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Author Topic: Ancient Jewish Writings--Ante Nicene  (Read 1573 times) Average Rating: 0
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« on: February 08, 2013, 04:56:34 PM »

Hello all,

Actually, more appropriately, I'm looking for those Jews who left for us writings who lived around the Apostles and B.C.E.  So between the time the Old Testament was written to the time of the Council of Nicea, although preferably before the second century really.

So far, the authors I can find are:

Philo of Alexandria
Josephus
The Targum translations/commentaries of the Bible (Targum Jonathan?)
The Mishna (Hillel and Shamai?)
Midrashim???

Do Karaites claim to have an ancient Ante-Nicene commentator as well?

Pretty much, any long list and websites of availability online if possible.  Thank you!
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« Reply #1 on: February 25, 2013, 08:37:01 PM »

No Jew enthusiasts here?  Wink

(watch out for next post, as I ask for a compilation of ancient Gentile works, both Greek and Far East  Tongue )

Well, for what it's worth, as far as I was reading through Wiki entries and what not, this is the extent of my author/writing collections (which I understand some have been lost or extinct or fragmentary):

From what I can gather, this is so far the list of historical Jewish writings (in order as best as possible, with the understanding that there are ranges):

Pseudepigrapha
Demetrius the Chronographer
Aristobulus of Paneas
Philo of Alexandria
Flavius Josephus the Historian
Dead Sea Scrolls
The Amidah
Targum Onkelos
Mishnah
Tosefta
Jerusalem Talmud
Babylon Talmud
(from my understanding the Talmud should contain all the teachings of the Mishna, i.e. Gemara, and all the commentaries of the Mishna, including teachings of Hillel and Shamai and their Rabbinic successors)
Minor Tractates
Targum Jonathan
Targum Ps-Jonathan (Yerushalmi)
(I know, I went a bit further than Nicea...considering that there are some complications in these writings and how they're compiled, I'm going up about about the 7th Century)


In addition to the above, there's the Midrashim:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Midrashim

From what I can gather, the Midrash is a subset of Rabbinic literature (Rabbinic literature composed of Midrash and Tosefta) that are exegetical in nature.  The Midrash is made up of Midrash Halakha (613 laws) and Midrash Aggadic (non-legal).

Midrash Halakha (Akiba vs. Ishmael):
--Mekhilta de-Rabbi Yishmael on Exodus
--Mekhilta de-Rabbi Shimon bar Yohai on Exodus
--Sifra Leviticus--Akiba
--Sifra Leviticus--Ishmael
--Sifre on Numbers & Deuteronomy
--Sifre Zutta on Numbers
--Mekhilta on Deuteronomy

As for the Aggadic, I gave up...lol!

Does anyone maybe know if there is a Jewish collection of Midrash, just like we as Christians have the CCEL collection of Church fathers?

Sources:
 
Timeline:
http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/History/timeline.html
http://www.livius.org/be-bm/bible/bible_chronology.html
http://www.myjewishlearning.com/texts/About_Jewish_Texts/Jewish_Texts/Timeline.shtml
http://fc.gannacademy.org/gannopedia/genremap/rlgenremap.html


Jewish Literature:
http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/judaica/ejud_0002_0013_0_12632.html

A Brief Survey of Ancient Jewish Literature:
http://www.gettysburgseminary.org/mhoffman/OTinNT/resources/JewishLit2.pdf

Wikipedia links


« Last Edit: February 25, 2013, 08:41:16 PM by minasoliman » Logged

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« Reply #2 on: February 25, 2013, 09:53:53 PM »

What about some of the books of Enoch?

Apparently there is a significant body of Old Testament Apocryphal writings that are shared by some churches but not all. For example, I think one of those books might be valued one way in one Eastern Orthodox Church, and a different way in another E.O. church. And I clearly remember at least one of the Oriental churches considering a book deuterocanonical that was not part of at least one of an E.O. church's texts.
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« Reply #3 on: February 25, 2013, 10:26:21 PM »

What about some of the books of Enoch?

