Pardes (Jewish Exegesis)

Pardes (Jewish Exegesis)

Pardes refers to (types of) approaches to biblical exegesis in rabbinic Judaism (or - simpler - interpretation of text in Torah study). The term, sometimes also spelled PaRDeS, is an acronym formed from the name initials of the following four approaches:

  • Peshat (פְּשָׁט) — "plain" ("simple") or the direct meaning.
  • Remez (רֶמֶז) — "hints" or the deep (allegoric: hidden or symbolic) meaning beyond just the literal sense.
  • Derash (דְּרַשׁ) — from Hebrew darash: "inquire" ("seek") — the comparative (midrashic) meaning, as given through similar occurrences.
  • Sod (סוֹד) (pronounced with a long O as in 'bone') — "secret" ("mystery") or the esoteric/mystical meaning, as given through inspiration or revelation.

Each type of Pardes interpretation examines the extended meaning of a text. As a general rule, the extended meaning never contradicts the base meaning. The Peshat means the plain or contextual meaning of the text. Remez is the allegorical meaning. Derash includes the metaphorical meaning, and Sod represents the hidden meaning. There is often considerable overlap, for example when legal understandings of a verse are influenced by mystical interpretations or when a "hint" is determined by comparing a word with other instances of the same word.

Some thinkers, such as the Tolaat Yaakov, divide Pardes into Peshat, Remez, Din (law), and Sod. According to this understanding, Derash is divided into the homiletics, which are classified under Remez, and legal interpretations, which are classified under Din.

Read more about Pardes (Jewish Exegesis):  Pardes Exegesis and Essence, Association With Paradise, Pardes and Modern Exegesis, Comparisons With Other Traditions, See Also

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