Translated by Rav Yoseif Bloch
English translation of Parshanei HaMikra, by Avigail Rock
The vast and vibrant world of biblical commentary has, over the generations, shaped not only our understanding of the Tanakh, but Judaism’s worldview and values as well. The biblical commentator – or parshan – is a spiritual seeker, proposing answers to the theological and existential questions raised by the text and serving as mediator between Tanakh and the reader. Keenly aware of their contemporary reality, biblical exegetes search for the Torah’s answers to both timeless human issues and to the most crucial questions of their time.
Dr. Avigail Rock’s widely hailed work, Great Biblical Commentators, is a groundbreaking study that surveys over twenty of the greatest biblical exegetes in the course of Jewish history – beginning with Onkelos; continuing with leading medieval commentators such as Rashi, Ibn Ezra, and Ramban, and Aĥaronim such as Malbim and Netziv; and ending with influential twentieth-century commentators. It includes discussion of the commentators’ exegetical methods, their interactions with their historical period and environment, and their contributions to the world of exegesis. Through exploration of the commentators’ biographies and methodologies, and enriched by carefully chosen and insightful examples from their works, this book contextualizes and illuminates their philosophies, while giving us a glimpse into their masterful thought and analyses.