Introduction to Biblical Studies I: Text and Interpretation

Yeshiva University BRGS, Spring 2003, Dr. Sid Leiman

Editions of the Hebrew Bible

Canon of the Hebrew Bible

Biblical Canon

The Canon Debate

Biblical Versions: LXX, Targum, Peshitta

Dead Sea Scrolls and the Hebrew Bible

Textual Transmission of the Hebrew Bible

Mesorah of the Hebrew Bible

Vocalization of the Hebrew Bible

Biblical Exegesis



Ibn Ezra


Editions of the Hebrew Bible

  1. C.D. Ginsburg, Introduction to the Massoretico-Critical Edition of the Hebrew Bible  (London, 1897; reissued: New York, 1966), pp. 779-976.
  2. M B. Cohen and D.B. Freedman, “The Snaith Bible -- A Critical Examination of the Hebrew Bible Published in 1958 by the Brtitish and Foreign Bible Society,” HUCA 45(1974)97-132.
  3. M.H. Goshen-Gottstein, ed., The Hebrew University Bible: The Book of Isaiah —   (Jerusalem, 1995), English section, pp. xi-xlviii.
  4. M. Cohen, “(Hebrew) Mavo LiMahadurat HaKeter” appended to “Mikro'ot Gedolot HaKeter: Yehoshua/Shofetim”, Ramat Gan, 1992, pp. 1-100.

No two editions of Tanach are the same.  Divergence3 exists among Christian bibles as well.

The order of Tanach, specified in Baba Batra 14-15, is required for writing more the one book on a single scroll.

Christian G. F. Moore:  The Canon and Mesorah of the Hebrew Bible

Rav Eliyahu Lavitas: Mesorat Hamesora.  First protest against the use of Christian chapters.  New protest by Wolf Heidenheim: Chumash Modah Labina.

Rabbi Yehuda Greenberg (Satmar Rav?) Shu”t Zichron Yehuda, Tel Talpiyot 1923 ג״פרת. 

Variation in Mishlei 8:16.  “Shotei Tzedek” vs. “Shoftei Aretz (?)”


100 people missing from dead Benjimites.  Compare Shoftim 20:35 with 20:46.  Bad Rashi on the spot?  D”H  Vayaku Memenu Alpayim Ish: “Eliyahu gila LiBa’al Megila Amukot, Otan hame’ah halchu viYashvu beMidinat Romi ViAshkenaz, V’Al keyn nikra Eliyahu miToshvei Gilad, she’Lo nadu meArtzam Elah yashvu bimkomam.”  Ahavat Yonatan (Yonatan Eibeshitzer).  Peirush Lekach Tov Prague 1604 Rav Moshe  Shirtles (?).

Difference between consonantal and vocalic.

Bad manuscripts C Bad printing C Bad Printings

1st Rabbinic Bible: 1516

2nd Rabbibic Bible (a.k.a Bomberg Edition, a.k.a. Mikro’’ot Gedolot) 1524-5.  Ya’akov ben Chayyim, ben Adoniyahu (Meshumad)

Goshen-Gottstein: Miphal Hamikra

Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia

C.D. Ginsberg

Snaith Bible

Aharon Dotan

Canon of the Hebrew Bible

  1. S.Z. Leiman, The Canonization of Hebrew Scripture (New Haven, 1991), pp. 9-53;205-218.
  2. S. Zeitlin, “An Historical Study of the Canonization of the Hebrew Scriptures,” PAAJR 3(1931-32) 141-156 (also in S.Z. Leiman, ed., The Canon and Masorah of the Hebrew Bible (New York, 1974), pp. 184-199.
  3. H.M. Orlinsky, “The Canonization of the Bible and the Exclusion of the Apocrypha,” in his Essays in Culture and Bible Translation (New York, 1974), pp. 257-286.
  4. H. Bamberger, “The Book of Judith: Some Further Notes,” J. of Reform Judaism 27 (1980) 84-86.
  5. Jeremiah 29:21-23 with Meforshim

Assignment: Analysis of an apocryphal work to determine why it was excluded from the Jewish Biblical Canon.  Bibliography: Anchor Bible Dictionary, Encyclopedia Judaica, Dropsie Jewish Apocrypha Series  , Anchor Bible, J.H. Charlseworth: the OT Pseudapigrapha.

