exegetical approach on the legal sections in the book of Leviticus, here, too, Rashbam argues for unambiguity as the distinguishing quality of the divine word. To Rashbam, ‘Remember!’ and ‘Observe!’ do not form a lone ‘meta-word,’ but two discrete idioms bearing two distinct meanings. Only the first Decalogue is of divine origin; the second version represents but Moses’ revised and edited version. Although I agree with Touitou that according to Rashbam the divine speech encompasses only the legalia, I would suggest modifying his interpretation so it refers only to particular sections of the literary entity that later on developed into the ‘Torah.’

101 102

MT: . . . ‫וידבר אלהים את כל הדברים האלה‬. MT Deut. 5:4–5: ‫ )ה( אנכי עמד‬.‫)ד( פנים בפנים דבר ה׳ עמכם בהר מתוך האש‬

‫בין ה׳ וביניכם בעת ההוא להגיד לכם את דבר ה׳ כי יראתם מפני האש ולא ה׳ עליתם‬ ‫בהר לאמר‬. 103 (Exod. 20:11) ‫ כבר פירשתי בדברות‬.‫יב( שמור את יום השבת‬,‫)רשב"ם דבר' ה‬ ‫ כלומר כמו שמפורש‬.‫ כאשר צוך ה' אלהיך‬.‫הראשונים למה נאמר כאן זכור וכאן שמור‬ '‫הטעם בדברות הראשונים כי ששת ימים עשה ה' את השמים ואת הארץ וגו‬. 104 See Rashi ad loc.: ‫ ובראשונות הוא אומר זכור שניהם בדבור אחד ובתיבה‬.‫שמור‬ ‫ ;אחת נאמרו ובשמיעה אחת נשמעו‬Rashi’s commentary ad loc. cites the explanation already given in the MekhY Yitro, Ba-˜odesh 4.

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There is, however, a second reason why Rashbam implicitly rejects Rashi’s comments on Deut. 5:12. Rashi had read the second half of the verse (v. 12b) as referring to the ‘statute and ordinance’ given to the Israelites at Marah, and, therefore, explained that God had already given a glimpse of the commandments at Marah: As (YHWH your God) has commanded you, i.e., before the giving of the Torah, at Marah.105 In his comments on Exod. 15:25, Rashi had already specified this later view, stating: There He made for them. In Marah, He [God] gave them some sections of the Torah namely to occupy themselves with the Sabbath, the red heifer, and laws [for administering justice]. And there, He [God] tested them. The people, and He saw their stubbornness that they did not ask Moses for advice in a polite manner.106

Rashbam refutes this view of the course of events. To him, the first commandments given by God are those reported in Exod. 20 as we can see from his comments on Num. 15:23 and Exod. 23:13 where he states his opinion clearly: (Num. 15:23) Everything that YHWH had commanded you by the hand of Moses . . . From the day that YHWH commanded [you], and onward . . . All the commandments were commanded after [God had spoken] “I am [YHWH]” and “You shall not have,”107 since these were the first commandments.108 (Exod. 23:13) . . . all that I have told you . . .: from the day of the beginning of the [ten] ‘words’ [i.e., the First Decalogue] until today . . .109

Here, Rashbam holds the view that the term ‘divine commandments’ is reserved only for those commandments that were imparted by God himself, and thus appear in the biblical text as part of a first-person narrative. In addition, he states that these ‘were the first commandments’ (Num. 15:23), meaning that only those commandment that can be traced back to the initial event of God’s revelation on mount Sinai to the Israelites deserve the designation ‘divine.’ In his explanation of ‫ קודם מתן תורה במרה‬.‫ ;כאשר צוך‬cf. bShab 87b. ‫ במרה נתן להם מקצת פרשיות של תורה שיתעסקו‬.‫כה( שם שם לו‬,‫)רש"י שמ' טו‬ ‫ וראה קשי ערפו שלא נמלכו ממשה‬,‫ לעם‬.‫ ושם נסהו‬.‫ שבת ופרה אדומה ודינין‬,‫בהם‬ ‫ ;בלשון יפה‬Rashi’s explanations here are based on Mekhilta ad loc. and bSan 56b. 105 106

107

Exod. 20:2–3.

‫ מן היום אשר ציוה‬. . . ‫כג( את כל אשר ציוה ה' אליכם ביד משה‬,‫)רשב"ם במד' טו‬ ‫ כל המצות כולן נצטוו אחר אנכי ולא יהיה לך כי הם ראשונות‬.‫ה' והלאה‬. 109 ‫ מיום התחלת הדברות עד‬.‫יג( ובכל אשר אמרתי אליכם‬,‫)רשב"ם שמ' כג‬ ‫עכשיו‬. 108

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223

Exod. 12:1, Rashbam applies his view on the commandments related to the first Passover: In the land of Egypt, saying: This month . . .: Since this is a section of commandments, it was necessary to explain that these commandments were commanded in Egypt, but the rest of the commandments [were given] either at Mount Sinai, or at the tent of meeting, or on the plains of Moab.110

Rashbam stresses that all the commandments were given in the desert, either at Mount Sinai, in the tent of meeting, or, finally, on the plains of Moab. Therefore, Rashbam has to depreciate the statute and ordinance mentioned in Exod. 15 that Rashi identified with some of the later commandments by characterizing them as a sort of preliminary educational speech and a spiritual preparation for the later giving of the Torah (Exod. 15:25–26): There He made for them statute and ordinance; and there he put [the people] to test. There, in Marah, by means of the test of making them thirsty for water and afterwards sweetening the water for them, he began to discipline them that they [should be ready] to take upon themselves the statutes and ordinances that he taught them, and he would take care of their needs. And in what way did ‘he make for them statute and ordinance?’ By saying to them:111 “If you will listen carefully to the voice of YHWH, your God etc. . . and observe all these statutes that he commanded to you.112

Rashbam uses a similar terminology in his comments on Gen. 26:5: My statutes and my teachings. According to the essence of the pesha¢ this refers to all the well-recognized laws like theft, adultery, covetousness, [other] civil laws and hospitality,—all of which were observed before the giving of the Torah, but were renewed and explained to Israel [at Mount Sinai] [when] they entered [a] covenant to fulfil them.113

‫ לפי שפרשה של מצות‬.'‫א( בארץ מצרים לאמר החדש הזה וגו‬,‫)רשב"ם שמ' יב‬ ‫ אבל שאר מצות יש מהם בהר סיני‬,‫]היא[ הוצרך לפרש שמצוות הללו נצטוו במצרים‬ ‫ויש מהם באהל מועד ויש מהם בערבות מואב‬. 110

111 112

Exod. 15:26; for the last part of the sentence see Deut. 4:40; 27:10. ‫ שם במרה על‬.[‫כו( שם שם לו חוק ומשפט ]ושם נסהו‬-‫ כה‬,‫)רשב״ם שמ׳ טו‬

‫ידי עלילות הנסיון אשר שם להצמיאם למים ואחר כך ריפא להם את המים התחיל‬ .‫להוכיחם שיקבלו עליהם את החוקים ואת המשפטים אשר ילמדם והוא יעשה צורכיהם‬ ‫והיאך שם לו חוק ומשפט? שאמר להם אם שמוע תשמע לקול ה' אלהיך וגו' ושמרת‬ ‫כל חוקיו שציוה אתכם‬. 113 ‫ לפי עיקר פשוטו כל המצות הניכרות כגון גזל ועריות וחימוד‬.‫חוקותי ותורותי‬ [‫ כלם היו נוהגין קודם מתן תורה אלא שנתחדשו ונתפרש]ו‬,‫ודינין והכנסת אורחים‬ ‫לישראל וכרתו ברית לקיימן‬.

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Touitou has argued that Rashbam’s emphasis on the locations in the desert and the stress on the commandments as God’s direct speech (as opposed to being transmitted through Moses) formed a rebuttal to the Christian view that distinguished between the Decalogue and the rest of the commandments with regard to their theological significance.114 One might even extend this argument. If the significance of the ‘Divine’ law vis-à-vis the ‘Mosaic’ law had ever been at issue, one could, likewise, assume that Rashbam would have had to defend the law in its entirety against either the Christian view of the law as a ‘theological interim solution’ (until the coming of Christ), or against the view that God gave the law to the Israelites as a punishment.115 Anna Abulafia stressed the point that within the Jewish-Christian debate, two topics became increasingly relevant. The first was the imperfection of the Mosaic Law. The Law, as the Christians took it, was “carnalis and was given carnaliter to carnalibus”.116 The second point stems directly this approach: How could God give an imperfect law to his people?117 We can assume that the Jews knew about these general allegations against the Mosaic law, whether they had good relations with their Christian neighbors or not. It must have been a challenge for the intellectual elite. As for the second issue, calling the Mosaic law imperfect, i.e., preliminary and provisional, might have been the stimulus for Rashbam to emphasize its literary quality and unambiguity ad litteram. The first issue—the Mosaic law versus the law of Christ—is more serious, since the validity of the law was at stake. One of the pivotal references pertaining to the above-mentioned theological issues, is a short conversation between Rashbam and an unknown Jewish audience that deals exactly with the problem of the relationship of God’s divine commandments and the (editorial ) role of Moses. Rashbam reports the question and his answer in his comment on Num. 30:2–3:118 114 Compare already Touitou, Pesha¢ and Apologetics, 234–235; see also Touitou, Exegesis in Perpetual Motion, 120–121. 115 See e.g., Anna S. Abulafia, “An Attempt by Gilbert Crispin, Abbot of Westminster, at Rational Argument in the Jewish-Christian Debate,” in idem, ed., Christians and Jews in Dispute: Disputational Literature and the Rise of Anti-Judaism in the West (c. 1000–1150), VIII, 55–74 (Aldershot: Ashgate, 1998), esp. 63–65. 116 Abulafia, Christians and Jews in Dispute (IX), 109; i.e., the law is ‘of the flesh, and was given through the flesh to those of the flesh.’ 117 Compare ibid., 110. 118 Compare already Urbach, The Tosafists, vol. 1, 46; Heinrich Gross, ed., Gallia Judaica: Dictionaire Géographique de la France d’après le, Sources Rabbiniques (Amsterdam: Philo Press, 1969), 259; Golb, The Jews in Medieval Normandy, 228n21.

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And Moses spoke to the heads of the tribes of the children of Israel . . .119 In the city of Loudun in Anjou, I was asked: According to the pesha¢—where have we ever found a [legal] section starting like this? Since it does not say [as in the sections] above ‘And YHWH spoke to Moses, saying: A man, who makes a vow . . .’ How [is it possible that this] section starts with Moses’ speech that is not [explicitly] explained as originating from the Divine Majesty? This is my answer: It is written above: These you shall offer to YHWH in your appointed seasons, beside your vows, and your freewill-offerings120 that you [also] have to bring on each of the three pilgrimage festivals.121 . . . Therefore, Moses went and spoke to the heads of the tribes, i.e., the judges that they should teach Israel the rules about the vows, and said to them: “The Holy One, Blessed be He, commanded me122 [to tell the Israelites that they] should offer their vows and freewill-offerings on [each] pilgrimage festival, so that their vows may not be delayed.” Therefore, [when it says] ‘A man, who makes a vow to YHWH ’ (Num. 30:3), [it means that he should offer] a sacrifice . . .123

Rashbam’s answer leaves us with more questions than it solves, and here is not the place to delve in detail into the halakhic rules on votive and freewill offerings on the pilgrimage festivals.124 The anonymous questioner is puzzled by the fact that the phrasing in Num. 30:2 does not describe the commandment as originating from God, as is the case in most of the legal sections found in the books of Exodus, Leviticus, and Numbers.125 This problem jibes exactly with what we have 119 MT Num. 30:2–3: ‫וידבר משה אל ראשי המטות לבני ישראל לאמר זה הדבר‬ ‫אשר צוה ה' איש כי ידר נדר לה׳ או השבע שבעה לאסר אסר על נפשו לא יחל דברו‬ ‫ככל היצא מפיו יעשה‬.

Num. 29:39. Compare also Rashbam on Deut. 16:2: ‫ כי‬.‫ חכמים פירשוהו כתרגומו‬.‫צאן ובקר‬ ‫ ;לפי הפשט גם נדריהם ונדבותיהם ברגלים היו מביאין‬see also Rashi on Num. 29:29. 122 Cf. Num. 30:1. 123 (Cf. Num. 29:39bβ); ‫ נשאלתי באניוב בכרך‬.‫וידבר משה אל ראשי המטות‬ 120 121

‫לושדון לפי הפשט היכן מצינו שום פרשה שמתחלת כן? שלא נאמר למעלה וידבר‬ ‫ והיאך מתחלת הפרשה בדבורו של משה שאין‬,'‫ה' אל משה לאמר איש כי ידר וגו‬ ‫ למעלה כת' אלה תעשו לה' במועדיכם לבד‬.‫מפורש לו מפי הגבורה? וזו תשובתי‬ ‫ הלך משה ודבר אל‬. . . ‫ שאתם צריכין להביא באחד משלש רגלים‬,‫מנדריכם ונדבתיכם‬ ‫ הק' צוה לי‬:‫ ואמר להם‬,‫ להורות לישראל הילכות נדרים‬,‫ שהם שופטים‬,‫ראשי המטות‬ ‫ קרבן‬,'‫ לפיכך איש כי ידר נדר לה‬,‫שיקרבו נדריהם ונדבותם ברגל פן יאחרו נדריהם‬.

124 Compare the detailed references in Lockshin, Rashbam’s Commentary on Leviticus and Numbers, Translation, ad loc. 125 The phrase ‫ וידבר ה' אל משה לאמר‬occurs more than 70 times in the Torah (see e.g., Exod. 6:10.29; 13:1; 14:1; 40:1; Lev. 4:1; 5:14.20; 6:1.12 a.fr.); the phrase ‫ וידבר ה' אל משה ואל אהרן לאמר‬occurs ten times (see e.g., Lev. 11:1; 13:1; 15:1; Num. 4:1 a.fr.).

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already noticed above, i.e., that the Northern French exegetes put great emphasis on the fact that the giving of the law originates in God’s revelation on Mount Sinai. The question was, why does the text not refer to a formal request that authorizes Moses to convey this specific commandment to the Israelites as is the case in many other places. Rashbam provides his audience with an explanation that, although written in a very concise style, explicitly fills in the relevant gaps in content. The most important point is Rashbam’s assumption that there was an earlier divine instruction for the Israelites to offer their vows and freewill-offerings on the pilgrimage festivals. The legal section on the offerings126 is introduced by the standard formula ‘‫( ’וידבר ה' אל משה לאמר‬Num. 28:1). The next section that introduces the commandments as coming from God is the one on warfare against Midian (Num. 31:1). The passage dealing with the vows is, thus, framed by these two divine decrees. Because of the earlier divine decree in Num. 28:1, Moses had to turn to the heads of the tribes, i.e., the judges. He might have done so of his own accord. Rashbam, thus, postulates that Num. 30:2 forms the continuation of the commandment in Num. 29:39 that still belongs to the entire section of the divine commandments on the offerings.127 Rashbam must have regarded his reasoning as pesha¢, since he informs us that his audience requested that he answer the question using pesha¢ exegesis. The pesha¢ in his explanations consists of the linkage between Num. 28:1, 29:39, and 30:2 as an inner-biblical crossreference. In any case, his answer shows the endeavor to clear the text of any suspicion that the commandment dealing with the vow does not originate with God. Obviously, Rashbam takes issue with Rashi who shows awareness of the same problem, but claims quite the opposite, namely that Num. 30:1 functions as a separation mark between chapters 29 and 30. Rashi affirms explicitly that the section dealing with vows begins with the words of Moses. Rashi’s interpretation might even have been the starting point for the entire argument:

126 I.e, Num. 28 and 29 (daily offerings; offerings for Sabbath; monthly offerings; offerings at the festivals). 127 Against Lockshin who postulates that Rashbam “does not articulate a precise answer to the question addressed to him” (Lockshin, Rashbam’s Commentary on Leviticus and Numbers, Translation, 285–286n2).

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Moses spoke to the children of Israel (Num. 30:1): [This verse was written] to mark a pause—so says R. Ishmael. Since up to this point, [the text records] words of the Omnipresent,128 and the section on vows starts with Moses’ speech, it was necessary to mark a pause first, stating that Moses repeated this section129 to Israel. For if this were not so, it would mean that he did not tell this to them, but began his words with the section on vows.130

However, highlighting Rashbam’s comments as a defense against possible Christian allegations against the Mosaic law still does not elucidate why Rashbam repeatedly takes issue with Rashi, especially when it comes to the question of where the commandments were given. While Rashi in Lev. 25:1 argued that the phrase ‫ בהר סיני‬served the purpose of explaining in plain words that the details of all the commandments (including their repetition in the book of Deuteronomy) were already given to Moses at Mount Sinai,131 Rashbam explains that the laws following Lev. 25:1 were given ‘before the tent of meeting was erected.’132 Likewise, and as a confirmation for this opinion, he restates in his introduction to the book of Numbers that the laws in Lev. 25 also belong to the ‘divine words’ (‫)הדברות‬: In the wilderness of Sinai, in the tent of meeting, on the first [day] of the second month . . .: All the [divine] words that were spoken during the first year,133 [i.e.] before the tent of meeting was erected, the text refers to them [as having been given] ‘at Mount Sinai.’ But from the moment that the tent of meeting was erected, on the first [day] of the [first] month in the

128

As regards the translation compare PesR 21: ‫אנו יודעים שהוא מקומו של עולם‬

‫ואין עולמו מקומו‬.

129 ‘This section’ refers to the literary context starting with Num. 28:1 that introduces the section on the offerings with the phrase ‫וידבר ה' אל משה לאמר‬. 130 ,‫ דברי רבי ישמעאל‬,‫ להפסיק הענין‬.‫א( ויאמר משה אל בני ישראל‬,‫)רש"י במד' ל‬

‫ הוצרך להפסיק‬,‫לפי שעד כאן דבריו של מקום ופרשת נדרים מתחלת בדבורו של משה‬ ‫ שאם לא כן יש במשמע שלא אמר‬,‫תחלה ולומר שחזר משה ואמר פרשה זו לישראל‬ ‫להם זו אלא בפרשת נדרים התחיל דבריו‬. Rashi’s comments are based on SifBam 152.

131 Rashi on Lev. 25:1: ‘On Mount Sinai: What (special relevance) does the matter of shemi¢ah [i.e., the release of fields in the seventh year] have with Mount Sinai? Were not all the commandments stated from Sinai? Rather, just as (the laws on) shemi¢ah, its general principles and its finer details were all stated from Sinai, likewise, all of them were stated—their general principles (as well as) their finer detailsfrom Sinai’ (,‫ והלא כל המצות נאמרו מסיני‬,‫ מה ענין שמיטה אצל הר סיני‬.‫בהר סיני‬

‫ אף כולן נאמרו כללותיהן‬,‫אלא מה שמיטה נאמרו כללותיה ופרטותיה ודקדוקיה מסיני‬ ‫)ודקדוקיהן מסיני‬. 132 ‫ ;קודם שהוקם אוהל מועד‬compare also Rashbam on Num. 10:33. 133

I.e., the first year following the Exodus.

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chapter six second year, the text does not say ‘at Mount Sinai,’ but ‘in the wilderness of Sinai, in the tent of meeting.’134

Rashbam never explains his vital interest in the fact that the commandments were given at different places in the wilderness. We can only guess why Rashbam’s comments do not restrict the giving of the Torah to Mount Sinai. It was probably the only way that allowed him to relinquish rabbinic tradition, and concentrate on intertextual relationships. As for the terminology Rashbam uses in his commentary, we can without a doubt determine that his primary focus was on the divine origin of the law as well as on the literary quality of the biblical text referred to as the divine word. Rashbam neither draws on rabbinic literature to explain difficulties in the biblical text, nor does he engage in allegorical exegesis. The exegetical demonstration of the literary quality of God’s commandments should not be confused with their function as a guideline for Jewish social and religious life. The meaning and function of the law for halakhic purposes are referred to in Rashbam’s commentary mainly by the terms halakhot and dinim ‘(halakhic) rules’ and ‘laws,’ as in his introductions to Exod. 21 and Lev. 1. Therefore, whenever Rashbam deals with the legalia using his own methodological approach (mostly in opposition to Rashi), he proposes a reading that precludes the law from being a tool for the organization of Jewish religious and social life.

134 ‫ כל הדברות‬.‫א( במדבר סיני באהל מועד באחד לחדש השני‬,‫)רשב"ם במד' א‬ ‫ אבל משהוקם המשכן‬,‫שנאמרו בשנה ראשונה קודם שהוקם המשכן כת' בהן בהר סיני‬ ‫באחד לחדש בשנה שנייה לא יאמר בהר סיני אבל במדבר סיני באהל מועד‬.

CHAPTER SEVEN

THE OLD FRENCH GLOSSES AND RASHBAM’S EXEGESIS ‘ACCORDING TO THE WAYS OF THE WORLD’ In the following, we will not be concerned with the morphology and phonology of the Old-French glosses in Rashbam’s commentary, or with their preservation of Old French archaisms such as the Old French case system or diphthongs.1 Instead, we will concentrate on the exegetical function of the transposition from the Hebrew into the Old French idiom (‘metaphrasis’ ),2 on its educational target, as well as on the hermeneutical purpose that their integration into the comments reveals. The gloss-explanations given in this chapter are not exhaustive,3 but rather embody a representative cross section.4 As Menahem Banitt points out, there is a mutual interrelation between translation and interpretation. For our purposes, we shall focus on three issues pertaining to the glosses in Rashbam’s commentary on the Torah: 1) Are there regular and stable features of the glosses that show Rashbam’s attempts to link the Hebrew language and its semantics with the Old French-vernacular? 2) What can we say about the relationship between Rashbam’s glosses and the glosses both in the glossaries (‫ )ספרי פתרונות‬like the Leipzig Glossary or the Basel glossary, and in Rashi’s commentary? and 3) How does Rashbam incorporate the Old French-glosses into his literary-theoretical and narrative approach? How do they represent an exegesis ‘according to the way of the world?’

