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image of Journal for the Study of Judaism

The present article argues that in the legal midrashim associated with the school of Rabbi Ishmael, the Mekhilta and the Sifre Numbers, "Two Verses Contradict and a Third Resolves" is not a general rule meant to resolve logical difficulties, as is generally assumed. The third verse resolution is employed in only two of the derashot that discuss biblical contradictions. A close reading of these derashot suggest that the issue at hand is not logical but theological and that in each case the third verse introduces a theological intermediary, denying the unmediated presence of God in the Tent of Meeting and at Sinai.


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