Hermeneutics is the interpretation of a text, usually religious scriptures. It answers the question, "What is the text saying?" Hindu hermeneutics, called Mimamsa, is entirely based on the authority of the Purva Mimamsa Sutras of Jaimini and Shabara's commentary on them.

Talmudical hermeneutics is the interpretation of Biblical texts.

My question is, what are the differences?

This site lays down 7 rules of Talmudical hermeneutics. Most of these rules are already there in Hinduism.

  1. Ḳal (ḳol) wa-ḥomer: The first rule of Hillel and of Ishmael, called also "din" (conclusion). This is the argument "a minori ad majus" or "a majori ad minus."

This argument is argumentum a fortiori. An example of this is, if a person is dead (the stronger reason), then one can with equal or greater certainty argue a fortiori that the person is not breathing. Dead people do not breathe, therefore, "he is no longer breathing" is an extrapolation from his being dead and is a derivation of this strong argument.

  1. Gezerah shawah ("Similar laws, similar verdicts"): The second rule of Hillel and of Ishmael, and the seventh of Eliezer b. Jose ha-Gelili. This may be described as argument by analogy, which infers from the similarity of two cases that the legal decision given for the one holds good for the other also.

This rule is also there in Mimamsa.

  1. Binyan ab mi-katub eḥad ("A standard from a passage of Scripture"): A certain passage serves as a basis for the interpretation of many others, so that the decision given in the case of one is valid for all the rest.

This rule is also there in Mimamsa. Some Vedic verses are so direct, that they cannot be interpreted in another way. However, other verses which appear to conflict with the clearer verses, and which have multiple meanings, should be interpreted in a way that is consistent with the more clear verses.

  1. Binyan ab mi-shene ketubim ("A standard from two passages of Scripture"): By this rule a decision in two laws having a characteristic in common () is applied to many other laws which have this same characteristic.

Essentially the same as rule 2, and some authors combine them.

  1. Kelal u-feraṭ and feraṭ u-kelal ("General and particular, particular and general," i.e., limitation of the general by the particular and vice versa):

This is one of the most commonly applied rules in Mimamsa. For example, the general Vedic rule "one should not harm others", is limited by exceptional rules that enjoin himsa: regal punishments, animal sacrifice, etc.

And, the specific rule, "one should sacrifice kapinjala birds", is limited by the general rule, "one should not harm others", which implies that only three kapinjala birds should be sacrificed, since "birds" is plural, and in sanskrit the minimum plural number is three.

  1. Ka-yoẓe bo mi-maḳom aḥer ("Like that in another place"): The explanation of a Biblical passage according to another of similar content.

Essentially the same as using Upabrahmanas, or Smriti texts, that elaborate on stories alluded to in the Vedas. It can also be used for Vedic texts in other shakhas that elaborate on stories in another shakha.

  1. Dabar ha-lamed me-'inyano ("Something proved by the context"): Definition from the context. Ishmael omits rule 6 entirely, and has another (No. 13) instead which is not found in Hillel, and which reads thus: ("If two passages contradict each other, this contradiction must be reconciled by comparison with a third passage").

Obviously this is a Mimamsa rule. And Ishmael's rule 13 mentioned above is essentially how Sri Vaishnavas reconcile scriptural verses that say "Brahman is the Jiva", with verses that say "Brahman and Jiva are different", by invoking Gataka Shruti that says that Brahman is the inner-self of the Jiva, and "is the Jiva" insofar as the Jivas are the body of Brahman.

So these 7 rules are in accordance with the rules of Mimamsa. My question is, are there any differences with other rules, or with more detailed/specific rules?

The 7 rules laid down here are of the author known as Hillel the Elder. But there are other authors such as Rabbi Ishmael, and Eliezer ben Yose HaGelili.


It must be borne in mind, however, that neither Hillel, Ishmael, nor Eliezer ben Jose sought to give a complete enumeration of the rules of interpretation current in his day.

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