1 I thank Dr. Marc Kiwitt, Dictionnaire étymologique de l’ancien français (DEAF), Heidelberg, for discussing the issue with me in detail, and for providing me with most helpful advice and improvements. 2 This is an expression of Menahem Banitt; compare Banitt, “Exegesis or Metaphrasis,” 13. 3 See Appendix. 4 In the following, I refer to the Sigla of the dictionaries as used in the Dictionnaire étymologique de l’ancien français (see Appendix). For a detailed bibliography compare in particular the Dictionnaire étymologique de l’ancien français: http://www.deaf-page.de/

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1. Glossing Lexicographical, Syntactical and Stylistic Distinctive Features In thirty-three verses in his Torah-commentary Rashbam introduces one or more Old French glosses.5 At times, he simply explains a Hebrew verb or noun with its Old French equivalent, i.e., the simple, plain sense in the vernacular. This is the case, e.g., in Exod. 27:3 (And you shall make its pots to take away its ashes, and its shovels [‫)]ויעיו‬. Rashbam offers the Old French translation right away (‫ שקורין וודיל בלעז‬.‫ויעיו‬ ‘vadil’ ), followed by an explanation on the use of this item (‫לקבץ בהן‬ ‫)הדשן ולתת אותו בתוך סירותיו‬. Rashbam presents here the same Old French gloss as Rashi and the Paris glossary noting ‘é sés véyils,’ both thereby deviating from the translation given in the Leipzig Glossary ִ ְ‫‘ ֵא ֵשיש וַ וי‬ësès vayïs’ (et ses raclettes). The Leipzig Glosthat reads6 ‫יאיש‬ sary, thus, offers a term that denotes a grattoir or a scraper more than a shovel. Rashi’s choice of Old French gloss was probably motivated by the Targum ad loc. Since the Targum offers quite a few more technical terms and items that are not even mentioned in the biblical text, Rashi picks out the reference word and links it to an Old French idiom: . . . and its shovels. [ Its meaning is] as in the Targum [‫]ומגרופיתיה‬, i.e., shovels with which [the priest] removes the ashes, and they had the form of a thin, metal pot lid, but with a handle, ‘vadil’ in Old French.7

Whereas Rashi labels the Old French vadil as comparable to the Hebrew ‫יע‬,8 Rashbam’s explanations shortens Rashi’s comments by simply identifying both idioms.9 In other instances, Rashbam presents a gloss to specify a verbal phrase in terms of its ground form and derived stems as well its tenses and modes. Compare, e.g., Rashbam’s explanations on Gen. 1:29 and 23:11. In both places, the Hebrew verbal phrase (‫ )נתן√ ;נתתי‬is in the

5 According to the printed edition (Rosin), Rashbam offers eighteen glosses in his commentary on the book of Genesis, twelve glosses in the book of Exodus, four glosses in the book of Numbers, and four glosses in the book of Deuteronomy. It is noteworthy that his commentary on Leviticus does not contain any glossed comment. 6 GlLeipzigBa, vol. I, No. 2374.

7 ‫ והן כמין כסוי הקדרה של מתכת דק ולו בית‬,‫ מגרפות שנוטל בהם הדשן‬,‫ כתרגומו‬.‫ויעיו‬ ‫ ובלעז וידי"ל‬,‫יד‬.

Compare also Rashi on bShab 20a.122b, bHag 20a; bBM 30a; bArakh 10b; compare RaschiD2 144, No. 1042 a)-e). 9 Further examples for the lexicographic specification can be found in Exod. 16:14; 17:1; 19:18; 25:33.37; 28:13; Num. 21:5; 24:18.24; Deut. 3:11; 32:10. 8

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231

Qal Perfect first person sg. Rashbam explains in Gen. 1:29 ‘Behold, I give you. [The perfect form ‫ נתתי‬implies present tense, and its meaning is]: I now give you, doins in Old French,’10 and in Gen. 23:11: ‘I give you the field. [The perfect form ‫ נתתי‬implies present tense, and its meaning is]: I give it you at this moment, doinz in Old French.’11 The two Old French equivalents only slightly differ as to their orthography: ‫ דוֹיְ ינְ ש‬with Śin at the end, and ‫ דויינץ‬with Tsade. In Gen. 1:29, the Old French gloss should be transliterated as ‘doins’ (donne), in Gen. 23:11 we would expect ‘doinz’ (donnais). Rashbam’s gloss entry does not refer to the meaning of the root √‫נתן‬, but to its tense and mood. He wants to explain the perfect-form as present tense. To substantiate and clarify his intent, Rashbam in both cases offers temporal adverbs (‫‘ עתה‬now’ and ‫‘ עכשיו‬at this moment’ ) and paraphrases the perfect form of the verb by using its active participle (‫)נותן אני‬. Likewise, Rashi as well as the Leipzig Glossary offer similar comments on Gen. 23:13, perceiving the phrase as present tense.12 Rashi even expands the meaning of the verb’s perfect-form to include the volitional (intentional ) aspect.13 In several other instances, Rashbam stresses the understanding of the perfect-form as present tense without presenting the Old French equivalent.14 The comment at Gen. 41:41 is of particular interest, since Rashbam here explains the verbal phrase as a performative speech act: “I put you in charge. Pharaoh said this to him—‘I am putting you in charge’—as he put the ring in Joseph’s hands.”15 In Gen. 49:4, Rashbam articulates a general principle: “Many [times] a verb form in the perfect should be interpreted as an active participle, like I am [hereby] giving you the price of the field ” (Gen. 23:13).16 The previous examples mentioned show that the glosses serve a philological didactic purpose. The ‘master of biblical grammar’ instructs an ordinary audience, or maybe even a prospective Bible teacher

10

(‫ נותן אני לכם עתה; 'דויינש' )בלעז‬.‫הנה נתתי לכם‬.

‫ נותן אני אותו עכשיו לך; 'דויינץ' בלעז‬.‫השדה נתתי לך‬. GlLeipzigBa, vol. I, No. 661: ‫ לשון הוה‬. . . ‫ נתתי דוני‬doni ‘(si) je donnais.’ Rashi ad loc. reads: ‫ דונא"י בלע"ז‬.‫נתתי‬. 13 Rashi ad loc.: ‫מוכן הוא אצלי והלואי נתתי לך כבר‬. 14 Compare Rashbam on Gen. 22:12 (√‫ ;)ידע‬30:13 (√‫ אשר‬pi.); 41:41 (√‫ ;)נתן‬45:19 (√‫ צוה‬pi.); 49:4 (√‫ ;)עלה‬49:18 (√‫ קוה‬pi.); Num. 14:20 (√‫)סלח‬. In his comment at Gen. 1:29, Rashbam refers to Gen. 14:22 (‫)הרימתי ידי‬, explaining it likewise with a participle form (‫)מרים אני‬. In most cases, Rashbam uses Gen. 23:13 as his prime 11 12

example. 15 16

‫ בשעת נתינת טבעת על ידי יוסף אמר לו כך‬.‫ נותן אני אותך‬.‫נתתי אותך‬. ‫ נותן אני‬,‫הרבה לשון פעל מתפרשים לשון פועל כמו נתתי כסף השדה‬.

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(a ‘reader’!) how to deal with philological, syntactical, and stylistic features in biblical Hebrew. Today, every student of biblical Hebrew who learns the Hebrew verbal system knows that Hebrew verbs are not marked by ‘tenses,’ but rather by aspects or modes. In contrast to languages like English or French which use auxiliary verbs to clarify the kind of action expressed by a verb and its respective point in time, the Hebrew verbal system is morphologically poor, and its aspects or modes as well as its ‘tense’ must be derived from the literary context. Rashbam, however, was faced with an audience used to reading and interpreting rabbinic Hebrew, in which the two main verb forms, the perfect and the imperfect are clearly assigned to ‘tenses.’ Rashbam’s efforts, therefore, to explain the aspect and mode of the Hebrew verbal system, mark a milestone in the teaching of Hebrew grammar in Northern France and Ashkenaz. They shift the focus of Bible teaching from the emphasis on rabbinic and midrashic interpretation of the biblical text towards linguistic and grammatical analysis. Besides taking a mere grammatical approach, Rashbam presents a gloss when he wants to draw the reader’s attention to the question of biblical ‘style’, as he does for example in Gen. 27:33. When Esau answers Isaac’s question ‘Who are you?’ with the words ‘I am your son, your firstborn, Esau’ (Gen. 27:32), he substantiates Isaac’s terrible suspicion of having been betrayed. The text goes on to describe Isaac’s mood—he was seized with a violent trembling—and quotes the following speech: Who, was it, then, that hunted game and brought it to me?’ (v. 33). Rashbam comments: “ ‘Who, then’: [The word] ‫ איפוא‬is a [mere] stylistic flourish, like the word ‫ איזי‬in the Talmud ‘Tell me, then . . .’17—a ores ‘now then / well’ in Old French” (i.e., donc / alors in Modern French).18 Although Rashi ad loc., too, at first explains the word ‫ איפוא‬to be an idiom by itself that has many usages,19 he offers a second explanation according to which ‫ איפוא‬is a combination of ‫‘ איה‬where’ and ‫‘ פה‬here’, the phrase, thus, meaning ‘Who is he, and where is he . . .’20 Rashbam’s explanation is worthy of comment. Overall, we might read his comment as a refutation of Rashi’s second explanation. More striking, however, is the fact that he regards a Hebrew phrase as a 17 18 19 20

Cf. bBM 70a. . . . ‫אוֹרש בלעז‬ ֶ ‫ כמו איזי שבתלמוד אימא לי איזי; ַא ְת‬,‫ תיקון לשון הוא‬.‫מי איפוא‬. Rashi on Gen. 27:33: ‫ משמש עם כמה דברים‬,‫לשון לעצמו הוא‬. . . . ‫ מי הוא ואיפוא הוא‬,‫ איה פה‬,‫איפוא‬.

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233

mere ‘flourish’ a flowery phrase that does not bear a distinct semantic meaning but rather gains its importance from its stylistic function. The relevance of ‫ איפוא‬lies in the literary context describing Isaac’s state of mind. It hints at Isaac’s astonishment and, thereby, marks a linguistic embellishment to the description of Isaac’s mood. The fact that Rashbam offers the Old French gloss shows that he presumes an audience acquainted with French literature and narrative tradition (even if only orally). Moreover, it seems that in this case the gloss serves to emphasize the stylistic similarity between French and Hebrew. Whereas the glossaries, such as those of Leipzig and Basel, are mainly interested in lexicography, Rashbam takes a literary approach towards both the Hebrew and the Old French idiom. A stylistic problem as well as a lexicographical one form the basis for Rashbam’s comment at Gen. 49:5. Jacob’s last words to his twelve sons comprise several poems concerning their fate and destiny. Gen. 49:5–7 portray Simeon and Levi, the ‘brothers’ whose congenital nature is to handle weapons of violence: Simeon and Levi are brothers; weapons of violence their kinship (Gen. 49:5).21 Rashbam’s comment is mainly concerned with the term ‫ מכרתיהם‬which he understands to mean ‘their brotherliness / kinship’: Their ‘brotherliness’—a parallelism [‫ ]כפל לשון‬to [the first part of the verse] ‘Simeon and Levi are brothers.’ In other words: Simeon and Levi were brothers in evil—weapons of violence were their kinship. [The noun] ‫כוּרה[ ְמכׁר ַׁתיך‬ ָ ‫[ ] ְמ‬as we find it in the phrase] [ by] your parentage and [by] your birth (Ezek. 16:3) is an expression denoting one’s relatives, but [the noun] ‫יהם‬ ֶ ‫ ] ְמ ֵכ ָרה[ ְמ ֵכר ֵׁת‬from the dageshized stem . . . is an expression denoting relationship . . . ‫מכרותיהם‬: lor parentés in Old French [leur parenté in Modern French].22

Rashbam’s comments consist of two answers to Rashi that were probably also meant as a rejection of the Old French translation known by that time. Rashi offers two entirely different explanations of the noun ‫ ְמ ֵכ ָרה‬, the first as denoting ‘weapon,’ the second as related to the Ezeָ ‫ ְמ‬, denoting ‘place of dwelling:’ kielian expression ‫כוּרה‬

‫שמעון ולוי אחים כלי חמס מכרתיהם‬. ‫ כלומר שמעון ולוי אחים‬,‫ כפל לשון של שמעון ולוי אחים‬.‫ אחותיהם‬.‫מכירותיהם‬ ‫ אבל מכרותיהם‬,‫ לשון קרובים‬,‫ מכרותיך ומולדתיך‬.‫ כלי חמס היתה אחותם‬,‫היו לרעה‬ ,‫ אבל הריש במקום ]האות הדגושה‬,‫ לשון קורבה‬,‫משקל דגש הוא כמו מסיבותיהם‬ ‫ מכרותיהם לור פרנטייש ב"ל‬. . . ‫ הוא קמץ קטן‬,‫ולפיכך[ החירק נהפכת לצרי‬. 21 22

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chapter seven ‫יהם‬ ֶ ‫ ְמ ֵכר ֵׁת‬is an expression denoting ‘weapons.’ The word ‘sword’ in Greek is makhir.23 Another explanation [of the noun] ‫יהם‬ ֶ ‫ ְמ ֵכר ֵׁת‬: In the

land, in which they dwelt, they became used to using weapons of violence, like your dwelling place and your birthplace (Ezek. 16:3). This is how Onqelos renders it: ‘in the land of their settlement.’24

Rashi’s twofold explanation was adopted by both the Leipzig and the Paris glossaries. Both glossaries have difficulties in choosing one or the other translation as to semantic context: ‘Weapons’ and ‘dwelling places’ are not too easy to link to one another. The Leipzig Glossary lists both explanations given by Rashi, although in reversed order: ‫יהם‬ ֶ ‫ ְמ ֵכר ֵׁת‬is first translated as ‫לוֹר ַמיְ ינְ ַמנט‬ ְ lormaynenant (leur séjour in Modern French).25 As a second explanation the Glossaire presents ‫מוֹריש‬ ֵ ‫אוֹר‬ ְ ‫לוֹר‬ ְ lor’ormorès (leurs armes in Modern French).26 Similarly, the Paris Glossary translates as lor armures.27 Rashbam’s explanation as well as his glossing is based on his stylistic observation that the second half the verse (‫ )כלי חמס מכרתיהם‬forms a synonymous parallelism (in Rashbam’s words: kefel lashon) to its first half (‫)שמעון ולוי אחים‬. The parallelism forced Rashbam as a literarytheoretical orientated exegete to match up ‫ מכרתיהם‬and ‫ אחים‬not only with regard to their syntactical position within the sentence but also with regard to their meaning. The metaphrasis, thus, functions to underline the explanation based on Hebrew stylistic exegesis. To Banitt, the glosses belonged to an educational context promoting an exegesis ad litteram and ad historiam. He regarded metaphrasis as “the accepted method of exegesis in the French schools.”28 However, to date, no satisfying answer has been given as to why Rashbam in some cases presents an Old French gloss, and why such a gloss is missing in numerous other instances. From the use of the glosses we cannot even necessarily infer that Rashbam’s audience were literate in the Old French language. We know that the French masters of the Bible like Rashbam and R. Joseph Qara started glossing and translating

23

Compare TanB Vayechi 9; compare also LidScott 1085a.

‫ דבר אחר‬.‫ הסייף בלשון יוני מכי"ר‬,‫ לשון כלי זיין‬.‫ מכרתיהם‬. . . (‫ה‬,‫)ברא' מט‬ ‫ וזה תרגום‬,‫ כמו מכורותיך ומולדתיך‬,‫ בארץ מגורתם נהגו עצמן בכלי חמס‬.‫מכרתיהם‬ ‫של אונקלוס בארע תותבותהון‬. 24

25 26 27 28

GlLeipzigBa, vol. I, No. 1453. GlLeipzigBa, vol. I, No. 1454. GlBNhébr302L 16, line No. 72. Banitt, “Exegesis or Metaphrasis,” 16.

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as part of their new approach to the biblical text. What we still do not know is the extent to which they delved into the developing Old French narrative tradition, which may have had a significant impact on their understanding of the Hebrew Bible. 2. Glosses as a Means of Alienating Biblical Narratives 2.1. The ‘Provoking’ God: Gen. 22:1 Let us examine a few more examples of Rashbam’s glossing that might help us shed light on the issue at hand. On Gen. 22:1—the ‘temptation’ of Abraham—he comments as follows: And it came to pass after these events. Whenever [a biblical pericope] is introduced by ‘after these events,’ it is connected to the preceding pericope. . . Here, too, ‘after the events’ [refers to] Abraham making a treaty with Abimelech, [which included] his children and his grandchildren, and giving him the seven ewe-lambs of the flock,29 and God becoming angry about this, because the land of the Philistines is part of Israelite territory, and the Holy One, Blessed be He, had commanded about them:30 You are not to allow anything that breathes to live (Deut. 20:16), and likewise in [the book of ] Joshua, they cast lots over the cities of the five Philistine lords.31 And therefore, God put Abraham to the test, [i.e.], he provoked him and caused him pain [√‫ נסה‬pi.]. As it is written: If someone provokes you [with] a word, will you become tired?32 . . . because they provoked YHWH.33 Massah ‘Provocation’ and Meribah ‘Quarreling.’34 Test me, YHWH, and provoke me.35 In other words, (God said):

29 30 31 32 33 34 35

Cf. Gen. 21:27–34. I.e., the Israelite territories. Cf. Josh. 15:45–47. Job 4:2; compare also Rashbam’s comments on Gen. 19:11. Cf. Exod 17:7. See ibid. Ps 26:2.

236

chapter seven You took pride in the son that I gave you,36 making a treaty between you and their children. Now, go . . . and offer him as a burnt offering (Gen. 22:2) and ‘let it be seen’37 what good your treaty-making does.38

‫ נסה‬is ‘contraria / contrarier’ [in Old French].39 Rashbam’s explanation of the introductory phrase of the story of the Aqedah is unique, although it conforms exactly with his general approach according to which the biblical storyline does not consist of a sequence of disrupted episodes, but of a consistent and well-structured narrative, in which the single episodes follow logically one after the other. In our text at hand, Rashbam links the story of Abraham’s temptation with the preceding story of Abraham’s pact with Abimelech. Rashbam’s comment seeks to answer two questions: 1) Why does the story of the Aqedah follow immediately the report on Abraham’s covenant with Abimelech? and 2) Can we discover an implicit reason for God testing Abraham? Rashbam’s account is far-fetched on several counts. He probably knew the midrash in Midrash Shemuel, but re-tells an even more pointed story: God was angry with Abraham, since he already knew that the land of the Philistines was destined to be part of Israel’s territory. However, there is still no connection between control over the land of the Philistines in Abraham’s time and control over this territory in later times, when Israel had already taken possession of their land. Therefore, Rashbam extends Abimelech’s and Abraham’s treaty—a pact described as a covenant between only the two of them (‫ויכרתו‬

36 I follow Lockshin, Perush ha-Tora, vol. 1, 37n11 and Sara Japhet (“Rashbam’s Commentary on Genesis 22: ‘Peshat’ or ‘Derash’?” in The Bible in the Light of its Interpreters: Sarah Kamin Memorial Volume [in Hebrew], edited by Sara Japhet [ Jerusalem: Magnes Press, 1994]: 349–366, 356n27) in not accepting Rosin’s emendation from ‫ נתתיך‬into ‫( נתתיו‬compare Rosin, Der Pentateuch-Commentar des Samuel ben Meir, 20n8). Rashbam’s comment is meant to represent a direct speech in first person sg. 37 Cf. Gen. 22:14: ‫ויקרא אברהם שם המקום ההוא ה' יראה אשר יאמר היום בהר‬ ‫ה' יראה‬. 38 There follows a passage paraphrasing from Midrash Shemuel (ch. 12) that has a similar critique of the treaty with the seven ewe-lambs.

39 ‫ כל מקום שנא' אחר הדברים האלה מחובר על הפרשה‬.‫ויהי אחר הדברים האלה‬ ‫ אף כאן אחר הדברים שכרת אברהם ברית לאבימלך לו ולנינו ולנכדו של‬. . .‫שלמעלה‬ ‫אברהם ונתן לו שבע כבשות הצאן וחרה אפו של הק' על זאת שהרי ארץ פלשתים‬ ‫בכלל גבול ישראל והק' ציוה עליהם לא תחיה כל נשמה וגם ביהושע מטילין על ערי‬ ‫ לכן והאלהים נסה את אברהם קינתרו וציערו כדכת' הנסה‬,‫חמשת סרני פלשתים גורל‬ ‫ כלומר נתגאיתה בבן‬.‫ בחנני ה' ונסני‬,‫ מסה ומריבה‬,'‫ על נסותם את ה‬,‫דבר אליך תלאה‬ ‫ ועתה לך והעלהו לעולה ויראה מה הועילה‬,‫שנתתיך לכרות ברית ביניכם ובין בניהם‬ ‫ נסה קונטרארי"אה‬. . . ‫ כריתות ברית שלך‬.

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‫ ;שניהם ברית‬Gen. 21:27)—to include Abraham’s children and grandchildren. In addition, he portrays God as being mortally offended by this treaty, accusing Abraham of having bragged about his son, and threatening him saying “Now, we’ll see what good your treaties are!” Rashbam’s comments conclude with the Old French gloss ‘contraria’. The Old French idiom seems to summarize Rashbam’s interpretation, since it bears a double meaning, ‘to foil someone’s plan’ as well as ‘to annoy someone / to oppose / to be hostile’ (‫ קינתרו וציערו‬. . . ). For the sake of a coherent and reasonable story line, Rashbam not only creates a peculiar story, but even risks the theological consequences that would result from God confronting Abraham in an antagonistic and hostile manner. It seems almost an understatement to say that Rashbam was “not overly concerned with issues of theology.”40 His interpretation focuses exclusively on the elucidation of the plot line. Although Rashbam here does not explicitly refer to an exegesis ‘according to the ways of the world,’ his methodology allows for the conscious omission of any rabbinic or well-received theological assumptions, if required, in order to properly explicate a biblical story. In this case, the glossing indeed forms an essential part of the exegesis. Rashbam introduces the Old French gloss to convey an unambiguous understanding of the entire context. This is evident from the fact that the glossaries never translate the verb √‫ נסה‬pi. with ‘contraria.’41 In the Leipzig Glossary, the verb is not included at all, but it is a well-attested Old French idiom42 in the sense of ‘to oppose; to fight; to be in conflict with, to be hostile.’ Rashi uses this gloss at bBM 73b.43 We also find the verb in the Cambridge Psalter (twelfth century) as the translation of the Latin adversabantur mihi.44 Rashbam obviously addressed his comments to an audience familiar with this semantic context.

