The theme of redemption in Midrash Tehillim as reflected in its Meshalim

Buitelaar, Jerphasina Jacoba (2009). The theme of redemption in Midrash Tehillim as reflected in its Meshalim. PhD thesis The Open University.



This thesis investigates whether or not an overall unity can be detected in Midrash Tehillim. The present dissertation will argue that there is a unity and coherence in Midrash Tehillim that transcends its discrete pericopes, however these are defined. This coherence takes place in a number of ways. Midrash Tehillim is a lemmatic commentary on the book of Psalms and it follows the sequence, topics and argument of the Psalms. The unity of Midrash Tehillim is also evident at a linguistic level. It is in Rabbinic Hebrew, with some intermingling of Jewish Aramaic. On a third level unity is found in the exegetical techniques of Midrash Tehillim. Also the limited repertory of themes, namely the figure of David, the Temple, including its destruction, and redemption provide unity. It is redemption that is the most characteristic theme of Midrash Tehillim. Finally Midrash Tehillim is unified by the use of a number of literary structures which permeate the work. Two literary structures stand out, namely the Petichah and the Mashal. These Meshalim are particularly artfully composed and a number of them are thematically linked to the redemption. The analysis of the Meshalim of Redemption in Midrash Tehillim has been contextualized in a variety of ways - in terms of previous scholarly work on Midrash, in terms of the state of the text as found in the manuscripts and in terms of the relationship of Midrash Tehillim to other Midrashim.

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