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Πέμπτη, 31 Οκτωβρίου 2019

“Woe to you lawyers…” (Luke 11:46)


“Woe to you lawyers…” (Luke 11:46)
In this morning’s gospel Jesus chastises, first the Pharisees and then lawyers; but who or what are these lawyers?

After the Babylonians destroyed Solomon's Temple in 586 B.C. the Jewish nation was no longer able to offer the prescribed routine sacrifices. Thus, the central focus of the Hebrew nation began to shift from sacrificial mode to an ultra-conservative obedience to God’s Law (Torah). They reasoned that since their failure to observe the Law of God probably caused the destruction of the Temple, careful observance of this Law would be its remedy. This process also brought about a shift in who the Jewish people saw as their religious leaders. Therefore, as the priestly sacrifice declined, the spotlight came to rest upon such new religious figureheads as the Scribes: those who were experts in the Law.

Originally the Scribe’s primary role was to copy the Scriptures. This was a very intense, tedious, and demanding occupation since the hand copied scrolls had to be perfect and could not contain any errors or mistakes. And because the Scribes studied (and copied) Scripture very slowly, they knew almost every passage and law by memory – making them experts even into the minutia of God’s Law. Thus, they transitioned from mere copiers of Scripture to actual teachers of it. And because they had such intimate knowledge of God's Law, these Scribes were also often referred to as lawyers.

Fr. John

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