Lockshin, Rabbi Samuel ben Meir’s Commentary on Genesis, Translation, 96n1. Compare e.g., GlLeipzigBa on Exod. 15:25 (No. 1999), 16:4 (No. 2006), 17:7 (No. 2050), Num. 14:22 (No. 3479), Deut. 6:16 (No. 4040), 13:4 (No. 4148), 28:56 (No. 4461), 33:8 (No. 4688), Judg. 2:22 (No. 4977). 42 Cf. TL 784; GdF 100 and ANDEI ad loc. 43 Cf. RaschiD2 32, No. 248 a. 44 Compare e.g., the Cambridge Psalter (Camb Ps 202.CVI.42 v.n. 1) ‘to be hostile (to):’ en forsenerie cuntrariowent a mei (Latin: adversabantur mihi); compare also the references to nissah in the Cambridge Psalter 26:2; 78:18.41.56; 95:9; 106:14. 40 41

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2.2. Leah’s ‘Bright Eyes’: Gen. 29:17 Our next example deals with the eyes of Leah, to be more precise: with the color of her eyes. Nearly all Bible translations—the Targum,45 the Septuagint,46 the Vulgate47 as well as the current Christian48 and Jewish translations49—translate the idiom ‫ ועיני לאה רכות‬in a pejorative sense and portray poor Leah as a saucer-eyed, tear-stained, weak, unsightly and unfortunate young maiden. In Rashi’s comments, we might discern an attempt to cast her appearance in a more positive light, since he describes her eyes not simply as ‘weak’ or ‘ill,’ but rather as ‘tear veiled’ (from weeping), which, could be rendered as ‘tender.’50 Later Jewish exegetes made similar distinctions. According to Bekhor Shor Leah was as beautiful as Rachel, only her eyes were delicate and it was difficult for her to walk into the wind;51 likewise, Radaq maintains that she was beautiful, but her eyes were tender and weepy.52 With regard to the Old French glosses we can see that they presuppose Rashi’s understanding of the phrase. The Leipzig Glossary translates the idiom ‫ רכות‬with ‫‘ ַטנְ ְד ֵרש‬tandrës’ (tendres).53 The Paris Glossary interprets it as ‘tonres.’54 Once again, Rashbam offers an explanation different from all the other suggestions as to Leah’s appearance, and, likewise, in contrast to all other Old French glosses. To him, Leah was attractive—but not in the way that Rashi understood it. She was beautiful with respect to body shape and eye color. Rashbam’s comments are based on the rabbinic dictum in bTaan 24a, according to which a bride with beautiful

. . . ‫ועיני לאה הוון צירנייתן דבכיא‬. Οί δὲ ὀφθαλµοὶ λειας α̉ σθενει̃ς (‘weak; sick; ill’ ). 47 Sed Lia lippis erat oculis (‘bleary-eyed; half-blind’ ). 48 The English Standard Version Translation (2007) reads ‘weak,’ New King James offers ‘delicate,’ and only The New Jerusalem Bible translates in a positive sense as ‘Leah had lovely eyes.’ 49 CJB and JPS: ‘Leah’s eyes were weak.’ 50 Rashi ad loc.: ‫ שהיתה סבורה לעלות בגורלו‬,‫ לפי שהיתה בוכה‬.‫ועיני לאה רכות‬ 45 46

,‫ שני בנים יש לה לרבקה ושתי בנות יש לו ללבן אחיה‬:‫ שהיו הכל אומרים‬,‫של עשו‬ .‫הגדולה לגדול והקטנה לקטן‬. 51 Bekhor Shor on Gen. 29:17: ‫ הייתי סבור‬,‫ואם אומר בשביל שרחל יפת תואר‬ ‫ אלא בעלת תואר ובעלת‬,‫שלאה מכוערת—מגיד לך הכתוב שלא היה בלאה שום דופי‬ ‫ וכשהולכת נגד הרוח קשה לה‬,‫ רק שעיניה רכות‬,‫ לא הייתה נופלת מרחל‬,‫יופי‬. 52 Radaq on Gen. 29:17: ‫ אלא שעיניה היו רכות‬,‫ יפת תאר היתה‬.‫ועיני לאה רכות‬ . . . ‫ודומעות‬.

53 GlLeipzigBa, vol. I, No. 851; Banitt’s reference to Rashbam ad loc. (Banitt, Le Glossaire de Leipzig, p. 64n851#) remains unclear. 54 GlBNhébr302L, p. 9, line 44.

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eyes does not require further scrutiny. If the eyes are attractive, the entire body is assumed to be attractive as well: ‫[ רכות‬means] ‘becoming / attractive’—vairs [verts] ‘bright / shining /

shimmering’55 in Old French. If a bride’s eyes are attractive, [the rest of ] her body does not require inspection. And dark [lit. black] eyes are not as attractive as light-colored [lit. white] eyes.56

Rashbam has, thus, turned the whole matter upside-down. If Leah was attractive (as Rashi and others suggested), then her eyes must have been attractive as well. What is the characteristic trait of attractive eyes? Rashbam proposes ‘light-colored,’ and even more specifically vairs ‘bright / shining / shimmering,’ as the main quality of attractive eyes (in his point of view).57 The adjective vairs58 is not attested at all in the Leipzig Glossary, but is well-attested in Old French Romance literature. We find the idiomatic linkage between ‘eyes’ and ‘ver(s)’ (‘ueils vairs’ ) in the (later) Romance of Horn by Thomas, in the Anglo-Norman ‘Alexander’ (‘Le Roman de Toute Chevalerie’ ) by Thomas of Kent,59 as well as in the Chanson de Roland, emphasizing the Hero’s ‘bright eyes.’60 We can, therefore, assume that Rashbam knew the Old French texts, and his interpretation of the biblical idiom was obviously influenced

55 Rosin, R. Samuel b. Meir als Schrifterklärer, 93 No. 9 erroneously took the meaning of Modern French vert ‘green.’ 56 ‫ וכלה שעיניה נאות אין כל גופה צריך‬.‫ וורש ב"ל‬.‫ נאות‬.‫יז( רכות‬,‫)ברא' כט‬

‫ ועינים שחורות אינן רכות כלבנות‬.‫ בדיקה‬.

57 Compare Lockshin, Rabbi Samuel ben Meir’s Commentary on Genesis, Translation, 172n4: “Rashbam’s penchant for light-colored eyes appears to reflect a European prejudice. Orientals customarily prefer bright, fiery, black eyes.” 58 vair1, ver, veer, veir, vert. 59 Written approximately at the same time when Rashbam was writing his commentaries. According to the entry in the Anglo-Norman dictionary as well as in DEAF, Le Roman de Toute Chevalerie was written in the twelfth century. The Romance of Horn by Thomas, ed. Mildred K. Pope, vol. 1: Text, Critical Introduction and Notes, (Oxford: Blackwell, Anglo-Norman Text Society 9–10, 1955), l. 1256, p. 42: Oilz veirs, gros, duz, rianz pur dames esgarder. The phrase is also attested in the Roman d’Alexandre 1256: L’un oil vair, l’autre noir Le Roman de Toute Chevalerie’, Anglo Norman Text Society 4045. Brian Foster, ed., The Anglo-Norman ‘Alexander’ (‘Le Roman de Toute Chevalerie’) by Thomas of Kent, ed. with the assistance of I. Short, Anglo Norman Text Society 29–31 (1976), and 32–33 (1977). 60 Compare RolS 283: Vairs out les oilz e mult fier lu visage Gent out le cors eles costez out large ‘Bright are his eyes, and very proud his face, portly is his body, and his sides are wide.’—In addition, Wartburg (FEW 14,186a) offers an Ols Italian reference: vajo “bright (eyes).”

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by the contemporary courtly literature.61 We might further imagine that his audience had at least an idea of the semantic field of this idiom, since otherwise Rashbam’s commentary would not have made any sense to them. ‘Bright and shimmering eyes’ were simply part of the prevalent ideal of female beauty at that time that sooner or later found its way into the narrative traditions of the Old French texts. Rashbam’s exegesis lefi derekh erets embraces contemporary French culture and lifestyle. (Dark) ‘dove-eyes’62 were no longer in vogue. Israel’s bright-eyed girls made their debut in French society, in which ‘dark eyes are not as attractive as light-colored eyes.’63 Whereas the glossing in the Leipzig Glossary stays within the rabbinic interpretational context, Rashbam liberates himself from this hypotext. 2.3. The Iron ‘Cradle’ of Og, King of Bashan: Deut. 3:11 One of the most interesting glosses in Rashbam’s commentary is his explanation of the Hebrew idiom ‫ ערשׂ‬in the phrase ‫הנה ערשו ערש‬ ‫ ברזל‬in Deut. 3:11. The phrase is usually translated as his bed—an iron bedstead. In Rashbam’s understanding, however, the Hebrew phrase conveys the meaning of ‘his cradle was a cradle of iron.’ He explains as follows: Behold, his cradle: [The Hebrew term ‫ ]ערשׂ‬is a cradle of an infant— ‘bercel’ in Old French.64 A cradle of iron. Because [already] as an infant he was very strong. When he stretched out, he would shatter a wooden cradle. Consequently, they made it from iron. For there would be no need for [such a bed] for a rational grown man.65

61 Compare also Gerard Gros, “De Vair. Et de Quelques Couleurs (Note sur une Page du Manuscrit de Paris, Bibl. Nat., Fr. 24315),” in Les Couleurs au Moyen Age, ed. Centre Universitaire d’Etudes et de Recherches Medievales d’Aix, Senefiance, vol. 24 (Aix-en-Provence: C.U.R.M.A, 1988), 109-118. 62 Cf. Song of Sol. 4:1. 63 One could, however, eventually interpret the ‘dark eyes’ as ‘bleary / dull / morbid,’ indicating a person’s illness in contrast to ‘bright and shimmering’ eyes indicating a good state of health. This understanding is attested in a medical treatise (AldL 195,16; 195,21; 201,3, in R. Pépin, Le Régime du Corps de maître Aldebrandin de Sienne [ Paris 1911; reprint Geneva, Slatkine, 1978]). 64 The ANDEI presents as entries the forms bercel, berssel, bersol, berçuel; compare also FEW 1,337a and TL 1,924.

65 ‫ ערש ברזל לפי שכשהיה‬.'‫ בירציל בלע‬.‫ עריסה של קטן כשהיה תינוק‬.‫הנה ערשו‬ ‫ כי‬,‫קטן היה חזק מאד ובהשתטחו היה משבר ערס של עץ לכך עשאוהו של ברזל‬ ‫לאדם גדול שיש בו דעת לא היה צריך כך‬.

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241

As for the relationship between his explanations and the gloss, there can be no doubt that Rashbam’s comment portrays the ‫ ערשׂ‬in this phrase as an infant’s cradle ‫עריסה‬, thereby adopting a Mishnaic idiom.66 The translation is found in the same sense in Rashi on bTaan 22a.67 The word is attested in the Lais de Marie de France68 (written between 1155–89) as well as in the Fables de Marie de France.69 Although it seems quite obvious that Rashbam disapproves of readings in the figurative sense, seeking to stay as close to the plain sense as possible, we are still unable to explain why he interprets the Hebrew term ‫ערשׂ‬ as an infant’s cradle.70 This is even more astonishing since the biblical depiction of this ‘iron divan’ portrays it as ‘nine cubits long and four cubits wide (Deut. 3:11), dimensions that exceed a normal baby’s cradle by a several times. The reason for Rashbam’s unusual explanation can probably be found in the subsequent verses, where he explains that this cradle was still kept in Rabbah as a piece of evidence and a memento for (later generations) that Og was so big even as an infant.71 Behind this argument, lies the psychological attempt to exaggerate the victory of the people of Israel over Og (Num. 21:33–35; Deut. 3:1–10): The Israelites had not simply overwhelmed the mighty king of Og, but a powerful giant.72 Taking into account that he had been so strong and huge already as a child and that his ‘cradle’—nine cubits long and four cubits wide73—had to be made out of iron, how much more powerful and colossal must he have been as a grown-up when he went to war against Israel—and yet, he failed. Since Rashi ad loc. had explained 66 Compare mOhal 12:4; mParah 12:8; see also Lockshin, Rashbam’s Commentary on Deuteronomy, Translation, 46n60. 67 Compare RaschiD2 17, No. 139 as ‫ברצול‬. 68 Les Lais de Marie de France, ed. Jean Rychner ( Paris: Librairie Honoré Champion, 1966), 129, l. 99. 69 Marie de France, Les Fables. Edition Critique accompagnee d’une introduction, d’une traduction, de notes et d’un glossaire, ed. Charles Brucker ( Louvain: Peeters, 1991), 279, l. 59. 70 See Lockshin‘s refutation of this explanation in Lockshin, Rashbam’s Commentary on Deuteronomy, Translation, 46n60. 71 Rashbam on Deut. 3:11: ‫ עדיין מונחת שם במקום‬.‫הלא היא ברבת בני עמון‬

‫ אבל מיטת אדם גדול אין רגילין‬,‫שנתגדל בקטנותו לתמהון שהיה גדול בקטנותו כל כך‬ ‫ כי בהרבה מקומות יש לו מיטות‬,‫להצניע במקום אחד‬. Contra Lockshin ( Lockshin,

Rashbam’s Commentary on Deuteronomy, Translation, 46n63) I don’t believe that Rashbam had literary-historical considerations in mind, when he was writing this passage. 72 On Og’s huge dimensions compare also bNid 24b. 73 Rashbam ad loc. emphasizes that the ‘cubits of a man’ mean cubits of a fullgrown adult: ‫באמת איש איש שהגדיל כל צורכו‬.

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that Og was the only one to escape from the battle between Abraham and the Rephaim (see Gen. 14:13),74 we might even read Rashbam’s comments as a justification for the fact that Og had survived only due to his enormous dimensions, and not due to Israel’s weakness. The iron cradle of Og had turned Israel’s battle with him into a heroic one. 2.4. Glossing the Heroes’ Battles: Gen. 49:24 and Num. 24:24 In many places, Rashbam’s commentary includes technical terms and displays knowledge of arts and crafts. This applies, for instance, to any warlike actions by individuals or entire nations. With regard to Joseph, Jacob’s blessing emphasizes his ‘bellicose art’ (Gen. 49:22–26). V.24 reads . . . ‫ ותשב באיתן קשתו‬And his bow permanently stays taut. Rashi who explains the first part of the phrase ‫ ותשב באיתן‬in the sense that the bow was strongly established, interprets Joseph’s bow figuratively as ‘his strength.’75 Rashbam’s interpretation is unique in that it adheres firmly to the archery imagery, using the terminology of the crossbow (arbalest). His audience might have felt they were part of an archery lesson rather than a Bible class. And his bow permanently stays taut. The sturdy crossbow which is called ‘arbaletre,’ [‘arc’ in Modern French] is mounted on a robust, sturdy wood [shaft], which is called ‘forche’76 [fourche in Modern French]. As for the one who draws this crossbow if he is a very strong man he pulls the cord back with his arms, up to the point where his arms are folded into his body—then he can shoot the arrow a great distance. However, if he is weak, he will not even be able to pull the cord. Accordingly, the explanation of the verses [is as follows]: The Egyptians shot their arrows at him and put him in jail . . . but he was released and reigned over them, since his crossbow was sturdier and stronger than theirs . . . And his arms were agile. His arms were folded when he pulled [back] the cord of the crossbow and shot his arrows at them. For he was

74 According to the rabbinic sources the fugitive who came to Abraham was Og; cf. bNid 61a. 75 Cf. Rashi ad loc.: ‫ חזקו‬,‫ קשתו‬.‫ נתישבה בחוזק‬.‫ ;ותשב באיתן‬see also R. Joseph Bekhor Shor ad loc. 76 The gloss is found in Rashi on bShab 92b.112b; bSuk 14a; bBeza 30a; bMeg 16b; bAZ 18b; bMen 94b; bTaan 20a; compare RaschiD2 70, No.507 a)–h).

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243

a strong man, [strong enough] to pull [the cord] of the sturdy crossbow77 which is called ‘forche’ . . .78

The first Old French gloss Rashbam presents here—‘arbaletre’—is not attested in the Leipzig Glossary, or in the Paris Glossary. Rashi uses it in bShab 47a as a translation for ‫קשת‬.79 The word and its derivatives is well attested in Old French literature.80 The word ‘forche’ is interesting lexicographically, since the sense of ‘bifurcate linchpin’ is so far not attested in Old French dictionaries,81 where it is listed as meaning ‘fork.’ Crossbows were first brought to England by the Normans in 1066.82 They were used as a fighting and hunting weapon and played an essential role in medieval warfare.83 The fact that Rashbam has Joseph develop into a vigorous (medieval ) crossbowman, and his struggle against Egypt into a medieval battlefield, is of course “an anachronism” as Lockshin states.84 However, this comment represents exactly what the medieval exegetes took as the lectio historica (as opposed to the lectio allegorica and tropologica), i.e., an explanation in terms of littera gesta docet. In this case, Rashbam explains the ‘historical’ dimension of 77 Another possibility: ‘For he was a strong man, (strong enough) to haul the sturdy (wood shaft), 78 ‫ הקשת החזק שקורין ארבלטרא מושיבין אותו‬.‫כד( ותשב באיתן קשתו‬,‫)ברא' מט‬

‫על עץ איתן וחזק שקורין פורקא והמושך בקשת ההוא אם הוא אדם חזק מאד מושך‬ ‫ ואם הוא חלש‬,‫את חבל הקשת בזרועיו ונכפפין זרועיו עד גופו ויורה החץ למרחוק‬ ‫ מצרים ירו בו חצים ונתנוהו בבית‬.‫ וכן פירוש המקראות‬.‫אינו יכול למשוך החבל‬ ‫ ויפוזו זרועי‬. . . ‫ והוא יצא ומלך עליהם כי קשת שלו היה חזק ואיתן משלהם‬. . . ‫הםוהר‬ ‫ נכפפו זרועיו במושכו חבל הקשת וזרק חיציו עליהם כי איש חזק היה למשוך‬.‫ידיו‬ ‫ קשת איתן שקורין פורקא‬.

Compare RaschiD2 8, No. 56. The term is attested as arblaste; arbleste; arbalaste; arbaleste; arbeleste; alblast; aleblaste; aleblaust; alblat; areblaste; areblat; albrastre; alblaster; harbblast; harublaster; arblait; arcbaleste; balastre; pl. arblas. It appears in the twelfth-century text The Anglo-Norman Voyage of St. Brendan (ed. Ian Short and Brian Merrilees [Manchester, 1979]) as well as in later texts from the thirteenth century. The term arblaster ‘archer / crossbowman’ appears in the twelfth-century Anglo-Norman ‘Alexander’ ( Foster, ed., The Anglo/Norman ‘Alexander’. TL 1,493 attests the word also in the Chanson de Roland and in the works of Chrétien. 81 On force, fourche, furca compare TL 3,2072; FEW 3,884b. 82 Compare Volker Schmidchen, “Mittelalterliche Kriegstechnik zwischen Tradition und Innovation,“ in Europäische Technik im Mittelalter, 800 bis 1400: Tradition und Innovation, ed. Uta Lindgren ( Berlin: Gebr. Mann, 1996), 305–316. 83 Compare Witold ŚwiÊetosławski, “The Development of Shooting Arms and Defensive Arms in Medieval Latin Europe,” in L’Innovation technique au Moyen Age. Actes du VIe congrès international d’archéologie médiévale, 1–5 octobre 1996 (Dijon; Mont Beuvray et al.. Ed. Patrice Beck). Paris: Editions Errance. 1998, 281–282. 84 Lockshin, Rabbi Samuel ben Meir’s Commentary on Genesis, Translation, 379n1. 79 80

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a word or phrase. His ‘sense of history’ was closely related to his own time and cultural context. Moreover, mastery of the knightly art of archery was probably regarded as the most desirable trait for a successful and powerful warrior. Since Joseph is portrayed in the Bible as rather effeminate, a ‘mama’s boy’ (Gen. 37:2!), Rashbam’s depiction of him as a crossbowman represents an attempt to recast his image in terms of the knightly ideal of uncommon strength combined with great courage. Obviously, Rashbam was well acquainted with archery. This is all the more interesting, since we would expect hunting and warfare in medieval society to be reserved for knights and soldiers. Is it overstating the case to suggest that Rashbam wanted to prove to his audience that with regard to warfare and archery the ancient Israelites could hold their own against contemporary Anglo-Norman culture? We may assume that explanations concerning technical and cultural developments were offered by Rashbam to raise an ‘old-new’ interest in the biblical narratives. His comments, thus, might have served to convince his audience that the Hebrew Bible could compete against the nascent Old French narrative tradition and deserves attention beyond the weekly study of the Torah portion as part of the religious curriculum. Balaam’s Fourth Oracle (Num. 24:15–24) dealing with Israel’s battles against foreign nations, closes with the denouncement (v. 24): But ships will come from the coast of Kittim to subdue Asshur and subdue Eber . . .85 Rashbam explains only the word ‫ צים‬in this sentence. Akin to Rashi, he refers to an expression in Isa. 33:21 (‫‘ צי אדיר‬forceful ship’ ) and translates this term with the Old French gloss ‘dromon.’86 Both, Rashi and Rashbam quote the Targum on Isa. 33:21 that translates ‫ צים‬as ‘large [liburnian] boat.’87 Likewise, Rashi at bRH 23a explains ‫בורני גדולה‬ with ‫‘ דורמומט‬durmont.’88 The Leipzig Glossary translates the term as ‫יב ְרגֵ ש‬ ַ ‫ ֵא‬èbarjës (et des bateaux),89 and the Paris Glossary likewise offers the Old French é barj.90 Rashbam’s translation is worthy of comment, since the Leipzig Glossary presents dromon not as representing a large

85

‫וצים מיד כתים וענו אשור וענו עבר‬. . .

