What is the relationship between how the early church read Scripture and that of say Alexandrian Judaism or later Rabbinic Judaism? Well, it’s complicated. Richard Hays provides a warning in Echoes of Scripture in the Letters of Paul (p. 11) that I thought should be repeated here for those seeking to better understand such relationships. He writes,
“Rabbinic Judaism, no less than early Christianity, represents (along with the Qumran community and Philo’s scholastic Alexandrian Judaism, inter alia), one of several different adaptations of the religious and cultural heritage represented by Israel’s Scriptures. These different adaptations should be studied, at least initially, as parallel phenomena, related but distinct dispositions of that heritage, To argue that one of these phenomena represents a source or influence for another is likely to be misleading unless some documentable lines of historical dependance can be demonstrated. One thing that is clearly documentable is that all of them deliberately regard Scripture as source and authority for their own quite different theological developments.
This is especially important to ponder when we read someone saying “Paul is doing ‘midrash’ here” or other statements that categorize one branch using systematic structures of another. Yes, it is likely that these branches look similar because they are part of the same tree, but the branches are not dependent on each other.