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Angels At Sinai: Exegesis, Theology And Interpretive Authority

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Chapter Summary

This chapter is concerned with the role that angels are said to have played at Sinai during the revelation of the Law. Previous studies have established that some early Christian traditions emphasize that angels acted as mediators in the revelation of the Torah, while some rabbinic traditions emphasize the immediacy of the Sinai event, and evidence has been adduced of a polemical debate between Christians and Jews on this matter. In the chapter, some of the relevant material are revisited from a new perspective. First, the chapter situates the issue of angels at Sinai within the more general study of interpretive claims to authority. Second, it explores the Second Temple background to the debate, a background that has been noted before, but not examined in much detail. Third, the chapter considers several different exegetical strategies employed to counter the notion of angelically mediated revelation in some rabbinic traditions.

Keywords: angels; Christian traditions; interpretive authority; rabbinic exegesis; rabbinic traditions; revelation; Second Temple; Sinai; Torah



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