The Institute for Midrashic Studies of the New Testament

September 2022 Update

As we bid farewell to our fellow Brandon Elder, a seminarian from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth who has submitted three articles to theological journals, we continue to make advances toward peer review of the research occurring at The Institute. In addition to the three articles submitted by Brandon, Dr. Pitcher has submitted his third article for peer review also. The first two of his articles are still in the review process. This next article, “The Comparative Paradigmatic Analysis of Ephesians 4:7-16 with Isaiah 36:1-41:29” proposes a solution to a long discussed controversy in Ephesians 4:8 with Paul’s quote of Psalm 68:18. Paul changed the “receiving gifts” in the psalm to “giving gifts.”

It has been suggested that Paul was using midrash to make the change but to date no one has explained how that occurred. Through the finding of the comparative paradigmatic analyses of Ephesians and Isaiah Dr. Pitcher’s most recent submission showed that Paul linked Ecclesiastes 5:19, Psalm 68:18 and Isaiah 36:1-38:22 with the Hillel middoth of binyan av mishnai katuvim. It had previously been suggested that Paul was drawing on an ancient oral tradition reflected the Aramaic Targum and the Syriac Peshitta version because both of these, written in the fourth century AD also made the change in commenting/translating the verse in the psalm. With Pitcher’s finding, evidence suggests that Paul, the author of the Aramaic Targum and the author of the Syriac Peshitta were using exegetical tools known in the Second Temple era. This finding helps in the quest to link the reasoning of the Second Temple era to the second century.

Our other two fellows are completing their first article each and will be submitting articles to peer review journals soon. Of note, to have a better platform to present findings rather than with a medical degree, Dr. Pitcher has begun seminary himself at Liberty University John W. Rawlings School of Divinity in the Masters of Divinity in Biblical Languages program. He has already submitted articles regarding the findings of the midrash in Paul’s letters which are being well-received. It is his hope to complete the degree in two years and then on to a doctorate while continuing as the Academic Director of The Institute.

A. Skevington Wood, “Ephesians” in The Expositor’s Bible Commentary Volume 11, ed. Frank E. Gæbelein (Grand Rapids MI: Zondervan, 1978), 57.

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