This article offers a new approach for reconstructing the original form and meaning of Jesus's legal woe sayings in Matt 23:16-26 (and the parallel in Luke 11:3944) as part of a broader Jewish intersectarian discourse. A close analysis of this unit alongside an early rabbinic source embedded in Mishnah tractate Yadayim 4:5-8 reveals that Jesus's condemnation of the Pharisees was not unique. His arguments concerning oaths, tithes, and ritual purity belong to a pre-Matthean stratum, and they match a familiar rhetorical pattern condemning the Pharisees' lenient and compromising approach. According to this pre-Matthean tradition, Jesus drew his argument and depiction of the Pharisees from the current intersectarian debate concerning the essential principles of torah observance. Jesus is portrayed as exploiting current anti-Pharisaic accusations, familiar also from Qumran literature and directed originally against the Pharisees' distorted conceptions of purity and holiness, as he attempts to uncover their moral faults.
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- Rambi Publications
- Jesus -- Jewish interpretations
- Jesus -- Jewishness
- New Testament -- Matthew -- XXIII, 16-26 -- Criticism, interpretation, etc
- Mishnah -- Yadayim -- Criticism, interpretation, etc
- Mishnah -- Relation to the New Testament
- Pharisees -- New Testament teaching
- Jewish law -- New Testament teaching