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Yeshua in Context » Hebrew Bible as Testimony

PODCAST: Lamb of God #2

Sometimes we understand a story best only after we have read to the end. Like a detective story, the Gospel of John has some revelation that waits until 21:24. And when we read a second time, once we understand, there are some connections between Messiah, Passover, Temple sacrifices, and the eyewitness experience of the Beloved Disciple that add new layers of meaning to Yeshua as our Passover. Lamb of God #2 … Read entire article »

Filed under: Background to Gospels, Cross, Detailed Commentary, Eyewitnesses, Hebrew Bible as Testimony, Literary Features, Passover, Podcasts, Sacrificial System, Yeshua as

REVIEW: Anthony Le Donne’s Historical Jesus

Historical Jesus: What can we know and how can we know it?, Anthony Le Donne, Eerdmans, 2011. This short and very readable volume is valuable but flawed. The reason I say that: great information on historical “knowing” and application to historical Jesus studies, but poor application to the Jesus story once Le Donne turns his attention to it. First, the part I think is good. When it comes to historical knowledge, how we know history, Le Donne explains in layman terms why modernism overreached. Modernism was too optimistic in some ways and too skeptical in others. It assumed we could find “the facts, just the facts” and view history objectively, in a one to one correspondence. All knowledge, even memory, is interpretation, says Le Donne, in what I deem to be a … Read entire article »

Filed under: Ascension of Yeshua, Book Reviews, Gospels as History, Hebrew Bible as Testimony

“My Son” as Midrash

It’s a famous example of what seems to be the unusual, perhaps questionable, use of the Jewish scriptures by the apostles. It occurs in a very noticeable location — the birth narrative of Yeshua in Matthew. Some parts of the Bible get very little traffic, but the birth narratives in Matthew and Luke are pretty much highways and not little goat trails. So people are bound to notice some odd things about Matthew’s “this happened in order to fulfill” sayings. One of the two weirdest (there is one that is even weirder) is Matthew 2:15. Is Matthew able to read and understand the Hebrew Bible? Is he guilty of a strange and arbitrary reading simply to justify his belief in Yeshua of Nazareth? Of course the author of Matthew knows what … Read entire article »

Filed under: Background to Gospels, Detailed Commentary, Formation of the Gospels, Gospel Genres, Hebrew Bible as Testimony, Ideal Israel Theme, Intertextuality in the Gospels, Literary Features

How They Read “Messiah” #1

It’s important to neither exaggerate nor diminish the importance of messianic hope in the times of Yeshua and the disciples. Exaggeration looks like this: Rome and the Herodians continually had to quell messianic pretenders and uprisings. Diminishing looks like this: there was virtually no messianic hope in Yeshua’s time and no one was looking for a king to lead a revoution. Both claims have been made. In Michael Bird’s Are You the One Who Is to Come?: The Historical Jesus and the Messianic Question, there is a helpful chart of some major messianic scriptures and references to the thought of the time about these texts. What kinds of things were people saying about Isaiah 11 in Second Temple Judaism? That will be our theme in this first installment. To help those who … Read entire article »

Filed under: Apocalyptic Literature, Background to Gospels, Hebrew Bible as Testimony, Messiah

Hebrew Bible in Mark’s Passion Narrative

I may add more references later. The presence of the Innocent Sufferer theme from the Psalms and Isaiah in the Marcan version of Yeshua’s trial and crucifixion is a good thing for readers to recognize. Would that the language of the Psalms and Prophets should pervade our imagination and language as it did for some in Mark’s time! All Hebrew Bible verses (in bold) are given in the JPS translation (verse numbers in parentheses are Christian numbering). The Mark verses are from my favorite English version, the RSV (until the Delitzsch Hebrew-English version is released). Psalm 69:22(21) They give me gall for food, vinegar to quench my thirst. Mark 15:21-23 And they compelled a passer-by, Simon of Cyrene, who was coming in from the country, the father of Alexander and Rufus, to … Read entire article »

Filed under: Cross, Hebrew Bible as Testimony, Passion Narratives

Targums, Aramaic Bible Paraphrases in Yeshua’s Time

The gospel writers occasionally use Aramaic, such as the famous talitha cumi of Mark 5:41 or Eli, Eli, lama sabach-thani? of Matthew 27:46 and the corresponding Eloi of Mark 15:34. In spite of some evidence of popular use of Hebrew in certain circles, it is nearly unanimous amongst scholars that Aramaic was the common language of Israelites in Yeshua’s time (and Hebrew a religious language). The Targums are paraphrases of the Bible (loose translations with comments inserted, rather like study Bibles). Our manuscripts of the Targums are mostly from the Middle Ages. But were there Targums in use in Yeshua’s time? … Read entire article »

Filed under: Aramaic, Background to Gospels, Hebrew Bible as Testimony, Language and Literacy

Testimonies to Yeshua in the Hebrew Bible

Many scholars think that during the time between the life of Yeshua and the writing of the gospels there were various collections, oral and perhaps written, of sayings, maybe deeds, and perhaps of source texts related to Yeshua from the Hebrew Bible. Certain texts from the Israelite prophets, Torah, and Psalms came to be associated with various aspects of Yeshua’s life. Some people have wrongly thought of these as part of a collection of “Messianic prophecies,” as if the Hebrew Bible intended to detail a coming figure with prophetic foretellings. That picture is simplistic. But it is interesting to see the main texts and how the gospels use them. … Read entire article »

Filed under: Background to Gospels, Hebrew Bible as Testimony