“It is very unusual for a scholar to identify a subject of manifestly great importance that has barely been addressed, but Eric Lawee’s recently published Rashi’s Commentary on the Torah: Canonization and Resistance in the Reception of a Jewish Classic (Oxford Univerity Press) has succeeded in doing so” – so writes David Berger, reviewing Lawee’s book in TRADITION’s recent Spring 2021 issue.
Eric Lawee is a professor of Bible at Bar-Ilan University where he specializes in Jewish biblical interpretation in medieval and modern times. Recently he sat down with TRADITION’s editor Jeffrey Saks to discuss the reception history of Rashi’s 11th-century Torah commentary – the most classic work of the most classic mode of Jewish scholarship. They consider how the Commentary came to occupy the place it holds in Jewish life and learning. It could be said that we are students of the Bible (and Talmud for that matter) as read by, and transmitted to us, through Rashi’s commentaries. But was it inevitable that the “hermeneutical canon,” as Lawee calls it, had to develop that way?