Page 26 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 51

Basic HTML Version

English with extensive revisions as
The Bible from Within: The
Method of Total Interpretation
(Jerusalem, 1984). Weiss, a p ropo ­
nen t o f the “New Criticism,” is less interested in the pre-history
o f a biblical book than in its presence, o r as he puts the matter,
“not with the story’s becoming bu t with its being .” One may
see his application o f method in
The Story of Job’s Beginning:
Job 1-2, a Literary Analysis
(Jerusalem, 1983) and in his
Book of
(Jerusalem, 1992).
Zakovitch, a s tuden t o f Meir Weiss, is
greatly influenced by the “New Criticism.” He is a champion
o f the close read ing
(keriah tsemudah)
approach associated with
the study o f the “Bible as L itera tu re .” As such, Zakovitch attends
to puns, elements o f humor, irony and sarcasm. He seeks clues
to inne r biblical in terp re ta tion , intertextuality and inner-biblical
controversies. His studies o f the canonical Bible a ttend to the
continuities o f Jewish tradition . Thus, fo r example, Zakovitch
may dem onstrate tha t elements in Esther may be illum inated
by the narrative o f the apocryphal Book o f Jud ith , by a p a r ­
aphrase in Josephus o r the Q um ran scrolls, o r by a rabbinic
midrash. He often has recourse to the medieval Jewish com­
mentators such as Abravanel, Gersonides, and to apocrypha and
Q um ran . Zakovitch acutely examines linguistic similarities in
stories to show dependence o f one story on ano ther. For ex­
ample, the description o f Ruth the Moabite in the Book o f Ruth
may shed light on the Moabite girls in Gen 19. He seeks in­
dications in the received text o f earlier traditions e ither oral
or written bu t not preserved. Following the lead o f Umberto
Cassuto, Zakovitch looks fo r associative verbal connections as
clues to the arrangem en ts o f chapters within ou r existing books
and fo r the editorial arrangem en ts o f the books themselves.
Avishur’s major contributions are in the
area o f comparative Semitic philology. He regularly illuminates
biblical obscurities by recourse to Ugaritic and Akkadian.
Avishur is particularly a ttuned to the traditions o f poetic diction
in the Bible and related ancient Near Eastern literatures. See
Stylistic Studies of Word-Pairs in Biblical and Ancient Se­
mitic Literatures
(Neukirchen-Vluyn, 1984).