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Antitheses in Matthew 5: Midrashic aspects of exegetical techniques

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Chapter Summary

While instances of Jesus' separate treatment of some of the issues involved in Matthew 5 are attested elsewhere in the Gospels, their thematic combination within a unifying exegetical framework stands out as trademark of the compiler of the Sermon on the Mount. This chapter addresses the exegetical techniques applied in a number of antithetic sayings from the Sermon on the Mount as well as in a passage from Matthew 19. It discusses the structure of text as it stands now. A number of parallels in Jewish sources are reviewed, and question is raised of their relevance to the study of Sermon. The chapter suggests that even when the conclusions drawn and regulations derived from Torah exegesis in different traditions vary radically, the exegetical techniques applied seem to constitute a shared element of religious discourse, its basic syntax inherited from earlier generations. Finally, a typology of antitheses' polemical stance is suggested.

Keywords: antitheses; exegetical techniques; Gospels; Jewish sources; Matthew 5; Midrashic aspects; Sermon; Torah exegesis



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