Successfully reported this slideshow.
We use your LinkedIn profile and activity data to personalize ads and to show you more relevant ads. You can change your ad preferences anytime.

Midrash / New Testament slideshow 3

271 views

Published on

3rd of 4 slideshows on connections between Midrash and New Testament texts.

Published in: Education
  • Be the first to comment

  • Be the first to like this

Midrash / New Testament slideshow 3

  1. 1. Midrash and the New Testament: Exploring Connections WITH RABBI MAURICE HARRIS Lesson 3
  2. 2. First, a little warm-up with a fun example of midrash
  3. 3. 26 And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. 27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. 28 And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth. (King James Version) Genesis 1: 26-28 Genesis 2: 21-23 21 And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof; 22 And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man. 23 And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man. (King James Version) Huh?!?
  4. 4. Rabbi Jeremiah son of Elazar said: When the Holy One, blessed be He, created the first human, He created him a hermaphrodite [Greek: androgynos], for it is said, “male and female He created them (Genesis 5:2).” Rabbi Samuel son of Nachman said: When the Holy One, blessed be He, created the first human, He created him “double- faced.” Then He split him and made him of two backs, one for this one and one for that one. The other rabbis challenged his view and asked him: But is it not written [in the Torah], “And God took one of his ribs?” (Genesis 2:21) [Note: the biblical Hebrew word for “rib” in this sentence is tzela.] He replied to them: [No, tzela in this verse is not to be understood to mean that God took one of his "ribs," but that He took one] of his two sides [the word tzela appears here translated into the Aramaic word sitra, "side“]. [Why should we read the Hebrew word tzela as the Aramaic word sitra? Because elsewhere, Scripture] says, “. . . and for the tzela of the Tabernacle” (Exodus 26:20), and in that instance the Targum translates tzela to mean, the "side" (sitra) of the Tabernacle. Genesis Rabbah, 8: 1
  5. 5. And now… let’s move forward!
  6. 6. Let’s Start with: A New Testament Text with Connections to a Midrash Exodus 1:13 – 22 The Egyptians ruthlessly imposed upon the Israelites the various labors that they made them perform. Ruthlessly they made life bitter for them with harsh labor at mortar and bricks and with all sorts of Tasks In the field. The king of Egypt spoke to the midwives of the Hebrews, one of whom was named Shifrah and the other Pu-ah, saying “When you deliver the Hebrew women, look at the birthstool: if it is a boy, kill him; if if is a girl, let her live.” The midwives, fearing God, did not do as the king of Egypt had told them; they let the boys live. So the king of Egypt summoned the midwives and said to them, “Why have you done this thing, letting the boys live?” The midwives said to Pharaoh, “Because the Hebrew women are not like the Egyptian women: they are like animals (in giving birth). Before the midwife can come to them, they have already given birth!” And God dealt well with the midwives; and the (Hebrews) multiplied and increased greatly. And because the midwives feared God, God established households for them. Then Pharaoh commanded all his people, saying, “Every boy that is born you shall throw into the Nile, but let every girl live.” First, let’s look at a text from the Hebrew Bible – specifically, from the beginning of the Book of Exodus.
  7. 7. Then Pharaoh commanded all his people, saying, “Every boy that is born you shall throw into the Nile, but let every girl live.” Then Pharaoh commanded all his people, saying, “Every boy that is born you shall throw into the Nile, but let every girl live.”
  8. 8. Triggers  Gaps in biblical stories  Contradictions within the Bible  Grammatical quirks or oddities in the biblical Hebrew  Unusual word choices  Apparent redundancy or repetition in the Bible  Word plays or literary associations in the biblical Hebrew  Unusual visual features found in certain Hebrew words in the Torah (enlarged letters, upside- down letters, etc.)  Anything that might raise a question to a careful reader of the Bible in Hebrew  Elements of the Bible that seem to address contemporary issues facing the rabbis
  9. 9. Then Pharaoh commanded all his people, saying, “Every boy that is born you shall throw into the Nile, but let every girl live.”