Apparently there is a significant body of Old Testament Apocryphal writings that are shared by some churches but not all. For example, I think one of those books might be valued one way in one Eastern Orthodox Church, and a different way in another E.O. church. And I clearly remember at least one of the Oriental churches considering a book deuterocanonical that was not part of at least one of an E.O. church's texts.

That would be under the heading Pseudepigrapha.  
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« Reply #4 on: February 25, 2013, 10:31:40 PM »

What about some of the books of Enoch?

Apparently there is a significant body of Old Testament Apocryphal writings that are shared by some churches but not all. For example, I think one of those books might be valued one way in one Eastern Orthodox Church, and a different way in another E.O. church. And I clearly remember at least one of the Oriental churches considering a book deuterocanonical that was not part of at least one of an E.O. church's texts.

That would be under the heading Pseudepigrapha.  
Well, is Deuterocanonical the same as that term? Doesn't deuterocanonicity (second level canonicity) have greater value?

Anyway, perhaps I helped answer your question.
« Last Edit: February 25, 2013, 10:32:18 PM by rakovsky » Logged
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« Reply #5 on: February 25, 2013, 10:37:25 PM »

What about some of the books of Enoch?

Apparently there is a significant body of Old Testament Apocryphal writings that are shared by some churches but not all. For example, I think one of those books might be valued one way in one Eastern Orthodox Church, and a different way in another E.O. church. And I clearly remember at least one of the Oriental churches considering a book deuterocanonical that was not part of at least one of an E.O. church's texts.

That would be under the heading Pseudepigrapha.  
Well, is Deuterocanonical the same as that term? Doesn't deuterocanonicity (second level canonicity) have greater value?

Anyway, perhaps I helped answer your question.
Academically speaking for the majority, Pseudepigrapha...

I didn't include the Septuagint Bible in here, simply because we already have it and read it regularly...but ya, technically, that should be in the beginning of the list.
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« Reply #6 on: February 25, 2013, 11:20:31 PM »

http://www.earlyjewishwritings.com/

http://www.sacred-texts.com/jud/index.htm (they have some English translations of midrashim)

This might also be relevant:

Jewish Roots of Eastern Christian Mysticism (plenty of bibliography at the bottom of the page)

Texts in Hebrew and Aramaic: http://mechon-mamre.org/index.htm
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« Reply #7 on: February 26, 2013, 12:17:17 AM »

http://www.earlyjewishwritings.com/

http://www.sacred-texts.com/jud/index.htm (they have some English translations of midrashim)

This might also be relevant:

Jewish Roots of Eastern Christian Mysticism (plenty of bibliography at the bottom of the page)

Texts in Hebrew and Aramaic: http://mechon-mamre.org/index.htm

I know about the first link...but the other three have peaked my interest on availability terms for sure!

Still looking for a chronology list first though so I know the context of what I'm reading, but these websites are very nice!  Thank you!
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« Reply #8 on: February 26, 2013, 12:30:32 AM »

Letter of Aristeas
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Letter_of_Aristeas
(with links).
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« Reply #9 on: February 26, 2013, 01:11:04 AM »

Completely forgot about that...yes!  Thank you...this should at the top of the list.
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« Reply #10 on: February 26, 2013, 02:42:07 AM »

What about some of the books of Enoch?

Apparently there is a significant body of Old Testament Apocryphal writings that are shared by some churches but not all. For example, I think one of those books might be valued one way in one Eastern Orthodox Church, and a different way in another E.O. church. And I clearly remember at least one of the Oriental churches considering a book deuterocanonical that was not part of at least one of an E.O. church's texts.

That would be under the heading Pseudepigrapha.  
Well, is Deuterocanonical the same as that term? Doesn't deuterocanonicity (second level canonicity) have greater value?

Anyway, perhaps I helped answer your question.
Academically speaking for the majority, Pseudepigrapha...

I didn't include the Septuagint Bible in here, simply because we already have it and read it regularly...but ya, technically, that should be in the beginning of the list.

