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RULES OF HILLEL, THE SEVEN:

Rules given to the sons of Bathyra by Hillel I. as the chief guides for the interpretation of the Scriptures and for the deduction of laws from them (Tosef., Sanh. vii.; the introduction to the Sifra, ed. Weiss, p. 3a, end; Ab. R. N. xxxvii.).

They are as follows:

  • 1. Ḳal (ḳol) wa-ḥomer: "Argumentum a minori ad majus" or "a majori ad minus"; corresponding to the scholastic proof a fortiori.
  • 2. Gezerah shawah: Argument from analogy. Biblical passages containing synonyms or homonyms are subject, however much they differ in other respects, to identical definitions and applications.
  • 3. Binyan ab mi-katub eḥad: Application of a provision found in one passage only to passages which are related to the first in content but do not contain the provision in question.
  • 4. Binyan ab mi-shene ketubim: The same as the preceding, except that the provision is generalized from two Biblical passages.
  • 5. Kelal u-Peraṭ and Peraṭ u-kelal: Definition of the general by the particular, and of the particular by the general.
  • 6. Ka-yoẓe bo mi-maḳom aḥer: Similarity in content to another Scriptural passage.
  • 7. Dabar ha-lamed me-'inyano: Interpretation deduced from the context.

Concerning the origin and development of these rules, as well as their susceptibility of logical proof, see Talmud—Hermeneutics.

W. B. J. Z. L.
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