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The Prophet And The Law In Early Judaism And The New Testament

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Chapter Summary

Ancient debates between Judaism and Christianity have profoundly affected both Judaeo-Christian relations down to the present day, and internal development of Judaism itself. The "letter" comes to be associated with "The Law" and "the Spirit" with the Holy Spirit, and all too easily the phrase takes on connotations not merely of theological disputes: it even takes on connotations of "The Law killeth Jesus" and so gets mixed up with deicide charge and centuries of antisemitism which that charge was used to justify. This chapter addresses the tension between law and prophecy, as worked out in various uses made of the tradition of "prophet-like-Moses". The non-eschatological prophet was viewed in terms of sectarianism of the period: he could authorise individual actions which suspended the Law, teach his sect his own interpretation of the law, and judge individual cases against the Law. Reflections of all three are found in the New Testament.

Keywords: Christianity; Holy Spirit; Judaism; Law; Moses; New Testament; non-eschatological prophet; prophet



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