  10. 10. Midrash Rabbah - Exodus 1:18 THEN PHARAOH COMMANDED ALL HIS PEOPLE, SAYING, “EVERY BOY THAT IS BORN, YOU SHALL THROW INTO THE NILE…”(Exodus 1:22). Rabbi Yossi bar Rabbi Hanina said: Pharaoh decreed against his own people too! And why was this? Because his astrologers told him, ‘The mother of Israel's savior is already pregnant with him, but we do not know whether he is an Israelite or an Egyptian.’ Then Pharaoh assembled all the Egyptians before him and said: Give me your [newborn] children for nine months that I may cast them in the river, as it is written: EVERY BOY THAT IS BORN, YOU SHALL THROW INTO THE NILE (Exodus 1:22). It does not say ‘every boy who is an Israelite’, but ‘every boy’, whether he be Jew or Egyptian.
  11. 11. Now let’s look at a New Testament text that has some similar things going on… Matthew 2: 1 - 18
  12. 12. Matthew 2: 1 - 18 In the time of King Herod, after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, astrologers* from the East came to Jerusalem, asking, “Where is the child who has been born king of the Jews? For we observed his star at its rising, and have come to pay him homage.” When King Herod heard this, he was frightened, and all Jerusalem with him; and calling together all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Messiah was to be born. The told him, “In Bethlehem of Judea; so it has been written . . .” Then Herod secretly called for the astrologers and learned from them the exact time when the star had appeared. Then he sent them to Bethlehem, saying, “Go and search diligently for the child; and when you have found him, bring me word so that I may also go and pay him homage.” When they had heard the king, they set out; and there, ahead of them, went the star that they had seen at its rising, until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw that the star had stopped, they were overwhelmed with joy. On entering the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother; and they knelt down and paid him homage. * [magi in Greek, which often meant “astrologers”] Matthew 2: 1 – 18 (cont’d) Then, opening their treasure chests, they offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. And having been warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they left for their own country by another road. Now after they had left, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, “Get up, take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt, and remain there until I tell you; for Herod is about to search for the child, to destroy him.” Then Joseph got up, took the child and his mother by night, and went to Egypt, and remained there until the death of Herod. This was to fulfill what had been spoken by the Lord through the prophet, “Out of Egypt I have called my son.” [reference to Hosea 11:1 in Hebrew Bible] When Herod saw that he had been tricked by the astrologers, he was infuriated, and he sent and killed all the children in and around Bethlehem who were two years old or under, according to the time that he had learned from the astrologers. Then was fulfilled what had been spoken through the prophet Jeremiah: “A voice was heard in Ramah, wailing and loud lamentation, Rachel weeping for her children; she refused to be consoled, because they are no more.” [quoting Jeremiah 31:15]
  13. 13. Let’s look at some of the elements these two stories share: • A baby boy with a special, divine mission whose life is endangered by an unscrupulous king. • Both babies are described as redeeming leaders of the Jews. • Astrologers who seem to have powers of divination or reading cosmic signs. • A king who feels threatened by the arrival of this child and who orders the slaughter of all babies who could possibly fit the description presented by the astrologers. • A “Joseph” who goes from the Holy Land down to Egypt, later followed by the emergence of the Hebrews’ redeemer (Moses / Jesus) out of Egypt where he can fulfill his mission.
  14. 14. Possible connections between the Midrash and the Matthew passage? • The Matthew writer knew the Midrash and was influenced by it. • The Midrash writer knew the Matthew story and was influenced by it. • Both writers drew on familiar stories involving some of the common elements and motifs of the two texts.
  15. 15. What are some cool things we can learn by studying these stories side-by-side? • The Matthew story can be read as a midrashic echoing of the Exodus story about Pharaoh’s decrees against the innocent babies. One function of Midrash is to build connections of mythic importance between new religious figures and already established ones of renown. There are many examples of Midrash that connect a great rabbi with Moses or another biblical figure. • While the Matthew story probably didn’t emerge as a response to the “trigger” that led to the Midrash we’re examining, it’s interesting to see that both stories revolve around the same motifs from Exodus. Midrash is connected to the Hebrew Bible – responding to it, reshaping it, sometimes reinterpreting it, but always connected. • Also the Matthew story offers some new “midrash” of its own. Let’s check that out…
