I want to share that I learned something about this art of Midrash in a 'Bible as Literature' class at the University of Minnesota some 15 years ago under an incredible Bible and Shakespeare scholar named Prfessor David Hale. Professor Hale had us read the translator and literary master Rober Alter who used the same reading techniques that Avivah displayed so lucidly and beautifully on your show: close reading of ironies and complexities, characterizations by way of subtle sometimes 1 word narrative touches, and overarching narratives containing sub-plots made by the Hebrew scholars oh-so long ago with conscious and beautifully ambiguous art.
It is a real gift that scholars like David Hale and Avivah Zornberg give to humanity. Their scholarship and mastery open texts rather than trapping them in dogma, fundamentalism, and a monopolized form of interpretation. Their love of these writings allows others to love the writings - and, even as importantly - to love the act of reading, a sacred act, apparently, in many traditions. They show that everyone can share 'a reading' of a text while also 'reading' a text in a multitude of different ways, simultanously creating dialogue and creative individual meaning. No one person can provide one definite, exclusive reading of these stories, because they are muli-faceted, multi-dimensional, thick with irony, complex moral issues, and very personal spiritual content. This is a very beautiful effect that these scholars are able to bring to light.
Your show is helping me and my wife with our scholarly pursuits, as we plan on a close-reading of the 17th century novel 'Don Quixote' this summer, comparing it with certain elements of trickster tales in the oral traditions of Ojibway stories. Thank you so much for your hard work and belief in what you do! Please thank your guest for her work as well!
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