Genesis 2:7 in Conversation: The Exegesis of Paul, Philo, and the Hodayot

M. John-Patrick O’Connor 1
  • 1 Princeton Theological Seminary, 101 Loetscher Place, #319, Princeton, USA
M. John-Patrick O’Connor
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  • Princeton Theological Seminary, 101 Loetscher Place, #319, Princeton, NJ 08540, Princeton, USA
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This article places three Jewish exegetes of Gen 2:7 in conversation—Paul, Philo, and the authors of the Hodayot. This exercise of comparative exegesis hopes to caution overly ambitious parallels between Paul and his contemporaries. When discussions of Philo or the Hodayot serve the end of clarifying Paul’s otherwise cryptic treatise on the resurrection, the results have yielded, at times, similarities between Paul and his contemporaries at the cost of evaluating each author’s critical differences. Instead, this article examines the exegesis of three Jewish readers of one text, Gen 2:7, each on his own terms, in an attempt to avoid mapping one interpreter’s exegesis onto another’s. Each of these three Jewish readers appeal to Gen 2:7 for answers related to anthropology and the afterlife. By placing Paul alongside two other Jewish readers of the same text, this article highlights their similarities while also appreciating their differences.

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A highly reputed journal published since 1900, the Zeitschrift für die neutestamentliche Wissenschaft is an international journal for the exegesis of the New Testament and knowledge of the early church (patristics).