Shnei ketuvim and rabbinic intermediation

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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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)386-410
Number of pages25
JournalJournal for the Study of Judaism
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1 2002

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • History
  • Religious studies
  • Literature and Literary Theory


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