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Kugel traces how and why biblical interpreters produced new meanings by the use of exegesis on ambiguities, syntactical details, unusual or awkward vocabulary, repetitions, etc. As an example, Kugel examines the different ways in which the biblical story that God's instructions are not to be found in heaven (Deut ) has been interpreted.

The word is translated in the Septuagint as βίβλος, γραφή, i.e., “book” or “writing,” and it is likely that it refers to an account of, or the result of inquiry into, the events of the time, i.e. In Second Temple Jewish literature it began to be used in the sense of education and learning generally.

According to the Pa RDe S approaches to exegesis, interpretation of Biblical texts in Judaism is realized through peshat (literal or plain meaning, lit. "hints"), derash (comparative meaning, from Hebrew darash—"to inquire" or "to seek") and sod (hidden meaning or philosophy, lit. The Midrash concentrates somewhat on remez but mostly on derash (Some thinkers divide Pa RDe S into pshat, remez, din (law) and sod.

And there was evening, and there was morning, the sixth day." (Genesis )—Midrash: Rabbi Nahman said in Rabbi Samuel's name: "Behold, it was very good" refers to the Good Desire; "AND behold, it was very good" refers to the Evil Desire. A wealth of literature and artwork has been created in the 20th and 21st centuries by people aspiring to create "Contemporary Midrash".

Forms include poetry, prose, Bibliodrama (the acting out of Bible stories), murals, masks, and music, among others.

These Midrashim, which are written in Mishnahic Hebrew set out a clear distinction between the Biblical texts that they discuss, and the rabbinic interpretation of that text.

They often go well beyond simple interpretation and derive or provide support for halakha.

This is not limited to the traditional thirteen textual tools attributed to the Tanna Rabbi Ishmael, which are used in the interpretation of halakha (Jewish law).

The presence of words or letters which are seen to be apparently superfluous, and the chronology of events, parallel narratives or what are seen as other textual 'anomalies' are often used as a springboard for interpretation of segments of Biblical text.

This strategy is used particularly in a subgenre of midrash known as the "Petikhta".

Some Midrash discussions are highly metaphorical, and many Jewish authors stress that they are not intended to be taken literally.

The Institute for Contemporary Midrash was formed to facilitate these reinterpretations of sacred texts.