De functie van parabels (mesjalim) in de Tanchuma | Amsterdam University Press Journals Online
Volume 71, Issue 2
  • ISSN: 2542-6583
  • E-ISSN: 2590-3268



This article takes the narrative nature of parables seriously and looks at their role from this perspective. After theorizing the cognition- and cultural role of stories, four from the are studied: ‘Grasshoppers in a jar’ (about the Tower of Babel), ‘Abraham’s circumcision’, ‘The baby on the table’ (about the sacrifice of Isaac), and ‘The calf and its mother’ (about Joseph and the Egyptian exile). The conclusion of this case study is that the role of is not to interpret the biblical text as such, but to change the audience’s attitude toward the biblical story. For this, the points of agreement between the and the biblical story need only be minimal. In order to effectuate this new attitude, the in the , which are usually based on earlier on the said biblical text, adopt these existing while at the same time transforming them into new stories that are more suitable for the audience. Usually this amounts to a ‘softening’ of the message of the existing, earlier .


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  • Article Type: Research Article
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