PRDS or PaRDeS
A methodology for Biblical interpretation.
The acronym PRDS: Pshat, Remez, Drash, Sod. Referred to as Pardes.
- Pshat (simple)–the literal meaning of the text
- Remes (hint)–the figurative meaning of the text
- Drash (search)–the allegorical meaning of the text
- Sod (hidden)–the hidden meaning of the text
The pshat is referred to as the literal meaning of a biblical text or the plain meaning of the text.
Ecclesiastes 11:4 He that observeth the wind shall not sow; and he that regardeth the clouds shall not reap.
The literal meaning of this text refers to sowing seed in a field conditionally with regard to the wind. The meaning is simple and does not go beyond the literal understanding of the passage.
But this verse hints at a deeper meaning that is not apparent from the literal text, which has something to do with worry. The text, understood in a figurative way illustrates a principal. If you worry about all the things that could interfere with your goal, you might not even start to persue it in the first place.
A drash of this passage would concentrate on the allegorical meaning, that is, the meaning that the pattern of the story relates, when compared to other passages utilizing the same pattern or symbols.
For example, this passage seems to be related to Ecclesiates.
Luke 12:22 And he said unto his disciples, Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat; neither for the body, what ye shall put on. 23 The life is more than meat, and the body is more than raiment. 24 Consider the ravens: for they neither sow nor reap; which neither have storehouse nor barn; and God feedeth them: how much more are ye better than the fowls?
This passage is also speaking about sowing and worry. The additional information from a parallel passage compliments the passage in Ecclesiates and adds more depth to the understanding of worry–that we need not, since God takes care of our needs.
Sod is the hidden meaning of the text.
To illustrate the Sod let’s look at 1 Sam 17:40. This is a verse from the story of David and Goliath.
1 Samuel 17:40 And he took his staff in his hand, and chose him five smooth stones out of the brook, and put them in a shepherd’s bag which he had, even in a scrip; and his sling was in his hand: and he drew near to the Philistine.
Five smooth stones were chosen from the brook and used as amunition for David’s sling. David used a stone to strike Goliah on the forehead and kill him. There is a hidden meaning in this story, but in order to see the hidden meaning you need to understand that this story is the basis for symbolic language used in other parts of the bible.
The story of David and Goliah is connected by allegory to the description of King Nebuchadnezzar’s dream. In chapter 2, Nebuchadnezzar dreams that a great stone hits the statue and destroys it. Then it grows to become a great mountain.
Daniel 2:35 Then was the iron, the clay, the brass, the silver, and the gold, broken to pieces together, and became like the chaff of the summer threshing floors; and the wind carried them away, that no place was found for them: and the stone that smote the image became a great mountain, and filled the whole earth.
Obviously, stones cannot grow so you must go to symbolic language to make sense of it. Both stories use similar symbols, but the latter story defines it as a great mountain that fills the whole earth.
In the new testament “thee” stone is defined to be none other than Jesus himself.
1Pet 2:6 Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded.
Both stories are actually describing the setting up of the kingdom of God on the earth. Jesus is the stone that strikes Goliath, a meaning that is hidden when you read the scripture literally.