Regarding pseudepigrapha:
Quote
Technically, a pseudepigraphon is a book written in a biblical style and ascribed to an author who did not write it. In common usage, however, the term pseudepigrapha is often used by way of distinction to refer to apocryphal writings that do not appear in printed editions of the Bible, as opposed to the texts listed above. Examples[26] include:

    Letter of Aristeas
    Martyrdom and Ascension of Isaiah
    Joseph and Aseneth
    Life of Adam and Eve
    Lives of the Prophets
(the Wikipedia page includes a longer list)

Often included among the pseudepigrapha are 3 and 4 Maccabees because they are not traditionally found in western Bibles, although they are in the Septuagint.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biblical_apocrypha


It appears that even Slavonic Orthodox and Greek Orthodox Bibles do not match because of this issue:
Quote
2 Esdras is added as appendix in the Slavonic Bibles [and also Georgian Orthodox ones] and 4 Maccabees as appendix in Greek editions. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biblical_apocrypha

And this is confusing:
Quote
There is also 4 Maccabees which is only accepted as canonical in the Georgian Church, but was included by St. Jerome in an appendix to the Vulgate, and is an appendix to the Greek Orthodox Bible
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bible#Apocryphal_or_deuterocanonical_books
I don't know how a book can be in an appendix in the Bible and not be a deuterocanonical book.

Another set of writings you might wish to consider are works found in the Dead Sea Scrolls.
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« Reply #11 on: February 26, 2013, 07:14:43 AM »

Jason of Cyrene? Perhaps he was earlier than the period of your focus here.




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« Reply #12 on: February 26, 2013, 12:31:14 PM »

Jason of Cyrene? Perhaps he was earlier than the period of your focus here.




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Not necessarily...but from what I understand, he wrote the Maccabees, no?  Which would put him under the heading "Septuagint"
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« Reply #13 on: February 26, 2013, 12:34:45 PM »

The Letter of Aristeas I don't think should be Pseudepigrapha.  It has nothing to do with furthers of the Bible, but rather it was about the translation work of the Septuagint.

Dead Sea Scrolls is already in the list.
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« Reply #14 on: February 26, 2013, 12:37:24 PM »

What about liturgical writings?

Other than the Amidah and those in the Dead Sea scrolls, any other liturgical or mystical writings written during this period?  What about Kabbala or Zohar?  Any parts of those claimed to be pre-7th Century?
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« Reply #15 on: February 26, 2013, 01:35:41 PM »

What about liturgical writings?

Much Jewish prayer would have been biblical - the Psalms (e.g. the Hallel), the daily Shema, the weekly portions of Tora with their Haftarot (readings from the Prophets), etc.

Then, there must have been the liturgy of the Temple until 70 AD, with its priestly blessings (the Brikat hakohanim is found in the Tora). Certain Psalms were sung by the Levites each day - echoes of them are preserved in the Siddur: "On the ...th day after the Sabbath the Levites sang this Psalm". The regular animal sacrifices would have been performed in silence. There was Shofar blowing to mark the two daily sacrifices of lambs, there was raising of incense, the bread of the presence (lechem happanim) and everything prescribed in the Tora. But a lot was done silently, with blood or incense (imagine the High Priest going to the Holy of Holies to sprinkle it with blood).

As for the services of the Synagogue, the various prayers were first grouped together late in the 9th century in the Siddur (prayer book) of Rav Amram bar Sheshna from Babylon (d. 875). Some elements like the Amida were much older - they were mentioned in the Talmud by various sages. 

Also, the Pesach Haggada, although not attested until much later, would have been completed by the 3rd/4th century.   
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« Reply #16 on: February 26, 2013, 03:57:07 PM »

What about liturgical writings?

Much Jewish prayer would have been biblical - the Psalms (e.g. the Hallel), the daily Shema, the weekly portions of Tora with their Haftarot (readings from the Prophets), etc.

