The present article is an integrative study of rabbinic sources in tandem with gospel pericopes, Pauline passages, and a passage of the Duae viae (included in the Didache). I contend that all these sources are variants of a Jewish tradition composed of two elements: (a) a maxim—the golden rule—or an equivalent biblical verse, Lev 19:18b; (b) an assertion that this maxim or verse summarizes the torah, or is the core of the whole torah (the difference in Hebrew is between kǝlāl, “rule,” and kōl, “whole”). The wording of these variants cuts across the putative division between the various corpora. Observing the pluriformity of this tradition is important for the study of both the New Testament and rabbinic literature, the focus of the present article. This study demonstrates that early phraseology may be preserved in late rabbinic texts, which thus problematizes the “synoptic problem” of rabbinic literature (and, mutatis mutandis, of the gospels). Similar wording should not blur different contents; affinities should not obscure inherent dynamics. The potential for a radical interpretation of the formulation that “the whole torah” is encapsulated in one verse or maxim has not been realized in rabbinic literature; the radical potential of the formulation was realized and developed by Paul in Gal 5:14.

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