Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Midrash?

In the book I'm currently reading, on Greek Culture, the author talks about the literary traditions of the Jews, their commentaries on the Torah, as being similar to what Greek authors of the time were doing. They would take a bare statement and then write an in-depth article or treatise on it, explaining its value to the men of their own era. This is also what the midrash do, for the Jews. They take a bare-bones story from the Torah, and explain it in such detail that you understand its importance to you, personally.

This is what I am doing with my book. I am taking 30 of the Maxims that were posted at Delphi, and explaining them in context with my society. I am creating a "comparative method of understanding the Maxims," to quote Wikipedia (yes, I'm shameful, I looked it up on Wikipedia to make sure I had it right LOL : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Midrash). I'm rather proud of this, in fact, because I feel like I am bringing life to an important and vital textual history. Because the Maxims were used as a teaching text not only for learning reading and writing, but also for education of Greek *thought*, I think it's extremely critical that we be aware of and educated about the Maxims. If they represent the ideas and morals of the "general populace" of Greece during the Hellenistic era, then it is a document we should study and think about, in great detail.

It's very exciting. :)
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