Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Talmudical Hermeneutics

A page from a medieval Jerusalem Talmud manuscript. Found in the Cairo GenizahTalmudical Hermeneutics (Hebrew: approximately, מידות שהתורה נדרשת בהן) refers to the science which defines the rules and methods for the investigation and exact determination of the meaning of the Scriptures, both legal and historical. Since the Halakah, however, is regarded simply as an exposition and explanation of the Torah, Talmud hermeneutics includes also the rules by which the requirements of the oral law are derived from and established by the written law. These rules relate to:

grammar and exegesis
  • the interpretation of certain words and letters and superfluous words, prefixes, and suffixes in general

  • the interpretation of those letters which, in certain words, are provided with points

  • the interpretation of the letters in a word according to their numerical value (see Gemaṭria)

  • the interpretation of a word by dividing it into two or more words (see Noṭariḳon)
    the interpretation of a word according to its consonantal form or according to its vocalization

  • the interpretation of a word by transposing its letters or by changing its vowels
    the logical deduction of a halakah from a Scriptural text or from another law


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