The Media of Pharisaic Text‐Interpretive Tradition

Martin S. Jaffee

in Torah in the Mouth

Published in print May 2001 | ISBN: 9780195140675
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780199834334 | DOI:
 The Media of Pharisaic Text‐Interpretive Tradition

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This chapter focuses upon conceptions of written and oral tradition ascribed to the Pharisees, an important group in Second Temple Judean society. It surveys the key sources of knowledge about Pharisees: some scattered references in the pesher literature of the Dead Sea scrolls, complex narratives found in the historical writings of Flavius Josephus, the writings of the Apostle Paul, Gospel narratives of Jewish opposition to Jesus, and the classical rabbinic writings from the Mishnah to the Babylonian Talmud. The chapter concludes that Pharisees of the first century c.e. almost certainly believed themselves to possess an ancient “ancestral tradition” of a text‐interpretive character. But there is no evidence that they linked the authority of this tradition to exclusively oral forms of transmission.

Keywords: Babylonian Talmud; Dead Sea scrolls; Flavius Josephus; Gospels; Paul; Pesher literature; Pharisaic ancestral tradition; Pharisees

Chapter.  12850 words. 

Subjects: Judaism and Jewish Studies

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