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Title: A critical edition of the Midrash Aleph Beth with an English translation, commentary and introduction
Author: Middleton, D. F.
ISNI:       0000 0003 8373 4802
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 1988
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Midrash Aleph Beth belongs to the post-Talmudic collection of Jewish midrashim. Its structure and subject matter are centred on the Hebrew alphabet which provides sequential pairs of letters for the theme of chapter. In the first part, the Midrash progresses from the first letter of the alphabet to the last, and its subject is the story of the universe from its creation to its destruction at the end of time. In the second and third parts, using different combinations of the alphabet, the ·:;tory is told of t he judgment and annihilation of all God's enemies in the heavens and on the earth. In the final part, a fourth combination of the alphabet is introduced to describe life in the world to Come for' the righteous remnant of Israel. In this Midrash we encounter' ideas and beliefs that can be found in similar or parallel form scattered throughout Jewish midrashic literature. It is an extremely useful text in that most Jewish thought from the first millennium of the common era concerning cosmology and eschatology is here collected together in one work. In presenting an orthodoxy account of Jewish thought on these subjects, heterodoxy ideas, questioning for example1 the supremacy of God and his role as sale creator of the universe, are included to be proved erroneous. Hence the Midrash is in effect a significant depository of both Jewish heterodoxy and orthodoxy.An edition 0f Midrash ,Aleph Beth , based on the one extant manuscript was published by S. A. Wertheimer" and subsequently reprinted with minor emendations by A. J. Wertheimer, but it has not hitherto been translated into any modern language. These edition"5 are highly inaccurate with m":3.ny differences from the manuscript, some of which seem to be deliberate alterations for dogma tic reasons. It is shown in this thesis to have no value as a basis for" scholarly study. The thesis present s a. critical edition of the text (making use of, but not relying on the previous editions), accompanied by an English translation. An introduction and commentary attempt to explain the contents of the Midrash and place it in its textual and historical context, taking into account the most recent debates concerning the nature and function of Jewish midrash.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Jewish religious writings