Comparing: Pseudepigrapha / Classical

Pseudepigrapha in Jewish and Greco-Roman Contexts

The term midrash, like the term intertextuality, is used in different senses. It is used to refer to a mass of literature from the formative and classical Jewish periods as a recognizable literary genre, the Tannaitic and rabbinic midrashim. It is also used in a broader sense to mean the function of searching Scripture to seek light on new problems, as the Hebrew verb KשׁרדK (meaning “search” or “seek”) indicates. In other words, it may be used to indicate a literary form, or to indicate a literary function.

One also finds international wisdom absorbed and adapted into biblical literature from the earliest scriptural compositions through to the last. One also attempts to discern the reader’s or receptor’s hermeneutic (view of reality) by which the later writer caused the earlier Scripture to function in the newer composition. Comparative midrash is the exercise by which one can probe the depths of intertextuality and its significance for scriptural and other Jewish literature. One first does exegesis on the passage cited or echoed in its primary location at inception in the Hebrew Bible, noting carefully the earlier traditions and wisdom thinking borrowed and structured into the cited passage in the first place. One then traces the Nachleben or pilgrimage of that passage throughout early Jewish literature, within the Tanak, through the Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha, the Dead Sea Scrolls, Philo, Josephus, and the Second Testament – attempting always to determine the receptor hermeneutics used by the various tradents ...