Abarbanel intro to Nevi’im Rishonim.  Names of 3 biblical divisions based on content (Torah),  Authorship (Nevi’im), and format (Ketuvim).  Torah is given a special name to differentiate it from the other books since it contains the Mitzvot, special to Moshe.  Nevi’im not called since Nevu’ah since the books contain mostly historiographic information rather than prophecy.  Ketuvim since here the prophecies themselves were not given orally, but use the written form as the method of transmission.  

Many books of prophecy not transmitted since it didn’t deal directly with the kingdom or to keep us from getting bogged down and missing the main ideas.  

Historiography: Years of kings’ reigns recorded to allow us to determine the days of the world.  History helps to show that God keeps his promises (Yehoshua 23:14).  Understand the concept of Reward and Punishments.  

Whu Shmuel as a distinct book?  To tell the greatness of David.  The one pure Prophet anointing the one pure King.  (See Rav Medan’s article in Megadim 1 on the Book of Samuel’s place in the Bible.) Authorship is Shemuel and gad and Natan, and Yormiyahu did the final editing.  One can see that Yehoshua wrote his own sefer, but Shmuel or Yirmiyahu did the final composition.

Three things that make a book part of our bible:

1.      The author is a Navi

2.      The command to communicate with the people

3.      The revelation of relatiies not available to the general populace.

The Navi works from existing sources, and the spirit of God help him to winnow out the garbage from the truth, and he puts it into a book.


Questions: 1) Why is Divrei hayamim, which is drawn from the same sources as Melachim, Shmuel etc., not in Nevi’im? 2) Why is Rut not in prophets if it written by Shmuel?  How can Tehillim 18 show up in Shmuel is prophecy and show up in Tehillim as Ketuvim?  Answers:  1) Author and authorship not prophet/prophetically commanded.  Simply a rendering from existing prophesies. 2) a) The book of Shoftim was already a closed book when Rut was written (?)  b) Rut is a private story about David’s origins and didn’t fit into the book of Shoftim. c1) Rabbi’s has a mesorah that the work is only written with Ruach Hakodesh, not Nevuah (This is too much like the Rambam, below, rather than abarbanel’s apostolic approach, below, and perhaps that is why he gives a different answer…) c2)While the book is on the same prophetic level as Shoftim, since it was written for David’s honor it was placed in Ketuvim.


Not every word in a book of Nevuah is prophetical, since we have king’s and foreigners’ quotes.  The prophet weaves it all into his prophetic work.


9 types if prophetic narrative: a) Prophecy, b) Miraculous Events, c) chronicles of actions (sins) of the people and or the King, d) Consequence, e) reprobation/Mussar, f) Repentance, g) Salvation, h) other (simple) stories.


Rambam: Guide to the Perplexed 2:45.  Three levels of Revelation in the Bible.  Ruach Hakodesh, Nevuah, Direct Communication.  Radak: Intro to Tehillim, follows the Rambam.


Sefer Yaabetz – Ohr Hachayyim, Chapter 12.  Critique of Spanish Jewish Philosophers.


Apostolic – a message to take to the people/king/etc.  See Tractate Megila 3a and Rashi D”H “Dinhu Nevi’ei.” “That they [Chagai, Lelachi, Zacharya] prophesized to Israel Bishlichut of/from God, and he [Daniel] was not sent to Israel with any Nevuah.  (The indication is that he had Nevuot which he wrote down, but God never sent him to deliver them.)  See also Ma’yanei Hayeshua, Ma’ayan 3, (?)ר(?)מ(?)ת 2 of the Abarbanel describes three levels matching the tripartite division of Tanach:

1.      Moshe was the deliverer of the Torah to Israel

2.      Prophets also messengers with words of instruction, warn, etc.

3.      Prophets instructed to write down their prophecy without going to the people.


So the Avudrahum: Prayers of Rosh Hashana.  “Mipnei Shepsukei Hanvi’im Ne’emru Bishlichut Hanvi’im L’Omran Liyisreal…”  (The entire passage reads much like the Rambam, and the Avudrashum seems to be trying to synergize the two approaches.)


