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Moses and the Angel of Death


Rella Kushelevsky

Moses' struggle for life on the threshold of the Promised Land and his enigmatic death have captured the imagination of the Jewish people. From the early midrashic texts of the second century onward, the dramatic and compelling story of Moses' death steadily evolved, manifesting itself in numerous versions. This panoramic view of the resultant thematic series uncovers a consistent dialectic perception of Moses and his death, embodied in a rather fixed narrative pattern, rich in folkloric motifs. Against the constant features of this series, individual differences among the versions reflect a literary-cultural process of change and development.