Back Cover Blurb
- The OT comprises approximately 75% of the text of the Christian Bible. Yet, some believers are so disturbed by its content or puzzled by its relevance, that they cither reduce it to children’s stories or dismiss it altogether as of interest only to historians.
- In this study Roy Ginn sets out to tackle one of the problems. This concerns passages in the NT where we are told that things happened ‘according to the scriptures’, or to ‘fulfil the scriptures', or that certain scriptures speak directly about the Lord Jesus. The scriptures concerned are the Hebrew Scriptures, the Christian OT, and the difficulty is that often the supposed link turns out to be obscure or the context seems strangely irrelevant.
- In order to understand what is going on we need to appreciate how Jewish scholars read and interpret their scriptures, and this booklet gives us a clear and concise introduction to that ‘art’. Moving stepwise from the reasons for believing the Jews have some advantage in this, we are taken through the PaRDeS system, and given examples of how each of the four levels is put into practice.
- Although the method is not always straightforward or easy to apply, after working our way through this booklet, we can begin to understand why and how the Apostle Paul could confidently say that ‘Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures, and that He was buried and that He rose again, according to the Scriptures.'
→ Eliza Wright
- 3 – Preface
- 5 – Introduction
- 7 – Line upon Line, Precept upon Precept
- 9 – The Jewish O.T 4-level PaRDeS study system
- 16 – Applying the Jewish system
- 17 – The Number ‘3’ in Scripture
- 19 – The Number ‘3’ and Resurrection
- 24 – Literal Resurrections in the Bible
- 24 – Conclusion
- The author uses the NKJV which, like the KJV, has the irritating policy of italicising words that are not in the original. It’s difficult – unless you’re really familiar with this policy – to think that the words are being emphasized, particularly where it would be natural to think that they are. Admittedly, the author draws attention to this on p. 2, but it would be easy to miss this, or forget it in the heat of battle.
- It features on the quotation from Isaiah 28:9-10 which the author – absurdly in my view – claims supports the view that Scripture is its own interpreter. This might well be true, but it’s not supported by this passage, which is in any case difficult to interpret. So:-
‘Whom will he teach knowledge? And whom will he make to understand the message? Those just weaned from the milk? Those just drawn from the breasts? For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, there a little.’
- The trouble with this passage – from the author’s perspective – is that this verse is most likely in the mouths of Isaiah’s opponents (as reported by Isaiah; those who want to seek support from Egypt against the Assyrians) as an arrogant and scornful response to the prophet’s blandishments. Roughly, it means ‘who do you think you’re talking to with your pedantic blather? Babies?’
- Contrast the NKJV with the NIV below
"Who is it he is trying to teach? To whom is he explaining his message? To children weaned from their milk, to those just taken from the breast? For it is: Do this, do that, a rule for this, a rule for that; a little here, a little there."
- Verse 10 is repeated back to Isaiah’s opponents in verse 13, where the ‘scoffers’ will ‘fall backwards, be broken, snared and taken captive’. Verse 11 seems to say that these pernickety commands will be made by the Assyrians (those with stammering lips and a strange tongue) after they’ve been taken ‘the drunkards of Ephraim’ (v. 1) captive because (v. 12) they would not hear the word of the Lord.
- A Jewish commentary ("Slotki (Israel W.) - Isaiah: Hebrew Text, English Translation and Commentary") is broadly supportive of this, placing the saying of verses 9-10 in the mouths of Isaiah’s opponents (rather than from Isaiah himself, or the Lord) saying ‘the Hebrew of verse 10 sounds like the mocking of nursery rhymes or the stammering of drunkards’. Similarly "Berlin (Adele), Brettler (Marc Zvi) & Fishbane (Michael) - The Jewish Study Bible: Featuring the Jewish Publication Society TANAKH": ‘The Hebrew consists of repetitive gibberish; Isaiah’s audience disregards his poetic warnings as repetitive nonsense’.
- The consensus seems to be that these verses are not telling us how we – or Scripture itself – should interpret Scripture.
- Well, our author thinks that the way the Jews interpret (or interpreted) the Scriptures should be a guide to us. After all, the OT Scriptures were given to them, so they should know. What would be useful to know is how they interpreted the Scriptures in NT times, whether this is a sound method or not, as it might well have been the standard rules of engagement in Pharisaic debate at the time (and that of other sects). We do, however, know that the Jews of different sects (Sadducees, Pharisees, Essenes) differed radically in their approach to Scripture – which writings were authoritative and how they should be interpreted. Also, those of a single sect were always disagreeing with one another even on the literal interpretation: witness the disagreements between the School of Hillel and the School of Shammai (Wikipedia: Houses of Hillel and Shammai). This was seen as a positive thing.
- The Essenes adopted a Pesher approach (see Wikipedia: Pesher and "Harris (J.G.) - The Qumran Commentary on Habakkuk"), which sees a two-level interpretation of Scripture: the literal, available to the common man, and a hidden interpretation only revealed to certain individuals with the right knowledge. A particular feature of the ‘hidden’ level is the reading of Scripture – particular the prophesies – as applicable to the present day, even where this is unlikely on the literal level.
