[b-hebrew] oral Torah

Brak Brak at neo.rr.com
Fri Jun 23 16:11:12 EDT 2006

Wow! The list has been pretty much silent for some time. Then after 
George gave the Friday deadline - BOOM - emails are a flooding in!

>>A major componant of the Oral Torah is the "codes" by which the 
>>Torah itself is to be interpreted, and these were passed down from Moses to 
>>Joshua and on to the elders, the members of the Great Assembly, and from 
>>them to what we now call "rabbis".
>HH: Is there anything internal to the Scriptures that would indicate the 
>existence of these codes? I can think of nothing offhand.
Here is a small, and my no means exhaustive list of references to an 
Oral Law:

*Deuteronomy 12:21* (212) /If the place which the LORD thy God hath 
chosen to put his name there be too far from thee, then thou shalt kill 
of thy herd and of thy flock, which the LORD hath given thee, _as I have 
commanded thee_, and thou shalt eat in thy gates whatsoever thy soul 
lusteth after./

*Malachi 2:7* (941) /For the priest's lips should keep knowledge, and 
they should seek the law at his mouth: for he is the messenger of the 
LORD of hosts./

*Psalm 44:1* (601)* */To the chief Musician for the sons of Korah, 
Maschil. We have heard with our ears, O God, our fathers have told us, 
what work thou didst in their days, in the times of old./

*Psalm 78:1-5* (619) /Maschil of Asaph. Give ear, O my people, to my 
law: incline your ears to the words of my mouth. {2} I will open my 
mouth in a parable: I will utter dark sayings of old: {3} Which we have 
heard and known, and our fathers have told us. {4} We will not hide them 
from their children, showing to the generation to come the praises of 
the LORD, and his strength, and his wonderful works that he hath done. 
{5} For he established a testimony in Jacob, and appointed a law in 
Israel, which he commanded our fathers, that they should make them known 
to their children:/

And for those who are Christian:

*2 Thessalonians 3:6* (1179) /Now we command you, brethren, in the name 
of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye withdraw yourselves from every brother 
that walketh disorderly, and not after the tradition which he received 
of us./

Another concept which is valuable is that to debate a topic doesn't 
equate to contempt or rejection of the topic of debate. Just like many 
debate the meaning and application of the Bible, this doesn't mean that 
the parties involve reject the Bible. Just because Jesus debated about 
the Oral Law does not equate to His rejection of it.

Upon reading the Mishnah/Talmud, one quickly realizes the intensity to 
which the Pharisees debated among themselves about the Oral Law. These 
debates can get quite heated. One that comes to mind is the debate 
between the school of Hillel and Shamia over the recitation of the 
Shema. The texts records the school of Hillel stating that those who 
follow the halacha after the school of Shamia will have bad things 
happen to them! Now mind you that these are all Pharisees who hold to 
the existence and validity of the Oral Law.

So just because you have Jesus debate with other Pharisees doesn't mean 
that Jesus rejected the Oral Law, nor does it mean that Jesus wasn't a 
Pharisee Himself. Also the similarities between Jesus' teachings and 
Hillel teachings doesn't necessarily mean that Jesus' saying were 
attributed to Hillel, but rather that maybe Jesus was part of the Hillel 
flavor of Pharisaism - or rather one of the sub-sect which predominantly 
followed Hillel over Shamia.
2nd Temple Period Judaism should really be called "Judaisms" because of 
the richness of the polydoxy of the time. Hence the conflicts between 
Jesus and the Pharisees doesn't necessarily equate to the traditional 
understanding that Jesus was an anti-Pharisee, but rather a Pharisee 
Himself engaged in the type of religious debate which was commonplace to 
occur amongst the Pharisees themselves.

As I was typing this I had an "hmmm interesting" moment.

Actually the issue of the Oral Law is pertinent to the focus of the 
forum - let me explain.

The word <#BT> which is usually translated as "Sabbath" according to the 
Oral Law can also be translated as week. Hence in regards to the 
placement of Pentecost this becomes an important factor.
Also in Amos 6:3 this word is usually translated as "seat" as in "seat 
of violence" where the plain translation (and as it is translated in the 
LXX) is "false Sabbath"

So I guess maybe the topic of the Oral Law and Oral Tradition (both 
Jewish and Christian) does have an important place in regards to the 
translation of the text as translations are heavily influenced by both.

Just a thought I thought I would share.

John Steven

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