Academic Year 2012-2013Yakir Paz
Yakir Paz is a Phd student at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in Talmud and an assistant at the Amirim honors program.
His graduate thesis was titled ‘Prior to Sinai: The Patriarchs and the Mosaic Law in Rabbinic Literature in view of Second Temple and Early Christian Literature'.
He has spent a semester in Rome teaching in the Gregorian Pontifical University and studying Syriac and Classical Armenian at the Pontifical Biblical and Oriental Institutes, and has also studied a year at the Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg.
He is currently part of a research group dealing with Mesopotamian commentary, and an assistant in the Middle Persian Dictionary Project headed by Prof. Shaul Shaked.
From Scribes to Scholars: Rabbinic Interpretation of the Bible in view of the Homeric Scholarship in Alexandria
In Late antiquity the Homeric poems and the Bible were the founding texts of the Greek and Jewish cultures. In spite of the clear differences between these two texts, each one of them was considered holy and revered in its culture and was the focus of numerous commentaries. During the first centuries B.C Alexandria was the center of Homeric scholarship, in particular of literal commentary and text criticism, headed by immanent scholars such as the chief librarians Zenodotus and Aristarchus. They developed elaborate hermeneutical technique and critical methods, which also had a clear impact on the Jewish biblical scholars in Alexandria.
My research examines the possible impact of this immense scholarly enterprise on the rabbinic biblical commentary, which displays scholarly characteristics – in terminology, exegetical methods and editorial practices – which do not appear previously in the Second Temple literature written in Palestine. Besides the question of influence, this comparative research might help to better define the similarities and differences between these two exegetical communities and contribute to the general discussion on hermeneutics in late antiquity.