  16. 16. Midrashic features in our New Testament text Now after they had left, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, “Get up, take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt, and remain there until I tell you; for Herod is about to search for the child, to destroy him.” Then Joseph got up, took the child and his mother by night, and went to Egypt, and remained there until the death of Herod. This was to fulfill what had been spoken by the Lord through the prophet, “Out of Egypt I have called my son.” [reference to Hosea 11:1 in Hebrew Bible] Let’s look at this part of the Matthew text: Remember, sometimes a midrash takes a passage from the Hebrew Bible and explains or interprets it in a fresh way (perhaps revealing a hidden, metaphorical meaning, or connecting a biblical text to a contemporary situation facing the Jewish people at the time). Hoseawas a prophet during the last years of the Northern Kingdom of Israel (the unified kingdom of David and Solomon had split into two nations – Israel in the north and Judah in the South). Hosea described the Northern Kingdom as having betrayed the God of Israel, through worship of other gods and many other grievous sins. He foretold the invasion and destruction of the Northern Kingdom by the Assyrian Empire – an event that took place around 722 B.C.E. He is famous for using a marriage metaphor to describe the relationship between God and the people Israel, with God as husband and Israel as wife. He then depicts the Northern Kingdom as an unfaithful, adulterous wife. He depicts God presenting proof of various betrayals in a sort of decree of “divorce,” though he also depicts God as ultimately choosing to reunite with a repentant people Israel. Here’s the whole chapter from which the Matthew text quotes Hosea, offering a “midrash” of its own on a single phrase in the chapter: When Israel was a child, then I loved him, and out of Egypt I called My son. The more they called them, the more they went from them; they sacrificed unto the Baalim, and offered to graven images. And I, I taught Ephraim (another name for the Northern Kingdom) to walk, taking them by their arms; but they knew not that I healed them. I drew them with cords of a man, with bands of love; and I was to them as they that take off the yoke on their jaws, and I fed them gently. He shall not return into the land of Egypt, but the Assyrian shall be his king, because they refused to [repent]. And the sword shall fall upon his cities, and shall consume his bars, and devour them, because of their own counsels. And My people are in suspense about returning to Me; and though they call them upwards, none at all will lift himself up. How shall I give thee up, Ephraim? . . . My heart is turned within Me, My compassions are kindled together. I will not execute the fierceness of Mine anger, I will not return to destroy Ephraim; for I am God, and not man, the Holy One in the midst of thee; and I will not come in fury. They shall walk after the Eternal, who shall roar like a lion; for He shall roar, and the children shall come trembling from the west. They shall come trembling as a bird out of Egypt, and as a dove out of the land of Assyria; and I will make them to dwell in their houses, says the Eternal.
  17. 17. Let’s come back to the first verse of the chapter, which has the passage being “drashed” in Matthew: When Israel was a child, then I loved him, and out of Egypt I called My son. Here’s the Matthew “midrash” again: Now after they had left, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, “Get up, take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt, and remain there until I tell you; for Herod is about to search for the child, to destroy him.” Then Joseph got up, took the child and his mother by night, and went to Egypt, and remained there until the death of Herod. This was to fulfill what had been spoken by the Lord through the prophet, “Out of Egypt I have called my son.” Within the rules of midrash, taking a biblical text out of its original context is okay. It happens all the time! Non-literalist approach to Scripture.
  18. 18. Midrashic features in our New Testament text When Herod saw that he had been tricked by the astrologers, he was infuriated, and he sent and killed all the children in and around Bethlehem who were two years old or under, according to the time that he had learned from the astrologers. Then was fulfilled what had been spoken through the prophet Jeremiah: “A voice was heard in Ramah, wailing and loud lamentation, Rachel weeping for her children; she refused to be consoled, because they are no more.” [quoting Jeremiah 31:15] Homework assignment:

×