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From: Russell Hendel <rhendel@mcs.drexel.edu> Date: Tue, 10 Aug 1999 01:19:06 -0400 (EDT) Subject: LITERAL=Verse by itself; PSHAT=Verse in Context Several postings have started a thread on the difference between Pshat vs literal translations. What is or what should be Pshat (Joseph Alexander, Ellen (v29n36), David, Toby v29n32 etc). Here is a simple idea that I have used on my Rashi-Is-Simple website: I distinguish between the meaning of VERSE BY ITSELF and a VERSE IN CONTEXT. Let us apply this to the famous EYE FOR AN EYE verse (v29n36). If ***all*** I heard was AN EYE FOR AN EYE then indeed I would be justified in saying it means that if Bob takes Simons eye out then the court takes Bob's eye out. BUT (Approach 1 of Rambma Torts Chapter 1) if I hear of SEVERAL types of renumeration that are clearly monetary, such as sickness and disability, then I am justified BECAUSE OF THIS CONTEXT of "PERCEIVING" the EYE FOR AN EYE verse as referring to Monetary value. Similary (Approach 2 of Rashi Lev 24:20) if another similar verse EXPLICITLY says that MONETARY compensation should be used for injury then the CONTEXT (of similar verses) requires me to "PERCEIVE" EYE FOR AN EYE as refering to monetary value (In passing regarding "As a person gives a blemish to a person SO SHALL BE GIVEN ***IN** HIM"--the phrase GIVE IN refers to MONETARY liability (not literal) giving). We can now define terms ---"taking out an eye for an eye" is the VERSE BY ITSELF (literal meaning) ---"Paying the value of an eye for an eye taken out" is the PSHAT or meaning of the text based on its context. I have found this idea useful in understanding several verses and in explaining several texts. For complete details on EYE FOR AN EYE (the above was only a sketch) visit http://www.shamash.org/rashi/v2-21-24.htm Russell Hendel; Phd ASA; Moderator Rashi Is Simple