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date: 22 January 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter discusses three aspects of Jewish reception of the Ketuvim (Writings or Hagiographa): the status and authority of the Ketuvim in relation to the Torah (Pentateuch) and the Nevi’im (Prophets); the study and liturgical use of Ketuvim, focusing on the so-called Five Scrolls (hamesh megillot) and the Book of Psalms; and the character of traditional commentary on selected books, including recommendations for further reading. The Ketuvim were considered sacred and inspired, but at a lower level of inspiration than the Torah and the Prophets. They were regarded as diverting and edifying, but insufficiently authoritative to support the promulgation of law, which was the fundamental concern of rabbinic teaching and learning. On the whole, Jewish commentators seek to find consistency in the interpretation of the individual books, “taming” their originality in order to conform their meanings both to the rest of Scripture and to normative Jewish teachings.

Keywords: Jewish reception, liturgy, authority, inspiration, study, teaching, law, commentary, worship

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