The challenge of received tradition

dilemmas of interpretation in Radak"s biblical commentaries by Naomi Grunhaus

Published by Oxford University Press in Oxford, New York .
Written in

  • Criticism, interpretation,
  • Rabbinical literature,
  • Bible,
  • Hermeneutics,
  • History and criticism

  • Edition Notes

    Includes bibliographical references and index.

    StatementNaomi Grunhaus
    LC ClassificationsBS1161.K55 G78 2012
    The Physical Object
    Paginationp. cm.
    ID Numbers
    Open LibraryOL25122218M
    ISBN 109780199858408
    LC Control Number2011048636

    Subtitle: Dilemmas of Interpretation in Radak's Biblical Commentaries


    In the book "The Challenge of Received Tradition" by Naomi Grunhaus, the author delves into the dilemmas of interpretation in the biblical commentaries of Radak. Radak was an influential rabbi and commentator who grappled with the task of interpreting and understanding the Bible. Grunhaus explores the criticism, interpretation, and hermeneutics employed by Radak, shedding light on the challenges faced by those who engage in the study of rabbinical literature.

    Radak's Approach to Interpretation

    Radak's commentaries on the Bible are highly regarded for their intellectual rigor and unique insights. He was known for his critical approach to traditional interpretations, challenging received traditions and exploring alternative viewpoints. Through his commentaries, Radak aimed to uncover the original meaning of the biblical texts and provide a deeper understanding of the message they conveyed.

    Radak's Criticism of Received Traditions

    In his commentaries, Radak often criticized the interpretations that had become ingrained in the rabbinical tradition. He believed that these interpretations had become stagnant and failed to capture the true essence of the biblical texts. Radak's criticisms aimed to prompt readers to question the conventional interpretations and consider alternative perspectives.

    The Dilemmas Faced in Interpretation

    Grunhaus analyzes the dilemmas faced by interpreters of rabbinical literature, particularly those who engage with Radak's commentaries. She explores the challenges of understanding the context in which these commentaries were written, the linguistic and cultural barriers to interpretation, and the intricate web of interpretations within the wider tradition of rabbinical literature.

    Hermeneutics and the Interpretive Process

    Grunhaus delves into the hermeneutical principles employed by Radak and their implications for interpreting biblical texts. She highlights Radak's emphasis on linguistic analysis, historical context, and the interplay between various elements of the text. These insights shed light on the complexities of interpreting ancient texts and the constant need to reassess and reevaluate established interpretations.

    Understanding the Historical Context

    By examining the historical context in which Radak lived and worked, Grunhaus provides readers with a deeper understanding of the challenges he faced. This context includes the political and social climate, the religious and intellectual influences of the time, and the controversies surrounding interpretation. Understanding this context is crucial for grasping the significance of Radak's commentaries and the impact they had on subsequent interpretations.

    Criticisms and Controversies

    Grunhaus discusses the criticisms and controversies that arose from Radak's innovative approach to interpretation. While some scholars praised his fresh perspective and critical analyses, others viewed his commentaries as a departure from tradition. These debates highlight the ongoing tension between preserving received traditions and the need for new insights and interpretations.

    The Legacy of Radak's Commentaries

    Grunhaus explores the lasting impact of Radak's commentaries on biblical interpretation. She discusses the influence of his ideas on subsequent generations of scholars and how they shaped the development of rabbinical literature. Radak's commentaries continue to be studied and appreciated for their intellectual depth and the thought-provoking challenges they pose to received tradition.

    The Relevance Today

    Grunhaus concludes by reflecting on the relevance of Radak's commentaries in contemporary times. She highlights the continued importance of critical analysis and the need to reassess traditional interpretations. Radak's approach serves as a reminder of the complexities inherent in interpreting ancient texts and the ongoing challenge to navigate the delicate balance between tradition and innovation.


    "The Challenge of Received Tradition" by Naomi Grunhaus offers readers a valuable insight into the dilemmas of interpretation in Radak's biblical commentaries. Through her analysis of the criticism, interpretation, and hermeneutics employed by Radak, Grunhaus highlights the complexities and challenges faced by scholars engaged in the study of rabbinical literature. This book is a valuable resource for those seeking a deeper understanding of the richness and depth of biblical interpretation.