Techniques and Assumptions in Jewish Exegesis Before 70 C.E.
TECHNIQUES AND ASSUMPTIONS IN JEWISH EXEGESIS exegesis
Scholarly interpretation of religious texts, using linguistic, historical, and other methods. In Judaism and Christianity, it has been used extensively in the study of the Bible. Textual criticism tries to establish the accuracy of biblical texts. BEFORE 70 C.E. By David Instone Brewer. Texte and Studien zum Antiken Judentum 30. Pp. xiii + 299. Tubingen: Mohr (Paul Siebeck), 1992. Cloth, DM 198.00.
The volume under review began as a Ph.D. dissertation at Cambridge, and like many such it bears the marks of its origin; in the present case, however, this description is meant as praise. The book displays very wide reading in a broad range of subjects germane to its topic, and the author has been able to bring his learning to bear on the advancing argument in a manner that is easy to follow and generally quite plausible.
That argument can be stated very succinctly: In the period before 70 C.E., there were two styles of biblical exegesis in use among Jews; Brewer calls one of these Nomological because it treats the text of Scripture as though it were a meticulously crafted legal document and the other Inspirational because it treats all of Scripture, including its laws, as though it were a divinely revealed prophecy whose secrets must be extracted through equally inspired exegesis. (The American meaning of the term--sentimentally pietistic--must be disregarded in this connection.)
Toward the end of the book Brewer provides a terse statement of the fundamental assumptions of each approach. The assumptions behind the Nomological approach are as follows (p. 165):
Scripture is totally self-consistent. Every detail in Scripture is significant. Scripture is understood according to its context. Scripture does not have any secondary meaning. There is only one valid text form of Scripture.
The Inspirational approach shares the first two of these assumptions but reverses the last three (p. 212):
Scripture is totally. self-consistent. Every detail in Scripture is significant. Scripture may be interpreted contrary to or without regard to context. Scripture has secondary meaning(s) independent of its plain meaning. Variant texts and translations are valid forms of Scripture.
Brewer finds the exegesis of the scribes, whom he defines as the "authorities before 70 C.E. who were regarded by the rabbis as their predecessors" (p. 2), to be dominated by the Nomological approach, while the exegetical ex·e·get·ic also ex·e·get·i·cal
Of or relating to exegesis; critically explanatory.
ex styles of Philo and the sectarians at Qumran were Inspirational. Less can be said about other viewpoints in ancient Judaism Ancient Judaism can refer to:
Of great interest is the finding that the ancient rabbis, while they looked to the "scribes" as their forerunners and predecessors, adopted several Inspirational assumptions in their own interpretations of the Bible. They often took verses out of context and frequently extracted multiple meanings from the same text, and while they generally endorsed the sole validity of the Masoretic text they frequently departed from it through the technique of al tigre and through exegetical use of the distinction between ketiv and qere (pp. 172-174). In other words Adv. 1. in other words - otherwise stated; "in other words, we are broke"
put differently , rabbinic rab·bin·i·cal also rab·bin·ic
Of, relating to, or characteristic of rabbis.
[From obsolete rabbin, rabbi, from French, from Old French rabain, probably from Aramaic exegesis represents a conflation (database) conflation - Combining or blending of two or more versions of a text; confusion or mixing up. Conflation algorithms are used in databases. of the two earlier approaches to Scripture, the end of the process whereby previously conflicting movements in Jewish religious life established a synthesis that gave rise in the end to a new religious consensus among Jews; this is a finding that supports the analysis along entirely different lines than has been offered by S. J. D. Cohen cohen
(Hebrew: “priest”) Jewish priest descended from Zadok (a descendant of Aaron), priest at the First Temple of Jerusalem. The biblical priesthood was hereditary and male. and others.
Brewer starts his book by asserting that his conclusion "demands a fresh examination of the New Testament" (p. 7) with respect to the exegeses found there, but this theme is never resumed, and the claim does not reappear in his summary conclusions. It must therefore be left for future discussion.
This review began with the book's conclusions, but it should be noted that Brewer starts off with a thorough survey of scholarship on the history of ancient Jewish exegesis and with a detailed preliminary description of every known exegetical mode found in ancient Jewish literature Jewish literature: see Hebrew literature. . He also provides the text, with translation and analysis, of every exegesis by earlier authorities that is preserved in the rabbinic corpus. Many of the analyses are debatable, as such tend to be, and the Hebrew texts are often marred by misprints, as also tends to happen in books of this kind, but the provision of such a corpus of texts and translations is nevertheless a real service to scholars, who will know how to detect such errors where they appear.
Several particular details in the volume can be questioned:
Page 74: It is incorrect to say that "one can write up to two letters [on the Sabbath] which do not make a word...." The point is rather that such an act would not oblige one to bring a sin-offering to the Temple.
Page 76: Correct the translation to "the western lamp was not still burning...."
Page 106: The date at the head of the Hebrew text does not agree with the date in the translation.
Page 121: Correct the translation to "'in the evening' has no other meaning than 'when the day has turned."' The translation in the text misconstrues the idiom 'en ... 'ela.
In general, however, the volume makes a solid contribution, and students of ancient Judaism or ancient exegesis of Scripture will now be able to consult it with profit.
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