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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Interpreting jewish liturgy: The literary-intertext method
by Kaunfer, Eliezer Gershon, D.H.L., The Jewish Theological Seminary of America, 2014, 237; 3668357
Abstract (Summary)

This study conducts a close literary analysis of a variety of Talmudic-era prayers in order to develop a method of interpretation, called the "literary-intertext" method. Drawing on literary theory and the work of intertextuality in biblical and midrashic fields, this method offers a literary reading of prayer texts based on the juxtaposition with biblical intertexts. The method can be described as follows:

Step 1: Approach the liturgical text from a standpoint of exegesis, in which allusions abound and the surface rendering is never satisfactory.

Step 2: Using the tools of philology and academic inquiry, establish as many parallels to the liturgical text as one can to point more clearly to the identification of the intertexts.

Step 3: Identify the biblical intertext or intertexts at play in the line of prayer, and consider the surrounding biblical context.

Step 4: Identify the rabbinic interpretation(s) of the biblical intertext, giving additional layers of meaning to the text behind the prayer text.

Step 5: Offer an interpretation or set of interpretations that relate to the prayer. In the course of this study, we employ this method with the first blessing of the amidah, the blessings that constitute havdalah, and the texts of confession for Yom Kippur. In each case, the multiplicity of interpretations that emerges through the juxtaposition of the prayer text with the biblical intertext (and its rabbinic understanding) extends far beyond the original surface rendering. These interpretations are offered throughout the analysis.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Visotzky, Burton L.
Commitee: Schmelzer, Menachem
School: The Jewish Theological Seminary of America
Department: Graduate School
School Location: United States -- New York
Source: DAI-A 76/05(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Religion, Spirituality, Judaic studies
Keywords: Amidah, Havdallah, Intertextuality, Jewish liturgy, Prayer, Siddur
Publication Number: 3668357
ISBN: 978-1-321-43386-9
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