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Redefining the scope of the article
I suggest that this article be limited to "Rabbinic literature" in the classic sense: ספרות חז"ל. As in the template.
I'd like to make a suggestion after browsing through some of the pages within this section - they all seem to rely strongly on a knowledge of the Old Testament and Hebrew prases particular to Judaïsm to make heads or tails out of what is being said... Would it be possible when editing pages to try and be mindful of people not yet familiar with the subject matter, by providing a (simplified) explanation of what a new word being introduced means? For example, from Esther Rabbah:
Esther Rabbah (Hebrew: אסתר רבה) is the midrash to the Book of Esther in the current Midrash editions. From its plan and scope it is apparently an incomplete collection from the rich haggadic material furnished by the comments on the scroll of Esther, which has been read since early times at the public service on Purim.
Personally, I don't think that the average person looking for information on Wikipedia will know what either a midrash, haggadic or Purim are. At least, I don't. As a suggestion, I've rewritten this to:
In Judaïsm the books that make up the Tanakh, or Jewish bible, are interpreted in four different ways. Esther Rabbah (Hebrew: אסתר רבה) is one such interpretation of the Book of Esther - it is the midrash to this book. From its plan and scope it is appears to be an incomplete collection from the rich haggadic material furnished by the comments on the scroll of Esther, which has been read since early times at the public service on the Jewish celebration of Purim.
However, I feel highly uncomfortable making such edits, knowing that I don't have any expertise on Judaïsm and could be introducing pretty big mistakes without realizing it. Therefor, I leave it at this edit and this suggestion, hoping someone within the Rabbinic Literature project will pick this up.
It's a good effort and a good ideal -- but I'm afraid it's problematic. This article seems largely unmodified from the original Jewish Encyclopedia article of 1904, which was a technical encyclopedia of the old school. I'm sure it could benefit from being made more readable, and for incorporating a century worth of scholarship.
I undid your actual edits, however. As used in the lede of this entry, Midrash means rabbinic homiletical commentary. "current Midrash editions" means that this particular work, Esther Rabbah, became the mainstream received commentary at some point, making it parallel to the other volumes in the Midrash Rabbah collection. (The article goes into greater details about when.)
- Hi Yudel, and thanks for the feedback - so it is as I feared, with regards to introducing mistakes. I do wonder though, should it not be assumed that if something is considered 'the midrash' for a particular book, that it is the most accepted version, as compared to 'a midrash' ? Anyway, I'll keep my hands off the Rabbinic Literature, although my suggestion for editing still stands.~