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Midrasch Wajoscha

Edition – Tradition – Interpretation

Midrasch Wajoscha by Elisabeth Wies-Campagner
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Until recently this mediaeval Aggadic Midrash, with its homiletic interpretation of verses from Genesis and Exodus, was known only in one of the two first-print variations. Besides the Akedah, this version of the Midrash also contains a final chapter with apocalyptic motifs such as Gog and Magog and the Antichrist Armilus. An examination of an earlier version based on 17 manuscripts dating from the 13th century to the first print of 1519, indicates that it can be seen as the forerunner or basis of the known version, also first printed in 1519. A key element of this early version is the introduction of the guardian angel of Egypt called Uzza and a commentary on Exodus 15:1-18, which includes parts of the story of Moses and the ten plagues. Extensive text analysis has revealed both early and contemporary sources, whilst comparisons with mediaeval Ashkenazic Synagogue poetry indicate the influence of historical events such as the crusades. Parts of both forms of tradition were absorbed in Yiddish and rhyming vernacular, probably in the 15th century.

De Gruyter; August 2009
524 pages; ISBN 9783110212952
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Title: Midrasch Wajoscha
Author: Elisabeth Wies-Campagner