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The Prohibition of Oaths and Contra-scriptural Halakhot: A Response to John P. Meier

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The following response to John Meier's article begins by raising initial questions concerning the relationship between oaths and vows, and the criterion of double dissimilarity. The focus then turns to the complicated relationship between the Pentateuch and Jewish legal sources of the Second Temple and Rabbinic periods. It will be suggested that demonstrating Jesus' legal disagreement with either the plain meaning of scripture or other first-century Jewish legal sources does not yield sufficient evidence to claim that Jesus clearly and unambiguously abrogated a matter of Jewish Law. It will also be argued that, in the case of oaths, it is particularly difficult to demonstrate either a contradiction with the Pentateuch or a complete disagreement with the preponderance of contemporary legal sources. Therefore, while Jesus may indeed have prohibited all oaths, this ought not be taken as clear evidence of an abrogation of a matter of Jewish Law.


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