Midrashic disputations in the "Zohar"

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This article examines a series of expositions in the Zohar in which the
authors dispute the exegesis given by an aggadic tradition cited in the
Talmud. A close and systematic analysis of these texts indicates that, as they appear in the Zohar, the former do not derive from the original talmudic source but are a later medieval reworking as represented in Rashi’s commentary on the Torah. Tis leads to the conclusion that, at least inthe cases under discussion, the Zoharic authors either did not have the talmudic texts in hand or they deliberately chose to ignore them. We thus suggest that in its exegetical exposition, the Zohar disputes with Rashi and his interpretation of the Torah in accordance with the hermeneutic discourse customary in the Middle Ages. Tis claim is of great significance for understanding the self-consciousness of the Zohar, in particular its attitude to rabbinic literature.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)127-146
Number of pages20
JournalHebrew Union College Annual
Issue number84-85
StatePublished - 2013


  • Zohar -- Criticism, interpretation, etc
  • Midrash


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