On this term see also Tony Hunt, “Vernacular Glosses in Medieval Manuscripts,” Cultura Neolatina 39 (1979): 9–37, 20 ( No. 80: dromones: dromuns / lembos: petiz nefs). 87 ‫ הוא בורני גדולה‬,'‫ דרומון בלע‬.‫ כמו וצי אדיר‬.‫וצים‬. 88 Compare RaschiD2 43, No. 328. 89 GlLeipzigBa, vol. I, No. 3774. 90 GlBNhébr302L, p. 46, line No. 9. 86

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245

ship, but rather as a ‘harnessed horse-formation.’ We find the term dromont 91 in the sense of ‘container vessel’92 in Old French sources such as the Anglo-Norman ‘Alexander,’93 and the Hue de Rotelande94 (c. 1180), as well as in the Chanson de Roland and in Chrétien’s Cligés. Since the city of Rouen is located near the coast and directly adjacent to the Seine, Rashbam might have had experience with shipping traffic, and he might have known very well that economic success counts just as much as military. We can, therefore, understand his comments as referring to the economic state of affairs of Asshur and Eber. 2.5. The ‘Nocturnal Wolves’: Exod. 8:17 Within the narrative of the Ten Plagues, the fourth plague that God visited upon Egypt (Exod. 8:17–28) is the plague of ‫)ה(ערוב‬, usually translated as ‘swarm of insects / flies.’ Neither the midrash nor the medieval exegetes reached a consensus as to the meaning of this term. Recent Passover Haggadot usually refer to Rashi’s comment ad loc. and Ibn Ezra’s explanation in his long commentary that the ‫ ערוב‬represents an assemblage of vicious beasts (lions, bears, wolves).95 Rashbam is not content with the variety of meanings that had been suggested by his contemporaries. In his commentary he tries to present a solid philological explanation based on the root √‫ערב‬: ‫]ערב√[ הערוב‬. I say that [these] are [various] kinds of wolves that are called ‫ ]ערב√[ ערוב‬since they [usually] hunt for prey in the evening, as it is written The wolf of the evenings ravages them,96 and [likewise] it is written . . . night wolves that gnaw (bones) not later than in the morning.97—Just as dromund, dromon, dromoun, dromond, dromunt; compare also TL 2,2085. Hue de Rotelande (c. 1180). 93 Foster, ed., The Anglo-Norman ‘Alexander’. 94 Hue de Rotelande, Ipomedon, ed. A. J. Holden, Bibl. française et romane (Paris: Klincksieck: 1979). 95 Rashi on Exod. 8:17: ‫ כל מיני חיות רעות ונחשים ועקרבים בערבוביא‬.‫את הערב‬. . .; see also Ibn Ezra (short commentary) on Exod. 8:17 (with reference to Ps. 78:45):‫והוא‬ ‫ על כן קראה בשם ערוב‬,‫ גם יתכן היותה מינים רבים‬.‫מין בהמה דקה‬. In his long commentary ad loc. he introduces the explanation known to any Jewish child until today, that the ārōb represents wild animals / wild beasts: ,‫ חיות רעות מעורבים‬.‫ומלת ערוב‬ ‫ ‘ כמו זאבים ודובים ונמרים‬. . . vicious beasts like wolves, bears, and leopards.’ According to Bekhor Shor, God had sent (inter alia): ‫ חזירים וזאבים‬,‫ דובים ונמרים‬,‫אריות‬ ‫וחיות רעות‬. 96 Jer. 5:6; usually translated as “a forest / desert lion kills them . . .” 97 Zeph. 3:3; usually translated as “a forest lion kills them. . . .” We find a similar explanation of this issue in Rashbam’s comments on Gen. 49:27: ‫ שכן‬.‫ולערב יחלק שלל‬ ‫ זאבי ערב לא גרמו לבקר‬,‫ זאב ערבות ישדדם‬,‫מנהגו של זאב‬. 91 92

246

chapter seven from ‫‘ אדום‬redness’98 one derives ‫‘ אדום‬red’,99 and from ‫‘ עמק‬valley’ ‫עמוק‬ ‘deep,’ [so also] from ‫‘ ערב‬evening’ [the adjective is] ‫‘ ערוב‬vespertine,’ [which is] ‘nuitrenier’ in Old French100 [‘nocturnal’ in Modern French], for the wolf is vespertine because it goes hunting in the evening.101 ‫‘ עמק‬valley’ is a noun, and the [corresponding adjectival form] is ‫‘ עמוק‬deep,’ and likewise [the adjectives] ‫‘ אדום‬red’ and ‫‘ שחור‬black.’102

The linguistic logic behind Rashbam’s argument is quite obvious. From the standard vowel pattern, the form ‫ ערוב‬indeed suits as an adjectival form. The vespertine wolf (‫ )זאב‬is a nocturnal animal. According to Rashbam, therefore, the Hebrew term ‫—ערוב‬even in its adjectival form103—was used as a synonym for ‫זאב‬. Against the standard glossaries, Rashbam inserts a different Old French gloss in this place.104 Obviously, he must have had a different connotation in mind. On the other hand, the Leipzig Glossary translates the term ‫ ערבות‬in Jer. 5:6 as ‫‘ אנפלינוריש‬anplènurès’ (dans les plains),105 and likewise in Zeph 3:3 (‫‘ ערב‬evening’ ) we find the Old French term ‫‘ דאפלינורא‬dëplènure’ (de la plaine). However, the noun ‫‘ זאב‬wolf ’ was never translated in the Leipzig Glossary. Wherever ‫ זאב‬appears in connection with ‫ ערב‬or ‫ערבות‬, the Leipzig Glossary usually refers to the French term ‘plaine’ (and its derivatives). Lockshin is correct in stating that Rashbam’s etymology in this instance is unique.106 Rashbam’s gloss that is less a ‘translation’ than an explication secundum physicam—wolves are vespertine—goes against Rashi as well as most of the midrashic explanations that connect the word with the semantic field of ‘mixing’ and interprets ‫ ערוב‬as a ‘mix-

98 99 100

A noun. An adjective. Cf. TL 6,906.

101 ‫ אומר אני כי מיני זאבים הם שנקראים ערוב על שם שדרכם‬.‫יז( הערוב‬,‫)שמ' ח‬ ‫ וכאשר יאמר‬.‫לטרוף בלילות כדכת' זאב ערבות ישדדם וכת' זאבי ערב לא גרמו לבקר‬ ‫ שהזאב ערוב הוא‬,‫ כן יאמר מעמק עמוק מערב ערוב נויטריניר ב"ל‬,‫מאודם אדום‬ ‫ והמעשה קרוי עמוק ]וכן[ אדום שחור‬,‫ עמק שם דבר‬,‫שהוא הולך בערב‬.

102 This last sentence seems to be a later gloss, a grammatical specification and elucidation of Rashbam’s earlier explanation. 103 Compare e.g., the Hebrew adjective ‫ חכם‬that is also used as a noun. 104 GlLeipzigBa, vol. I, No. 1765 translates ‫ הערוב‬as ‫‘ לומלאיץ‬lomëleïç’ ‘salmagundi’ (a mixture; le ramassis in Modern French), GlBNhébr302L p. 20, line No. 30 offers ‘lu méliž (lo meleiz / lu meliz). 105 See also the Latin terms (VUL) in Hab. 1:8 velociores lupis verspertinis and Jer. 5:6 lupus ad vesperam. 106 Cf. Lockshin, Rashbam’s Commentary on Exodus, Translation, 80n15.

the old french glosses and rashbam’s exegesis

247

ture of noxious creatures,’ be they wild animals like snakes and scorpions, or a variety of insects. To date, we have not found any idiom in Old French literature matching the twofold meaning of ‘wolf ’ and ‘nocturnal’ (a ‘werewolf ’) that could have been an inspiration for Rashbam’s gloss. Rashbam presents the Old French gloss in order to connect lexicographical and contextual analysis. 2.6. The ‘Bright and Shimmering’ Manna: Num. 21:5 Num. 21:5–9 (the story of the Bronze Serpent) reports the people’s grumbling against God and against Moses, blaming them for having brought them into the wilderness.107 The text goes on with the people’s complaint: . . . for there is no bread, and there is no water; and we are sick of light bread (v. 5). Rashi describes the quality of the ‘miserable food’ in Num. 21:5 as being ‘absorbed into their limbs.’108 The Leipzig Glosִ ‘lolijér’ (le léger in Modern French),109 sary translates ‫ הקלוקל‬as ‫לוֹליגֵ ייר‬ similar to the translation in the Paris Glossary that has ‘lu léjéyr.’110 Again, Rashbam’s comments and his gloss differ from those in Rashi’s commentary as well as from the glossaries. He offers the following explanation: ‫הקלקל‬. As in ‫‘ קלקל בחצים‬polished[?] arrows’,111 ‘white,’112 ‘its manifestation like bdellium’113 [gum resin], and [fairly] withered: luisant in Old French.114

107 Num. 21:5: ‫וידבר העם באלהים ובמשה למה העליתנו ממצרים למות במדבר כי‬ ‫אין לחם ואין מים ונפשנו קצה בלחם הקלקל‬. 108 Rashi ad loc.: ‫ לפי שהמן נבלע באיברים קראוהו קלוקל‬.‫בלחם הקלוקל‬.

GlLeipzigBa, vol. I, No. 3612. GlBNhébr302L 44,34. 111 Ezek. 21:26. The verse is usually translated as ‘. . . he shakes the arrows to and fro . . .’ This prooftext is indeed not persuasive (cf. Lockshin, Rashbam’s Commentary on Leviticus and Numbers, Translation, 255n33). In his commentary on Eccles. 10:10 Rashbam explains the term ‫ קלקל‬as ‫ קלקל לש' לטישה וברק כמ' נחשת קלל‬is an expression for ‘whetting’ and ‘shine’ as in ‘polished bronze’ (Ezek. 1:7; Dan. 10:6). Lockshin (ibid., n34) refers to Rashi’s comments on bArakh 10b using the same gloss as Rashbam in this place as an equivalent to the Hebrew ‫קלל‬, but in this case the reference from Ezek. 1:7 would have been much more convincing. Likewise, Menahem ibn Saruq refers to Ezek. 1:7 (‫ נחשת קלל‬as ‘polished bronze’ ). 112 Exod. 16:31. 113 Num. 11:7. 114 ‫ לוישנט ב"ל‬,‫ לבן כעין הבדלח ויבש‬,‫ כמו קלקל בחצים‬.‫הקלקל‬. 109 110

248

chapter seven

Rashbam’s comments create more problems than they solve. Besides the problematic reference from Ezek. 21:26, Rashbam’s interpretation of the quality of the Manna as ‘dry food’ is not supported by the biblical description, unless one might consider coriander seeds to be dry. In addition, the gloss that he offers does not match his Hebrew explanation, since the ‘withered’ and ‘white’ substance like gum-resin, which is inedible, bears a negative semantic connotation, and does not necessarily include a ‘shining / shimmering’ quality, which has a rather positive connotation. In Exod. 16:31 and Num. 11:7–8, Rashbam offers a similar explanation of the manna. In both places, the manna is expounded to be like coriander seed. In Exod. 16:31 we are additionally told that the manna was white,115 and its taste like wafers in honey,116 whereas Num. 11:7–8 describe it to be of the appearance of bdellium (i.e., gum resin) and a cake baked with oil. Rashbam’s explanations show that he had to cope with the fact that honey-taste, gum resin, and oily flavor do not go well together. In Exod. 16:31 he explains, therefore, that ‘according to the pesha the manna tasted like wafers in honey only when eaten as it was: pure and untreated, and without any grinding’.117 However, as soon as they ground it up in mills or pounded it in a mortar (Num. 11:8), its taste became oily. Although Rashbam gives this explanation at the end of his comments on Num. 11:7, he portrays the manna’s substance rather negatively as ‘hard and dry’ (‫)קשה ויבש‬, and with a taste like that of oil or ‘fatty meat’.118 Lockshin suggests that Rashbam might have described the manna rather negatively in order to put the people’s complaint in a more positive light.119 However, we still need to explain the Old French gloss. The Old French adjective luisant120 ‘shining / shimmering’ as well as its corresponding noun luisur121 ‘brightness / brilliance’ does not harmonize easily with the negative depiction of the Israelites’ food in the wilderness. However, since the material described in the Old French

115 GlLeipzigBa, vol. I, No. 2038 on Exod. 16:31 translates the Hebrew ‫ לבן‬as ‫ בלנקא‬blanqe (blanc in Modern French). 116 ‫ויקראו בית ישראל את שמו מן והוא כזרע גד לבן וטעמו כצפיחת בדבש‬. 117 ‫ואני אומר לפי פשוטו וטעמו כשאוכלין אותו כמות שהוא בלא טחינה הרי הוא‬ ‫כצפיחית בדבש‬. 118 ‫טעמו כליחלוח של שמן ובשר שמן‬. 119 120 121

Lockshin, Rashbam’s Commentary on Leviticus and Numbers, Translation, 255n31. Luissant; lusant; lusent; lussant; cf. TL 5,716; see also BibleGuiotW 1546. lusour; luisor; luisou.

the old french glosses and rashbam’s exegesis

249

sources as being luisant, i.e., helmets, arms, fortresses often have the quality of hardness or robustness, we can imagine that Rashbam’s gloss referred in particular to this characteristic feature. In addition, it is noteworthy that the Leipzig Glossary at Num. 11:7 translates the Hebrew ‫‘ הבדולח‬bdellium’ as ‫ לו קריטל‬lo crètâl122 (le cristal in Modern French),123 which seems to match the semantic context of Rashbam’s gloss luisant more than any other depiction of the manna. 3. Conclusion Although we have not presented here each and every gloss in Rashbam’s Torah-commentary, we have seen that Rashbam inserts glosses that in many instances differ from Rashi’s explanations (in Hebrew or Old French) as well as from the Champenois translations known to us from the Hebrew-French glossaries (Sifre Pitronot). The fact that we find not one entry in his comments on Leviticus shows that Rashbam introduces the Old French glosses into the narratives in particular in order to convey a different understanding of the text. As in the cases of God provoking Abraham in Gen. 22:1, Leah’s beauty and her ‘bright eyes’ (Gen. 29:17), or Joseph as the strong and vital crossbowman (Gen. 49:24), Rashbam’s glosses rely heavily upon an understanding of the text in accordance with its literary context. Moreover, we can see that he picks up motifs and topics from the vernacular literature and applies them to the biblical stories. We might, then, tentatively suggest that the Old French vocabulary found in Rashbam’s commentary points to a thorough knowledge—both oral and written—of the nascent Old French literary tradition that could have stimulated the attempt to develop a literary-aesthetic understanding of the Hebrew Bible as well.

122 123

crètâl, crestal, (TL 2,1064) GlLeipzigBa, vol. I, No. 3381.

CONCLUSION

RABBIS, KNIGHTS, AND THE EXCITEMENT OF MEDIEVAL ADOLESCENCE We have seen in this study that Rashbam, rather than explaining the theological meaning of a biblical story, re-narrates it, focusing on its plot and story line. Still, what does this re-narration encompass? What is its inherent quality? Rashbam does not change the biblical text or rewrite the stories anew; neither does he simply compose a (new) midrash. However, there is something new in the way he presents the material and gives the literary characters their own voices. In recent years, an increasing number of medievalists studying the Arthurian romances, the French (Chrétien de Troyes) as well as the later Middle High German (Hartmann on Aue), have introduced the idea of ‘fictionality’ and ‘fictitiousness’ into the scholarly debate. The courtly romances by Chrétien de Troyes are regarded as the prime examples of the beginning of fictionality in twelfth-century vernacular literature.1 There is also an ongoing scholarly debate on whether Northern French courtly literature can legitimately be called ‘fiction’. To date, Jewish Studies scholarship has hardly taken note of the results of this important debate. The literary output of the Jews of Northern France and elsewhere has not yet been investigated in terms of its literary and narrative quality. All too often, Hebrew commentaries, especially Bible and piyyu¢ commentaries, are the subjects of historical research focusing on their role within the Jewish-Christian debate to the neglect of their literary structure and other qualities. Rashbam’s renarration of the biblical narratives is unique in that he links them to the perspective of the protagonists.2 He allows his main characters personal independence and portrays them as well-defined 1 Compare in particular Haug, “Chrétiens de Troyes ‘Erec’-Prolog,” 105; idem, “Die Wahrheit der Fiktion;” idem, Brechungen, esp. 3–16; 45–71; 233–248; Robertson, “Some Medieval Literary Terminology.” 2 As to this literary technique in the romances of Chrétien compare Matthias Meyer, “Struktur und Person im Artusroman,” in Erzählstrukturen der Artusliteratur: Forschungsgeschichtliche und neue Ansätze, ed. Friedrich Wolfzettel, 145–163 (Tübingen: Niemeyer, 1999), esp. 145–146.

252

conclusion

individuals in a way that we find neither in the biblical account, nor in later midrashic exegesis. Jacob, Esau, and all the other biblical characters are simply not stereotypes. With only a few strokes of the quill, Rashbam sketches a whole scene, individualizes his characters, and reveals their inner lives and motivations. The motif of Jacob’s attempt to escape that is foiled by mere accident, throws new light on the narrative. Rashbam’s renarration allows the protagonist to act in his own spatiotemporal domain. Likewise, when young Esau ponders his mortality,3 Rashbam does not only allow his readers to catch a glimpse of his reasoning, but even helps them leave behind the stereotyped portrait of Esau as the everlasting theological adversary. Doesn’t Esau somehow seem likeable? The psychological ‘snap-shots’ allow the narratives to (re-)gain their literary vigor and tension. According to Gertrud Grünkorn, ‘fictionality’ refers to an aesthetic quality that distinguishes between literary texts and didactic and / or propagandistic texts.4 I am not convinced that this definition is entirely helpful, since ‘narrating’ and ‘writing’ in its broadest sense always serve a certain purpose, namely to establish an assured form of remembrance and to strengthen group-identity,5 whether sociological, religious, or political. Based on Grünkorn’s definition, both the biblical text as well as its later commentary tradition would rank among didactic texts, meaning that their reading and teaching serve a certain religious and theological purpose. Rashbam’s commentary seldom shows signs of serving religious purposes. Nevertheless, does that mean that Rashbam does not have a certain didactic goal? He repeatedly insists on the necessity to learn and teach the Bible as part of the religious curriculum, i.e., to deepen one’s understanding of biblical language by studying the Bible with Rashi. However, in contrast to Rashi, Rashbam aims to achieve a literary and narrative exegesis

See above Chapter Four, 4.2. See Gertrud Grünkorn, “Zum Verständnis von fiktionaler Rede im Hochmittelalter: Das Verhältnis von lateinischer Kommentartradition und höfischem Roman,” in Fiktionalität im Artusroman. [ Dritte Tagung der deutschen Sektion der Internationalen Artusgesellschaft], ed. Volker Mertens and Friedrich Wolfzettel (Tübingen: Niemeyer, 1993), 29–44, esp. 39–43; on Grünkorn see also Fritz-Peter Knapp, “Historiographisches und fiktionales Erzählen in der zweiten Hälfte des 12. Jahrhunderts,” in Erzählstrukturen der Artusliteratur: Forschungsgeschichtliche und neue Ansätze, ed. Friedrich Wolfzettel (Tübingen: Niemeyer, 1999), 3–22, esp. 10–12. 5 Compare Dieter Kartschoke, “Erzählen im Alltag—Erzählen als Ritual—Erzählen als Literatur,” in Situationen des Erzählens: Aspekte narrativer Praxis im Mittelalter, ed. Ludger Lieb and Stephan Müller (Berlin; New York: de Gruyter, 2002), 21–39, 23–24. 3 4

rabbis, knights, and the excitement of medieval adolescence

253

that does not deal merely with the respective episodes, but explores the underlying story line. Therefore, his comments focus on the text’s stylistic devices, and expose its literary and narrative quality rather than its religious meaning. This subject matter had never been discussed before. Rashbam’s didactic claim addresses literary-theoretical questions to those (erudite) readers who might have grown tired of the old-fashioned exegetical approach. The question of Rashbam’s audience is difficult to resolve. Once again, we are faced with the fact that Christians present themselves to the world through literature, whereas the Jews hardly disclose their mental state within their compositions, especially biblical commentaries. Beate Schmolke-Hasselmann portrayed Chrétien’s audience as well educated francophone nobles; some even stood out intellectually. They were capable of recognizing quotations from older sources, or of understanding subtle allusions and hints. It’s a commonplace that the French nobility attempted to gain political legitimacy by creating fictional ancestors through the medium of courtly literature.6 At first sight, the audience of French nobility and Rashbam’s addressees, the so-called maskilim do not have very much in common. Since Rashbam’s commentary presupposes a thorough knowledge not only of rabbinic sources, but also of Rashi’s commentary, the maskilim must have been a group of erudite and learned ‘readers,’ not among the less educated members of the community, those people who were often referred to by the tosafists as ‫‘ העם שבשׂדות‬the people in the field.’ Likewise, these educational prerequisites make it unlikely that there were any women in his audience, although a woman, who had learnt Hebrew, in order to read the prayers and even the Torah portions, could have gained much benefit from Rashbam’s comments for the explication of the text on the literal level. Nevertheless, the goal of his commentary was to complement the precedent exegetical tradition, and the argument was too sophisticated to be understood outside scholarly circles. Unfortunately, Rashbam only rarely gives information about the Sitz im Leben of his commentary. In his lengthy comment on Num. 11:35, in which he deals extensively with the midrashic explanations on the itinerary and the encampment of the Israelites in Hazeroth, he reports that

6

Compare Schmolke-Hasselmann, The evolution of Arthurian romance, 225–228.

