The Midrash of Law and Legend: Applying Jewish Interpretive Methods to Christian Preaching of the Hebrew Bible

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Babcock, Jessica Harris
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School of Theology, University of the South , School of Theology Thesis 2021 , Disproportionate preaching , Jewish scriptures , Midrash
Christian preachers often find the scriptures Jews and Christians hold in common difficult to preach on Sunday morning for many reasons. Whether they fear crossing over into supersessionism, believe that their congregants will find the text to be culturally inaccessible, or misunderstand the Hebrew Scriptures, the outcome is the same. Preachers fail to balance their preaching between the Hebrew Bible and the Greek New Testament. The result of this disproportionate preaching reinforces a myth of inaccessibility and the idea that the Hebrew Bible and the Greek New Testament are somehow separate from one another. This thesis argues, therefore, that Christian preachers can help their listeners value the Hebrew Bible by incorporating Jewish interpretive methods such as Midrashic dialogue, imagination and PaRDeS into their sermon preparation. In so doing, the preacher can also provide their congregants with new methods for learning from and engaging with the Hebrew Bible.