I have found many different types of midrashic works. Some are, as far as I can tell, accepted as being authoritative. Meaning they were written (compiled?) by the sages in roughly the Talmudic era. Examples would be Bereshis Rabba, Midrash Tanchuma, Pirkei d'Rebbi Eliezer.

Then there are midrashim that seem to be apocryphal. Such as Sefer Zerubavel, The Sword of Moses and others which seem to be more like fiction based on Torah/Chazal. They also seem to be of a later origin.

Finally there are some midrashim which seem to be in a gray area, they are not the mainstream but I have seen referenced in traditional rabbinic writing, such as Midrash Abba Gorion, the Alphabet of Ben Sira, etc. (there have been termed "smaller midrashim")

I would like to know if there is a list of 'kosher' midrashim. I.e. ones which Orthodox Judaism has accepted as authentic.

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    Are you looking for a canonical list published by Mr. O. Judaism? – Double AA May 29 '13 at 19:30
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    @DoubleAA possibly, if one existed. Otherwise I would settle for guidelines to help me know what is legit and what isn't – user2110 May 29 '13 at 19:49
  • What is excepted changes. Up until recently, all the gedolim didn't take seffer hayashar seriously. Nowadays Reb Chaim Kanievsky quotes out of it as if it were a real Medrash. – user6591 Dec 31 '19 at 13:21

Midrash is very subversive. The midrashim now known as "classic" today, and taught by every 3rd grade rebbe, weren't necessarily learned or accepted by all Jews throughout history. Different communities had their own work, whether it was Midrash Hagadol by Yemenite Jews in the Middle Ages, to Midrash Rabbah around the 400-500s C.E, to the Tosedta, written much earlier and in Israel.

Point is, at various times and locations,there were many different "authentic" midrashic collections floating around and getting redacted and assembled. Nowadays, certain midrashim are very popular, either because they are quoted by Rashi, or have other appeal, but there are certainly midrashim that aren't learned today that were once revered.

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    This is about interpreting authentic Midrashim, not determining which are authentic which is what the question asked. – Double AA May 29 '13 at 20:11
  • I'm still not sure I understand what your answer is: that any Midrash is acceptable? – Double AA May 29 '13 at 20:49
  • I'm saying that different midrashim are acceptable at different times. The midrashim that Nikmasi quoted might have been very popular in their respective times- but then lost popularity. midrashim often become authoritative simply because rashi quoted them. – Eilu V'Eilu May 29 '13 at 21:36
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    How does a text's authenticity change? Either it was written correctly or it wasn't. Popularity can't be all there is to it. – Double AA May 30 '13 at 4:35
  • What does written 'correctly' mean? At different times, Judaism was different, people thought about God and Torah differently, and thus, different interpretations of the text (midrash) appealed to people according to what they believed and felt- which changes with the times. – Eilu V'Eilu May 30 '13 at 18:55

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