254

conclusion the [issue] was doubtful to my teachers. I was asked about it in Paris, and explained it in a ‘lecture’ [‫]דרשה‬.7

The explications that follow this statement present a rather sophisticated argument that clearly exceeds the intellectual horizon of those who are taught the weekly Torah portion by a qara once a week. Since Rashbam does not inform us about the circumstances of his trip to Paris and his meeting with other rabbinic scholars, we can only guess from the fact that Rashbam offers a lengthy explanation on various midrashim, in which he reveals and analyzes the midrash’s literary and stylistic arguments, that his answer was meant to inject new ideas into the scholarly debate on the literary quality and narrative technique of the Hebrew Scriptures. His derashah was, thus, more of a lecture (‘Lehrvortrag’ ) than a sermon.8 However, allusions to rabbinic intellectual and scholarly endeavors remain fairly vague. The Jews did not attend university, and never studied the trivium and quadrivium in the way Hugh of St. Victor warmly recommended to his students. Nevertheless, despite the profound disparity between Chrétien’s courtly romances and Rashbam’s Torahcommentary as to literary genres, audience, and respective narrative goals, we must point to some striking similarities in the way they model and re-model ancient texts and traditions, and how they conducted themselves as ‘young savages.’ The ‘discovery of fictionality’ (Haug) that we find in Chrétien’s writings, but also in Rashbam’s re-narrations of biblical stories some ten years earlier was the result of a new ‘Zeitgeist’ that encompassed the French nobility as well as the Jews. Why should the vernacular literature that fascinated French society not have fascinated the Jews as well? We can, therefore, well imagine that Rashbam—at the dawn of the new literary (trans-)formation of courtly literature—tried to compete with this new intellectual movement, claiming that the literary quality of the matière des Hebreux’ was at least as good as that of the matière de Bretagne. Furthermore, the emergence of Old French literature was necessarily accompanied by the estrangement of the nobility from the church, since the noble soci-

7

Rashbam on Num. 11:35: ‫ומסופק לרבותי ונשאלתי עליו בפריש ופירשתיו‬

‫בדרשה‬.

8 I would, therefore, not translate the term derashah in this context as ‘sermon’ (cf. Lockshin, Rashbam’s Commentary on Leviticus and Numbers, Translation, 196).

rabbis, knights, and the excitement of medieval adolescence

255

ety cultivated an anti-clerical attitude,9 and the church did not approve of the Christian community listening to the stories of ‘bloody’ chivalry and numerous cases of adultery. The Jews as social ‘in-betweens’ were more than ready to jump onto this anticlerical bandwagon, since for them it came with a growing social acceptance and less rejection by the nobility that maintained economic relations with the Jewish ‘nouveau riche.’ For a short period of time, viz. from c. 1100–1180, both parties, the members of the nobility and the Jewish intellectuals, started to break up encrusted social structures and to reinvent the world by entering their own fictional worlds. In some ways, the self-confidence demonstrated by Chrétien and Rashbam as the outstanding representatives of this new movement resembles that of an adolescent who thinks that whatever the elders think is stupid and worthless. It might seem disrespectful to compare various groups of French medieval society with adolescents. However, any parent who has ever raised young children learns that even if it is exhausting for the parents—for the kids the world becomes an exciting place, and this excitement forms a powerful intellectual stimulus. Whatever it meant for a twelfth-century Northern French Jewish scholar to study and to teach the Hebrew Bible— . . . stat rosa pristina nomine, nomina nuda tenemus (The ancient rose continues to exist through its name; we are left only with the names).

CrenguÂta-Beatrice Trîncă, “Ästhetische Erfahrung an der Hundeleine. Profane Leseformen mittelalterlicher Dichtung,” in Ästhetische Erfahrung: Gegenstände, Konzepte, Geschichtlichkeit, ed. Sonderforschungsbereich 626 (Berlin, 2006), http://www.sfb626 .de/veroeffentlichungen/online/aesth_erfahrung/aufsaetze/trinca.pdf, Par. 2. 9

APPENDIX

SYNOPSIS OF THE OLD FRENCH GLOSSES IN RASHBAM’S TORAH-COMMENTARY In Cooperation with Marc Kiwitt, Dictionnaire étymologique de l’ancien français (DEAF), Heidelberg Sigla: ANDEl: William Rothwell, David Trotter et al., The Anglo-Norman Dictionary. Electronic Edition, Aberystwyth: Aberystwyth University, Swansea: Swansea University, 2001– [online publication: www.anglo-norman.net]. DEAF: Kurt Baldinger, Frankwalt Möhren, Thomas Städtler et al., Dictionnaire étymologique de l’ancien français, Québec: Presses de l’Université Laval, Tübingen: Niemeyer, Paris: Klincksieck, since 1971. FEW: Walther von Wartburg et al., Französisches Etymologisches Wörterbuch. Eine Darstellung des galloromanischen Sprachschatzes, 25 volumes, Bonn: Schroeder, Klopp, Heidelberg: Winter, Leipzig: Teubner, Basel: Zbinden, 1922–2002. Gdf: Frédéric Godefroy, Dictionnaire de l’ancienne langue française et de tous ses dialectes du IXe au XVe siècle, 10 volumes. Paris, [1879–] 1880–1902 [reprint Vaduz: Kraus 1965 etc.]. GlBNhébr302L: Glossaire hébreu du XIII e siècle, edited by Mayer Lambert, Louis Brandin, Paris: Ernest Leroux, 1905 [edition of ms. Paris BnF hébr. 302]. GlLeipzigBa: Le Glossaire de Leipzig, edited by Menahem Banitt, 4 volumes. Jerusalem, Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities, 1995–2005 [edition of ms. Leipzig: Univ.-Bibl. 1099]. GlNYsP: “Fragment d’un glossaire hébreu-français du XIIIe siècle”, edited by Nathan Porges. Revue des Etudes Juives 67 (1914), 183–194 [edition of ms. New York, JTS Lutzki 698]. GlParmePald: Hebrew-French Biblical Glossary dating from 1279, ms. Parma Pal. 2924 [= de Rossi 60]. GlParmePale: Hebrew-French Biblical Glossary dating from the beginning of the fourteenth century, ms. Parma Pal. 2780 [= de Rossi 637], edited in part by Harley Jay Siskin, A Partial Edition of a Fourteenth Century Biblical Glossar: Ms Parma 2780. Ithaca: Cornell University, 1981 [unpublished thesis]. LidScott: Henry George Liddell, Robert Scott, A Greek-English Lexicon, Oxford: Clarendon, 1925–1940 [supplement published by P. G. W. Glare, A. A. Thompson 1996]. MGK: Mikra’ot Gedolot ›Haketer‹: A Revised and Augmented Scientific Edition of Mikra’ot Gedolot, edited by Menachem Cohen. Jerusalem, Ramat Gan: Bar Ilan University Press, 1996ff., electronic version. TL: Adolf Tobler, Erhard Lommatzsch, Altfranzösisches Wörterbuch, 11 volumes, Berlin: Weidmann, Wiesbaden: Steiner, [1915–] 1925–1976, vol. 11 published by Hans Helmut Christmann, Stuttgart: Steiner, 1988–1995, and by Richard Baum et al., Stuttgart: Steiner, 2002. LevyContr: Raphael Levy, Contribution à la lexicographie française selon d’anciens textes d’origine juive, Syracuse: Syracuse University Press, 1960.

258

appendix

LevyRech: Raphael Levy, Recherches lexicographiques sur d’anciens textes français d’origine juive ( Johns Hopkins Studies in Romance Literature Extra Volume V), Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Press, London: Humphrey Milford, 1932. LevyTrés: Raphael Levy, Trésor de la langue des juifs français au moyen âge, Austin: University of Texas Press, 1964. RaschiD1: Les gloses françaises de Raschi dans la Bible. Accompagnées de notes par Louis Brandin, et précédées d’une introduction par Julien Weill, edited by Arsène Darmesteter, Paris: Durlacher, 1909. RaschiD2: Gloses de Raschi concernant le Talmud; fin 11es.; A. Darmesteter and D. S. Blondheim, Les gloses françaises dans les Commentaires talmudiques de Raschi, vol. 1: Texte des Gloses, Paris (Champion) 1929, vol. 2, D. S. Blondheim, t.2, Études lexicographiques, Baltimore, London Oxford Paris: Johns Hopkins Press, 1937. For a detailed bibliography and list of abbreviations see the bibliography of the Dictionnaire étymologique de l’ancien français: www.deaf-page.de.

GlBNhébr302L 7,55 éži [= eci]; GlLeipzigBa 719 içès.

,‫ ‹ מרחוק רגיל לומר כן‬y ś› cist proximal ‫ וכן בעל החלומות‬demonstrative pronoun ‫ אבל כשאדם‬,‫ הלזה בא‬c.rect. m. sg. ‫ אומר המן הרע‬,‫בקרוב‬ ‫הזה צישט ב״ל‬

Gen. 24:65

TL 2,142 cest; Gdf 2,140b; ANDEl cest; FEW 4,820a sub © ISTE; LevyTrés 55a.

TL 2,88 cel; Gdf 2,133c; ANDEl cel1; FEW 4,552a sub © ILLE; LevyTrés 54b.

,‫ ‹ ונראה שהמקרא קצר‬yl› cil distal demon‫ והכי‬,‫ וחסורי מחסרי‬strative pronoun c.rect. ‫ מי האיש‬.‫ רוצה לומר‬m. sg. ,‫הלזה ההולך בשדה‬ ‫ופנה מדרכו לבא‬ ‫לקראתנו? הלזה ציל‬ ‫ב״ל‬

661 doni.

Gen. 24:65

dones.

GlBNhébr302L 6,50 aséya; GlLeipzigBa 631 âsoy’â.

Hebrew-French Biblical glossaries

MGK GlBNhébr302L ‫ נותן‬.‫‹ השדה נתתי לך‬dwyyn › doinz, 1st pers. TL 2,2012; Gdf 9,408a; .‫ אני אותו עכשיו לך‬sg. pres. indicative of ANDEl doner1; FEW 3,136a ‫'דונש' בלעז‬. 6,82 donase; sub DONARE; LevyTrés 82a. RaschiD1 GlLeipzigBa ‫ דויינץ ב״ל‬doner v.tr. “to give.”

ANDEl contrarier1; FEW 2,1121a sub CONTRARIUS; LevyTrés 60b contrarier; LevyContr n° 245 sub contraliement.

sub DONARE; LevyTrés 82a.

Rashi

Gen. 23:11

pers. sg. simple past indicative of contrariier v.tr. “to confront someone with questions or objections, to oppose.”

doner v.tr. “to give.”

‫ קונטראריאה‬.‫‹ נסה‬qwn r ry h› contraria 3rd TL 2,784; Gdf 9,179a;

Lexicographical references

Gen. 22:1

Old French gloss

‫‹ הנה נתתי לכם נותן אני‬dwyynś› doins, 1st pers. TL 2,2012; Gdf 9,408a; ‫ לכם עתה דויינש‬sg. pres. indicative of ANDEl doner1; FEW 3,136a

Torah Commentary Rashbam

Gen. 1:29

Biblical reference

synopsis of the old french glosses 259

Old French gloss

‫ וורש‬.‫ נאות‬.‫‹ רכות‬wwrś› vairs c.rect. f. pl. ‫ ב״ל‬of vair adj. “of vivid,

Gen. 29:17

brilliant colour, bright.”

TL 11,85; Gdf 8,135a; ANDEl vair1; FEW 14,182b sub VARIUS.

Cf. TL 6,1212 a ore; Gdf 4,471a a heure; ANDEl ure1 a ure; FEW 4,468b sub H >ORA; LevyTrés 167a ore.

‫ ‹ מי איפוא תיקון‬wrś›, prob. to be ‫ כמו‬,‫ לשון הוא‬read ‹ h wrś› a ores adv. .‫ איזי שבתלמוד‬phrase “at once.” .‫אימא לי איזי‬ ‫אתאורש ב״ל‬

Gen. 27:33

part. as adj. “of the nature or disposition of an enemy, hostile.”

TL 2,785; Gdf 9,179a; ANDEl contrarier1; FEW 2,1121b sub CONTRARIUS; LevyTrés 60b contrarier; LevyContr n° 245 sub contraliement.

‫‹ מוֹרת רוח‬qwn rry n › contrarïanz, ‫ קונטרריאנץ‬f. pl. of contrarïant pres.

Gen. 26:35

TL 8,1469; Gdf 10,591b; ANDEl rus; FEW 10,588a sub RUSSUS; LevyTrés 201a rous.

Lexicographical references

faire: TL 3,1584; Gdf 9,593b; ANDEl faire1; FEW 3,346b sub FAC©ERE; LevyTrés 109a. esgarer: TL 3,1065; Gdf 9,528b; ANDEl esgarer; FEW 17,536b sub Germ. *WARÔN; LevyTrés 88a égarer.

‫‹ אדמוני רוש ב״ל‬rwś› ros adj. “red.”

Torah Commentary Rashbam

Gen. 26:26 . . . [‫‹ ואחזת ]מרעהו‬pyy , ’śgryr› fait esgarer, ‫ פייט אשגריר בלעז‬3rd pers. sg. pres. indicative of faire v.aux. + inf. of esgarer v.intr. “go astray” (or v.tr. “lead astray”?).

Gen. 25:25

Biblical reference

Table (cont.) Rashi

GlBNhébr302L 9,44 tonres; GlLeipzigBa 851 tandrës.

GlBNhébr302L 8,73 é u.

talont; GlLeipzigBa 778 contraliânt detalant.

GlBNhébr302L 8,46

‫ מורת‬rebélemont; 8,47 ‫רוח‬

èconpanyèe.

‫ ואהזת‬é konpaynie; 8,41 ‫ מרעהו‬de sés amis; GlLeipzigBa 776 ‫ואחזת‬

GlBNhébr302L 8,40

GlBNhébr302L 7,91 ruyje; GlLeipzigBa 741 roje.

Hebrew-French Biblical glossaries

260 appendix

Gen. 45:24

Gen. 41:8

TL 2,142; Gdf 2,140b; ANDEl cest; FEW 4,820a sub © ISTE; LevyTrés 55a.

‫ ‹ אבל הזה צישט ב״ל‬y ś› cist proximal

because of fear or other emotions, to tremble.”

[. . . ] ‫ ‹ אל תרגזו‬rnblr› trenbler v.intr. ‫“ טרנבלר לעז של רוגז‬to be agitated with ‫ של כ"ד ספרים‬vibratory motion

away, to depart.”

TL 10,574 trembler; Gdf 10,804c; ANDEl trembler2; FEW 132,241a sub *TR©EM©ULARE; LevyTrés 224a tranbler.

LevyTrés 225b trepasser; LevyContr n° 786; LevyRech n° 786.

.‫ ‹ ותפעם רוחו‬ryśp ś› trespassa, 3rd TL 10,620; Gdf 8,56b; .‫ נתחלפה דעתו‬pers. simple past of ANDEl trespasser; FEW ‫ טרישפשא ב״ל‬trespasser v.intr. “to go 7,720a sub *PASSARE;

demonstrative pronoun c.rect. m. sg.

TL 2,88 cel; Gdf 2,133c; ANDEl cel1; FEW 4,552a sub © ILLE; LevyTrés 54b.

‫ ‹ הלזה כל הלזה‬yl› cil distal ‫ כשרואים אותו‬demonstrative pro‫ וכן מי האיש‬,‫ מרחוק‬noun c.rect. m. sg. ‫הלזה ציל ב״ל‬

Gen. 37:19

TL 8,1469; Gdf 10,591b; ANDEl rus; FEW 10,588a sub RUSSUS; LevyTrés 201a rous.

‫ אבל‬.‫‹ חום בכשבים‬rwś› ros adj. “red.” ‫ כי רובם‬,‫לא בעזים‬ ‫ רוש ב״ל‬.‫חום הם‬

Lexicographical references

Gen. 30:32

Old French gloss

Torah Commentary Rashbam

Biblical reference

Table (cont.)

RaschiD1 ros.

Rashi

‹. . . yy › [gloss illegible]; GlLeipzigBa 1374 ‫תרגזו‬ antermantirès; GlParmePale f °4v° ‫ ‹ תרגזו‬an r man īrē › antremantirez.

GlBNhébr302L 15,83

‫ תרגזו‬ontremontiréz; GlParmePald f °4v° ‫תרגזו‬

son éprit; GlParmePald f °3r° ‫ ‹ ותפעם‬ē r zālā › e tresala; ‫‹ רוחו‬sūn ālān › sun talant; GlLeipzigBa 1194 ‫ותפעם‬ ëfuterzalé; GlParmePale f °3r° ‫ ‹ ותפעם‬ē r za ala › et tresala; ‫‹ רוחו‬śūn alan › sun talant.

GlBNhébr302L 13,82

‫ ותפעם‬é débati; 13,83 ‫רוחו‬

GlBNhébr302L 12,48 ižit [= icit]; GlLeipzigBa 1079 ‫ הלזה בא‬içét venânt.

GlBNhébr302L 9,88 rus; GlLeipzigBa 886 ros.

Hebrew-French Biblical glossaries

synopsis of the old french glosses 261

Old French gloss

Lexicographical references

stock used for shooting arrows or other projectiles, crossbow.”

.‫ ‹ ותשב באיתן קשתו‬rbl r › arbaletre f. ‫“ הקשת החזק שקורין‬weapon constisting of ‫ ארבלטרא‬a bow fixed across a

Gen. 49:24

4,551a sub © ILLE; LevyTrés 145a. parenté: TL 7,239; Gdf 5,759c; ANDEl parenté; FEW 7,643a sub PARENS; LevyTrés 172b parenteis.

TL 1,493 arbaleste; Gdf 8,164b; ANDEl arblaste; FEW 25,109b sub ARCUBALL© ISTA; LevyTrés 26b arbaleste.

TL 9,56; Gdf 7,285a; read ‹śy rn › saieterent, ANDEl seter1; FEW 11,58b 3rd pers. pl. simple past sub SAG© ITTA; LevyTrés of saieter v. tr. (and intr.) 202a saeter. “to send forth (arrows) from a bow or other engin, to shoot.”

‫ שיטרוט ב״ל‬.‫‹ רבו‬śy rw ›, prob. to be

pl. “their” + c.rect. pl. of parenté f. “persons of the same kin, kinsfolk.”

‫‹ מכרותיהם לור‬lwr prn yyś› lor parentés, lor: TL 5,652; Gdf 10,75a ‫ פרנטייש ב״ל‬lor poss. adj. 3rd pers. leur; ANDEl lur; FEW

Torah Commentary Rashbam

Gen. 49:23

Gen. 49:5

Biblical reference

Table (cont.) Rashi

GlBNhébr302L 17,45 [‫ ]קשתו‬son ark.

GlBNhébr302L 17,37 ‫ ורובו‬é tonžonért soy; GlParmePald f °5v° ‹ ē ān āyyr lūy› et tanzairent lui; GlLeipzigBa 1527 èfurèntançonat.

GlBNhébr302L 16,72 lor armures; 16,73 lor kenuysonse; GlParmePald f °5r° ‹lōr māyn mān › lor mainemant; ‹lōr q nūyyśān › lor kenuissance; ‹lōr ārmūr ś› lor armures; GlLeipzigBa 1453 lormaynenant; 1454 lor’ormorès; GlParmePale f °5r° ‹lōrmēyn man › lor meinemanz; ‹lōrq nūyyśan › lor kenuissanz; ‹lōr armūr ś› lor armures.

Hebrew-French Biblical glossaries

262 appendix

Exod. 8:17

Exod. 7:18

TL 3,470; Gdf 3,472c; ANDEl ennoier; FEW 4,701b sub © IN©ODIARE; LevyTrés 95b enuïer.

TL 3,572; Gdf 9,481b; ANDEl entendre2; FEW 4,740b sub © INT©END©ERE.

TL 3,2073; Gdf 9,650a [sens missing]; ANDEl furche; FEW 3,886a sub F©URCA; LevyTrés 116b.

Lexicographical references

TL 6,906; Gdf 5,546b; adj. “who likes the missing in FEW 7,163b sub night” [first attestation]. NOCTURNUS; LevyTrés 164a nuitrener.

‹’nwh› enöe, 3rd pers. sg. pres. indic. of enoiier v. tr. “to affect someone in a way that causes irritation or weariness, to annoy.”

‫‹ ערוב נויטריניר ב״ל‬nwy rynyr› nuitrenier

‫ כבר פירשתיו‬.‫ונילאו‬ ‫בפרשת לוט שכל‬ ‫ונלאו כפל לשון של‬ .‫לא יוכלו אנוה ב״ל‬

dent, 3rd pers. pl. pres. indicative of entendre v.tr. “to direct one’s faculties toward sth., to strive for sth.”

‫ איטנדאנט‬.‫ ‹ ]ו[ישעו‬y nd n ›, prob. to be ‫ ב״ל‬read ‹ yn nd n › enten-

Exod. 5:9

‹pwrq’› forche f. “forked piece of wood used as support for sth.” [here: for a crossbow].

Old French gloss

‫מושיבין אותו על עץ‬ ‫איתן וחזק שקורין‬ ‫פורקא‬

Torah Commentary Rashbam

Gen. 49:24

Biblical reference

Table (cont.) Rashi

GlBNhébr302L 20,30 lu méliž; GlParmePald f °7r° ‹lōmērlī › lo merliz; GlLeipzigBa 1765 lomëleïç; GlParmePale f °8r° ‹l merlīy › le merliz.

GlBNhébr302L 19,88 é laseront; GlLeipzigBa 1741 èseront lâsès; 1742 ènon poront; GlParmePale f °7v° ‹ ēlaś rūn › et lasserunt.

GlBNhébr302L 19,59 ontondront; 19,60 retréyront; GlParmePald f °7r° ‹ ān ārmān rōn › antarmantront; GlLeipzigBa 1712 rètrayeront; GlParmePale f °7v° ‹ a r m rūn › a[n]tremetrunt.

