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ERIC Number: EJ879995
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010-Jan
Pages: 14
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 56
ISSN: ISSN-0141-6200
A Model for Teaching Midrash in the Primary School: Forming Understandings of Rabbinic Interpretation of Scripture
Sigel, Deena
British Journal of Religious Education, v32 n1 p63-76 Jan 2010
In Jewish primary schools, religious education is centred on the study of Torah. At Sinai, according to Jewish tradition, Moses received the Torah in two parts: a written tradition (Hebrew scripture) and an oral tradition. The oral tradition contained much scriptural "interpretation" known, in Hebrew, as midrash. Midrash continued to be taught and transmitted by the sages throughout the periods of the two temples. At some later stage, unknown editors, in Roman Palestine, recorded these oral interpretations in "literary" collections that also came to be known as midrash. The interpretations contained in these collections reflect the rabbinic understanding of the Torah, its norms and its values. They are presented as glosses to scripture, sometimes illuminating--and sometimes adding valuative or theological messages to--the Biblical text; all the while seeking to uncover the deeper meanings of scripture. Midrash is thus a rich genre of ancient religious literature with texts that foster a faithful affiliation with Jewish tradition and a sense of Jewish identity. Over the past seven centuries, midrash has been included in Bible lessons (for all age groups) through its use by Rashi (Rabbi Solomon Yizhaki, c. 1040-1105), a widely respected Bible commentator. His extensive use of midrash attests to the understanding that Torah literacy requires midrash literacy. But midrash texts are ancient, subtle and complex, and are, therefore, deserving of a dedicated pedagogy. Because of the distance of time since their writing and the ancient cultural, religious and literary contexts that characterise them, the modern reader needs to learn how to hear these texts speak. Like other genres of rabbinic literature such as the Talmud, midrash requires specific literacy training. This is why I designed a model for teaching midrash as a discrete subject. This paper is an outgrowth of an international research project in religious education undertaken by this author. The aim of the research was to apply and evaluate this author's model for midrash pedagogy. The rationale for this midrash teaching model stems from the argument that if young students are helped to find meaning in midrash they will acquire a deeper understanding of the traditional view of scripture (as understood by the rabbis) and traditional Jewish values. In the study, significant improvement in midrash knowledge was found with this midrash teaching model. (Contains 30 notes.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Palestine