Commentary

Type: Commentary

Rashbam's Commentary to the Torah:

Author

Rabbi Samuel ben Meir ("Rashbam" is an acronym of that name) belonged to the school of the "Tosafot" commentators to the Talmud. He was a grandson of Rashi's and the brother of Rabbenu Tam.

. He also composed the commentaries to some of the Talmud sections that his grandfather had left uncompleted.

Dates

c. 1085 - c. 1174.

Place

Troyes, France

Description

Rashbam's commentary to the Torah is distinguished by its scholarly objectivity in restricting itself to the plain, contextual meaning of the text without imposing the traditional Rabbinic interpretations. These often lead to interpretations that contradict the normative readings according to established Jewish law.

Rashbam was sensitive to issues of grammar (relying on the pioneering works of the Spanish grammarians Menahem ben Saruk and Dunash ben Labrat) and to the literary and rhetorical qualities of Biblical Hebrew. He was aware that his grandfather, Rashi, had followed a different approach, making extensive use of the Talmudic and midrashic interpretations. Rashbam claimed (in his explanation of Genesis 37:1) that Rashi had conceded to him his own wish to compose a commentary based on the plain sense of the Bible.


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