Spiritual Transformations of Torah in Biblical and Rabbinic Tradition

Michael Fishbane


The article deals with changing conceptions of Torah in the formative two phases of Jewish tradition. The first major transformation in the Hebrew Bible is the arcanization (Idel s term) or esotericization of the subject. This occurs through the use of an old term for divinization (the verbal stem darash) for exegetical inquiry into the meaning of Torah (Ezra 7: 9-10). The second is the spiritualization of Torah, evident in the transfer to it of verbs used with respect to relationship with God (see Psalm 119). A notable transformation in early rabbinic texts is the role of study as a substitute for ritual action.


Torah; exegesis; arcanization; divinization; sacrifice; study, Moshe Idel

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