Then, there must have been the liturgy of the Temple until 70 AD, with its priestly blessings (the Brikat hakohanim is found in the Tora). Certain Psalms were sung by the Levites each day - echoes of them are preserved in the Siddur: "On the ...th day after the Sabbath the Levites sang this Psalm". The regular animal sacrifices would have been performed in silence. There was Shofar blowing to mark the two daily sacrifices of lambs, there was raising of incense, the bread of the presence (lechem happanim) and everything prescribed in the Tora. But a lot was done silently, with blood or incense (imagine the High Priest going to the Holy of Holies to sprinkle it with blood).

As for the services of the Synagogue, the various prayers were first grouped together late in the 9th century in the Siddur (prayer book) of Rav Amram bar Sheshna from Babylon (d. 875). Some elements like the Amida were much older - they were mentioned in the Talmud by various sages. 

Also, the Pesach Haggada, although not attested until much later, would have been completed by the 3rd/4th century.   

Some valuable information here...so even though compilations were much late, some of them have ancient elements in it.  Sounds similar to Church liturgical development as well.  Sounds like a complicated subject of compilation all on its own...lol

What about Kabbalistic writings?  Despite its late appearance, is there any credibility to the claims that some of those writings were of the ancient times I am seeking?

I found an interesting site that sells a collection of Midrash:

http://www.soncino.com/index.php/cPath/23?osCsid=e99e4fc3558ac11b4a108477c3b02f2b

But I want to know what the contents are and if this is a complete listing, including the "Minor Midrashim".
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« Reply #17 on: February 26, 2013, 04:46:16 PM »

What about Kabbalistic writings?  Despite its late appearance, is there any credibility to the claims that some of those writings were of the ancient times I am seeking?

The Kabbala is a late medieval development - despite all claims to antiquity. I think all modern scholars agree to trace it to the 12/13th century in Fance and Spain. However, its esoteric predecessors in the first millenium AD would be the Hekhalot and Merkava literature. There are connections with Christian Apocalypticism - see the Jewish Roots of Eastern Christian Mysticism site.   

I found an interesting site that sells a collection of Midrash:

http://www.soncino.com/index.php/cPath/23?osCsid=e99e4fc3558ac11b4a108477c3b02f2b

But I want to know what the contents are and if this is a complete listing, including the "Minor Midrashim".

The most complete database with the original texts is the Responsa project developed by Bar Ilan University. Here's what they have:

http://www.jewishsoftware.com/products/files/responsaplus19newbooks.htm
« Last Edit: February 26, 2013, 05:02:57 PM by Romaios » Logged
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« Reply #18 on: February 26, 2013, 05:03:33 PM »

What about Kabbalistic writings?  Despite its late appearance, is there any credibility to the claims that some of those writings were of the ancient times I am seeking?

The Kabbala is a late medieval development - despite all claims to antiquity. I think all modern scholars agree to trace it to the 12/13th century in Fance and Spain. However, it's esoteric predecessors in the first millenium AD would be the Hekhalot and Merkava literature. There are connections with Christian Apocalypticism - see the Jewish Roots of Eastern Christian Mysticism site.   

I found an interesting site that sells a collection of Midrash:

http://www.soncino.com/index.php/cPath/23?osCsid=e99e4fc3558ac11b4a108477c3b02f2b

But I want to know what the contents are and if this is a complete listing, including the "Minor Midrashim".

The most complete database with the original texts is the Responsa project developed by Bar Ilan University. Here's what they have:

http://www.jewishsoftware.com/products/files/responsaplus19newbooks.htm

Boy oh boy...do I have a lot to learn...lol

Okay...In the Responsa project, I'm assuming any literature number 10 and below (starting from Zohar, then Geonim, then Commentaries, etc) are all much later, like starting at the 10th century and on.
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« Reply #19 on: February 26, 2013, 05:18:16 PM »

Okay...In the Responsa project, I'm assuming any literature number 10 and below (starting from Zohar, then Geonim, then Commentaries, etc) are all much later, like starting at the 10th century and on.

Not necessarily - most midrashim were compiled in the Middle Ages, but they contain oral material from sages who lived much earlier (like the Talmud). Also, most Geonim precede the 10th century.

