Alexander Lvov

Nigmar ha-Din

Midrash as an Answer of the Biblical Thought to the Challenge of the Greek Rationalism


In the article composed as an analysis of the Talmudic fragment on the disciples of Yeshu Ha Notsri the author raises the question on relation of rational and irrational elements in the texts of Midrash and court procedure as described in Talmud. The author thinks that the irrationality in the traditional Jewish discourse is connected with the moment of taking the decision, while the discourse before and after taking the decision is based on rational principles. Consequently, the Jewish text, in opposition from the Greek logos which is carrying permanent rational sense, considered as the decision taken by the author (commandment, sentence), though for being read it requires rational comprehension, it cannot be understood on merely rational principles. It needs an act of taking the decision by the reader, and only in this irrational action (symmetrical to the action of the author) the text acquires meaning actual for the reader.

Published in Jews and Greeks: Dialogue throughout Generations. Papers of Petersburg Jewish University.
St. Petersburg, 1999, pp. 155-177