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Wine, women and work: the generic transformation of the Masoretic text of Qohelet 9. 7-10 in the Targum Qohelet and Qohelet Midrash Rabbah

Hardy, John Christopher (1995) Wine, women and work: the generic transformation of the Masoretic text of Qohelet 9. 7-10 in the Targum Qohelet and Qohelet Midrash Rabbah. Masters thesis, Durham University.



This thesis seeks to understand the generic changes wrought by targum Qohelet and Qohelet midrash rabbah upon our home-text, the masoretes' reading of Qoh. 9. 7-10. An introduction orientates the reader by contextualizing our three subsequent analyses: of the masoretic text (Chapters I and II) of the targum (Chapters III and IV) of the midrash (Chapters V and VI) Hence the Bibical verses are positioned within their structural context, the targumic verses within their wider thematic context (the rabbinic debate on the respective merits of Torah-study, charity and prayer) and the midrashic verses within a methodological context (differing approaches to the study of haggadic midrash). Having located Qoh. 9. 7-10 within their parent text, we are free to define them generically. In Chapter I, we examine the indices of our sample verses' poeticism; and in Chapter II, the generic "nursery" from which our putative verse-fragment emanates, comparing it with Ancient Near Eastern parallels: in the Gilgamesh Epic, Ugaritic Baal myth, Theognidean lyric and Egyptian Royal Instruction. We further argue (a) that, although these may elucidate our sample-text's Sitz im Leben, they do not, demonstrably stand in a direct literary relationship to it; and (b) that it is best understood when read intrabiblically, that is with reference to its wider Wisdom context (the Proverbial "table etiquette" and "temperance" traditions, and the Deuteronomic Calls to Joy). Chapter III introduces our chosen targum-text (Knobel's) of Qoh. 9. 7-10, and investigates its modifications of the Biblical text and co-text, accounting for these in terms of (a) the targum's exegetical presuppositions (its dogmatic agenda) and (b) generic transformation (conversion into a pro-Solomonic oracle). Chapter IV broadens our enquiry by classifying the thematic matrix of the targumic adjustments, their explicit and implicit motifs: the Messianic banquet and sages' charity-obigations (explicit); Torah-study's priority, the world to come and Torah-renewal (implicit). The rabbis' pedagogical preoccupation with personal deportment further contextualises, we argue, the targumic rendition. Our two midrashic chapters offer a selective critique of Qohelet midrash rabbah 9. 7-10: Chapter V assesses its generic transformation of Qoh. 9. 7, principally arguing, with three examples, (one of which, the Abba Tahnah pericope, is further tendered as a case-study in "chriization" - a specialized generic change) that its diverse traditions are thematically congruent (Abrahamic), hermeneutically dextrous comments on the Aqedah. Chapter VI, a quasi-biographical reading of the haggadic stories built around Qoh. 9.10, proposes that these evidence later tradents' reimaging of their predecessors: amoraim generally (in relation to sage-dreams), and R. Judah ha Nasi specifically (in relation to his holiness). The conclusion highlights some methodological issues outstanding from our comparative survey.

Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Award:Master of Arts
Thesis Date:1995
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:24 Oct 2012 15:11

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