It's a maze! Mazel tov if you want to go through it all! And as they say: ose lekha rav - 'find yourself a teacher'... That's what St. Jerome did, anyways.  Smiley

If you're just curious, I think reading the English translations available for free should be more than enough. If you can't read Hebrew and Aramaic, most rabbinical literature (especially kabbala which relies heavily on language play) will be unintelligible.   
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« Reply #20 on: February 26, 2013, 06:24:50 PM »

Okay...In the Responsa project, I'm assuming any literature number 10 and below (starting from Zohar, then Geonim, then Commentaries, etc) are all much later, like starting at the 10th century and on.

Not necessarily - most midrashim were compiled in the Middle Ages, but they contain oral material from sages who lived much earlier (like the Talmud). Also, most Geonim precede the 10th century.

It's a maze! Mazel tov if you want to go through it all! And as they say: ose lekha rav - 'find yourself a teacher'... That's what St. Jerome did, anyways.  Smiley

If you're just curious, I think reading the English translations available for free should be more than enough. If you can't read Hebrew and Aramaic, most rabbinical literature (especially kabbala which relies heavily on language play) will be unintelligible.   

For real!  I am forever lost in this maze of Jewish literature!  LOL...but yes...it looks like I might need to consult some Jewish people for help.  Anyone know good Jewish academic forums I can consult?

I might also read this book called "Introduction to the Talmud and Midrash"...that looks helpful.

Oy vey!
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« Reply #21 on: February 26, 2013, 06:31:30 PM »

I just wanted to suggest that:

http://www.amazon.com/Introduction-Talmud-Midrash-Hermann-Strack/dp/0800625242
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« Reply #22 on: February 26, 2013, 08:19:27 PM »


Ya...it does look like a very good read, based on the comments as well, it sounds like a very comprehensive description of ancient Rabbinic literature.
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« Reply #23 on: February 26, 2013, 08:32:20 PM »

I really want to buy the Yemenite Diwan by Shalom Shabazi.
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« Reply #24 on: February 26, 2013, 09:07:48 PM »

Okay so here's an updated list:

Septuagint
Apocrypha
Pseudepigrapha (including the Letter of Aristeas)
*Demetrius the Chronographer
*Aristobulus of Paneas
Philo of Alexandria
Flavius Josephus the Historian
Dead Sea Scrolls
The Amidah
Pesach Haggada
Targum Onkelos
Mishnah
Tosefta
Jerusalem Talmud
Babylon Talmud
(from my understanding the Talmud should contain all the teachings of the Mishna, i.e. Gemara, and all the commentaries of the Mishna, including teachings of Hillel and Shamai and their Rabbinic successors)
Minor Tractates
Targum Jonathan
Targum Ps-Jonathan (Yerushalmi)
Siddur (although compiled late, yet of ancient importance)
(I know, I went a bit further than Nicea...considering that there are some complications in these writings and how they're compiled, I'm going up about about the 7th Century)


In addition to the above, there's the Midrashim:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Midrashim

From what I can gather, the Midrash is a subset of Rabbinic literature (Rabbinic literature composed of Midrash and Tosefta) that are exegetical in nature.  The Midrash is made up of Midrash Halakha (613 laws) and Midrash Aggadic (non-legal).

Midrash Halakha (Akiba vs. Ishmael):
--Mekhilta de-Rabbi Yishmael on Exodus
--Mekhilta de-Rabbi Shimon bar Yohai on Exodus
--Sifra Leviticus--Akiba
--Sifra Leviticus--Ishmael
--Sifre on Numbers & Deuteronomy
--Sifre Zutta on Numbers
--Mekhilta on Deuteronomy

And as for the Midrash Aggadah...I shall consult the book posted.

Did I also get all the Hellenic authors/writings posted up there, or am I missing anything?

Another question:  According to this timeline:

http://www.myjewishlearning.com/texts/About_Jewish_Texts/Jewish_Texts/Timeline.shtml

There's something called "Discussion of Intention of Prayer".  What is that?  I'm having trouble identifying this as the title is a very vague title.
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« Reply #25 on: February 26, 2013, 09:32:22 PM »

There's something called "Discussion of Intention of Prayer".  What is that?  I'm having trouble identifying this as the title is a very vague title.

