The Seat of Moses

An entry in my list of extra-biblical traditions in the New Testament.

“Then Jesus spoke to the multitudes and to His disciples, saying: ‘The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat.’ – Matthew 23:1-2

“Moses received Torah from Sinai and he handed it on to Joshua and Joshua to elders and elders to prophets and prophets handed it on to the men of the great synagogue.” – Mishnah Abot 1:1

This is a Jewish extra-biblical tradition that the scribes and Pharisees, who were preservers, teachers, and interpreters of the Law, were qualified to do their jobs because they had inherited the office of the Prophet Moses, and it was from this office that they derived their authority to perform their duties. This belief is mentioned again in the New Testament in Acts 15:21: “For Moses has had throughout many generations those who preach him in every city, being read in the synagogues every Sabbath.”

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