So the Gri”z: Chidushei Rabbeinu Hagriz Halevi Part 3 Page 235. “Don’t say that Ruach Hakodesh is not Nevuah…Tractate Sota 48b explains that David and Shlomo were prophets…Ketuvim and be placed on top of Nevi’im and vice versa…but Ketuvim were instructed from the outset for textual recording, and Nevuah by word of mouth…”


Three divisions of Prophecy: Torah, Davar, Eitza.  See Yirmiyahu 18:18, Yechezkel 7:26

Biblical Cannon

Menachem Haran: Ha’Asafot Hamikra’it. 1996.  (ISBN 965342666-4) Whatever was found among the Jews at the time of Canonization was canonized.  All other material was later.

The Canon Debate

Tzvi Hirsch Chayus (Chajus) Chief Rabbi of Kalesh (d 1855) Page 94 volume I, writings: if a book is non Halachik is was non canonizable.  So Zeitlin, so Wolinsk (?  See Dictionary of Christian Biography) Interpreter’s Dictionary of the Bible.  Bamburger comes up with some nonsense about excluding the book of Judith since she wears the clothed (sword) of a man.  Other feminist nonsense says that Judith was too strong a woman for refusing to marry.  Book of Ruth disproves. 


Jerome on Yirmiyahu 29.  At issue is the deat of Tzidkiyahu and Achav who were roasted by the King of Babylon for doing a Nevalah in Israel (and) for committing adultery with the wives of their friends, and for speaking falsely in God’s name.  See Sanhedrin 93a regarding a midrashic interpretation to this difficukt passage.  I belive the issue here is regarding Suzzanne, and that the Rabbis of the time did not exlude it because it dissareed with them Halachikly, but because of technical matters.  Unfortunately, I don’t remember this.


Four reasons for non-acceptance into the cannon:

1.      The book was written after then end of prophecy, which Chazal place circa 350 BCE, pre Alexandiran.  (Orbach criticizes this by stating that the Rabbis determined the end of prophecy at 150 AD, since Christians obviously need prophecy to continue until Jesus, the Rabbis tried to counter it with the pre-Alexandirian date.  This is disproved by I Maccabees 3:48, 4:45, 9:27 which all speak about the lack of prophets in 150 BCE.)

Since Zeitlin had books being accepted into the cannon until 70 AD, he needed a different explanation, hence the non-halachic theory.

See Numbers 18:18, Deuteronomy 15:20 (I have no recollection of these things and I can’t tell what they have to do with the subjects of non-canonization.)

2.      Hebrew or Aramaic as an Original Language

3.      Centrral halachic premise at odds with the Rabbis.  (E.g. Book of Jubilies)

4.      Rejection of books accepted by Christians, since they needed to cover the period from 350 BCE to 1 CE.


Radal (Rav David Luria) Shoresh Yishai, Alkabeitz.  Not sure why I wrote these down.


Leiman: The Canonization of Hebrew Scripture.  The Talmudic and Midrashic Evidence


How did the rabbis or their predecessors determine the inspired status of any given book?  (Acknowledging that other non-normative cannons existed)  Consensus follows Zeitlen which is neither exhaustive nor always convincing.  Passages no adduced and interpretations questionable. 


A canonical book must be accepted by Jews as authoritative for religious practice or doctrine.  Refutes the idea of a Deuteronimic cannon, written during Josia’s time.  Daniel 9:2 attests to fixed set of canonical books

Biblical Versions: LXX, Targum, Peshitta

  1. E. Tov, “The Septuagint”; A. Tal, “The Samaritan Targum of the Pentateuch”, P.S.Alexander, “Jewish Aramaic Translations of Hebrew Scriptures", P.B. Dirksen, “The Old Testament Peshitta”; and B. Kedar, “The Latin Translations” in M.J. Mulder, ed., Mikra (Assen, 1988), pp. 161-338.
  2. R. Boid, “Use, Authority and Exegesis of Mikra in the Samaritan Tradition,” in M.J. Mulder, ed., Mikra (Assen, 1988), pp. 595-633.
  3. Y. Maori, (Hebrew) Targum Hapshitta LiTorah viParshanut HaYihudit Hakeduma  (Jerusalem, 1995), pp. 11-20; 319-338.

HB Swete, Ktav publishing, an intro to the OT in Greek

Brooke, Mclean – Diplomatic (1 solid manuscrpt)

Gotting – Eclectic (multiple Manuscripts)

Handly 2 volume edition by Rohlf

Backstars LC: 70106440.  The 70 Version.

