Rashbam - Encyclopedia


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RASHBAM (1085-1174), Jewish. scholar, so called from the initials of his full name, RABBI SAMUEL BEN MEIR, was a leading member of the French school of Biblical exegesis. He was a grandson of Rashi, but differed in his method of interpretation. He wrote commentaries on the Pentateuch and some other parts of the Scriptures. Rashbam adopts a natural (as distinct from a homiletical and traditional) method; thus (in agreement with the modern school) Rashbam (on Gen. i. 5) maintained that the day began at dawn and not from the previous sunset (as later Jewish custom assumed). Another famous interpretation was Rashbam's view that the much disputed phrase in Gen. xlix. 10 must be rendered "Until he cometh to Shiloh," and refers to the division of the kingdom of Judah after Solomon's death. Rashbam's notes on the Bible are remarkable for brevity, but when he comments on the Talmud - he wrote explanations on several tracts - he is equally noted for prolixity. (I. A.)

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