Departmental Papers (Jewish Studies)

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In his chapter on inner-biblical exegesis in The Garments of Torah, Michael Fishbane says that his purpose is "to suggest some of the ways by which the foundation document of Judaism, the Hebrew Bible, not only sponsored a monumental culture of textual exegesis, but was itself its own first product." I believe that this assertion, surprising as it sounds, is indeed correct. In what follows, I intend to sharpen it in two ways: first, by pointing out the locus of the Bible's invention of itself, Deuteronomy 4; second, by pointing to the act of exegesis--a Deuteronomic midrash on the phrase from Exodus 20 that describes the Israelites as "seeing" the thunder--that provided the creative spark that transformed theological energy into textual matter and (ultimately) gave us the Bible.

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“This article was published as Carasik, M. (1999). To See a Sound: A Deuteronomic Rereading of Exodus 20:15. Prooftexts, 19 (3), 257-265. No part of it may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, transmitted, or distributed in any form, by any means, electronic, mechanical, photographic, or otherwise, without the prior permission of Indiana University Press. For education reuse, please contact the Copyright Clearance Center . For all other permissions, contact IU Press at .”



Date Posted: 14 June 2017

This document has been peer reviewed.