[b-hebrew] TORATI in Jer 31:33: Is it the Mosaic Torah?

K Randolph kwrandolph at gmail.com
Mon Oct 1 17:21:56 EDT 2007


On 9/30/07, Bill Rea <bsr15 at cantsl.it.canterbury.ac.nz> wrote:
> Karl wrote:-
> >My question: is this the same Torah? This is the reason I raised the
> >issue of theological vs. secular meanings of "Torah". If the
> >theological reading is the correct one, then yes, it is the same
> >Torah. If the secular meaning is what is correct, then it could very
> >well be a new teaching. While I am leaning towards the latter, you're
> >right, the theological meaning could be right. This is one where we
> >need to ask Jeremiah for clarification, or just say that we don't have
> >enough information and agree to disagree.
> The plain reading is that it is the same torah.

Or is it? I'm speaking as a linguist, not a theologian.

There are cases, particularly in Genesis, where "torah" refers to
teaching, not a specific literary work. And while I don't remember off
the top of my head any other cases after Moses' Torah was written that
it meant the generic (secular) meaning, if I spent some time, I expect
to be able to find such.

> ... If someone wants to
> read it otherwise then they need to make the case that it is a different
> torah. That last sentence is pretty lame. The text does not support
> your interpretation so you retreat into ``we can't know''. End of
> conversation.
I wimped out for two reasons: 1) I didn't have time to make a strong
case from other examples after Genesis that "Torah" refers to
"teaching" in the generic use, and 2) there are some people who so
insist on the theological meaning that it is useless to try to
convince them otherwise, and I didn't want to get into a useless
argument. As for me, I find the generic use of the term in Genesis
sufficient to say that it can be understood in the generic (secular)
use in Jeremiah as well.

Karl W. Randolph.

More information about the b-hebrew mailing list