Kavana.
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« Reply #26 on: February 26, 2013, 09:44:17 PM »

Did I also get all the Hellenic authors/writings posted up there, or am I missing anything?

There's 4 volumes of Fragments from Hellenistic Jewish Authors compiled by Carl R. Holladay.

If you're looking for a more in-depth overview, there's The Literature of the Sages edited by Shmuel Safrai:

Vol. 1: Oral Torah, Halakha, Mishna, Tosefta, Talmud, External Tractates

Vol. 2: Midrash, and Targum; Liturgy, Poetry, Mysticism
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« Reply #27 on: February 26, 2013, 10:39:45 PM »

There's something called "Discussion of Intention of Prayer".  What is that?  I'm having trouble identifying this as the title is a very vague title.

Kavana.

Okay...so I'm assuming either the Amidah or the Siddur has some Kavanot written in it.  Or is there another separate body of writing of Kavanot?

I'm amazed that there's so much more Hellenistic writings than I realized.  I also saw this website that seems to talk about all the authors and writings:

http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/judaica/ejud_0002_0008_0_08709.html
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« Reply #28 on: February 26, 2013, 10:57:13 PM »

Okay...so I'm assuming either the Amidah or the Siddur has some Kavanot written in it.  Or is there another separate body of writing of Kavanot?

No, not really - in the Siddur, there are just rubrics or some footnotes indicating that particular attention needs to be paid to the Amida, for instance, and that if any interruption occurs, one should start over from the beginning. Occasionally it mentions that this or that word or letter needs to be stressed in pronunciation.

I think what the rabbis debated over was casuistic: if one prays or performs a mitzva (commandment) with one's mind elsewhere or for the wrong purpose, would that prayer be received or the mitzva fulfilled? For instance, it is wrong in Judaism to recite the words of a blessing for any other purpose than that for which it is prescribed (e. g. eating a particular kind of fruit for the first time in a year). One is forbidden, for instance, to read out a liturgical text/prayer just to make a recording (at least among Orthodox Jews). That would be an example of wrong kavana.

In Kabbala, kavana has an additional meaning - one would meditate on "names of God" which are more or less meaningless letters (sort of like mantras) but they are associated with various kavanot (intentions). If you want X (kavana), you visualize Y (series of letters).
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« Reply #29 on: February 26, 2013, 11:17:33 PM »

In Kabbala, kavana has an additional meaning - one would meditate on "names of God" which are more or less meaningless letters (sort of like mantras) but they are associated with various kavanot (intentions). If you want X (kavana), you visualize Y (series of letters).

Okay...now this is interesting.  A little bit off topic here:  a while ago, I started this thread discussing the thoughts and theology of Dr. George Bebawi (which one of these days, I will resurrect to continue), who has quite a complicated and interesting history, and is now in the Eastern Orthodox Church.  He has some interesting and controversial views of things.  He also talks about his past as an Egyptian Jew before he became an Orthodox Christian, and how this background seems to affect his thoughts on things when discussing Christian theology.

One of the interesting things that he talked about in his lectures iconography.  He seems to have a bit of an aversion to iconography, although not extremely against it.  He says that in reality, when one should pray to God and think of some characteristic of God or Christ, we should turn this image in our heads into words.  This confused me a bit, and I really don't understand where he got this teaching from, but he seems to refer to this as a higher mature form of prayer in Orthodoxy.  But now that you mention the Kabbalistic kavana, I wonder if his Jewish background has anything to do with this.

Very interesting stuff. 

Thank you again...you've been a major help in this thread.

As I learn more, I will probably ask more questions.  In the meantime, if you have anymore to add, please feel free to post.

PS I just realized my updated list post was my 6,666th post...lol
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« Reply #30 on: February 27, 2013, 02:02:42 AM »

Here are the other midrashim that Mina didn’t mention – they are haggadic (hagiographic - stories about Bible figures < lehagid = to tell [a story]), exegetical (commentaries) or homiletical (sermons), as opposed to the other ones which were halakhic (dealing with rules and prescriptions/ “canon law” from halakh = “to walk”).

