It is the intent of this project to show that Marilynne Robinson's novel Gilead might be profitably read within the context of the rabbinical exegetical tradition of midrash. It examines Gilead as a midrashic retelling of the Abraham story in the Bible, and shows how reading it in this light illuminates some of the key theological and social concerns at play in the novel. Midrash offers a unique model for reading Gilead because it combines elements of intertextuality, narrative theology and formal exegesis. Since midrash provides the framework for such a reading of Gilead, the first chapter discusses some of the theoretical issues surrounding the practice of midrash. The second chapter traces elements of the Abraham story from Genesis as retold in Gilead. Finally, the third chapter discusses the theological and social implications of reading Gilead as a midrashic retelling of the biblical story, thereby revealing Robinson's theology which emphasizes the holiness of the everyday.
College and Department
Humanities; Humanities, Classics, and Comparative Literature
BYU ScholarsArchive Citation
Taggart, Robert J., "Marilynne Robinson's Gilead as Modern Midrash" (2010). Theses and Dissertations. 2445.
midrash, Marilynne Robinson, Gilead