GlBNhébr302L 17,44 ‫ באיתן‬an forže [= force]; GlParmePald f °6r° ‹ ān9pōr › an force; GlLeipzigBa 1534 ‫באיתן‬ anforçe; GlParmePale f °6r° ‫ ‹ באיתן‬an9pōr › an force.

Hebrew-French Biblical glossaries

synopsis of the old french glosses 263

‫ שקורין‬,‫כעין תפוחים‬ ‫קוליירץ ב״ל‬

Exod. 25:33 ‫ כעין שקדים‬.‫‹ משוקדים‬qwlyyr › perhaps ‫ של בליטות בכותלי‬to be read ‹qwlryy › ‫ כעין שעושין‬,‫ הגביעים‬colorez, pl. of coloré past ‫ כלי כסף מצויירין‬part. as adj. “having a ‫ בליטות כעין כפות או‬colour or colours.”

off from a burning or smoldering substance, smoke.”

come gelee; GlLeipzigBa 2017 come jelèe; 2018 grèle; GlParmePale f °10v° ‹qūm ǧ lē h› cume gelee.

RaschiD1 jjelede [ gelede].

GlBNhébr302L 28,17 annéylées; GlParmePald f °13r° ‹nēl ē› nelez; GlLeipzigBa 2322 nâyelès; GlParmePale f °13r° ‹nēy l ē› neielez.

GlBNhébr302L 25,9 ‫עשן‬ [verb] fumé; 25,10 ‫עשנו‬ sa fumée; GlParmePald f °10v° ‫‹ עשן‬9pūmā › fuma; GlLeipzigBa 2100 ‫עשן‬ fumâ; GlParmePale f °11r° ‫‹ עשן‬9pūmā › fuma.

‫ ]כ[כפור ככפר כפור‬kom jélée; 23,75 ‫ייליד"ה‬ kome gréle; GlParmePald ‫בלעז‬. f °10r° ‹qōm ǧ lē h›

GlBNhébr302L 23,74

Hebrew-French Biblical glossaries

MGK

Rashi

TL 2,574; Gdf 9,128a; RaschiD1 ANDEl sub colurer; njjler FEW 2,923a sub COLOR. [nieler].

TL 3,2351; Gdf 9,673b; ANDEl fumee1; FEW 3,853a sub F ©UMUS; LevyTrés 120b.

‫‹ ְכּ ֶע ֶשן כעישון פומיאה‬pwmy’h› fumee f. ‫“ ב״ל‬visible fumes given

Exod. 19:18

or more tails, usually attached to a helmet, lance, or flagpole.”

TL 4,435 gonfanon; Gdf 9,707b; ANDEl gunfanun; DEAF G 990 gonfanon; FEW 16,102a sub Old Low Frankonian *GUNDFANO; LevyTrés 59a.

‫‹ כל זמן שרואים הרמת‬qwnpwn›, confanon ‫ ניסם קונפון ב״ל‬m. “pennon of one

Lexicographical references

Exod. 17:11

Old French gloss TL 4,629; Gdf 9,724a; ANDEl gresil; DEAF G 1330 sub gresler; FEW 16,84b sub Old Low Frankonian *GRISILÔN; LevyTrés 126b.

Torah Commentary Rashbam

Exod. 16:14 ‫‹ ככפור שקורין גרישלא‬gryśl’› gresle f. “ice falling in pellets from the atmosphere, hail.”

Biblical reference

Table (cont.)

264 appendix

ative passive of vëoir v.tr. “to perceive through the eyes, to see.”

14,420b sub V© IDĒRE; LevyTrés 235b voir.

‫‹ אבל לה' הנראה אליו‬pwbdw › fu veduz, 3rd TL 11,218; Gdf 10,832a ‫ מעצמו פובדוץ ב״ל‬pers. sg. simple past indic- veeir; ANDEl veer1; FEW

TL 1,372 [no definition]; Gdf 1,273b amonstrer; ANDEl amustrer; FEW 63,98b sub M >ONSTRARE; LevyTrés 15a amotrer.

Exod. 25:40

‹ mw śry › amostrez [twice], 2nd pers. pl. pres. indicative (or perhaps to be corrected into ‹ mw śryś› amostres, 2nd pers. sg.?) of amostrer v.tr. “to show”.

‘‫ לשון ’מופעל‬.‫מראה‬ ‫על ידי אחרים‬ ‫אמושטריץ ב״ל אשר‬ ‫ ממש‬.‫אתה מראה‬ ‫הראה לו תבנית‬ ‫המנורה אמושטריץ‬ ‫ב״ל‬

LevyTrés 144a [not attested in the general dictionaries of Old French, but cf. FEW 5,479b sub LUX: “Im gallorom. ist das subst. im wesentlichen auf den süden beschränkt, und nur wenige ablt. zeugen davon, dass es einmal auch im norden gelebt hat”].

alemande; FEW 24,501b sub AMYGD©ALA; LevyTrés 11b almandre; 12b amande.

Exod. 25:40

preted as loces, pl. of loce f. “vessel containing oil burnt at a wick used for illumination, lamp.”

stone-fruit existing in sweet and bitter varieties, almond.”

‫ לוצש ב״ל‬.‫‹ נרותיה‬lwś › prob. to be inter-

Lexicographical references

Exod. 25:37

Old French gloss

‫ ‹ ושוב שמעתי שכן‬mwndly › amondlez, pl. of TL 1,333 amende; ‫ מפרשים בנרבונא‬amondle f. “a kind of edible Gdf 1,215c alemande; ‫ אמונדליץ ב״ל‬and widely cultivated 8,96a amande; ANDEl

Torah Commentary Rashbam

Exod. 25:33

Biblical reference

Table (cont.) Rashi

GlBNhébr302L 28,27 fus amontréž; GlParmePald f °13r° ‹ ēś āmōn rē › es amontrez; GlLeipzigBa 2328 ès motrès; GlParmePale f °13v° ‹9puś amūn rē › fus amuntrez.

GlBNhébr302L 28,20 sés ložes [= loces]; GlParmePald f °13r° ‹śēlō ś› se[s] loces; GlParmePale f °13r° ‹śēlū ś› se[s] luces.

Hebrew-French Biblical glossaries

synopsis of the old french glosses 265

‫ועשית משבצות‬ ‫ כעין טס‬.‫זהב טהור‬ ‫של זהב שיש גומא‬ ‫ להכניס‬,‫באמצעיתו‬ ‫בו ראשי השרשרות‬ ‫לחתיכה אחת גסה‬ .‫שדומה לגבול ולסוף‬ ‫כעין בוטון ב״ל‬ ‫ שעושין‬,(‫)כפתור‬ ‫בראשי חגורות של‬ ‫משי כדי שתיכנס‬ ‫במשבצות‬

‫ כפל‬.[‫]נתונים נתונים‬ ‫ כמו נתן תתן‬,‫לשון‬ .‫להם אחזת נחלה‬ .‫דוננט דונץ ב״ל‬

Num. 3:9

‹dwnn dwn › donant donez, pres. part. m. sg. + 2nd pers. pl. pres. indicative of doner “to give” [syntactic imitation of the Hebrew lemma].

‹bw wn› boton m. “small knob attached to an object for use or as an ornament, button.”

“implement consisting of a broad blade attached to a handle used for raising and removing earth, coal or other loose material, shovel.”

Old French gloss

‫‹ ויעיו שקורין וודיל ב״ל‬wwdyl› vadil m.

Torah Commentary Rashbam

Exod. 28:13

Exod. 27:3

Biblical reference

Table (cont.)

RaschiD1 vadil.

FEW 1,288b sub BATILLUM; LevyTrés 229a; LevyContr n° 807 sub véyiler.

TL 2,2012; Gdf 9,408a; ANDEl doner1; FEW 3,136a sub DONARE; LevyTrés 82a.

TL 1,1095; Gdf 8,346a; ANDEl boton; FEW 151,223b sub Old Low Frankonian *B >OTAN; LevyTrés 42b.

Rashi

Lexicographical references

GlBNhébr302L 40,21 ‫ נתונים נתונים‬livréž donéž; GlParmePald f °20v° ‹līïbrē dōnē › livrez donez; GlLeipzigBa 3262 livrès donès; GlParmePale f °21v° ‹lybry lybry › livrez livrez.

GlBNhébr302L 28,70 é sés véyils; GlLeipzigBa 2374 ësès vayïs; GlParmePale f °13v° ‹ ēśēwwāyy ī › et se[s] vaïz.

Hebrew-French Biblical glossaries

266 appendix

*BERTIARE; LevyTrés 38b.

GlBNhébr302L 48,44 son béyrž; GlParmePald f °27v° ‹śōn lī › son lit; GlLeipzigBa 3996 son lit; GlParmePale f °29r° ‫ערסו‬ ‹śōn lī › son lit.

‫ עריסה של‬.‫‹ הנה ערשו‬byr yl› bercel m. “small TL 1,924 berçuel; Gdf .‫ קטן כשהיה תינוק‬bed or cot for an 1,623c berçuel; ANDEl ‫ בירציל בלע׳‬infant, cradle.” bercel; FEW 1,337a sub

Deut. 3:11

war, dromond.”

.‫ כמו וצי אדיר‬.‫‹ וצים‬drwmwn› dromon m. ‫ הוא‬.‫“ דרומון בלע׳‬a kind of large ship .‫ בורני גדולה‬used for transport or

GlBNhébr302L 45,93 érité.

GlBNhébr302L 44,34 lu léjéyr; GlParmePald f °24r° ‹lōl ǧīy r› lo legier; GlLeipzigBa 3612 lolijér; GlParmePale f °25r° ‹l l ǧēyr› le leger.

Hebrew-French Biblical glossaries

GlBNhébr302L 46,9 é barj; 46,10 é konpaynie; GlParmePald f °25v° ‹ ēqōnpāynī h› et conpaignie; GlLeipzigBa 3774 èbarjës; GlParmePale f °26v° ‹ ēqūpēynī h› et cu[n]peignie.

Rashi

TL 2,2085; Gdf 9,417a; ANDEl dromund; FEW 3,163a sub Greek DROMON; LevyTrés 83a dromont; LevyContr n° 324; LevyRech n° 324.

TL 5,716; Gdf 10,98b; ANDEl lusant; FEW 5,429a sub L >UCĒRE; LevyTrés 145b.

Lexicographical references

Num. 24:24

‹lwyśn › luisant pres. part. as adj. “emitting brightness or radiance, shining.”

Old French gloss

TL 4,1448; Gdf 4,464a heritaire; cf. ANDEl heriter1; ad FEW 4,411b sub HEREDITARIUS; LevyTrés 98b eritere.

‫ כמו קלקל‬.‫הקלקל‬ ‫בחצים לבן כעין‬ ‫ לוישנט‬.‫הבדלח ויבש‬ .‫ב״ל‬

Torah Commentary Rashbam

Num. 24:18 ‫ כמו ְש ֵמנָ ה נפש‬.‫ ‹ ירשה‬yr yr › iretaire adj. or ‫ אירטירא ב״ל‬.‫ שבעה‬m. “which is obtained through inheritance.”

Num. 21:5

Biblical reference

Table (cont.)

synopsis of the old french glosses 267

‹plpyyr’› palpiere f. “fold of skin with which the eye is covered and uncovered, eye-lid.”

‫יצרנהו הקדוש ברוך הוא‬ ‫לישראל כמו באישון‬ ‫ הוא‬,‫ששומר את העין‬ ‫הבשר שנכפף על העין‬ ‫שקורין פלפיירא‬

‫ולפי שמכסה את העין‬ ‫ומחשיך אותו נקרא‬ ‫אישון וכמהו שומרני‬ ‫כאישון בת עין כנוגע‬ ‫בבבת עינו הוא שקורין‬ ‫פרונילא שרואין בה‬

Deut. 32:10

Deut. 32:10

TL 7,2031; Gdf 10,441c prunelle; ANDEl prunele; FEW 9,495a sub PR >UNUM.

TL 7,506 paupiere; Gdf 5,712a palpebre; 10,263b; ANDEl paupere; FEW 7,519a sub PALP©EBRA; LevyTrés 171a palpeire.

of faire v.aux. + inf. of dire v.tr. “to utter a word or a sequence of words, to say.”

‹prwnyl’› prunele f. “pupil of the eye (considered as a solid spherical body), or perhaps the whole eye-ball.”

faire: TL 3,1584; Gdf 9,593b; ANDEl faire1; FEW 3,346b sub FAC©ERE; LevyTrés 109a. dire: TL 2,1933; Gdf 9,385a; ANDEl dire; FEW 3,67b sub D>ICERE; LevyTrés 80b.

‫ פאישדירא‬.‫‹ האמרת‬p’yśdyr’› fais dire, 2nd ‫ בלעז‬pers. sg. pres. indic.

Lexicographical references

Deut. 26:17

Old French gloss

Torah Commentary Rashbam

Biblical reference

Table (cont.) Rashi

GlBNhébr302L 53,25 ‫ כאושון‬kome prunéle; GlParmePald f °33r° ‹qōm prūnēl › come prunele; GlLeipzigBa 4560 ‫ כאישון‬come la pronèle; GlParmePale f °35r° ‹qūm prūnēl › cume prunele.

GlBNhébr302L 51,87 amiablas; GlParmePald f °31r° ‹ āmīyāblāś› amiablas; GlLeipzigBa 4380 fis âmiablér; GlNYsP p. 186 ‫יא ְבּ ַלש‬ ַ ‫ַא ִמ‬ amiablas; GlParmePale f °33r° ‹ amī abraś› amiabras.

Hebrew-French Biblical glossaries

268 appendix

BIBLIOGRAPHY

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——. “‫למשמעות המושג "תשובת המינים" בכתבי רבותינו הצרפתים‬.” Sinai 99, 3–4 (1986): 144–148. ——. “‫שיטתו הפרשנית של רשב"ם על רקע המציאות ההיסטורית של זמנו‬.” In ‫עיונים‬ ‫ מוקדש לפרופ‘ עזרא ציון מלמד‬:‫בספרות חז“ל במקרא ובתולדות ישראל‬, edited by Yitzhak D Gilat a.o. 48–74. Ramat Gan: Bar Ilan University Press, 1982. ——. “‫ לשחזור הנוסח המקורי של פירוש רש"י‬1 ‫תרומתו האפשרית של כ"י לייפציג‬ ‫לתורה; תשובה לאברהם גרוסמן‬.” Tarbiz 56 (1987): 211–242. Trautner-Kromann, Hanne. “From ‘Jacob or Esau?’ to ‘has the Messiah come?’ Controversies between Jews and Christians as reflected in Bible exegesis.” Zutot 2 (2002): 95–101. Trînc† a, CrenguÂta-Beatrice. “Ästhetische Erfahrung an der Hundeleine. Profane Leseformen mittelalterlicher Dichtung.” In Ästhetische Erfahrung: Gegenstände, Konzepte, Geschichtlichkeit, edited by Sonderforschungsbereich 626. Berlin, 2006. http://www .sfb626.de/veroeffentlichungen/online/aesth_erfahrung/aufsaetze/trinca.pdf Twersky, Isadore, ed. Rabbi Moses Nahmanides (RAMBAN): Explorations in his Religious and Literary Virtuosity. Texts and Studies/Harvard University Center for Jewish Studies, vol. 1. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1983. Uitti, Karl D. “Chrétien de Troyes’s Cligés: Romance Translatio and History.” In Conjunctures: Medieval Studies in Honor of Douglas Kelly, edited by Keith Busby and Norris J. Lacy, 545–557. Amsterdam and Atlanta, Ga.: Editions Rodopi B.V., 1994. Urbach, Ephraim E. The Tosaphists. Their History, Writings and Methods. (In Hebrew) 2 vols. 5th ed. Jerusalem: Bialik Institute, 1986. Vanderputten, Steven. “Monastic Literate Practices in Eleventh- and Twelfth-Century Northern France.” Journal of Medieval History 32 (2006): 101–126. Van der Heide, Albert. “Banner, miracle, trial? Medieval Hebrew lexicography between facts and faith.” In Hebrew Scholarship in the Medieval World, edited by Nicholas Robert Michael DeLange, 92–10. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2001. Vance, Eugene. From Topic to Tale. Logic and Narrativity in the Middle Ages. Theory and History of Literature, vol. 47. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1987. Veltri, Giuseppe. Libraries, Translations, and ‘Canonic’ Texts: The Septuagint, Aquila, and Ben Sira in the Jewish and Christian Traditions. Supplements to the Journal for the Study of Judaism, vol. 109. Leiden: Brill, 2006. ——. Gegenwart der Tradition: Studien zur jüdischen Literatur und Kulturgeschichte. Supplements to the Journal for the Study of Judaism, vol. 69. Leiden: Brill, 2002. Vitz, Evelyn Birge. “Erotic Reading in the Middle Ages: Performance and Re-Performance of Romance.” In Performing Medieval Narrative, edited by Evelyn Birge Vitz, Nancy Freeman Regalado, and Marilyn Lawrence, 73–88. Cambridge: Brewer, 2005. Vitz, Evelyn Birge, Nancy Freeman Regalado, and Marilyn Lawrence, eds. Performing Medieval Narrative. Cambridge: Brewer, 2005. Volfing, Annette. “Middle High German Appropriations of the Song of Songs: Allegorical Interpretation and Narrative Extrapolation.” In Perspectives on the Song of Songs, edited by Anselm C. Hagedorn, 294–316. Berlin: de Gruyter, 2005. Wachinger, Burghart. “Süßkind von Trimberg.” In Die deutsche Literatur des Mittelalters: Verfasserlexikon, edited by Wolfgang Stammler, Karl Langosch, Burghart Wachinger, Christine Stöllinger-Löser, Kurt Ruh, and Kurt Illing. Vol 9, Col. 548–552. Berlin: de Gruyter, 1995. Wagner, Andreas. Sprechakte und Sprechaktanalyse im Alten Testament. Untersuchungen im biblischen Hebräisch an der Nahtstelle zwischen Handlungsebene und Grammatik. Beihefte zur Zeitschrift für die alttestamentliche Wissenschaft, vol. 253. Berlin: de Gruyter, 1997.

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GENERAL INDEX

academies 23; 71; 89; 137 academies Rhenish 89 accentuation 53 adultery 31; 190; 255 adults 54; 55; 72 adventures cf. âventiures aggadah 12; 15; 33; 42; 86; 167; 197 allegory 11; 15; 18; 32; 76; 164; 185; 213; 215; 228; 243 Amis et Amiloun 29 anagnorisma cf. recognition angel(s) 42; 64–65; 86–87; 89; 154; 160–161; 164; 184; 192 Anglo-Norman 1; 22; 26–27; 29; 71; 244 anthology (cf. also yalqut) 37; 43 anticipation, literary 78; 81; 84; 87; 96–99; 123; 157; 182 Antiquity 21; 75; 113; 126 apocryphal book 184–185 Apologia 121 aqedah cf. binding, Isaac’s archaeology 75 archery 242; 244 artes liberals 13–14; 40 Arthurian tradition 31; 118; 152–154; 161; 166; 251 Arugat ha-Bosem 58 ‘aseret ha-dibberot cf. Decalogue atbash 18 author, biblical 19; 33–34; 35; 52; 70; 75; 109; 110–117; 144; 165 autodiegetic 105; 113–114 Auxerre 39 âventiures 25; 145; 149–154; 161–164; 168; 174–175; 183 ba{al tosafot cf. Tosafists ban of settlement 7 bele conjointure 25; 161–163; 164; 166; 168 Bet midrash 9; 17; 71 Beziers 94 binding, Isaac’s 100; 236 birthright cf. firstborn Blois 7 bookbinding 45

Breslau Seminary Britain 26

59

Caen 58 Cambridge Psalter 237 canon 43; 167 catena commentaries 39; 49; 53 castle of the Grail 30 cathedral schools 11–13; 20; 40; 208 cemeteries 7 Champagne 6–7; 14; 22; 31; 33; 249 chansons de femme 71–72 chansons de geste 24; 120; 159; 162; 172 chanson de Roland 239; 245 chant, liturgical 174 chariot, Divine cf. ma{aseh merkavah Chevalier de la Charrette 24 children 54; 71; 72; 192; 255 Christian exegesis 15–21; 32; 43; 75–76; 87–89 christological 15; 186 chronological order 83; 129; 144 church fathers 41; 130 circumcision 79; 195; 198 clergy 25; 32 Cligés 162; 245 coincidence 145; 149–151; 153; 160 communities, Jewish 5; 6–7; 89 compilatio 37–38 compilation 36; 38–39; 42–44; 55; 60; 133 compiler 36; 37; 43 compilatory literature cf. literature, compilatory conjointure cf. bele conjointure consensus patrum 41 contingentia futura 152 cosmogony 91 cosmology 89; 92 courtly literature cf. literature, courtly creation (narrative) cf. narrative of creation creator 88; 134 criticism 75; 99; 154 crusade 5; 7; 29; 155