Hexapla – Origin 6 column (2 Aquila, 4 Symmarchus, 6 Theodotian) Edited by Field.

  Ras Shamra – Uggarit Language – refers to the 70 pantheon, See Targum Yonatan and LXX on the Bnei Yisrael in Devarim 32:8.

  Rav Yosepf ben Yehuda Ibn Aknin. 

Peshitta? Latin, Samaritan, Aramaic

Dead Sea Scrolls and the Hebrew Bible

  1. G. Vermes, An Introduction to the Complete Dead Sea Scrolls, Minneapolis, 1999.

  2. F. Garcia Martinez and E.J.C. Tigchelaar, eds., The Dead Scrolls Study Edition, Grand Rapids, 1998-9, 2 vols.

  3. D. Dimant, “Qumran Sectarian Literature,” in M.E. Stone, ed., Jewish Writings of the Second Temple Period (Assen, 1984), pp. 483-550.

  4. M. Fishbane, “Use, Authority and Interpretation of Mikra at Qumran,” in M.J. Mulder, ed., Mikra (Assen, 1988), pp. 339-377

  5. J. Sanders, The Dead Sea Psalms Scroll (Ithaca, 1967). For the official publication of this scroll, see J. Sanders, The Psalm Scroll of Qumran Cave 11 (= DJD IV) (Oxford, 1965).

In intro to the whole sordid story of Scholarly egotism, poor management, and anti Israeli fervor can be found in VermesAn Introduction to the Complete Dead Sea Scrolls.  One interesting note was that someone from Revel insisted for years that the Scrolls were a fake.  Turns out that it was Zeitlin.


Divrei Hayamim I28:11-19.  Temple scroll.  The one found in Qumran has 1st person as God. 

Miktzat Ma’asey Hatorah. Letter from the head of the sect to the Chief Rabbi on the differences between the sect and the Rabbinic approach


Greek translations of variant Hebrew texts.  Some texts are the same as our MT.


All Sectarian Scrolls – Study edition

Dead sea scrolls in English (4 ed. Or later) Vermes

James Charlesworth The dead Sea Scrolls Aramaic English translation

J. Fitzmeyer.  The dead sea scrolls bibliographic handbook


Tehillim 145

·        Dead Sea Scrolls appears to be liturgy since each line in the acrostic is separated by “Baruch Hashem, Uvaruch Shemo Li’Olam Va’Ed.” 

·        The Qumra’s version contains a line for the נ: “Ne’eman Elohim Bidvarayv viChasid Bichol Ma’asaiv”  Strange that God is described by Elohim” rather than the Shem Adnut as appears elsewhere in this psalm.  The Septuagint has this line but replaces the Elohim with “Kurios” which means “lord,” matching the Shem Adnut theme.  Also, the repetition of “ViChasid BiChol Ma’asaiv” matching the second of the צ line is strange.  Difficult to be ascertain authenticity or lack thereof. 

·        Shem Adnut is mistakenly places in the א instead of “Elohai”, and the scribe removed it by placing dots over the text.  (Like one opinion of the text in Nitzavim.)

·        Opens with the more common “Tefila LiDavid” rather than the “Tehilla hLiDavid” of MT.  The LXX matches the MT.


·        Sifrei on Deuteronomy 6:8 darshan’s the pesukim of Tefillin to exclude the Ten Commandments (and Va’Yomer).   The Tefillin found in Qumran (satisfying in itself since it refutes those who doubted the authenticity and antiquity of the requirement of Tefillim) contain the Ten Commandments. 
Check the Δ between Rabbeinu Tam and Rashi Tefillin.


Shavuot and the Omer

Mesechet Menachot Mishnayot 1-4 indicates that the exaggerated ceremony of cutting the Omer—done even on Shabbat—was for the sake of the Baitusim who said “Ain Ketzirat Ha’Omer Bimotzei Yom Tov”  We know that the Baitusim said that Torah (Leviticus 23:15) meant that the Omer should start on the first day of the week.  But what of the Pesach falls out on Shabat, in which case the Baitusim will start the Omer the same time that the Rabbis said to start?


See Kevutzat Mefarshei Hamishna Kol Sofer, Chaim Sofer.


The solution is found based on three facts. 

