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    Bar-Ilan University, Building 410, Room 103

    5290002 Ramat-Gan


Organization profile

Organisation profile

Institute for the History of Jewish Bible Research deals with the study and exclusion of medieval commentators.

The institute was founded by Prof. Uriel Simon.

The institute is headed by Prof. Ed Greenstein.

Professor Uriel Simon is a first-rate biblical scholar who has left his mark on the scientific study of the book of books in Israel and has gained an international reputation. His scientific work is marked by great originality, which is a result of the combination of scientific rigor, interdisciplinary breadth and personal involvement. His excellent research shows that overt personal involvement, when fenced off by assertive self-criticism, not only does not interfere with scientific inquiry, but also violates it. Prof. Simon's creativity is reflected not only in his writings, but also in his inspiring teaching, which has profoundly influenced generations of students at universities and the tens of thousands of listeners of his public lectures in Israel and around the world.

One of Uriel Simon's important achievements was to add Prof. Moshe Goshen-Gutstein to the part - time staff of the department. He soon responded to the initiative of his senior colleague to establish the Institute for the History of Jewish Biblical Studies next to the Bible Department. His untimely death of his friend he continued to run the institute, until he himself retired in 1997. Within the walls of this institute, which was later renamed the Institute for Jewish Biblical Interpretation, the best graduate students took their first steps in research, where they purchased tools. On behalf of the Institute, Ra'a-Or published a series of multi-volume publications, which included annotated scientific editions of the commentators, collections of Aramaic translations and interpretive midrashim, as well as studies and monographs on Jewish biblical interpretation for generations.

Over the years, the center of gravity of his interest has shifted from a conceptual inquiry into the uniqueness of biblical ways of thinking to an aesthetic inquiry into the uniqueness of the ways of narrative expression in the Bible. Indeed, while during his university studies, the literary understanding of the biblical story was considered a thing of the heart, which cannot be systematically examined (and therefore no course is given in this field), there are now increasing numbers of practitioners in Israel and around the world. The power of this new school of research has made clear the distinct diversity of biblical narrative methods on all levels: from poetic conventions and theological assumptions to style, structure, and character design. Simon was caught up in this field of study with great enthusiasm, and set aside alongside theoretical inquiries detailed interpretations of many stories, including a philological, literary, and theological interpretation of the Book of Jonah.

In addition to the literary study of the Bible itself, he studied the history of Jewish biblical interpretation of its periods and schools, the habitats of its creators, their explicit principles and their implicit assumptions. This field of study was also relatively new, since during his studies at the university they were hardly engaged in it, because by virtue of modernist condescension they did not consider as an essential part of biblical study what seemed to them to be 'pre-critical interpretation'. In this, too, the two tools he acquired in his educational work were of great help: cultural relativism (which sees opposition as a necessary tool for understanding) and integrative vision (which seeks to understand the totality of phenomena as interdependent). At the center of his investigation was the multi-faceted interpretive work of the Sephardic cluster man, R. Avraham Ibn Ezra, written entirely in the Jewish communities of the Christian lands, in a sharp and bitter confrontation with the 'Talmudic culture' of his hosts.

Simon paved new paths in understanding the ways of expression of biblical fiction, while being very aware of their uniqueness. In his essays on the ways of the narrator in the Bible, he separated between the 'inquiry', the search for what is common to many biblical stories and strives to generalize and explain, and the 'reading', which listens to the special in the particular story and strives to discern and understand. The 'investigations' made an important contribution to clarifying the expressive role of the secondary characters, to defining the relationship between the parable and the parable, to identifying literary genres and exposing the structure as a central tool of expression. Whereas the 'readings' provided an integrative reading, combining five literary methods: careful and sensitive close reading, careful reconstruction of the stages of formation, determination of the type association, discovery of the building blocks of the structure and thematic clarification, which seeks to discover the subject of the story. To him its meaning. By virtue of this way of reading, many biblical stories have been richly interpreted, tracing the history of their interpretation and revealing their artistic beauty, psychological depth, ideological power, and spiritual and moral significance for us. His work in the study of the biblical story yielded a philological-literary-theological interpretation of the Book of Jonah (translated into English and German) and two books: Literary Reading in the Bible: Prophecy Stories (also translated into English) and Ask for Peace and Pursue it - questions of the Bible

In researching the history of Jewish biblical interpretation, he focused on the Babylonian-Spanish Pesht school, and especially on the great achievement of it - the interpretive work of Rabbi Avraham Ibn Ezra. In an influential monograph Four Approaches to the Book of Psalms (translated into English) he places Ibn Ezra in the history of this school based on a comprehensive examination of the incarnations of the principled approaches to Psalms, starting with Rabbi Saadia Gaon, through the Karaite commentators Salmon Ben Yeruham and Yefet Ben Ali and the narrator The original rabbi, Moshe Ibn Jaktila, ended with Ibn Ezra himself, who wrote his two commentaries on the Psalms following all this. Whereas in his collection of essays, adapted and renewed, an ear of words will examine - research in the interpretive way of R. Avraham Ibn Ezra, he examines the Spanish simplistic way from its various sides: the philological, the hermeneutic, theological, cultural and polemical.

Prof. Simon has devoted much effort to providing a new format for the most complete scientific processing of the interim commentary writings, called by him an 'annotated scientific edition', designed to fulfill three tasks - formulaic, interpretive and research. For the purpose of the first task, he developed a method of early screening of textual witnesses so that in the version-exchange mechanism it would be possible to make do with a limited number of manuscripts.


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