Written for Us: Paul’s Interpretation of Scripture and the History of Midrash


This volume re-introduces Paul into the study of midrash. Though Paul writes and interprets scripture in Greek and the Tannaim in Hebrew, and despite grave methodological difficulties in claiming direct and substantial cultural contact between these literary traditions, this book argues that Paul is a crucial source for the study of rabbinic midrash and vice versa. Fisch offers fresh perspectives on reading practices that Paul and the Tannaim uniquely share; on Paul’s concept of nomos, and its implications on the reconstructed history of the Tannaitic twofold-Torah, Oral and Written; on the relationship between allegory and midrash as hermeneutical systems; and on competing conceptualizations of ideal readers.

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Yael Fisch, Ph.D. (2019), Tel Aviv University, is a Martin Buber Society fellow at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. She has published on ancient Judaism, including ‘The Origins of Oral Torah: A New Pauline Perspective,’ JSJ 51 (2020), 43-66.

 1 Review of Existing Scholarship: Paul and Midrash
 2 Paul the Pharisee? A Critique of the Paul/Pharisees/ Tannaim Continuum
 3 Genealogy as Goal and Its Hermeneutical Limits
 4 Why Should We Compare?
 5 What Is to Be Gained from a Comparative Study of Paul, Midrash, and Qumran?
 6 How to Move beyond Genealogy
 7 Plan for This Study

1 Scripture Reconceived
 Romans 10:5–13, The Hermeneutics of Midrash-Pesher and a New Genealogy of ‘Oral Torah’
 1 The Scriptural Sources in Romans 10:5–13 and the Language of the Citations
 2 Exegetical Rhetoric in Romans 10: ‘Midrash-Pesher’ and Its Uses
 3 Scriptural Hermeneutics in Romans 10: Towards New Genealogy of Oral Torah

2 Hagar and Sarah
 Midrash and Allegory
 1 Galatians 4:21–5:1
 2 Rhetorical Structure: Lemma & Paraphrase
 3 Ἅτινά ἐστιν ἀλληγορούμενα: What Is Allegory?
 4 But Is There an Allegory at All?
 5 What Do Sarah and Hagar Stand for?
 6 The Intertext, Isaiah 54:1 and Its Allegorical Function
 7 Pauline Allegory and Rabbinic Midrash: The Central Scholarly Positions
 8 Dorshei Rashumot and the History of Allegory
 9 Precedents for Hebrew Allegory: Allegory in Qumran
 10 Philo’s Allegorization of Hagar and Sarah
 11 Pauline, Qumranic, Philonic and Midrashic Allegories: Relationship and History
 12 Torah to the Gentiles

3 Veiling and Unveiling
 2 Corinthians 3 and Tannaitic Hermeneutics
 1 2 Corinthians 3: A Close Reading
 2 Exodus 34: Structure and Meaning
 3 Interpretations of Exodus 34:29–35 in Philo, LAB, Qumran, Targum and Rabbinic Literature
 4 How Is Exodus 34:29–35 Retold in 2 Corinthians 3?
 5 המגלה פנים בתורה שלא כהלכה
 6 Modesty and Interpretation in Rabbinic Literature

 1 Pauline Hermeneutics in Light of Qumran and Midrash
 2 Midrash in Light of Paul and Qumran
This book is intended for scholars and students in the fields of Ancient Judaism (mainly rabbinic literature, Dead Sea Scrolls and Paul), Hebrew Bible, New Testament, Christian origins, and those interested in the history of hermeneutics.
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