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Transformation of Biblical Stories: The Ever-Evolving Narratives

Hosted By: Haberman Institute

As children, we played the game “Telephone” where child one whispers a word or sentence into the ear of child number two. Number two then whispers what she heard into the ear of number there and so forth… In the end, we were always amazed to find out what happened to the original utterance!

Many biblical stories have a similar life of their own as they were told again and again, and each time changed a bit, altering the original story. We find versions of many biblical stories retold in various rabbinic sources in Midrashim, and some embellished versions can also be found in Josephus’ retelling of the history of the Jews and in the scripture of other religions. At this learning series, explore the evolution of narratives we thought we knew so well. 

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What Is Midrash?

These writings, which fill in gaps in biblical texts, falls into two categories: halacha and aggadah.