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Dr. Lisa Fredman

This Tuesday, December, 1, 2015 Dr. Lisa Fredman from Efrat, Israel addressed our PhD students at an informal luncheon.

Dr. Fredman received her BA from Stern College and her MA and PhD in Bible from Bar Ilan University. Her doctoral thesis: “A Critical Edition of Rashi’s Commentary to Proverbs” will be published this year. She is currently working on a Critical Edition of Rashi’s Commentary to the Book of Daniel. Dr. Fredman has lectured at Bar Ilan University and Herzog College.

Dr. Fredman opened the discussion saying, “how is it possible that an English speaking girl from New Jersey came out with a critical edition of Rashi [on Mishlei]?” Dr. Fredman spoke of how honored she is that she has something important to add to the discussion about the most famous Jewish commentator. Her opening line speaks to the tone of her discussion with our PhD students – do not limit yourselves, anything is possible if you really want it.

After receiving her BA from Stern College, Dr. Fredman pursued an MA in hotel management in order to pursue something “practical” at her mother’s goading. However, she could not stay distanced from her passion. After taking a course at Bar Ilan on Rashi’s thought, she knew she had to continue to follow her dream towards a PhD in Bible.

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Excerpt from Dr. Fredman’s Critical Edition on Mishlei

Aside from her motivational encouragement, she also provided practical advice on how to approach manuscript study. She emphasized the importance of looking at ALL relevant manuscripts when pursuing any topic in order to remain authentic and true to the intention of the text. When creating a critical edition it is important and essential to have a base manuscript, an apparatus (the variant readings), and super commentary.

Dr. Fredman spoke with care and love for the material, highlighting how important it is not to make changes to the base manuscript unless absolutely certain. She kept meticulous notes and detailed spreadsheets spanning 50 manuscripts to help remain consistent and true.

Dr. Fredman eloquently illustrated her point through various examples from her own studies that can be found in her book.

To read more about Dr. Fredman’s work. Click here to read the review from Dr. Fredman’s lecture – Rashi’s Biblical Commentaries: Can we Know What Rashi Actually Wrote?


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