The teaching of Midrash has had a special place in the curriculum of Hebrew Union College - Jewish Institute of Religion for over a century. From a religious perspective, this phenomenon is parallel to Reform Judaism's emphasis on the prophetic sections of biblical literature. Midrashic texts were and remain key to understanding the religious values of the rabbis and are viewed as rich treasure for contemporary preaching and teaching. From a scholarly perspective, the academic study of Midrash has been central to the research concerns of faculty who have contributed to every aspect of scholarship in this area.
As faculty whose primary teaching and research focus is Midrashic literature as part of the larger field of Rabbinics, we have worked in a remarkably supportive collegial relationship over space and time sharing information and course materials with one another. We recently decided that it would be of benefit to combine the bibliographic materials we separately use for courses into a series of bibliographical documents which would be permanently available and expandable.
Items in the bibliography have been included which fit various criteria. Rabbinic, Education and Cantorial students need to be aware of basic information on the field. In addition, it is important from our perspective that these students be exposed to various approaches to the study of Midrashic literature. In the long run, they need to be able to access the literature for utilization in the communities in which they serve. Our graduate students and those who will be moving into academic careers need additional initial exposure to scholarly resources which will provide the starting point for further study in the area.
These bibliographic documents are not meant to replace the published bibliographies on midrashic or rabbinic literature, but to provide a broad introduction to the field for our students and our alumni. As this will be perpetually "a work in progress", we also thought that there would be value in sharing it with the broader scholarly community for use in other institutions.
As indicated, this is the first of a series of bibliographical documents. We welcome criticism and suggestions for improvement.
We wish to express our appreciation to Professor Emeritus Eugene Mihaly whose midrash syllabi were the foundation of this present effort. In addition, we want to acknowledge Professors Leonard Kravitz, Samson Levey, Eugene Mihaly, and Ben-Zion Wacholder for their years of teaching at the College-Institute, their contributions to scholarship and their shaping influence on the teaching of Midrash at Hebrew Union College.
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Comments or suggestions should be sent to:Lewis M. Barth