In this article I posit the presence of an early Jewish exegesis of Lev 19:17–18 preserved in the Tannaitic midrash known as Sifra, which is inverted and amplified in Did. 1:3–5, Q 6:27–35, Luke 6:27–35, and Matt 5:38–44. Identifying shared terminology and a sequence of themes in these passages, I argue that these commonalities testify to the existence of a shared exegetical tradition. By analyzing the later rabbinic material I delineate the contours of this Second Temple period interpretation and augment our understanding of the construction of these early Christian pericopae. In commenting on Lev 19:17, Sifra articulates three permissible modes of rebuke: cursing, hitting, and slapping. In its gloss on the subsequent verse, Sifra exemplifies the biblical injunction against vengeance and bearing a grudge through the case of lending and borrowing from one’s neighbor. The Didache, Matthew, and Luke invert the first interpretation by presenting Jesus as recommending a passive response to being cursed or slapped, and they amplify the second interpretation by commanding one to give and lend freely to all who ask. The similar juxtaposition of these two ideas and the shared terminology between Sifra and these New Testament period texts suggest a common source. By reading these early Christian sources in light of this later rabbinic work I advance our understanding of the formation of these well-known passages and illustrate the advantages of cautiously employing rabbinic material for reading earlier Christian works.
Simone Weil’s interpretation of the Iliad as a “poem of force” has resonances with Rom 1–8, reinforcing the question of how Rom 13:1–7 belongs in the larger argument of Romans. Seeking a generous reading of 13:1–7 along the lines of the generosity Weil extends to the Iliad, I first take Pharaoh as an example of Paul’s understanding of the relationship between God and human rulers and then propose that Paul’s treatment of human rulers coheres with his refusal in this letter to reify lines between “insider” and “outsider.” I conclude with a reflection on the need for generosity in scholarly research and pedagogy.
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Amitai Baruchi-Unna, “Two Clearings of Goats (1 Kings 20:27): An Interpretation Supported by an Akkadian Parallel”
Ryan E. Stokes, “Satan, Yhwh’s Executioner”
Saul M. Olyan, “Jehoiakim’s Dehumanizing Interment as a Ritual Act of Reclassification”
John L. McLaughlin, “Is Amos (Still) among the Wise?”
Christine Mitchell, “A Note on the Creation Formula in Zechariah 12:1–8; Isaiah 42:5–6; and Old Persian Inscriptions”
Kristian Larsson, “Intertextual Density, Quantifying Imitation”
J. R. Daniel Kirk and Stephen L. Young, “‘I Will Set His Hand to the Sea’: Psalm 88:26 LXX and Christology in Mark”
Jennifer Knust and Tommy Wasserman, “The Biblical Odes and the Text of the Christian Bible: A Reconsideration of the Impact of Liturgical Singing on the Transmission of the Gospel of Luke”
Brittany E. Wilson, “The Blinding of Paul and the Power of God:Masculinity, Sight, and Self-Control in Acts 9”
Brice C. Jones, ”Three New Coptic Papyrus Fragments of 2 Timothy and Titus (P.Mich. inv. 3535b)”
Nicola Denzey Lewis and Justine Ariel Blount, “Rethinking the Origins of the Nag Hammadi Codices”
This issue also introduces the “JBL Forum,” which is intended to provide “an occasional series that will highlight approaches, points of
view, and even definitions of ‘biblical scholarship’ that may be outside the usual purview of many of our readers. The format may vary from time to time but will always include an exchange of ideas on the matter at hand” (pg. 421). This issue’s forum includes:
Ronald Hendel, “Mind the Gap: Modern and Postmodern in Biblical Studies”
Stephen D. Moore, “Watch the Target: A Post-Postmodernist Response to Ronald Hendel”
Peter Miscall, George Aichele, and Richard Walsh, “Response to Ron Hendel”