The Classic Midrash -Tannaitic Commentaries on the Bible Translation, introduction, and commentaries by Reuven Hammer Midrash (from the Hebrew root "to seek out"), which contains both legendary and legal material, is both a process and a product. It reflects process of searching the text of Scripture in order to better understand and apply it to life. Begun by the Sages of Israel when the Torah was canonized by Ezra in the fifth century B.C.E., its classic period culminated in the editing of the Tannaitic Midrashim (the "product") in the land of Israel in the fourth to fifth centuries C.E. This volume presents an introduction to midrash in general and to these specific Tannaitic works, as well as translations of major sections of these works. There is a commentary to each section and a running commentary to the text to help the reader understand the midrash, its background and its meaning.
Midrash is exegesis, explanation of a biblical text and commentary on it. In this latest volume in the Classics of Western Spirituality series, Reuven Hammer brings a selection of these "God-intoxicated texts" of the early rabbinic masters, the Tannaim, to a wider public and accompanies them with explanations and commentary on their theological, literary, and historical importance.