In contrast to the widely held view that the saying in Mark 7:5–7 is a Markan redaction, this article argues that the exchange between Jesus and the Pharisees is thoroughly at home in an inter-Jewish (non-Christian) polemic concerning the ideology of purity and thus may well be more historical, or earlier, than is often thought. More specifically, it is argued that the function of Isa 29:13 as a scriptural support for the denunciation of the "tradition of the elders" finds its closest parallel in the targumic interpretive tradition and not in the early church.

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