·        Each Bothusean month had 30 days.  See the Dead Sea Psalms Scroll column XXVII line 7: “And for the offering of the new moons…30 songs.”

·        Secondly, the Book of the Jubilees 16:13 states that Yitzchak was born in the middle of the third month in the middle of the month, just like the festival of the first fruits (See Shemot 34:22).  This means that 50 days before Shavuout is Nissan 26 (minus 15, minus 30, minus 5).

·        Nissan 15 is always on a Wednesday (I have no idea how we know this).



























15 (Pesach)











26 (1)

27 (2)

28 (3)

21 (4)

30 (5)
















1 (6)

2 (7)

3 (8)

4 (9)

5 (10)

6 (11)

7 (12)

8 (13)

9 (14)

10 (15)

11 (16)

12 (17)

13 (18)

14 (19)

15 (20)

16 (21)

17 (22)

18 (23)

19 (24)

20 (25)

21 (26)

22 (27)

23 (28)

24 (29)

25 (30)

26 (31)

27 (32)

28 (33)

29 (34)

30 (35)









1 (36)

2 (37)

3 (38)

4 (39)

5 (40)

6 (41)

7 (42)

8 (43)

9 (44)

10 (45)

11 (46)

12 (47)

13 (48)

14 (49)















29 30          


This means that what the Boethusian had in mind was two differences, 1) after the Sabbath, and 2) the Shabbat which followed the last days of Pesach.  Hence “Ain Ketzirat Ha’Omer Bimotzei Yom Tov” indicating the first day of the holiday, which was what the Rabbis were countering.


Damascus Covenant

Based on the document, Solomon Shechter called this group the students of Tzaddok, but based on historians we conclude that they are the Essennes.



·        Bliya’al = Head of satanic forces.  Evil, rather thatn the lighter usage in Tanach where it always refers to humans or objects.  Usage is siliar to that found in Apocrypha, Psudepigrapha, and NT.  See Corinthians 6:15.

·        Nasi = Melech (like Yehezkel)

·        Vayazvem = [Aramaic] Shavkum = [Hebrew] Tisah = [English] Forgive (see Genesis 18:24)


Three sins in the Damascus Covenant IV:12 – V:11 (Found in Magen Broshi: The Damascus Document Reconsidered)

·        Licentiousness.  Either no second wife (in man’s lifetime), no Polygamy (in her lifetime), or no Divorce.  (Confusion on the word “Chayeihem”)

·        Ownership of Money or Possessions

·        Defiling the temple


Pliny the Elder: Natural History


Al Qirkasan.  Kararite Scholar 10 century.  An account of the Jewish sects, HUCA (Hebrew Union College Annal: 1930 page 326.  Must have had access to the Damascus documents, which was found in Cairo, a home to many Karaites.

Textual Transmission of the Hebrew Bible

  1. S. Lieberman, Hellenism in Jewish Palestine (New York, 1962), pp. 20-82.

  2. M. Greenberg, “The Stabilization of the Text of the Hebrew Bible, Reviewed in the Light of the Biblical Materials from the Judaean Desert,” JAOS 76(1 956)157-1 67 (also in: Leiman, Canon and Masorah, pp. 298-326).

  3. F.M. Cross, “The History of the Biblical Text in the Light of Discoveries in the Judaean Desert,” HTR 57(1964)281-299.

  4. S. Talmon, “The Old Testament Text,” in P.R. Ackroyd and C.F. Evans, eds., The Cambridge History of the Bible (Cambridge, 1970), pp. 159-199.

  5. E.Tov, Textual Criticism of the Hebrew Bible (Assen, 1992), pp. 155-197.


Barthelemy – Greek Bible – Predecessor to Aquila, 1st Century, revised to bring in alignment with MT.

1.      Proto Massoretic

2.      Proto LXX ---- Kaiga – “And” on all the verses even on Vava MeHaphaich

3.      Proto Samaritin


Paul Agard (an Antisemite) – All LXX goes back to 1 original.  All revisions to support MS.


2 CE Vadi Rubaat – All MT. 

Josephus using proto lucianic


Cross champion;s the local text theory.


Shaul Lieberman supports the Vulgar Text theory.


Eugene Ulrich: Dead Sea Scrolls and the Origin of the Bible.