- The author doesn’t mention this approach but – as the author expounds at length – there’s the much later four-fold PaRDeS approach. This will only be relevant if it – or something like it – was operative in the first century, though I suppose if it turns out to be a sound method, it might be useful for us today whenever it arose. We’ll see.
- The author gets his information from a number of YouTube videos and a website:-
- YouTube: 119 Ministries - Four Levels (see YouTube: 119 Ministries; note that in the booklet, the time element on the URL points to the adverts at the end of the brief – 4 minute - video).
- dancin4yeshua: The principles of pardes
- YahShua Yeshiva: Principles of Biblical Interpretation
- These represent rather flimsy material for resting a case for Biblical exegesis on.
- What about other links not mentioned by the author? I’ve dug out a few, though it’d be more sensible to find a book:-
- YouTube: Being a Disciple (David Evans) - PaRDeS - 4 Levels of Jewish Interpretation
- YouTube: (Wikipedia Audio): Pardes (Jewish Exegesis)
- Wikipedia: Pardes (Exegesis)
- Jewish Encyclopaedia (1906 Edition): Bible Exegesis (Mystical Exegesis: Pardes)
- While the Wikipedia article does need tidying up, it has a link to the 1906 Jewish Encyclopaedia with a very long and interesting survey of Jewish exegesis throughout the centuries. The above link hops to the 13th Century. This reveals that PaRDeS is a system invented in that century and associated with the Kabbalistic mystical approach exemplified in the Zohar (see Wikipedia: Zohar). It implies that this approach was copied from the ‘Four Senses’ Christian approach! See Wikipedia: Four senses of Scripture, though it doesn’t look like the 4-fold categorisations tie together well.
|Peshaṭ (Literal)||Peshaṭ (Literal)||Literal / Historical|
|Midrash||Remez (allusion, typological, allegory)||Tropological (moral)|
|Kabbalah (Mystical) ||Sod (secret, mystical)||Anagogical|
- The above table is taken from the Pardes section of the Jewish Encyclopaedia linked to above. This section doesn’t explain the meanings of the terms. I assume Derash is the same as Midrash.
- The Wikipedia link above gives for the obscure Catholic terms:-
- Typological: ‘connects the events of the Old Testament with the New Testament; in particular drawing allegorical connections between the events of Christ's life with the stories of the Old Testament’. See also Wikipedia: Typology.
- Tropological: ‘Moral – which is how one should act in the present, the "moral of the story"’. See also Wikipedia: Tropological Reading.
- Anagogical: ‘dealing with the future events of Christian history, heaven, hell, the last judgment; it deals with prophecies’. See also Wikipedia: Anagoge.
- Roy Ginn’s explanation of four levels of Pardes is as follows:-
- Peshat: Literal
- Remez: Hint
- Derash: Search out
- Sod: Hidden
- To be continued …!
- All in all, it doesn’t matter too much how the various approaches are parcelled up between these terms. Overall, all schemes share the same set of approaches. Of course, Jewish allegory isn’t the same as Christian allegory as far as its results are concerned: they may find allusions to the Messiah, but don’t take this individual to be Jesus so don’t find references to his life-story in the Hebrew text.
- The author is addressing an important question. Why does the NT use the OT in such an odd way? It never seems to take a passage in context but uses the form of words in whatever present context they might prove useful. It does not appear to ‘rightly divide the Word’.
- I think it is probably correct to say that this usage was typical of Pharisaic interpretation at the time, and that the gospel as given to the Jews used their own interpretive methods. However, though some were convinced, the majority didn’t agree. That’s the trouble with non-literal, contextual interpretation of Scripture – there’s nothing to control the interpretation (beyond the Holy Spirit, of course); but it ought to come with a health warning ‘don’t try this at home’.
- I wonder whether gentiles (like myself) should get too worried about this. This technique wasn’t used to gentiles, who wouldn’t be impressed by arcane interpretations of the OT (being ignorant of it).
- I was impressed by the author’s listing the ‘3’s’ in Scripture, but wondered how literally we should take them. One thing in particular – I cannot see how being ‘three days and three nights’ in the depths of the earth can be made out to be consistent with ‘rising on the third day’ – though I suppose that ‘day’ might not be univocal. But if Jesus was crucified during the day of Good Friday – that’s one day – then was in the tomb on Friday night, Saturday day, Saturday night and Sunday morning – that makes three days (or parts thereof) but only two nights (albeit this is better than ‘elapsed time’ of around a day and a half). A solution might be that the crucifixion was on the Thursday and resurrection before daybreak on the Sunday. No doubt there are other wheezes. Waters - Jesus in the Heart of the Earth: Deciphering the Jonah Saying (Matthew 12:39–41) suggests that ‘the heart of the earth’ is Jerusalem, rather than Sheol, and that the three days and three nights refer to suffering – from the Last Supper (or possibly Gethsemane) on the Thursday night – until the resurrection after daybreak on the Sunday. I’m not convinced.
Open Bible Trust, 2022
"Ginn (Roy) - According to the Scriptures"
Source: Ginn (Roy) - According to the Scriptures
Being annotated & written up - filed in "Various - Papers on Desktop".
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