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date: 02 December 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Classical and traditional Jewish culture is fundamentally a text culture — formed, informed, and reformed by Scripture (the Hebrew Bible) and its interpretation. This Scripture has always served as the Centre or source of all legal and intellectual meaning or purpose. Disagreement and contestation arise over the source and status of its ongoing interpretations, which are variously asserted to be divine or human. The nexus between Scripture and its exegetical traditions is therefore crucial, and the claim by different groups to be the proper bearers of Scripture and its interpretation becomes the claim to be the true heirs of ancient Israel and the embodiments of its divine destiny. The normative patterns of Judaism are inseparable from this phenomenon, and it is equally evident in its schismatic and sectarian offshoots.

Keywords: exegetical culture, Bible interpretation, Jewish culture, Scripture, Judaism

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