Scholarship

“I am only suggesting the lack of value in many value judgments, when these emerge from an acquaintance merely with excerpt instead of with the intent, and the nuances, of a literature”

Rabbinists have sometimes assumed that a gospel pericope was lifted bodily from the Gemara. Elsewhere, I have expressed the opinion that rabbinic scholars have assumed that a mastery of the Talmud confers automatic mastery of the gospels.

I would state here that NT scholars devoid of rabbinic learning have been misled by Strack-Billerbeck into arrogating to themselves a competency they do not possess. Strack-Billerbeck confers upon a student untrained and inexperienced in rabbinic literature not competency but confusion. The list of indiscretions by NT scholars in rabbinics, or by rabbinic scholars in NT, would be a long one. I allude here to errors in scholarship and not to pseudo scholarship. By this latter I have in mind the distorted evaluation of rabbinic Judaism as merely dry and arid legalism – it is never dry or arid, but always dry and arid; or a judgment such as Friedlander’s that what is good in the Sermon on the Mount is borrowed from Jewish sources, and what isn’t, isn’t very good. I am not implying that scholars are without the right to make value judgments. I am only suggesting the lack of value in many value judgments, when these emerge from an acquaintance merely with excerpt instead of with the intent, and the nuances, of a literature.

Samuel Sandmel, “Parallelomania”, Journal of Biblical Literature vol 81, No. 1 (March 1962), 9-10.