from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition
- n. Any of a group of Jewish commentaries on the Hebrew Scriptures compiled between A.D. 400 and 1200 and based on exegesis, parable, and haggadic legend.
from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License
- n. A Rabbinic commentary on a text from the Hebrew Scripture.
- n. The Rabbinic technique or tradition of such exegesis.
from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English
- n. A talmudic exposition of the Hebrew law, or of some part of it.
from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. In Jewish lit., exegesis, interpretation, or exposition of the Hebrew Scriptures.
- n. An exposition or discourse of this kind, or a collection of such expositions or discourses: as, the Midrash on Samuel; the Midrash on the Psalms. In this sense the plural is Midrashim, occasionally Midrashoth.
from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.
- n. (Judaism) an ancient commentary on part of the Hebrew scriptures that is based on Jewish methods of interpretation and attached to the biblical text
The word Midrash comes from the Hebrew root D-R-SH meaning "to inquire" or "to seek."
But to go so far as to deny that there was such a figure at all, and to appeal in support to the term Midrash which do not mean in Rabbinic Judaism what you seem to mean by it, then you seem to be going beyond the most natural reading of the evidence.
As Rabbi Eliezer teaches in Midrash Rabah, these Kings are "[t] he wicked [who] have drawn the sword and bent the bow to cast down the poor and needy" (citing Psalm 37: 4).
Midrash is a process by which a mythological character is meticulously inserted into historical settings to add validity to an allegorical/symbolic message.
The works to which the name Midrash is applied are the
Of course the commentators assert that the word Midrash, which occurs in the Bible only in these two passages, there means something quite different from what it means everywhere else; but the natural sense suits admirably well and in Chronicles we find ourselves fully within the period of the scribes.
It is the plural form of the word Midrash which is found only twice in the Old Testament (II Par.
I guess I was confused because on the one hand I said the focus would be on pre-Christian and contemporary sources, as well as others that seem to deserve attention even though they are somewhat later; and on the other hand, Scott mentioned Midrash, which is primarily used to denote a form of Rabbinic literature that is itself significantly later - although in this case too not necessarily without usefulness.
The Midrash is a trifle more modest in this legendary assertion.
Beautiful as are the thoughts and fancies of the Talmudic rabbis, their Midrash was a purely national monument, closed by its form as by its language to the general world;