"But it seems to me;... but i say" later additions to Rashbam's Torah commentary

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Rashbam's commentary on the Torah has not enjoyed good fortune. Only one manuscript survived, and even this single manuscript is no longer in existence. Furthermore, over the centuries this text - like other manuscripts - was subject to addenda, corrections, mistakes and corruptions introduced by students, scribes and printers. When several manuscripts are available, a comparison between them is helpful for locating later addenda. However, since in our case no such possibility exists, it is necessary to apply different criteria to identify addenda to Rashbam's Commentary. The article starts out by proposing seven criteria for identifying addenda. Four of them are technical, that is, unrelated to the content of the commentary: 1. explicit testimony by the author or interpolator; 2. fixed formulae for addenda; 3. the handwriting in the manuscript; 4. explanations whose language is garbled. Two criteria relate to the commentator's exegetical style: 5. double peshat explanations; 6. invocation of midrashim. The last criterion concerns the actual content of the commentary: 7. internal contradictions. The article goes on to present twenty-seven addenda, which are not attributed to Rashbam himself. The significance of identifying later addenda lies in the clarification of the author's original commentary, and the opportunity to resolve seeming contradictions between explanations posed by the author himself and those put forward by others.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)143-172
Number of pages30
JournalHebrew Union College Annual
StatePublished - 2009


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