Twelfth Century Literal Bible Commentaries: Comparing Jewish and Christian

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Abstract

In the twelfth century, both Jewish and Christian Bible commentators began to emphasize literal, or historical, or contextual, approaches to interpreting scripture. These commentators wrote predominantly line-by-line commentaries that focused the reader's attention on linguistic questions in the biblical text. There was also a renewed interest in seeing the Bible in its own terms rather than exclusively through the lens of earlier midrashic or patristic commentaries, although those continued to play an important role. These developments happened at the same time for both Christian and Jewish scholars, who were often in conversation with each other about how to interpret the Bible.

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