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Scrolls of LoveRuth and the Song of Songs$
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Peter S. Hawkins and Lesleigh Cushing Stahlberg

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780823225712

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: March 2011

DOI: 10.5422/fso/9780823225712.001.0001

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Transfigured Night: Midrashic Readings of the Book of Ruth

Transfigured Night: Midrashic Readings of the Book of Ruth

Chapter:
(p.47) Transfigured Night: Midrashic Readings of the Book of Ruth
Source:
Scrolls of Love
Author(s):

Judith A. Kates

Publisher:
Fordham University Press
DOI:10.5422/fso/9780823225712.003.0005

Throughout the Talmud and early collections of midrash, one finds commentary and reflection on the book of Ruth. However, this chapter focuses on a coherently edited anthology called Ruth Rabbah, a midrashic collection composed of verse-by-verse commentary, divided into eight chapters and introduced by a long proem or petiha (opening) that is connected thematically to the initial verses of the book. Ruth Rabbah includes material found in the Jerusalem Talmud as well as in some earlier midrashic collections, such as Pesikta d'Rav Kahana. It reflects an awareness of certain motifs that one finds explicitly in the Babylonian Talmud, giving it a plausible date of the sixth or seventh century CE. One can then argue that the book of Ruth teaches people that, despite her Moabite origins, Ruth is brought under the wings of God because of her extraordinary righteousness and because she is the examplar of hesed, as Boaz himself testifies.

Keywords:   midrash, Ruth Rabbah, Jerusalem, Talmud, Moabite, Ruth, God, righteousness, hesed

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