They were called Rabboth (great Midrashim) to distinguish them from preceding smaller collections.
There are also Midrashim on the Canticle, Ruth, Ecclesiastes, Esther and the Psalms, belonging to this later period, the Pirge R.
Even in the time of the later Amoraim there is no mention of a written Palestinian Targum, though the official Babylonian Targum is repeatedly referred to in the Babylonian Talmud, in the Midrashim, and at times also by Palestinian Amoraim.
Later Jewish and Christian speculation followed on the lines of the angelology of the earlier apocalypses; and angels play an important part in Gnostic systems and in the Jewish Midrashim and the Kabbala.
Both contain Halaka and Haggada, although the Mishna itself is essentially Halaka, and the Midrashim are more especially Haggadic; and consequently further information bearing upon Midrash must be sought in the art.
This literature is especially valuable because it illustrates contemporary Halaka and Haggada, and it illuminates the circle of thought with which Jesus and his followers were familiar; it thus fills the gap between the Old Testament and the authoritative Rabbinical Midrashim which, though often in a form several centuries later, not rarely preserve older material.'
This is known to the probably contemporary Testament of Judah and to much later Midrashim (Mid.
Like many less ancient discourses, the Midrashim are apt to suffer when read in cold print, and they are sometimes judged from a standpoint which would be prejudicial to the Old Testament itself.
The earlier stages in the growth of the extant Rabbinical Midrashim cannot be traced with any certainty.
2 However this may be, the independent Halakoth (where the oral decisions are interpreted or discussed on the basis of the Old Testament) were gradually collected and arranged according to their subject in the Mishnah and Tosephta (Talmud, § 1), while in the halakic Midrashim (where the decisions are given in connection with the biblical passage from which they were derived) they follow the sequence of the text of the Old Testament.
But the sermons or discourses of the homiletic Midrashim are classified according to the reading of the Pentateuch in the Synagogue, either the three year cycle, or else according to the sections of the Pentateuch and Prophetical books assigned to special and ordinary Sabbaths and festival days.
The homiletic Midrashim are characterized by (a) a proem, an introduction based upon some biblical text (not from the lesson itself), which led up to (b) the exposition of the lesson, the first verse of which is more fully discussed than the rest.
A feature of some Midrashim (e.g.
4, 5d, e, and 7 below) is the halakic exordium which precedes the proems .3 Among the more important Midrashim are: i.
In addition to the more prominent Midrashim mentioned above there are numerous self-contained works of greater or less interest.
Onwards and the rest of the Pentateuch have independent Midrashim: the Law proper was held by the Rabbis to begin at Exod.
Of collections of Midrash the chief are (a) the Yalqut Shimeoni, which arranges the material according to the text of the Old Testament (extending over the whole of it), preserves much from sources that have since disappeared, and is valuable for the criticism of the text of the Midrashim (recent ed.
" addition ") and the Midrashim, and since all these, together with the Targumim, represent the orthodox Rabbinical literature connecting the Old Testament with medieval and modern Judaism, the reader should also consult the articles Jews (parts ii.
- Although the Midrashim do not hold the authoritative position which the Talmud enjoys, the two groups cannot be kept apart in any consideration of the interesting or valuable features of the old Rabbinical writings.
2 The points of contact between the phraseology in the Gospel of John and the early Midrashim are especially interesting.'
But it is uncertain how far the doctrines of Judaism were influenced by Christianity, and it is even disputed whether the Talmud and Midrashim may be used to estimate Jewish thought 1 There are many details in the Talmud which cannot be dated; if some are obviously contemporary, others find parallels in Ancient Babylonia, for example in the code of Hammurabi.
See further, for the Talmud and Midrashim in relation to the New Testament generally, the literature in Strack, pp. 165 sqq.; also A.
Political troubles and the unhappy condition of the Jews probably furnish the explanation; hence also the abundance of Palestinian haggadic literature in the Midrashim, whose " words of blessing and consolation " appealed more to their feelings than did the legal writings.