302

general index

curriculum 40; 52; 53–54; 71; 72; 185; 244; 252 Cushite woman 177–186 De tropis loquendi 1 De vita sua (Monodiae) 120 Decalogue 84–85; 87; 98; 219–221; 224 defective-spelling 77 deixis (deictic) 102 derash 78; 81; 168; 213 derashah 254 derekh erets 195–200; 203–206; 213; 217; 240 devequt 134 desert 107–108; 111; 126; 222–224 dialogue, fictional 120–135; 143; 148 Didascalicon 163–164 dispute 14; 87 Disputatio Iudaei at Christiani 213 Divine chariot cf. ma‘aseh merkavah Divine decree(s) 102; 145; 149; 175; 226 glory cf. kavod law 99 presence (cf. also shekhina) 42; 134 providence 93; 152; 153 punishment 128 Divre ha-Yamim shel Moshe Rabbenu 95; 168; 179–182; 184 double course 162; 174 Dreux 94 ecclesia et synagoga 136 Edom 16; 136; 138; 155 editor 38 education 30; 40; 55; 68–69; 72; 167; 198; 216; 234; 253 Egyptian language 102; 172; 184 emanation 134 Erec et Enide 25; 125; 162; 172 eschatological light 85 Estorie des Angles 29 Estorie de Merlin 29 Estorie del saint grail 29 Expositio in Hexaemeron 88 exegete 9; 37; 38 exempla 11; 192 exile 128 Exodus tradition 98 fables 8; 24 Fables de Marie de France 241 feudal system 11; 25; 217

figura etymologica 175 first-born 102; 141–144; 169; 176 first-person narrative 105; 111; 113; 115; 222 florilegia 42 folk-tales 8 Frauenehre 73 (Old) French 7; 14; 22; 27; 29; 32; 33; 41; 100; 113; 123; 146; 183; 191–192; 199; 229–249 Galeran de Brittany 72 gehinnom 86; 89; 143 gematria 18; 178 genealogy 96–97 genizot, European 45 German, Middle High 152; 251 German Pietists cf. Èaside Ashkenaz gezerot cf. Divine decrees glossa ordinaria 18; 39–44; 130; 167 glossaries 22; 29; 49; 153; 229–231; 232–237; 239–240; 243–247 glossator 38 glosses 22; 29; 33; 35; 37; 39; 46–50; 52–55; 61–63; 66; 123; 192; 199; 229–249 grammaticus 50 Greek 47; 75; 185; 191; 234 Haggadot cf. Passover Haggadot ”akhamim 196; 200 halakhah 12; 33; 38; 60; 84; 86; 94; 188; 195–228 haqdamah 78; 126; 144; 165; 182 Èaside Ashkenaz 15; 89–92; 133–134 ”ayyot 89 ”azzanut 174 hebrei 208 hekhalot 90 hell cf. gehinnom ”erem ha-yishuv cf. ban of settlement heretics cf. teshuvat ha-minim heterodiegetic 105 hinneh cf. (we)-hinneh Historia calamitatum 121 historical criticism cf. criticism historical sense cf. sensus historicus history 102–106; 110; 116; 244 Homer 75 homodiegetic 105 Hue de Rotelande 245 Èug Keruv ha-meyu”ad 90 human knowledge cf. derekh erets Hunbaut 27

general index Iggeret ha-Shabbat 85; 94 Iliad 76 imitatio dei 130 impurity 204–206; 208; 211–212; 214 (cf. also ritual purity) intentio auctoris 102–120 inusitata locution 208 Investiture Controversy 25 {iqqar ha-Tora 119 Isaac’s binding cf. binding, Isaac’s Karaites 95; 216 kashrut 205 kavod 133–134 kefel lashon cf. parallelismus membrorum knight 21; 23; 25; 28; 31; 145; 152; 161; 173; 190–192; 244 kotev 34 Lais de Marie de France 241 Lancelot-narrative 31; 162 land of Israel 79; 107; 117; 128 Langue d’Oïl 21–34 Laon 39 Latin 14; 19–22; 26; 38; 123; 125; 133; 185; 237 Latin literature cf. literature, Latin law 103; 119; 130; 219; 224; 226 (cf. also mitswot; Decalogue) law, Divine cf. Divine law le’azim 199 lectio allegorica cf. allegory lectio historica 11; 32; 117; 184; 243 lectio tropologica 11; 32; 243 Leqa” ¡ov 185 literacy, lay 1; 26 literal sense (meaning) 14; 36; 207–208; 212 (cf. also sensus ad litteram) literary anticipation cf. anticipation, literary literary composition 49; 75–86; 119; 129; 162 literary-historical criticism cf. criticism literary theory 2; 81; 95; 119 literature Anglo-Norman 29–30 compilatory 37–39; 42; 50 courtly 1; 25; 27; 29–31; 240; 251; 254 Latin 11; 37; 125 Medieval French 120; 159 romance 28; 32–33 vernacular 14; 29; 32–34; 41; 125; 161; 172; 251; 254 litteratus 21; 34; 125

303

liturgy 55; 128 (cf. also chant) London 94 ma{aseh merkavah 86; 89–91 Magna Glossatura 1; 39 Maimonidean controversy 219 Mainz 90 manna 248 margin 39; 44–46; 48; 61–62; 67 maskilim 12–13; 43; 77–78; 83; 117; 196–197; 200; 213–219; 253 Masoretic tradition 60 matière de Bretagne 2; 25–26; 33; 126; 162–163; 166; 190; 254 matière des Hebreux 34; 126; 162; 254 Media Glossatura 1; 39 medical knowledge 195; 198 Melekh Artus 31–32; 183; 190 memento mori 145 Merkavah Mysticism 89 mesapper cf. story-teller Messiah 17 metaphysic 92–93; 96 Middle High German cf. German middot 10; 18; 77 midrash 10; 18; 30; 38; 42–43; 78–79; 89; 136; 137–138; 145; 149; 164; 167–168; 177–184; 189; 197–198; 215; 236; 246; 251; 254 Mil”amot ha-Shem 213–214 minim cf. teshuvat ha-minim Minnesang 23 minnesinger 28; 33 miqreh cf. coincidence miqveh 211–212 miracle 157; 165; 175 Mishna 205; 241 mise-en-page 2; 35; 44–47; 67–68 Mishle Shu{alim 24 mitswot 103; 206; 219 (cf. also law; halakhah) monasteries 13; 20 moneylending 8; 27 Mosaic authorship 75–76; 99; 105–106; 108–109 Mosaic law 224–227 Moses-Jesus-allegory 18 mother tongue 7 Muslims 79; 99 mystic 89–92 (cf. also Merkavah Mysticism Narbonne 94 narration (art of ) 33; 71; 88; 103; 126; 141 (cf. also re-telling)

304

general index

narrative theory 43; 184 narrator 34; 102–120; 124; 140; 145; 154; 172; 189 narrative(s) of creation 75–87; 93; 113; 207 of Patriarchs 96–101; 149; 175 nations 16; 110–112; 118; 127–129; 131–132; 135–139; 242; 244 nature 92; 164; 198; 205 neoplatonic 92–93; 133–134 nobility (nobles) 25–26; 253; 254–255 Normandy 6–8; 14; 22; 96 nuns 27 {omeq peshu¢o cf. pesha¢ ordo narrationis 103; 117 orthodoxy 9; 109 pagan 27; 163 Pa{nea” raza 192 parallelismus membrorum 51; 165; 182; 208; 234 Paris 39; 90; 164; 254 Passover 223 Passover Haggadot 245 patristic 39–41 Pauline letters 39 pesha¡(-commentary) 11–12; 17; 21; 33; 36; 41; 44; 72; 78; 81; 85; 108; 129; 135; 144; 166; 183–184; 212–213; 226 philosophy (philosopher) 86–95; 134–135 philology 2; 12; 49; 75 phylacteries cf. tefillin pictura 164; 165 piyyut(-commentaries) 23; 39; 251 plain sense 11; 18; 41; 78; 85; 108; 184; 187; 195; 212; 230 plene-spelling 77 poetics 75–76; 165 polemics 16–18; 21; 79; 89; 94; 113; 124; 127; 129; 145–146; 185; 199–201; 204–205; 206–207; 213; 218 portion of Balaam 76 of Job 76 of Mas ei 114 of Shoftim 114 Torah 72; 253–254 prayerbook 38 priestly garments 200 prolepsis 82 prophet(ic) 38; 64; 135; 138–139; 167; 174

Provence 94 providentia 152 psychology 64; 110–117; 124; 148; 154–161; 174; 176; 241 qara 53; 54; 71; 126; 254 Qeren Shemuel 60 qun¡res 37; 53 rabbinic 12; 23; 42–43; 76–78; 83; 85–87; 89; 124; 134; 143; 157; 165; 178; 197; 202–203; 210; 213; 217; 219; 228; 238; 253 rapprochements littéraires 34; 73; 161–168 rationalists cf. maskilim redactor 36; 38; 118–120 reader response 49; 82 recognition 169–177 refuge 115–117 Renaissance, twelfth-century 124 responsa 6; 19; 60 re-telling / re-narrating 2; 120; 138; 141; 155; 159; 164; 183; 186; 251–252; 254 revelation 222; 226 Rhenish academies cf. academies ritual purity 205 (cf. also impurity) roman 27 Roman antiquity 75 Roman d’Alexandre 125; 239 Roman d’Enéas 123; 125 Roman de Brut 29; 125 Roman de Rou 28; 29; 125 Roman de Thèbes 125 Roman de Toute Chevalerie 239 Roman de Troie 125 Rome 23; 26; 93 rosh yeshiva 33 Rouen 7–8; 58; 92–95; 133; 245 Sabbath 85; 94; 221–222; 226 sagas 8; 25 scholastic exegesis 13; 40 school of the Victorine 14; 40; 164; 207 scholia-commentary 49 scholastic 13; 40 scriptor 38 secularization 8 Sefer ha-Dayyaqut 59 Sefer ha-Emunot we-ha-De{ot 91 Sefer ha-Èayyim 90 Sefer Èasidim 191–193 Sefer ha-Qabbalah 146

general index Sefer ha-Yashar 180 Sefer Yetsira 89–90; 92 sensus ad litteram 14; 85; 168; 212–213; 224; 234 sensus historicus (historical sense) 11; 36; 107; 110; 184; 234 sensus uerbi 14; 67 septem artes liberals cf. artes liberales Septuagint 171; 238 servants of the king’s court 7 servi camerae regis cf. servants of the king’s court sexual abstinence 178; 181; 182; 186 sheep-breeding 8 shekhinah (cf. also Divine prensece) 42–43; 132; 134; 135 shem ha-meforash 181 Shiloh 16 shipping 245 siddur 38 Sifre Pitronot 22; 249 sofer 38; 118–119 Source-criticism cf. criticism Spain 93 Speculum maius 43 Speyer 90 St. Victor cf. school of Victorine storyteller 118; 126; 166 storytelling 66; 72; 126; 148; 162–163; 166 student 48; 52; 75; 232 Sukkot 192 ta{am be-mitswot 206 tabernacle 200 Talmud 1; 16; 23; 33; 38; 42; 60; 69; 72; 76; 89; 119; 131–132; 192; 213; 232 Targum 107; 230; 238; 244 teacher 48; 50; 53; 55; 71; 198; 231 tefillin 18; 212 temple, Solomon’s 30

305

teshuvat ha-minim 14–17; 196; 206–207; 217–218 theosophy 90–92 toledot-formulae 96–97 Torah portion cf. portion, Torah Torat Mosheh 19 Torat Yeshu 19 tosafists 9; 33; 37; 60–61; 94; 120; 191–192; 253 Trivium 13; 164; 254 trouvère 23; 28; 72; 183; 191; 213 Troyes 33; 34; 54; 58 twofold path cf. double course typology 18; 129; 185–186 universities

12–14; 40

verbal system 51; 232 vernacular 22–27; 32–34; 47; 67; 72; 166; 185; 192; 199; 230 Verus Israel 136; 185 Vetus Latina 133 Victorine cf. school of Victorine Vita Merlini 32 vocalization 53 voice 42; 113; 170–177 Vulgate 133; 238 wax-tablets 53 way of the world cf. derekh erets (we)-hinneh 140–141 wisdom 92; 95; 127 Wissenschaft des Judentums 9–10; 22; 75 women 7; 27–28; 72; 193; 196; 199 Worms 58; 90 yalqut 37 Yalqut Shimxoni 38 Yesod Morax 134 Yvain 27; 125; 162; 172–173 Zaphenath-Paneah 55; 133

INDEX OF NAMES

Aaron (bibl.) 156; 178–183 Abelard 40; 88; 121 Abimelech (bibl.) 168; 183; 186–190; 235; 236 Abraham (bibl.) 62–64; 77; 100; 111; 145; 179; 188–189; 235– 237; 242; 249 Abraham ben Azriel 58 Abraham ibn Daud 146 R. Abraham Ibn Ezra 92–95; 100; 133–134; 181–184; 216; 245 Abulafia, Anna 224 Aesop 24 Ammon (bibl.) 111–112 Amram (bibl.) 182 Anonymous X 47; 207–209; 215 Anselm of Canterburry 39 Ahrend, Moshe 36 Andrew of St. Victor 14; 40; 106; 207 Arthur, king cf. King Arthur Ashkenazi, Solomon Zalman 60

Crispin, Gilbert

Balaam (bibl.) 65; 66; 156; 184; 244 Banitt, Menahem 22; 37; 229; 234 Bathsheba (bibl.) 32 R. Bekhor Shor, Josef 11; 90; 96; 150–151; 199; 238 Berechiah ben Natronai ha-Naqdan 24 Berlin, Adele 140 Berliner, Abraham 31; 38; 44 Bernard of Clairvaux 8 Beston, John 71–72 Bethuel (bibl.) 63; 145 Bilha (bibl.) 80 Bonaventura, Giovanni 38 Bonfils, Joseph 55; 133

Gaimar 29 Gaster, Moses 30; 32 Geoffrey of Monmouth 32 Gibson, Margaret 40 Gilbert of Auxerre 39 Gilbert of Poitiers 1; 39 Gilbert de la Porrée 40 Golb, Norman 8; 93 Goldberg, Arnold 78 Gomer (bibl.) 178 Graupner, Axel 154 Gregory VII 25 Grünkorn, Gertrud 252 Guibert de Nogent 120 Guy de Bazoche 120 Guy de Dampierre 7

Chazan, Robert 6; 8; 9; 113 Chazelle, Celia 68 Childs, Brevard S. 105 Chrétien de Troyes 2; 24–27; 30–31; 118; 120; 123; 125–126; 145; 148; 151–153; 158–159; 161–166; 172–175; 245; 251; 253–255 Clanchy, Michael 20; 49 Cohen, Shaye 16 Contreni, John 47

213

David (bibl.) 32; 65; 122 Delitzsch, Franz 10 Donnolo, Shabbetai 90 Duggan, Joseph J. 123 Duns Scotus Eriugena 11 Eber (bibl.) 137; 167; 244–245 Einbinder, Susan 28 Elazar ben Judah of Worms 90 Eldad (bibl.) 178 Eleonore of Aquitaine 24 R. Eliezer of Beaugency 9; 10; 11; 19; 22; 38; 43; 45; 81; 119 Esau (bibl.) 16; 65; 97; 111–112; 135–138; 141–146; 154–160; 165; 169–171; 175–176; 232; 252 Fichte, Joerg O. 11 Fraenckel, Jonas 59

Ham (bibl.) 80; 179 Haran (bibl.) 186 Harris, Monford 193 Harris, Robert 119 Hartmann on Aue 251 Haug, Walter 25; 126 Henry II. of Champagne 120 Henry IV 25 Herbert of Bosham 207

index of names izzequni 206 Hollender, Elisabeth 38–39; 42 Holmes, Urban T. 30 Homer 75 Hosea (bibl.) 79; 178 Hugh of St. Victor 14; 40; 87; 163; 254 Isaac (bibl.) 62; 100; 143; 144; 169–171; 175–177; 232–233 R. Isaac 79 R. Isaac ben Judah ha-Levi 192 Ishmael (bibl.) 145 R. Ishmael 227 Jacob (bibl.) 16; 64–67; 82; 96–97; 101; 136–137; 140–142; 154–161; 164–165; 168; 169–170; 173–177; 252 Jacob ben Reuben 213–216; 218–219 Japhet (bibl.) 80 Japhet, Sara 35–36; 46–48; 54; 67 Jerome 18 Jesus (Christ) 18; 130; 185; 224 Jethro (bibl.) 181 R. Johanan 131 John, King 8 Jonah (bibl.) 65; 66; 156 Joseph (bibl.) 97–98; 146–149; 153; 167; 171; 199; 201; 231; 242–244 Josephus 180 Joshua (bibl.) 84 Judah (bibl.) 149; 172 R. Judah the Pious 90; 191–192 R. Judah ben Barzilai 90 Kalman, Jason 36 Kamin, Sarah 14; 15; 88; 89; 90; 91; 118–119; 185 Kanarfogel, Ephraim 91 King Arthur 25; 162; 190 Klenke, Maria A. 30 The Knitter cf. (Der) Stricker Kogut, Simcha 140 Laban (bibl.) 63; 141; 143; 145 Lancaster, Irene 92–94 Leah (bibl.) 136; 147–148; 156; 171; 237–238 Levi (bibl.) 233 Leviant, Curt 32; 57 Liber, Maurice 8 Lockshin, Martin 17; 21; 35–36; 57; 59; 69; 83; 109; 118; 128; 167; 177; 179; 181–182; 185; 200; 206; 210; 243; 246; 248

Lot (bibl.) 111 Lot, King 173 Louis VII 24 Luzzatto, Samuel David

307

59; 171

Mann, Thomas 183 Marcus, Ivan 6 Marie de Champagne 24; 34 Marie de France 24, 241 Medad (bibl.) 178 R. Meir 139; 142; 144–145 Menahem ibn Saruq 247 Milch, L. 59 Miriam (bibl.) 177–184 Mölk, Ulrich 172–173 von Moos, Peter 13 Moses (bibl.) 18; 19; 65; 75; 82–88; 93–95; 98–99; 102–107; 109; 111–119; 121; 129–135; 156; 165; 174; 177–186; 190; 203; 214; 219–221; 224; 226–227; 247 Nahmanides 110 Naomi (bibl.) 52 Nicolas de Montiéramey Noah (bibl.) 80; 96 Nutt, John 10

34

Og (bibl.) 240–242 Onqelos 234 Origen 185 Parkes, Malcom B. 27 Perez (bibl.) 98 Peter Cantor 1; 14; 218 Petrus Lombardus 1; 39 Pharao (bibl.) 102–104; 121–124; 130; 137; 151; 198; 231 Philip Augustus, king 7 Poznański, Samuel 10; 15; 37 Przybilski, Martin 31 Qara, Josef 14; 22; 35–38; 44; 50; 51–52; 54; 61; 119; 184; 198; 234 Raban 207; 208 Rabbenu Tam 94 Rabinowitz, Louis 23 Rachel (bibl.) 29; 157; 171; 238 Radaq 238 Radulf of Laon 39 Rashi 11; 12; 16, 19; 22; 33; 35; 39–44; 50; 54; 57; 60; 64; 68; 70; 79–83; 87; 90; 100; 103; 106–107; 116; 124; 130–131; 136–140;

308

index of names

142–146; 148–149, 158; 167–168; 170; 175–178; 183–184; 196–198; 201–205; 208–210; 220–222; 226–228; 230–234; 237–239; 243; 246–247; 252 Rebecca (bibl.) 16; 63–64; 101; 135–141; 145–146; 169; 176–177 Reuben (bibl.) 80, 82; 158 Reuel (bibl.) 181 Reynolds, Suzanne 49; 53; 55 Richard of St. Victor 14; 207 Rosin, David 45–48; 57; 59 Rottzoll, Dirk U. 93 Rupert of Deutz 40; 185 Ruth (bibl.) 51 R. Saadiah Gaon 81; 91; 134

Steinschneider, Moritz 10 (Der) Stricker 73 Süßkind of Trimberg 28

Salters, Robert 46–48, 54; 67 Sarah (bibl.) 100; 168; 183; 186–190 Sargent, Barbara N. 158–159 Schmid, Konrad 98 Schmolke-Hasselmann, Beate 253 Schwarz, Alexander 48 Segal, Moshe Zvi 15 Shelah (bibl.) 98 Shem (bibl.) 80; 137–138; 167 Signer, Michael 70 Simeon (bibl.) 233 Smalley, Beryl 207–208 Solomon (bibl.) 30

Vashti (bibl.) 199 Vincent of Beauvais

Tamar (bibl.) 172; 173 Terah (bibl.) 186 Thibaut III of Champagne 7 Thomas of Kent 239 Tortarius, Radulfus 29 Touitou, Elazar 12–13; 14; 15; 17; 18; 35; 48; 61–62; 82–83; 119; 124; 129; 133; 199; 205; 206; 217–218; 221; 224 Urbach, Efraim E. Uriah (bibl.) 32

57; 191

43

Wace 24; 28; 29; 125 Warren, Michelle 29–30 William IX of Aquitaine 23 Wolf, Friedrich A. 75 “X”

207–209; 215

Zerah (bibl.) 98 Zipporah (bibl.) 178–182 Zunz, Leopold 9–10; 38

INDEX OF REFERENCES

1. Hebrew Bible Gen. 1 1:1 1:2 1:5 1:8 1:13 1:14 1:19 1:23 1:26 1:31 1–11 2:4 3:8 6:9 8:22 9:18 9:25 10:6 12 12:8 12:16 12:17 14:13 20 20:4 20:6 20:9 20:11 20:12 20:14 21:27 21:27–34 22:1 22:2 22:14 22–23 23:2 24 24:50 24:55 24:57 24:59 24:63

78; 205 80 88 85–86 82 82 86 82 82 87 82; 207; 214 98 77 42 96 84 80; 82 80 179 96; 188 106 186; 188 186 242 187–188 188 186; 189 188 188 188 186 237 235 235–237; 249 236 236 100 109 67 63; 145 63 63 101 140

25:2 25:23 25:24 25:27 25:28 25:32 25:34 27 27:1 27:15–16 27:19 27:31 27:33–40 27:36 27:45 28:13–15 28:19 28:20–21 29:10 29:17 29:23–25 29:25 31:41 31:46 31:48 32 32:8 32:10–13 32:12 32:13 32:20 32:22–33 32:23 32:25 32:31–32 33:17 33:18 33:20 34:24 34:25 35:6 35:7 35:8 35:9

179 137–138; 140; 144; 177 140 170 136; 140–141 143 142 169 169 173 169 169 144 142 101 65; 156 101 65; 156 83 238–240; 249 172 136; 156 143 141 141 64; 161 65; 66; 157; 159 65; 156 159 65; 66 158 154 155 65; 66 101 101 101 101 110 195; 198 101 101 101 101

