Techniques and Assumptions in Jewish Exegesis

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Introduction Hillel is "remembered not for his inspired exegesis but for his rationalistic exegetical techniques," (Brewer 219). These rational exegetical techniques have been codified into the Seven Rules of Hillel, which many claim predate Hillel himself ("The Seven Rules of Hillel"). Regardless of when, how, and with whom the Seven Rules of rabbinical exegesis emerged, it is clear that Paul relied on these rules when conveying the teachings of Jesus Christ to the Jews. As Cohn-Sherbok points out, Paul's use of rabbinical interpretation and exegesis was deliberate and methodical. It has also been suggested that Paul used the Seven Rules of Hillel himself. There may be some historical basis for this presumption: "Paul was certainly taught these rules in the School of Hillel by Hillel's own grandson Gamliel. When we examine Paul's writings we will see that they are filled with usages of Hillel's Seven Rules," ("The Seven Rules of Hillel"). Therefore, it is natural to read Pauline texts with a rabbinical eye, and equally natural to apply the Seven Rules of Hillel when performing exegesis on books like Romans. One of the reasons why Paul would have wanted to apply the Seven Rules of Hillel to his apostolic mission would have been that a rabbinical interpretation could help his Jewish audience better understand, and more readily accept, Jesus. Paul frequently alluded to the Old Testament when conveying the words or teachings of Christ. The allusions anchored the teachings of

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