Activity: Talk and presentation › Academic presentation › Academic
Parables are short, fictional stories that are used to illustrate certain events or texts. Well known
are the parables told by Jesus that are preserved in the New Testament gospels. Jewish
commentaries on the Hebrew Bible (midrash, pl. midrashim) also contain parables (mashal, pl.
meshalim). These parables are usually hermeneutic, i.e. they help interpret the biblical text. Some
rabbinic parables may go back to the time of Jesus or earlier, but the earliest ones that have come
down to us in writing date from the 3rd century. In our NWO project “Parables and the Partings of
the ways”, we deal with these early rabbinic parables. However, the Jewish production of parables
has continued, even grown, in later midrashim, up to the Middle Ages. In this seminar we will
focus on parables in late, even medieval, midrashim in order to study the development of this
genre in time. In the workshops we will study some individual parables and the lectures will
expound on specific elements of an approaches to the study of the late rabbinic parables.