Elijah and the Rabbis: Story and Theology

ISBN: 0231130805

Category: Cultures


Posted on 2011-10-20. By anonymous.

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Kristen Lindbeck, "Elijah and the Rabbis: Story and Theology"
Columbia University Press | 2010-06-24 | ISBN: 0231130805, 0231130813 | 272 pages | PDF | 5,4 MB

"Like a craftsman who recognizes that a particular raw material will be best handled by a custom-made tool, Kristen H. Lindbeck considers the strengths and weaknesses of various existing methods to cobble together her own approach to handling the diverse Elijah texts of the Bavli. In doing so, she is able to accomplish more, more satisfactorily, than previous studies." ---Christine Hayes, Yale University

Through An Innovative synthesis of narrative critique, oral-formulaic study, folkloric research, and literary analysis, Kristen H. Lindbeck reads all the Elijah narratives in the Babylonian Talmud and details the rise of a distinct, quasi-angelic figure who takes pleasure in ordinary interaction.

During the Talmudic period of 50-500 c.e., Elijah developed into a recognizable character quite different from the Elijah of the Bible. The Elijah of the Talmud dispenses wisdom, advice, and, like the Elijah of Jewish folklore, helps people directly, even with material gifts. Lindbeck highlights particular features of the Elijah stories, allowing them to be grouped into generic categories and considered alongside Rabbinic literary motifs and non-Jewish traditions of late antiquity. She compares Elijah in the Babylonian Talmud to a range of characters---angels, rabbis, wonder-workers, the angel of death, Christian saints, and even the Greek god Hermes. She concludes with a survey of Elijah's diverse roles from medieval times to today, throwing into brilliant relief the complex relationship between ancient Elijah traditions and later folktales and liturgy that show Elijah bringing benefits and blessings, appearing at circumcisions and Passover, and visiting households after the Sabbath.

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