“In the third month”

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The question of the Sitz im Leben of Pesikta de-Rav Kahana and how it affected its redaction and formulation is one of the most fascinating issues in the study of the aggadic midrashim. In this article, I conduct a detailed analysis of the piska referred to as “In the Third Month,” elucidating its character and nature primarily by comparing it to passages found in parallel midrashim. This analysis reveals that the extant piska was created in a two-stage process. First, the original darshan or redactor created midrashic material pertaining to the Shavuot Torah reading from Exod 19-20, the revelation of the Torah at Sinai which had recently replaced the older Shavuot reading connected to the agricultural aspect of the festival. Subsequently a later redactor of the Pesikta augmented the original piska by adding two midrashic passages drawn from the Tanhuma literature. Analysis of the dynamics involved in the creation and redaction of this particular piska sheds light not only on this text but on the connection between the liturgical and literary processes at work in this period as a whole. Most importantly, it affords us a glimpse into the link between the midrashim and actual synagogue life in the amoraic period.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)143-156
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Ancient Judaism
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Religious studies


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