Mesorah of the Hebrew Bible

  1. Jacob ben Chajim Ibn Adonijah, Introduction to the Rabbinic Bible, ed. C.D. Ginsburg (London, 1867; reissued: New York, 1968).  

  2. Elias Levita, Massoreth ha-Massoreth (London, 1867; reissued: New York, 1968).

  3. M.H. Goshen-Gottstein, “The Rise of the Tiberian Bible Text,” in A. Allmann, ed., Biblical and Other Studies (Cambridge, 1963), pp. 79-122 (also in: Leiman, Canon and Masorah, pp. 666-709).

  4. A. Dotan, Ben Asher’s Creed (Missoula, 1977).

  5. Shamosh, (Hebrew) "HaKeter: Sippuro Shel HaKeter Aram Tzova" (Jerusalem, 1987).

Assignment: Running commentary on Massoretic notes.  Explain notes.  List cited verses, indicate whether we agree or disagree with the notes.

Bibliography: Elias Levita: Messoret Ha-Massorath, Rav Asher Anshel Worms: Sayag LiTorah, Yoseph Kalman: Mavo Hamessorah, G.E. Weil, Beit Tzipporah, Lenningrad Commentary of Mesorrah Gedola, Biblia Hbraica Stuttgartensia, Page Kelly: The Mesorah of BHS, Zalman Frensdorf: Mesora Magna.


[Not sure where this section belongs.  Perhaps Textual Transmission of the Hebrew Bible would be better.]

Shabat 55b Tos’ D"H Ma’avirin cites I Samual 2:24.  Talmudic citation disagrees with our text. 


Mishpachat Sofrim by Shemuel Rozenfeld has a list of variants.  Incomplete.  Also, Victor Aptolatzer, Scripture in Rabbinic Literature. 


Pesach Torah

Rabbi David Hoffman: MWJ 13:1886 191-202

Vocalization of the Hebrew Bible

  1. S.D. Luzzatto, (Hebrew) "ViKuach Al Chochmat HaKabala", in his: "Mechkrei HaYahadut" (Warsaw, 1913), vol. 1, pp. 113-240.
  2. J. Bachrach, (Hebrew) "Eshtadlut Im Shadal" (Warsaw, 1896), vol. 1, pp. 1-13; vol. 2, pp. 84-119.

  3. P. Kahle, The Cairo Geniza (Oxford, 1959), pp. 157-188.

  4. E.Y. kutscher, A History of the Hebrew Language (Leiden, 1982), pp. 32-35.

Vocalization first found in the Syriac, where the names of the Ta’amim are significant to that language

.Three types of vocalization:

·        Tiberian

·        Babylonian (super-linear)

·        Palestinian (super-linear)

  Debate on Vocalization

Bachrac: Eshtadlut Im Shadal

Avoda Zara 17b.  Bab Batra 20 (?) on the Yoav, David, Teacher dispute.

Machzor Vitri: No tradtion of vocalization and it was not given a Sinai.  Rather, it was an Oral Tradition (page 91).

Rav Hai Geon

2:169 Kovetz Teshuvot Chazon Ish – Supports Nekudot from Moshe Rabbeinu but harmonizes by saying that they ere not written down.

P Kahle: The Cairo Geniza pp. 78-79.  Names of the Ba’alei Messora.

Biblical Exegesis

  1. Uriel Simon, Four Approaches to the Book of Psalms (Albany, 1991).
  2. A. Grossman, “Parshanut HaMikra” in his: "Chochmei Tzarfat HaRishonim" (Jerusalem, 1995), pp. 457-506.
  3. Y. Maori, “The Approach of Classical Jewish Exegetes to Peshat and Derash and its Implications for the Teaching of Bible Today,” Tradition 21(1984), n.3, 40-53.
  4. U. Simon, “The Religious Significance of the Peshat,” Tradition 23 (1988), n.2, 41-63.
  5. B. Levy, “Rashi’s Commentary on the Torah: A Survey of Recent Publications,” Tradition 23(1988), n.4, 102-116.
  6. E. Touitou, "Shitato Haparshanit shel Rashbam Al Rekah Hametziyut HaHistorit Shel Zmano" in Y.D. Gilat, ed., "Iyyunim biSafrut Chazal BiMikrah UbiToldot Yisrael" (E.Z. Melamud Festschrift; Ramat Can, 1982), pp. 48-74.
  7. E. Touitou, "Hapashtut Hamitchadshim Kol Yom: Iyunno BiPeirush Rashbam LiTorah" (Ramat Gan, 2003).
  8. I. Twersky and J.M. Harris, eds., Rabbi Abraham Ibn Ezra: Studies in the Writings of a Twelfth Century Jewish Polymath (Cambridge, 1993).
  9. I. Twersky, ed., Rabbi Moses Nahmanides: Explorations in his Religious and Literary Virtuosity (Cambridge, 1983).
  10. Y. Elman, “Moses ben Nahman,” in M. Saebo, ed., Hebrew Bible-Old Testament: The History of Its Interpretation, Goettingen, 2000, vol. 1, part 2, pp. 416-432.




