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Bibil Identifier bibil:216550
Publication Type Journal article
Title (English, Long) The Last Oral Torah? The Division of the Torah into ʻAliyot
Author Stulberg, Ephraim
Journal Jewish Studies, an Internet Journal (Volume: 8)
Year (Publication) 2009
Year (Original (1st Edition)) 2009
Year (Copyright) 2009
Year (Reference) 2009
Language English
Pages 183-202 Pages
Genre Original
Notes 20 pages.
Abstract The origins of the present-day system by which the weekly Torah reading is divided into seven rigorously delineated aliyot are shrouded in mystery. While recent scholarship has emphasized that standardization of this practice is a relatively recent development, rabbinic literature contains no programmatic statements describing the principles upon which the modern division was founded. This article attempts to define a set of fundamental principles that appear to have guided the formulation of the aliyah divisions currently employed in synagogues throughout the world. It argues that aliyah breaks in both narrative and legal sections were determined to a surprisingly large extent by midrashic considerations, conjoining seemingly unrelated texts in order to convey connections between them that would otherwise go unnoticed. More significantly, perhaps, the aliyah divisions were also manipulated so as to heighten audience interest in the reading, either by creating an atmosphere of suspense or by consistently selecting expressions of blessing with which to conclude aliyot. This final point raises important implications for a reappraisal of audience response to the Torah reading and its importance in the lives of its listeners.
Keywords Thesaurus BiBIL : Books of the Old Testament : Pentateuch
Thesaurus BiBIL : Old Testament (Introduction) : Text : Division
Links Online document (PDF, English)
Last modification 2017-10-27