Sunday, August 02, 2015

Kahana, Sifre on Numbers vol. 4

Sifre on Numbers: An Annotated Edition

Volume 4

By Menahem Izhak Kahana

Publisher: The Hebrew University Magnes Press
Jewish Studies
Publish date: July 2015
Language: Hebrew
Danacode: 45-131133
ISBN: 978-965-493-790-0
Cover: Hardcover
Pages: 296
Weight: 2100 gr.

Sifre is a Tannaitic midrash on the book of Numbers, and is rightfully considered to be one of the fundamental assets of our ancient literature. Its previous edition was published about hundred years ago by R. Hayyim Shaul Horovitz. Since then, additional manuscripts have been discovered of Sifre, its first commentators, and medieval collections and midrashim that cite it. This was accompanied by the significant development of the methodological conceptions of the study of the Rabbinic literature, and of the ways to publish critical editions of this literature. All these factors justify the publication of a new scientific edition of this midrash.

The text of the new edition, that is based on MS. Vatican 32, includes many versions that differ from the earlier version, and that occasionally shed new light on the exegeses and halakhot of the Sifre. It is accompanied by the scholarly apparatus that lists and explains all of the edition's changes from the version of MS. Vatican. The number of direct and indirect textual witnesses presented in the "Textual Variants" section of the new edition is twice, and at times even triple, the number of textual witnesses that were available to Horowitz. In the detailed commentary on the expositions in Sifre, I made considerable use of all the Sifre commentators who preceded me, and who made a decisive contribution to the literal explanation of the midrash's exegeses and the clarification of their meaning. Thanks, however, to the diverse textual witnesses available to me and the great progress made in recent generations in the study of the language and teachings of the Tannaim, I believe that I have succeeded in recreating the original version of many expositions, in giving them a new and straightforward explanation, and in advancing the research of their redaction.

The edition is intended, first and foremost, for the scholars, in Israel and throughout the world, who are engaged in the research of all aspects of the Rabbinic literature. Additionally, the new edition will likely aid the community of Torah scholars who teach and study in yeshivot, and the educated public at large.

The first half of the work, comprising the portions of Naso and Beha'alotekha, was published by Magnes Press in 2011.