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The Sanhedrin are empowered with the capability of defining a certain word or verse in the Torah through a Drasha exegesis (cf. Hilkhot Mamrim 1:3).

Firstly, does this mean that before the Sanhedrin came to reinterpret this word or verse it was understood in its literal sense? (For instance, did Ayin Tachat Ayin Mamash -eye for an eye literally- ever transpire?)

Secondly, is there a source for the idea that the Sanhedrin reinterpreted this certain verse or word from the literal translation in response to changing ethical norms and more progressive values? (Namely, Ayin Tachat Ayin was looked at as barbaric and Sanhedrin therefore solved the problem by diverting it's translation...)

  • Adding sources for the claims you make would greatly improve your question. – Ploni Jun 13 '17 at 1:49
  • Anyone is welcome to edit as they wish and provide sources ... – El Shteiger Jun 13 '17 at 1:53
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    Making claims, without having checked them for accuracy, does not make your question a good question. – Ploni Jun 13 '17 at 1:59
  • "Secondly, is there a source for the idea that the Sanhedrin reinterpreted this certain verse or word from the literal translation in response to changing ethical norms and more progressive values?" though i do not have a source for this yet, i believe this is the only rational approach as how to explain the contradiction between peshat and derash according to the understanding of the Rashbam (where peshat is totally independent of derash, and sometimes even contradicts Halacha. see his commentary on ועבדו לעולם and on tefillin). see also ramabm moreh 3:41 on ayin tachas ayin. – Bach Jun 13 '17 at 2:01
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    Or it could be that this is how the Sanhedrin always interpreted the Psukim. Or it could be that they re-interpreted the verses for textual reasons. Or it could be that they re-interpreted the verses to fit into existing Halacha LeMoshe MiSinai. Or it could be an Asmachta and truly be a Halacha LeMoshe MiSinai. – Shmuel Brin Jun 13 '17 at 2:04

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