Tanna d’Vei Eliyahu

11 Feb 2014

Tanna d’Vei Eliyahu is a midrashic work. Unlike all the other Midrashim it does not consist of a compilation or collection of individual homilies but is a uniform work stamped with a character of its own. The work, which is characterized by original expressions and rhetorical constructions couched in poetic and even flowery language, is distinguished by its didactic moral aim: the author deals with the divine precepts and the reasons for them, and the importance of knowledge of Torah, prayer, and repentance. He is especially concerned with the ethical and religious values which are enshrined in the Bible and in the trials and lives of the patriarchs.

The problem of the date and place of composition of Tanna De-Vei Eliyahu has not yet been resolved. It has been variously dated almost anywhere between the third and tenth centuries.

Eliyahu is the speaker in the work but there is not suggestion of a pseudepigrapha. The author relates that he came from Yavneh, that he resided in Jerusalem, and that he wandered in Babylon. He disputes with a fire worshipper and with those who accept the Bible but not theMishnah.