Useful Aramaic terminology: sifra = book; rabba = great; zuta = small; pesikta = portion/section; mekhilta = rule/canon. Hebrew: yalkut = anthology; pirkei/perakim = chapters.

--Bereishit Rabba (Genesis)
--Shemot Rabba (Exodus)
--Vayyikra Rabba (Leviticus)
--Bemidbar Rabba (Numbers)
--Devarim Rabba (Deuteronomy)
--Ruth Rabba
--Kohelet Rabba (Ecclesiastes)
--Shir HaShirim Rabba (Song of Songs)
--Eichah Rabba (Lamentations)
--Esther Rabba
--Sifrei Aggadah al Esther
--Midreshei Zuta (the Five Scrolls)
-- Pesikta De-Rav Kahana (Sabbath sermons on the weekly lessons)
-- Pesikta Rabbati (Sabbath sermons on the weekly lessons)
-- Midrash Tanchuma (Pentateuch)
--Aggadat Bereishit (Genesis)
--Midrash Shmuel (1&2 Samuel/Kings)
--Midrash Tehillim (Psalms)
--Midrash Mishlei (Proverbs)
--Seder Olam Rabba (Chronology of the world up to Alexander the Great)
-- Pirkei De-Rabbi Eliezer (Pentateuch)
-- Tanna De-Vei Eliyahu (Elijah)
-- Megillat Taanit
-- Yalkut Shimoni
--Midrashim Min Ha-Genizah ('from the geniza')
--Midrash Sechel Tov (Genesis and Exodus)
--Midrash Aggadah
--Pesikta Zutarta (Lekach Tov)
--Pitron Torah (Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy)
--Bereshit Rabbati (Genesis)
--Mishnat Rabbi Eliezeri



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« Reply #31 on: February 27, 2013, 01:25:06 PM »

Here are the other midrashim that Mina didn’t mention – they are haggadic (hagiographic - stories about Bible figures < lehagid = to tell [a story]), exegetical (commentaries) or homiletical (sermons), as opposed to the other ones which were halakhic (dealing with rules and prescriptions/ “canon law” from halakh = “to walk”).

Useful Aramaic terminology: sifra = book; rabba = great; zuta = small; pesikta = portion/section; mekhilta = rule/canon. Hebrew: yalkut = anthology; pirkei/perakim = chapters.

--Bereishit Rabba (Genesis)
--Shemot Rabba (Exodus)
--Vayyikra Rabba (Leviticus)
--Bemidbar Rabba (Numbers)
--Devarim Rabba (Deuteronomy)
--Ruth Rabba
--Kohelet Rabba (Ecclesiastes)
--Shir HaShirim Rabba (Song of Songs)
--Eichah Rabba (Lamentations)
--Esther Rabba
--Sifrei Aggadah al Esther
--Midreshei Zuta (the Five Scrolls)
-- Pesikta De-Rav Kahana (Sabbath sermons on the weekly lessons)
-- Pesikta Rabbati (Sabbath sermons on the weekly lessons)
-- Midrash Tanchuma (Pentateuch)
--Aggadat Bereishit (Genesis)
--Midrash Shmuel (1&2 Samuel/Kings)
--Midrash Tehillim (Psalms)
--Midrash Mishlei (Proverbs)
--Seder Olam Rabba (Chronology of the world up to Alexander the Great)
-- Pirkei De-Rabbi Eliezer (Pentateuch)
-- Tanna De-Vei Eliyahu (Elijah)
-- Megillat Taanit
-- Yalkut Shimoni
--Midrashim Min Ha-Genizah ('from the geniza')
--Midrash Sechel Tov (Genesis and Exodus)
--Midrash Aggadah
--Pesikta Zutarta (Lekach Tov)
--Pitron Torah (Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy)
--Bereshit Rabbati (Genesis)
--Mishnat Rabbi Eliezeri





Do these include the Minor Midrashim?
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« Reply #32 on: February 27, 2013, 01:47:49 PM »

Do these include the Minor Midrashim?

