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date: 01 June 2020

Abstract and Keywords

The stories in the Hebrew Bible and Quran are characteristically terse, and in the case of the Quran elliptical. Readers are left with many unanswered questions about the details of any given narrative. Scriptural interpreters creatively expand stories as well as bridge gaps therein. At the same time, troubling passages are explained away in order to whitewash the patriarchs who are depicted as embodying religious teachings and behaving in exemplary ways. This chapter provides an overview of Jewish, Christian, and Muslim interpretive traditions of the late antique, early medieval periods that played a role in later exegetical developments. Far from exhaustive, this general discussion seeks to familiarize the reader with underlying exegetical concepts, some common to all three Abrahamic religions, some unique to each, as well with several important works and interpreters whose impact is detectable in contemporary exegesis.

Keywords: rabbis, midrash, hermeneutics, principles of interpretation, church fathers, Augustine, tafsīr, al-Tabari

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