• Twisting words: does Halakhah really circumvent scripture?

    Author(s):
    Amit Gvaryahu (see profile)
    Date:
    2017
    Group(s):
    Late Antiquity, New Testament, Textual Scholarship
    Subject(s):
    Aramaic, Biblical interpretation
    Item Type:
    Article
    Tag(s):
    midrash
    Permanent URL:
    http://dx.doi.org/10.17613/k6av-kw85
    Abstract:
    abstract A foundational text in the study of Tannaitic Midrash and Halakhah, Sifre Deuteronomy 122 is a list of places where Halakhah ʿ qpt scripture. This word, ʿ qpt, has long been understood to mean ‘circumvent’, ‘bypass’ or ‘belie’, and the pericope has been read as a list of places where ‘Halakhah circumvents scripture’, and thus a testament to the power of the accepted tradition to override the words of the Torah. Based on documentary and linguistic evidence, this article questions the interpretation of the word ʿ qpt and suggests that it means not ‘circumvent’ but rather ‘multiply’. As it does so, it also suggests a new meaning for the list, as a declaration of the limits of the Midrashic method of the Tannaitic school of Rabbi Ishmael, committed both to accepted traditions and to its more restrictive and systematic method of reading scripture. Immeasurable thanks go to Hallel Baitner, Dr Idan Dershowitz, Prof. Steven Fraade, Yedidah Koren, Dr Yakir Paz, Prof. Ishay Rosen-Zvi and Dr Assaf Rosen-Zvi for their comments. I am also grateful to Assaf for sharing a chapter of his thesis: Text, Redaction and Hermeneutic in Mekhilta de-Rabbi Ishmael, Tractate Kaspa (Ph.D. thesis, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, 2016).
    Metadata:
    Published as:
    Journal article    
    Status:
    Published
    Last Updated:
    8 months ago
    License:
    All Rights Reserved
    Share this:

    Downloads

    Item Name: pdf gvaryahu_2017_twisting-words.pdf
      Download View in browser
    Activity: Downloads: 43