If that's a title, I believe so: > --Midreshei Zuta.
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« Reply #33 on: February 27, 2013, 01:58:35 PM »

Oh no no lol...I meant the "Smaller Midrashim"

http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Smaller_midrashim#section_1

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« Reply #34 on: February 27, 2013, 02:15:07 PM »

Oh no no lol...I meant the "Smaller Midrashim"

http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Smaller_midrashim#section_1

The only midrash I've ever read through was the one on Song of Songs. That was a "big'un" (rabba)...

The list I posted came from the Responsa project.
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« Reply #35 on: February 27, 2013, 08:24:38 PM »

Wikipedia has a timeline/list of Rabbinic literature on the side of every Midrash page you open, from which I used to try to make my chronological list above.  A lot of the names listed is recognized in the Responsa, and I have a feeling that some of the titles given in Responsa Midrash encompass more than one title in the Wiki list.  As I delve deeply, I realize also there's more literature than just what is listed here, so I'm hoping the Responsa is much more complete than this one here:

Rabbinic literature

Talmudic literature

Mishnah • Tosefta
Jerusalem Talmud • Babylonian Talmud
Minor tractates


Halakhic Midrash

Mekhilta de-Rabbi Yishmael on Exodus
Mekhilta de-Rabbi Shimon bar Yohai on Exodus
Sifra on Leviticus
Sifre on Numbers & Deuteronomy
Sifre Zutta on Numbers
Mekhilta on Deuteronomy
Baraita of Rabbi Ishmael



Aggadic Midrash

—— Tannaitic ——
Seder Olam Rabbah
Alphabet of Akiba ben Joseph
Baraita of the Forty-nine Rules
Baraita on the Thirty-two Rules
Baraita on Tabernacle Construction
—— 400–600 ——
Genesis Rabbah • Eichah Rabbah
Pesikta de-Rav Kahana
Esther Rabbah • Midrash Iyyov
Leviticus Rabbah • Seder Olam Zutta
Midrash Tanhuma • Megillat Antiochus
—— 650–900 ——
Avot of Rabbi Natan
Pirkei de-Rabbi Eliezer
Tanna Devei Eliyahu
Alphabet of Ben-Sira
Kohelet Rabbah • Canticles Rabbah
Devarim Rabbah • Devarim Zutta
Pesikta Rabbati • Midrash Shmuel
Midrash Proverbs • Ruth Rabbah
Baraita of Samuel • Targum sheni
—— 900–1000 ——
Ruth Zuta • Eichah Zuta
Midrash Tehillim • Midrash Hashkem
Exodus Rabbah • Canticles Zutta
—— 1000–1200 ——
Midrash Tadshe • Sefer haYashar
—— Later ——
Yalkut Shimoni • Yalkut Makiri
Midrash Jonah • Ein Yaakov
Midrash HaGadol • Numbers Rabbah


Smaller midrashim


Rabbinic Targum
—— Torah ——
Targum Onkelos
Targum Pseudo-Jonathan
Fragment Targum • Targum Neofiti
—— Nevi'im ——
Targum Jonathan
—— Ketuvim ——
Targum Tehillim • Targum Mishlei
Targum Iyyov
Targum to the Five Megillot
Targum Sheni to Esther
Targum to Chronicles
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« Reply #36 on: February 28, 2013, 04:03:25 AM »

I would suggest the best place to start inquiring into Rabbinics is the Pirke Avot - "The chapters of the Fathers". It's the most accessible part of the Talmud. They resemble the sayings (apophthegmata) of the Desert Fathers.

As for haggada (extra hagiographic material on Biblical figures), if one doesn't have the patience or time to go through all the Midrashim - rabba and zuta - there's Ginzberg's Legends of the Jews, arrayed in neat chronological order. It's even freely available as an audibook on Librivox. 

For Scripture interpretation, the Targums should be the most accessible.
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