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Pursuing Peshat

Pursuing Peshat

Peshat literally means the simple, or literal, interpretation of the text. However, the definition and determination of peshat is anything but straightforward. The Sages of the Talmud and Midrash debated how to ascertain peshat. This debate continued among the Rishonim and Acharonim: how much weight should be given to peshat as opposed to allegorical and halakhic interpretations, what assumptions inform us in arriving at peshat, and how do we differentiate peshat from derash? These debates rage into the modern day, as leading rabbis, educators, and scholars seek to understand the place of peshat in the nexus of biblical interpretation.

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