Is there Midrash in his message?

Gary D. Collier writes:

 >David John Marotta writes:
 >>I . . . have come to the conclusion that Paul is not using
 >>Midrash techniques, which I would call wrong . . .
 >You can't be serious.  If this is the case, then you have not
 >read Hays' book (_Echoes of Scripture in Pauls' Letters_) and
 >you do not agree with the quote I gave you from his book, not 100%,
 >not even 10%!
 >>Is there any methodology which you would be willing to label wrong?
 >>Again, I ask, on what basis?
 >Yours.  On the basis that it does not appear to be dealing with
 >Paul within his own social, literary, etc. etc. context.  "Paul is
 >not using Midrash techniques"???   Come on, David!
 >Bewildered, but not belligerent  :-)

 Gary D. Collier had previously quoted:

 >     There is no possibility of accepting Paul's message while
 >     simultaneously rejecting the legitimacy of the scriptural
 >     interpretation that sustains it.  If Paul's way of reading the
 >     testimony of the Law and the Prophets is wrong, then his gospel
 >     does constitute a betrayal of Israel and Israel's God, and his
 >     hermeneutic can only lead us astray.  If, on the other hand, his
 >     material claims are in any sense true, then we must go back and
 >     learn from him how to read Scripture.  (p. 182)

Gary, I reconginized that the author of the quotation went on to
advocate learning Midrash techniques from Paul.  The quotation,
however, simply says that we can't accept Paul message if we think
Paul's methodology is not legitimate.  The author agrees, and thinks
we therefore cannot be critical of what he sees as Paul's methodology.
I agree, and think that we are misunderstanding Paul's methodology.
Many others would want to afirm, just the two things which this
quotation claims are contradictory.  And I agree with the quotations
criticism of this contradiction.

My criticism of Midrash techniques is not *all* Midrash techniques,
but rather simply those which play word games, denying that authorial
intent determines the meaning of a text, and therefore failing to deal
with the author within his own social, literary, etc. etc. context.

It is interesting that the reason you would reject a methodology
is precisely the reason why I would reject many Midrash techniques.
Is Paul, in Gal 3, failing to deal with the author of Genesis within
his own social, literary, etc. etc. context?  My understanding of
Genesis 3 would answer no, but many of the other suggestions (but not
all!) would have to answer yes, wouldn't they?

Stan Anderson had also asked:

>I would be curuious to know from you, David, why
>and how you have come to your conclusion.  What are Midrashic techniques
>and what features characterize them?  In what specific ways is Paul's
>argument different from Midrash, i.e. what features are in Paul's argume
>that never occur in Midrash, and what features always appear in Midrash
>do not appear in Paul?  I also would pose the corresponding question to
>those who are arguing the other side of this issue.  Why do you think
>Paul is using Midrash?  My own exposure to Midrash is quite limited, but
>I get the impression that Paul is not wholly like Midrash while not whol
>unlike it either.

My answer would be primarily the issue of authorial intent.  I believe
that Paul, and other authors of the New Testament, differ from the
Midrash in seeking the orginal author's intent.  Midrash authors seem
more willing to play word games than Paul, hence my focusing on Gal 3:16
which is pointed to as a prime example of Paul playing Midrashic word
games, and suggesting an alternate reading.


David John Marotta, Medical Center Computing, Stacey Hall
Univ of Virginia (804) 982-3718 wrk INTERNET: djm5g@virginia.edu
Box 512 Med Cntr (804) 924-5261 msg   BITNET: djm5g@virginia
C'ville VA 22908 (804) 296-7209 fax   IBM US: usuvarg8