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Bibil Identifier bibil:210011
Publication Type Journal article
Title (English, Long) A Study of Two Tales in Midrash Ruth Zuta and Their Adaptation in Hibbur Yafeh me-ha-Yeshu‛ah
Title (Modern Hebrew, Long) עיון בשני סיפורים במדרש רות זוטא ובעיבודם ב"חיבור יפה מהישועה
Author Shoshany, Ronit
Journal Jewish Studies, an Internet Journal (Volume: 7)
Year (Publication) 2008
Year (Original (1st Edition)) 2008
Year (Copyright) 2008
Year (Reference) 2008
Language Modern Hebrew
Pages 81-103 Pages
Genre Original
Abstract Ruth Zuta is a short midrash on the Book of Ruth, arranged by verse; it includes five tales, each of which commences with the word מעשה (tale).
Three of these tales have parallels in rabbinic literature, and the other two are unique to Midrash Ruth Zuta. This article deals with the latter, discussing their meaning, their connection to biblical stories, and the relation between them. It is argued that the first tale – Ruth Zuta 1:20 – is an adaptation of the biblical story of Job, and the second tale – Ruth Zuta 4:11 – is a combination of the story of Joseph in Egypt and the rabbinic story of Abba Yudan (Vayiqra Rabba 5:4 and parallels). Parallel factors in the two tales suggest a common author, who inserted them in two central positions in Midrash Ruth Zuta in order to characterize the major figures in the Book of Ruth: Naomi and Ruth.
The second part of the article deals with the adaptation of the two tales in Hibbur Yafeh me-ha-Yeshu‛ah (“The Book of Comfort”) by R. Nissim b. Jacob of Kairouan. The origin of the story “The Lord is Faithful in Repaying” (chapter XXXI) in Ruth Zuta 4:11 is generally accepted. It is argued here that the story “Elijah the Prophet as a Builder” (chapter XXI), for which other scholars have not identified a Jewish source, has common features with Ruth Zuta 1:20. The discussion of the tales’ adaptation demonstrates that R. Nissim used similar methods to those used in rabbinic literature. He adapted earlier material and shaped it to serve the purpose of his book and the needs of his period.
Keywords Thesaurus BiBIL : Milieu : Ancient Judaism : Literature : Midrash : Exegetical Midrashim : Midrash Ruth
Links Online document (PDF, Modern Hebrew)
Last modification 2017-10-27