The Institute of Midrashic Studies of the New Testament

June 2022 Update

The Thaumasmos of The Institute of Midrashic Studies of the New Testament

It has been recognized that there are over 200 literary devices that are used in Scripture. Literary devices are often used to relay a thought succinctly to the reader. Many times we are not aware that a literary device has been used. In this update of our progress in the Institute of Midrashic Studies of the New Testament we’ll explore a previously unrecognized Pauline characteristic in that he often used a specific literary device in his commentary that Moses used in the Source Text. For example, in Galatians, Paul’s Midrash of Exodus he used over 40 different literary devices that Moses also used. Here are ten listed. Some you may have heard of and some you may have never heard of. We’ll use one to introduce the accomplishments of the Institute over the past six months. Thaumasmos (marvelling) is a figure of speech that is used when, instead of descrbing or stating a thing as a matter of fact, it is expressed in the form of marvelling at it, either directly or by implication. Bullinger, pp. 900-901 recognized Paul’s statement in Galatians 1:6 uses this literary device when a simple statement would have expressed the fact, “you are so quickly deserting”: I marvel that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Messiah to a different “good news”, but there isn’t another “good news.” (Galatians 1:6) Galatians 1:6-9 is a Midrash of Exodus 1:11-2:10. Paul used five words from this section of Exodus from the Septuagint in building his commentary. In this section of Exodus, the discovery of Moses by Pharaoh’s daughter on the Nile River is recorded. Imagine the excitement and the rejoicing of the discovery by the royal assembly there amongst the reeds, an implied thaumasmos. The infanticide of Pharaoh setting the stage for the account of the birth of Moses (Sarna, Exodus, pp. 8-10), his naming foreshadowing the boy’s destiny, the nurturing his mind and character with values and traditions by his own mother with the internal biblical midrash certainly recognized by Isaiah: “Then he remembered the days of old, Moses, and his people, saying, ‘Where is he that brought them up out of (mosheh) the sea with the shepherd of his flock? Where is he that put his Holy Spirit within him?’” (Isaiah 63:11) Paul’s midrashic connection between the Messiah and Moses uses few words but instead uses a literary device to make the connection letting the reader make the connections within their own minds. It is in this marvelling that we are announcing that five articles have been submitted to theological journals:
  • Like a Virgin: Finding the Madonna in Midrash by Kelly Patel
  • Sarah’s Missing Mountain in the Galatians Allegory by Brandon Elder
  • Paul’s Eschatological Use of Numbers in Second Timothy by Brandon Elder
  • New Forensic Evidence of Pauline Authorship of the Pastoral Epistles by David Pitcher
  • New Forensic Evidence of Pauline Authorship of the Book of Hebrews by David Pitcher
The first two articles have already received comments by journal editors though not yet accepted for publication and the final three are still awaiting comments as to whether they will be accepted for publication. I hope you’ll marvel with us at the progress we have made in just six months and anticipate the eventual acceptance of articles that will pave the way for even more articles to be accepted for publication. We currently have three fellows, two of which are working on their first article and one working on his third article. (A fourth fellow completed one article before family needs caused her to bow out of the Institute.) The project is indeed starting as a baby and is being “drawn out” from the Hebrew Scriptures!