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Martin Goodman

Midrash, a type of exegesis of scriptural texts practised by *Jews. The genre of midrash is characterized by the use of an explicit citation of, or clear allusions to, a passage in an authoritative text in order to provide a foundation for religious teachings often far removed from the plain meaning of the passage employed. In halakhic midrash such teachings comprise legal rulings. In aggadic midrash scriptural passages are exegeted for their own sake or for homiletic sermons. Midrashic techniques are found embedded in much post-biblical Jewish literature but they also engendered a large body of works devoted to this technique alone.Midrashic exegesis is found already within the Hebrew Bible, where the books of Chronicles act as a midrash on the books of Samuel and Kings. Various types of midrash are attested in Jewish writings from the Hellenistic period, notably the pesher, found only among the *Dead Sea Scrolls, in which biblical texts are treated as complex codes from which the secret meaning has to be explicated, and the Liber Antiquitatum Biblicarum, attributed in the Renaissance to *Philon (4) of Alexandria but actually composed in Hebrew by an unknown Jew, probably in the 1st cent.