Jesus against the laws of the Pharisees: The legal woe sayings and second temple intersectarian discourse

Yair Furstenberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

This article ofers 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 11:39-44) 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 inter-sectarian 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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)769-788
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Biblical Literature
Volume139
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2020
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Religious studies
  • Literature and Literary Theory

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Jesus against the laws of the Pharisees: The legal woe sayings and second temple intersectarian discourse'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this