310 35:15 35:19 35:21 35:22 35:26–27 36:6 36:8 36:31 37 37:2 37:3 37:4 37:11 37:28 37–50 38 38:1 38:14 39:1 39:7 39:10 41:7 41:21 45:4 45:27 46:27 49:4 49:5 49:22–26 49:24 Exod. 1:1 3:11 3:11–12 3:12 3:18 4 4:9 4:13 4:14 4:19 4:21 4:24 6:10 6:29 8:17–28 9:23 11:4 12:1–2 12:2 12:3 12:8 12:29 13:1

index of references 101 101 101 80; 82; 97 97 97 97 51 149 195; 244 147 148 82; 153 148; 165 146; 201 172 98 173 98 148 151 137 109 150 153 98 80; 82 233 242 242; 249 98 121 121 66 122 181 51 66; 156 156 66 66 66; 156 225 225 245–246 42 102; 109 106 79 79 107 102 225

13:1–16 13:2 13:3 13:6–10 13:11–13 13:14–16 13:16 14:1 14:2 14:21 15 15:26 16:31 17:7 18:2 18:15 20 20:2–3 20:8–11 20:11 23:14–17 23:19 25–28 25–40 27:3 33:13 33:15–17 33:23 33–34 34:10 34:29–35 35:15–17 40:1

104–105 105 105 105 105 104 104 225 106; 107 195 223 223 247–248 235 178 136; 167 220; 222 222 82–83 113; 220; 221 217 217 200 196 230 133 132 134 132 132; 135 132 135 225

Lev. 1:15 4:1 5:14 5:20 6:1 6:12 11:1 11:30 12:8 13:1 13:29 13:30 15:1 15:1–15 15:16–18 15:19–24 15:25–30 22:28 25:1

109 225 225 225 225 225 225 209 48 225 210 210 225 211 211 211 211 216; 217 106

index of references Num. 1:1 4:1 4:10 11:7 11:8 12 12:1 12:10 13:8 13:16 14:12 20:14–21 20:21 21 21:5–9 21:33–35 22 22:1 22:1–25:9 22:2–25:9 22:22 22:25 23:3 23:7–10 23:18–24 24:3–9 24:15–24 24:24 25:5–6 28:1 28–29 29:39 30:1 30:2 30:2–3 30:3 31:1 32:21 33:1–36:13 33:50 33:52 35 35:9–15 35:9–34 35:11–15 35:13–14 35:14

106 225 109 247; 249 248 181; 182 177–178 210 84 84 110 111–112 112 111 247 241 108 108 76 76 66; 156 156 156 76 76 76 76; 244 242; 244 140 226 226 225; 226 225; 227 225; 226 225 225 226 110 114 106 110 115; 116–117 115 115 114 114 114

Deut. 1 1:1 1:1–5 1:1–3:22 1:5

107; 106; 105; 111 107;

108 111 115 114

1:6–4:40 2:1–2 2:3–6 2:4 2:5 2:7–9 2:9 2:10–12 2:13 2:13–17 2:18 2:19 2:28–29 3:1–10 3:11 4:40 4:41 4:41–43 4:41–49 4:45–46 5:1 5:1–26:29 5:4–5 5:12 9:4 9:25–28 9:27–28 10:14 10:22 16:18–21:9 17:15 19 19:1–13 19:2 19:2–3 19:7 19:8 19:8–9 19:9 20:8 20:16 20:19 22:6–7 25:19 27:10 29:23–27 34 Josh. 15:45–47 20 20:1–21:42 20:7–9 20:8 23:14

311 114; 115; 111 111 112 111; 113; 111 110–111 111 111 111 111 110–111 112 241 240–242 223 116 114; 115 115; 117 106 115 114; 115; 221 109 129 128 127 91 98; 99 114 181 114; 115; 115 114; 115 117 114 114 115 114; 116 110 235 202 217 132 223 127 105

117

118

117

117

235 115 115 115 116 142; 144–145

312

index of references

Judg. 3:24 21:19

211 106; 107

1 Sam. 16:2 19:13–16

122 140

2 Sam. 17:21–24

65; 155

1 Kings 22:8 22:19–22

136; 167 86

2 Kings 3:20

103

Isa. 6:8 33:21

Mal. 1:2

136

Ps. 3:1 26:2 78:45 105:17 111:6 115:2

65; 155 235 245 148 79; 111 128

Prov. 30:20

211

Job 1:6–12 4:2 33:21

86 235 156

86 244

Jer. 5:6 51:31

Song of Sol. 4:1 8:6

240 212

245; 246 136

Ezek. 1 1:7 10 16:3 21:26

86; 220 247 86; 220 233–234 248

Eccles. 2:3 2:16 7:18

92 9 197

Esther 2:14

52

Hos. 1:2

Dan. 10:6

247

79

Jon. 2:1

Esra 8:36

108

156

Zeph. 3:3

245; 246

Neh. 2:7 2:9 3:7 9:6

108 108 108 91

2. Targum and Rabbinic Sources Targum Onkelos Gen. 29:17 Gen. 49:5

238 234

Exod. 27:3

230

Num. 21:18 Num 23:3 Targum Jonathan Isa. 33:21

107 156

Mishna mHul 5:5 mHul 8:4 mOhal 12:4 mParah 12:8 mMakh 1:3 mNeg 9:1

85 217 241 241 205 210

244

Tosefta tSan 7

76

index of references MekhY Yitro, Ba-”odesh 4

221

Talmud Yerushalmi yNaz 4 (53c)

217

Talmud Bavli bBer 2a bBer 4a bBer 7a bBer 17a

85 104 131–132 135

bShab bShab bShab bShab

13b 30a 63a 87b

12 135 77; 78 222

bPes 2a bPes 87ab

85 178

bTaan 24a

238

bRH 58b

85

bMeg 20a

85

bHag bHag bHag bHag

220 86; 89 79; 85 12

11–14 12 12a 13a

bSot 13b bSot 16a

106 196

bBM 70a bBM 94b

232 213

bBB 10a bBB 14b bBB 14b–15a

135 119 76

bGit 68a–b

32

bQid 59b

205

bSan 56b bSan 64b bSan 83a bSan 99a bMen 45a

222 213 143 76 12

bHul 17b bHul 91a bZev 69a bZev 102a

199 65; 155 217 66; 156

313

bArakh 3a

213

bNid bNid bNid bNid

24b 43b 61a 66b

241 211 242 211

bMak 10a

116

Sifra (SifBam) 99 100–103 152

178 178 227

Midrash Rabba BerR 3:6 BerR 12:6 BerR 12:9 BerR 19:7–8 BerR 19:8 BerR 57:1 BerR 63:6 BerR 63:8 BerR 63:10 BerR 63:12 BerR 63:13 BerR 66:5 BerR 67:2 BerR 68:9 BerR 70:19 BerR 77:2 BerR 77:3 BerR 84:7 BerR 87:7

85 85 77; 78 41 42 100 136; 138; 167 146 176 146 142 170; 175 177 84 171 65; 155 158 147; 167 151

ShemR 15:21 ShemR 18:11

85 85

BamR 10:6

169

Tanchuma (Tan) Tsav 13

178

Tanchuma (TanB) Bereshit 11 Toldot 15 Toldot 16 Vayechi 9 Vayyeshev 1:4

79 169 170 234 84

Pesikta Rabbati PesR 21

84; 227

Pesikta de Rabbi Eliezer PRE 4 (9a) 89

314

index of references 3. Medieval Commentators

R. Saadiah Gaon Gen. 1:1

81

Rashi Rashi on Genesis Introd. to Gen. 1 Gen. 1:1 Gen. 1:4 Gen. 1:26 Gen. 3:8 Gen. 6:6 Gen. 6:9 Gen. 23:13 Gen. 24:34 Gen. 25:19–34 Gen. 25:20 Gen. 25:22 Gen. 25:23 Gen. 25:25 Gen. 25:26 Gen. 25:29 Gen. 25:31–32 Gen. 25:34 Gen. 26:34 Gen. 27:30 Gen. 27:33 Gen. 27:36 Gen. 29:17 Gen. 32:21 Gen. 32:25 Gen. 37:2 Gen. 37:4 Gen. 37:17 Gen. 37:28 Gen. 42:7 Gen. 49:24

113 79 85 16 41; 138; 196 16 96 231 143 16; 17 100 136; 138 16; 138 146 176 146 143 144 16 175 177; 232 176 238 155 158 96; 147 148 77 150 170 242

Rashi on Exodus Exod. 8:17 Exod. 11:4 Exod. 12:2 Exod. 12:3 Exod. 15:25 Exod. 28:4 Exod. 28:41 Exod. 31:3 Exod. 33:16 Exod. 33:21

245 103–104 77; 79 79 222 43 11 200 131 84

Rashi on Leviticus Lev. 11:29 Lev. 11:34

209 205

Lev. 15:11 Lev. 25:1

212 107; 227

Rashi on Numbers Num. 12:1 Num. 12:4 Num. 19:7 Num. 21:5 Num. 23:3 Num. 28:1 Num. 29 Num. 30 Num. 30:1

178 178 204 247 156 227 226 226 226

Rashi on Deuteronomy Deut. 4:38 Deut. 5:12 Deut. 20:19

204 221–222 202

Rashi on Jeremiah Jer. 26:1

81

Rashi on Song of Solomon Preface 41 Song of Sol. 1:1 77 Rashi on Talmud Bavli bBer 4a 104 bShab 20a 230 bShab 47a 243 bShab 92b 242 bShab 112b 242 bShab 122b 230 bSuk 14a 242 bBeza 30a 242 bTaan 20a 242 bTaan 22a 241 bRH 23a 244 bMeg 16b 242 bHag 20a 230 bAZ 18b 242 bBM 30a 230 bBM 73b 237 bBB 14b 76 bMen 94b 242 bArakh 10b 230; 247 R. Joseph Qara Gen. 25:25 1 Sam. 1:20

146 12

Ezek. 23:24

38

index of references Ezek. 34:30 Ezek. 37:25

38; 119 38; 119

Tere Asar

198

Song of Sol. 1:1

38; 119

Esther 6:13 Esther 8:1 Esther 8:15–17

38; 119 38; 119 38; 119

Rashbam Rashbam on Genesis Gen. 1 Gen. 1:1

Gen. 1:1–2 Gen. 1:1–31 Gen. 1:5 Gen. Gen. Gen. Gen. Gen. Gen. Gen. Gen. Gen. Gen. Gen. Gen. Gen. Gen. Gen. Gen. Gen. Gen. Gen. Gen. Gen. Gen. Gen. Gen. Gen. Gen. Gen. Gen. Gen. Gen.

1:6 1:8 1:9 1:14 1:26–27 1:27 1:29 2–17 9:18 9:18b 9:25 10:10 14:22 19:11 19:37 20 20:4 20:12 20:16 21:7 21:22 22:1 22:12 23:1–2 23:2 23:11 23:13 23:18 24:1 24:2

15; 83–84; 86–87; 113; 144; 220 17; 18; 77; 78–80; 83; 91; 103; 118; 197; 210 12 60 84–85; 118; 219–220 91 85; 91; 219–220 91 85; 91 86 92; 118; 219–220 230; 231 77; 96 80 80 80 81 231 94; 235 38; 118 60; 186 83; 186 186 186–187 61 118 118; 235; 249 231 99–100 100 230; 231 231 61 83 61

Gen. Gen. Gen. Gen. Gen. Gen. Gen.

24:40 24:40–50 24:58 25:22 25:22–24 25:23 25:24

Gen. Gen. Gen. Gen. Gen. Gen. Gen. Gen. Gen. Gen. Gen. Gen. Gen. Gen. Gen. Gen. Gen. Gen. Gen. Gen. Gen. Gen. Gen. Gen. Gen. Gen. Gen. Gen. Gen. Gen. Gen. Gen. Gen. Gen. Gen. Gen. Gen. Gen. Gen. Gen. Gen. Gen. Gen.

25:25 25:26 25:28 25:29–34 25:30 25:31 25:32 25:33 25:34 26:5 27:22 27:24 27:30 27:32 27:33 27:36 28:12 29:10 29:16 29:17 29:25 30:1 30:13 31:19 32:25–29 32:21 32:21–33 32:23 32:25 32:25–29 32:26 32:27 32:29 32:29–33 32:32 32:33 33:18–19 34:19 34:25 35:8 35:22 37:1 37:2

315 61 62 145 136–137 136 136–140 136–141; 156; 160; 171 146 176 81–83; 177 141–142 146 141 60; 139; 142; 144 171 83; 144 223 170 170–171 165 232 171; 176; 232 175–176 199 83; 161 114 238–239; 249 140 53 231 157 64–66 158 155–157 158 61–62; 65; 158 66 158 160 60; 158 156–157 161 161 101 61 195; 198 100–101; 148 80 61 12; 18; 57; 60; 72; 77; 81; 96–98; 168; 195; 199; 201

316 Gen. Gen. Gen. Gen. Gen. Gen. Gen. Gen. Gen. Gen. Gen. Gen. Gen. Gen. Gen. Gen. Gen. Gen. Gen. Gen. Gen. Gen. Gen. Gen. Gen.

index of references 37:2–3 37:11 37:22 37:24–28 37:28 37–50 39:10 40:4 41:1 41:2 41:7 41:10 41:39 41:41 41:43 42:7 42:8 45:19 49:4 49:5 49:5–7 49:10 49:18 49:24 49:27

Rashbam on Exodus Exod. 1:1 Exod. 1:16 Exod. 2:23 Exod. 3:4 Exod. 3:11–12 Exod. Exod. Exod. Exod. Exod. Exod. Exod. Exod. Exod. Exod. Exod. Exod. Exod. Exod. Exod. Exod. Exod. Exod. Exod. Exod. Exod. Exod.

3:11 3:22 4:10 4:10–11 6:14 7:18 7:21 8:17 11:4 12:1 13:9 13:15–16 14:7 14:21 16:14 16:15 16:31 17:1 17:16 19:8 19:18 20

147 81; 153 158 149 149; 150; 165 201 151 63 63 198 140 102; 185 200 231 149 170; 171 171; 172 231 80; 231 233–234 233 16 231 242–243; 249 245 98 53 81; 83 122 121–122; 165–166 130 16 95; 174; 181; 184 184 83 94 53 245–246 102 223 18; 212 104–105 81 198 230 83 248 230 101 101 230 87

Exod. Exod. Exod. Exod. Exod.

20:8 20:8–11 20:11 20:13 21

101 83; 221 87 16; 17; 19 196–197; 199; 228 Exod. 21:1 12 Exod. 21:7 101 Exod. 23 218 Exod. 23:13 219; 220; 222 Exod. 23:19 17; 216–218 Exod. 25 200 Exod. 25:2 60; 200 Exod. 25:33 230 Exod. 25:37 230 Exod. 25–28 200 Exod. 27:3 230 Exod. 28:13 230 Exod. 28:23 101 Exod. 33 130; 135 Exod. 33:13 93 Exod. 33:13–34:35 135 Exod. 33:15–17 130; 131; 135 Exod. 33:15 130 Exod. 33:17 130; 132 Exod. 33:18 132–133; 135 Exod. 33:18–23 133 Exod. 40:35 60; 68; 197 Rashbam on Leviticus Lev. 1 Lev. 1:1 Lev. 3:1 Lev. 11:3 Lev. Lev. Lev. Lev. Lev. Lev. Lev. Lev. Lev.

11:24 11:34 13:2 13:18 15:11 19:5 19:19 25 25:1

Rashbam on Numbers Introduction Num. 1 Num. 1:1 Num. 1:47 Num. 10:33 Num. 11:7 Num. 11:7–8 Num. 11:35

228 60; 200; 210 101 196; 198; 206; 208 101 196; 204; 206 209; 210 210 211 101 196 227 227 227 220 219 101 219–220; 227 247; 248 248 167; 168; 253; 254

index of references Num. Num. Num. Num. Num. Num. Num. Num. Num. Num. Num. Num. Num. Num. Num. Num. Num.

12 12:1 12:1–4 12:2 12:4 13:18 14:20 15:23 21:5 21:18 22:1 24:18 24:24 28:1 29:39 30:2 30:2–3

184; 185 95; 179–180 183 178 183 83 231 222 230; 247–248 107 107–108 230 230; 242–245 226 226 226 224–225

Rashbam on Deuteronomy Deut. 1:1 106; 107–108; 111 Deut. 1:2 45; 148 Deut. 2:5 81; 83; 110–111; 113; 118 Deut. 3:11 230; 240–241 Deut. 3:29 101 Deut. 4:41 107; 114; 118 Deut. 4:41–49 117 Deut. 5:12 219; 221 Deut. 9:4–29 128 Deut. 9:25 126–127 Deut. 9:25–28 128 Deut. 11:26 101 Deut. 15:18 17 Deut. 16:2 225 Deut. 20:19 202–203 Deut. 22:6 17; 196; 217; 218 Deut. 32:4 101 Deut. 32:10 230 Deut. 32:37 128–129 Rashbam on Isaiah Isa. 33:21

244

Rashbam on Ezekiel Ezek. 21:26

248

Rashbam on Job Job 13:23 Job 20:27 Job 36:2 Job 36:3 Job 40:20 Job 41:15

83 83 148 210 148 148

317

(Ps.-)Rashbam on Song of Solomon Introduction 28 Song of Sol. 1:13 189 Song of Sol. 2:3 189 Song of Sol. 3:5 118 Song of Sol. 4:1–6 118 Song of Sol. 4:7–8 118 Song of Sol. 4:12–15 118 Song of Sol. 6:4–10 118 (Rashbam on Ruth) Ruth 1:15 Ruth 1:19–20

51; 53 53

Rashbam on Ecclesiastes Eccles. 1:4 Eccles. 1:16 Eccles. 1:18 Eccles. 2:1–2 Eccles. 2:3 Eccles. 2:6 Eccles. 2:8 Eccles. 2:13–14 Eccles. 2:16 Eccles. 2:17 Eccles. 3:2–8 Eccles. 3:10 Eccles. 3:19 Eccles. 7:23–24 Eccles. 8:16 Eccles. 9:2–3 Eccles. 10:3 Eccles. 10:10

55 55 92 55 91; 92 55 55 92 9 55 55 55 153 91–92 148 153 148 247

Rashbam on Esther Esther 1:1 Esther 1:9

148 199

Avraham Ibn Ezra Ibn Ezra on Genesis Introduction Gen. 1:1–2 Gen. 1:5 Gen. 23:2 Gen. 27:36 Gen. 32:21 Gen. 37:2 Gen. 45:12

216 92 93; 94 100 176 155 147 173

Ibn Ezra on Exodus General Exod. 2:22 Exod. 4:10 Exod. 4:20

55; 133 95; 179; 181; 184 95; 181; 184 95

318 Exod. Exod. Exod. Exod. Exod. Exod. Exod. Exod. Exod. Exod. Exod.

index of references 7:18 8:17 17:11 20:7 23:25–26 24:11 28:6 33:2 33:13 33:18 34:6

Ibn Ezra on Numbers Num. 12:1

94 245 94 92 92 135 92 92 134 134 92 95; 179; 181; 184

Ibn Ezra on Zechariah Zech. 4:10

92

Ibn Ezra on Psalms Ps. 19:3 Ps. 19:5–6 Ps. 89:13

92 92 92

Ibn Ezra on Job Job 33:21

156

Ibn Ezra on Ecclesiastes Eccles. 1:3 92 Eccles. 7:14 92 Eccles. 11:2 92 Ibn Ezra on Daniel Dan. 1:20

92

Ibn Ezra’s Yesod Mora 12th Gate 134 R. Eliezer of Beaugency R. Eliezer on Isaiah Isa. 7:2 38; 119 Isa. 36:1–2 38; 119 R. Eliezer on Ezekiel Introduction Ezek. 1:1 Ezek. 1:2–3

11–12 38 119

R. Eliezer on Jonah Jon. 1:9–10

38; 119

R. Joseph Bekhor Shor Gen. 25:33–34 151 Gen. 25–27 143 Gen. 29:17 238 Gen. 37:28 151

Gen. 42:14–17 Gen. 49:24

151 242

Exod. 7:15

11

Lev. 11:34

205

Deut. 4:41 Deut. 6:4–5

116 146

R. Judah the Pious Gen. 32:30 192 Sefer Æasidim #142 191 Radaq Gen. 27:36 Gen. 29:17 Gen. 45:12

176 238 173

Nahmanides Exod. 12:29 Lev. 16:1

103 110

Óizzequni (Hezekiah ben Manoah) Gen. 29:25 172 Gen. 42:8 172 MS Hamburg Cod. Hebr. 32 Ruth 1:1 51 Ruth 1:1–2:5 51 Ruth 1:15 52; 53 Ruth 1:19–20 53 Ruth 2:3 51 Ruth 2:4 51 Ruth 2:16 51 Ruth 3:11 51 Ruth 4:18 51 MS Vatican ebr. 18 Ruth 1:1–13

50

Tosafot zu Bavli bShab 116b bRH 13a bSuk 45a bQid 37b

192 94 192 94

Glossaire de Leipzig No. 631 No. 661 No. 719 No. 741 No. 776 No. 778 No. 851 No. 886

259 231; 259 259 146; 260 260 260 238; 260 261

index of references No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No.

1079 1194 1374 1453 1454 1527 1534 1712 1741 1765 1999 2006 2017 2018 2038 2050 2100 2322 2328 2374 3262 3381 3479 3612 3774 3996 4040 4148 4380 4461 4560 4688 4977

261 261 261 234; 234; 262 263 263 263 246; 237 237 264 264 248 237 264 264 265 230; 266 249 237 247; 244; 267 237 237 268 237 268 237 237

262 262

263

319

Jerome Ps. 95 (96)

18

Peter Abelard Gen. 1:1–2:25 Gen. 1:2

88 88

Hugh of St. Victor Gen. 2:7 Didascalicon 3,4

87 163

Andrew of St. Victor Deut. 1:1 106

266

267 267

“X” (Anonymous) Lev. 11:1 Lev. 11:34 Lev. 12:6–8 Lev. 12:8

207 208–209 47 48

Chretien of Troyes Érec et Énide Prologue Prologue, 9–18

166 25; 163

Yvain 2175–2206 2218–2328 5358–70 6804–08

161 161 27 125–126

The Knight with the Lion 6193–6278 173; 174