Best Critical Edition  Torah
Marsham Parshandata Yishayahu, Tehillim, Trei Asar
Katenbolen Mosad Harav Kook Yehoshua, Shoftim, Shmuel
(Chayim Kohen) Keter No aparatus
Rashi Hashalem   Not critical, but contains variant printings
Menachem Brachfeld Yosef Halel Private commentary

Useful Aids:

Chaim Zohari 

Mekorot Rashi Sources
Avi Meiri Heichal Rashi What does it do
  Loazi Rashi Old French Translations


Ezra Melamed Mepharshei Hamikra  
Nechama Leibovitz, Moshe ? Perush Rashi Letora  
Sarah Kamin What is Peshat  
Gellis Peshat and Derash in the use of Rashi  
Bonitt Rashi: Interpreter of the biblical letter  


Toledano Apirion List of supercommentaries
Shapira Parshanei Rashi al HaTorah  
  Nisyonot Avraham Supercommentaries on Rashi on Nach

Typical Rashi exegetical approach: Shemot 34:7 (13 attributes): "ViNakeh Lo Yinakeh".  Rashi explains "liPhi Peshuta not cleans right away but slowly, and then cites Derash which separates the "ViNakeh"

Rashi Shemot 25:2.  The Missing Vav Issue from ViEt.  Chizkuni and ibn Ezra both have the Vav, while we do not.  Interesting article in a Yiddish paper (De Yid) about how Rashi never talks about the Vav as can be seen from the first edition.  Oops, it turns out that this is not the first printed edition, the Rome one is, and the latter has the Vav mentioned.  

"Must see" manuscripts are?:

Rozenbaum and Tilberman, Good english translation of Rashi.  Cites and explains the Vav issue correctly.


Rashbam al HaTorah Rosen 1881
Rashbam al HaTorah Bromberg  
Keren Shmuel Supercommentary 1981
Study: Rashbam as Biblical Exegete Rosen  
Study: The Tora Commentaty of Rav Shemuel Bar Meir Morris Berger Dissertation
English Translation Marty Lackshin  
Nach: Rashbam on Kohelet    
Nach: Rashbam and Iyov Yaphet  (Also, Rabbeinu Tam on Iyov)
Nach: Rashbam on Shir Hashirim  Ellmman  

Lack of success indicated by 1) rare printing (first  printing 1705, Berlin) and 2) lack of manuscripts

Can be considered a super- commentary to Rashi. Of 127 times Rashbam specifies "Peshat", 107 dispute Rashi's approach.

Rashi suggests not looking at Chazal, not using rabbinic Hebrew to understand a verse. Use context "Lefi Inyano". Recognized literary patterns - Darkei Hamikraot - noticed anticipatory verses , e.g. laws of Shabbat require the story of creation, thus the reason for starting with creation. Used contemporary social norms, such as the way leaders take walk in the morning like Pharo. Rejects any miracles not explicitly stated. 

No distinction between biblical narrative and biblical law, e.g. 13:9 not talking about tefilin "liOmek Peshuto."

Misunderstood Rashbam Kohelet 7:10 matching Mishna Sota 3:5 "Mitnavneh viHolech." (Laws of Entropy) Also Chulin 57b. See also Rashi on Rosh Hashana 25b for the source of this Rashbam.

Rashbam on Gen' 1:5. Claimed as a forgery. Rabbi David Oppenheim owned the MS, the verse is not a forgery. See also Ibn Ezrah's Shabbat letter. 

Ibn Ezra