The unintentional killer: Midrashic layers in the second chapter of Mishnah Makkot

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Mishnah Makkoth, or to be exact the last part of tractate Sanhedrin, is imbued with midrashic materials. As previously noted in scholarly research the Midrashic sources can be revealed through study of its parallels in the legal Midrashim. This paper will define the reciprocality between the second chapter of Mishnah Makot and Sifre Deuteronomy dealing with Deuteronomy verses on the unintentional killer. I will illustrate both overt midrashim quoted in the Mishnah, usually with the underlying verse and the term shene'emar, and covert midrashim. In this last category I address different statements found in the Mishnah whose origins can be explained as emanating from an early midrashic interpretation of the biblical verses, even though such a source is not explicitly mentioned in the Mishnah itself. The comparison raises again the question of the various sources of Mishnah Sanhedrin-Makkoth in particular and of Rabbi's Mishnah in general.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)30-47
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Jewish Studies
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2010
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • History
  • Religious studies
  • Literature and Literary Theory


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