Midrash, exx in gospels

yochanan bitan ButhFam at compuserve.com
Fri Dec 3 04:32:40 EST 1999

i guess i should have sent this to the general list earlier:

>I dont think we have an ipsissima verba from Jesus in which he uses

another midrashic text/technique to add to both jesus (mark) and his times

and you shall love     the lord your god ...
and you shall love     your friend ...
these texts are bound together midrashically on the relatively rare form 
in hebrew.

[as referenced above, this is exlicitly already part of first century
jewish interpretation in luke (correctly so) where the lawyer joins the
texts, and while also true in mark as representative of jesus' teaching, it
is not an innovation as commonly read within christian circles.]

general midrashic methods permeate the teachings and allusions in the

e.g., in luke's trial scene the reference to dan7/ps110 leads the
questioners to psalm 2 and "son" via the rare form yelidetixa. 

in the parable of the vineyard we have the quotation of the "eben"('stone')
in psalm 118 applied to a "ben" ('son') in the parable, a known wordplay
with john the baptist and with josephus (here comes your 'son', referring
to stones attacking besieged jerusalem).

in the sower parable we have allusion to the "100 fold" of genesis + the
ironic import of isaiah 6 in parabolic interpretation. 
most ot quotations are best read against what is known of old exegesis.
breaking forth in the kingdom-micah 2.13, jonah-queen of sheba, naaman,

howabout 'tselem' / "give the 'image of God' to God" in the encounter over
tribute to caesar? such word play and application were enjoyed in the
culture. a story based on 'image of God'  versus roman images is already
attributed to hillel.

ANYTHING Jesus said should be routinely filtered and compared with what we
know of scripture texts and old jewish midrash. sometimes it gets
political, like the first beatitude quoting an qumranian development of a
Biblical phrase "poor in spirit" and linking it to a Pharisaic favorite
"malxut shamayim", all the while appropriating to his own circle. that
surely got people's attention!

midrash was part of the late second temple jewish culture, where most
details and discussions on life were tied to canonical texts through
varying degrees of literal, allusive and more imaginative connections. in a
sense for the first century, "everything" was midrash, everything was tied
to scriptural texts.

of course, the way to enter such a world is to imbibe the languages and
'come with us now to the times of yesteryear ... where the lone ranger
rides again'. you're all welcomed to visit in jerusalem where strangers
sometimes discuss texts sitting at busstops or in a shared taxi.  

randall buth

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