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Yeshua in Context » Judaism Today & Yeshua

REVIEW: The Jewish Gospels by Daniel Boyarin

Daniel Boyarin is Taubman Professor of Talmudic Culture and rhetoric at the University of California, Berkeley. In the foreword by Jack Miles, he is called “one of two or three greatest rabbinic scholars in the world.” I’m not qualified to assign numbers to who is or isn’t the world’s greatest Talmud scholar, but it is easy to say that Boyarin knows his Talmud better than any but maybe a few dozen people in the world. So, it might surprise you to know that Boyarin thinks Judaism and Christianity are compatible. His goal, stated on pages 6-7 is to help Christians and Jews to stop vilifying each other. He doesn’t follow Jesus and isn’t asking fellow Jews to do so. But he demolishes all ideas that Christian devotion to Jesus is contrary … Read entire article »

Filed under: Answering Objections, Background to Gospels, Book Reviews, Divinity of Yeshua, Identity of Yeshua, Judaism Today & Yeshua, Messiah, Paradox, Spectacular Commentary

PODCAST: Divinity1

To some people, the idea of Yeshua’s divinity was probably something developed late. It must have involved a departure from Jewish thought. It must have been the result of syncretism, mixing pagan notions with the original understanding of Yeshua as a Jewish teacher or as Messiah. But what is the real explanation for the origin the idea of Yeshua’s divinity? Divinity1 … Read entire article »

Filed under: Background to Gospels, Divinity of Yeshua, Formation of the Gospels, Greco-Roman Background, Identity of Yeshua, Judaism Today & Yeshua, Podcasts

Yeshua On Repentance

When he came to his senses he said, “How many of my father’s hired men have more than enough bread, but I am dying here with hunger!” -Luke 15:17 Yeshua dined with sinners. Those of us who eat bread with him today are infinitely thankful for this. It is not, contra E.P. Sanders, that Yeshua offered the kingdom without repentance or light without trial. Those who dined with Yeshua did not think this is what he was offering. One said, “Behold, Lord, half of my possessions I give to the poor” (Luke 19:8). Yeshua is at once inviting and imposing, welcoming and formidable. You may be to him the hundredth sheep, the one rejoiced over that was lost, or a whitewashed tomb. You may hear from him, “your faith has made you … Read entire article »

Filed under: Applying the Gospels, Discipleship - Formation, Forgiveness of Sins, Judaism Today & Yeshua, Preachable Points, Teaching of Yeshua

Greece, Rome, Israel #3

And the chief priests and the scribes heard it and sought a way to destroy him; for they feared him, because all the multitude was astonished at his teaching. –Mark 11:18 The gospel did not just happen. The events which marked the onset of a new stage in the world’s redemption happened in a time and place with three main cultural backdrops. Parts 1 and 2 introduced Greek and Roman influences on these events, both in Yeshua’s time and the later time the gospels were written. What about conditions and social structures in Israel itself? What are some basics readers need to know about conditions and groups in Israel? What about Jewish concerns in the times of the evangelists? … Read entire article »

Filed under: Aims of Yeshua, Background to Gospels, Beginners, Formation of the Gospels, Gentiles, Ideal Israel Theme, Identity of Yeshua, Judaism Today & Yeshua, Law, Torah

Revealed to Little Children

In “Why Yeshua? A Jewish Question,” I listed nine elements of Yeshua’s identity and purpose that add something new to Judaism (see it here). The first of these nine elements has captured my attention and been the source of my thoughts and searching for a few weeks now: Yeshua is the Moses-like Prophet-to-Come, the New Moses, whose agency as the Voice of the Father reveals depths of God unknown or ambiguous in previous revelation. I listed for readers the findings of Paul Anderson regarding the prophet-like-Moses theme in the fourth gospel, which is not a minor motif but a guiding principle of the entire Gospel of John (see my post “Moses-Like-Prophet in John” here). In searching out examples of how Yeshua revealed greater depths of God than had previously been known, I first … Read entire article »

Filed under: Aims of Yeshua, Divinity of Yeshua, General, Identity of Yeshua, Judaism Today & Yeshua, Kingdom Present, Messiah, New Moses Theme

Moses-Like Prophet in John

In the fourth gospel, Deuteronomy 18:15-22 is a key passage. It’s language (from the Septuagint or Greek version) is echoed throughout the gospel of John. Much of the Father-Son language in John comes from concepts and phrases in Deuteronomy 18:15-22, the Torah passage about the Prophet who is to come. Of course, the Deuteronomy passage is in one sense talking about the office of a prophet (and so, in that sense, all prophets like Samuel, Elijah, Hosea, Amos, Isaiah, and Jeremiah fit the meaning of the Deuteronomy passage). Yet the Prophet in Deuteronomy was also interpreted in another sense (as evidenced in the gospels) as a singular Prophet who would be greater than Moses. One could argue that this is not what the Deuteronomy passage intended, but there are two … Read entire article »

Filed under: Background to Gospels, General, Identity of Yeshua, Judaism Today & Yeshua, New Moses Theme, Yeshua as

The Son Who Has Spoken

Last week in “Why Yeshua? A Jewish Question #1″ and in the Podcast “Mosaic Revealer,” I began to explain nine benefits of knowing Yeshua for those who already know God through Judaism. I’m still mining the very first benefit of the nine, which goes like this: Yeshua is the Moses-like Prophet-to-Come, the New Moses, whose agency as the Voice of the Father reveals depths of God unknown or ambiguous in previous revelation. As you can see from the wording, I am using language from the gospels themselves to describe the benefits of knowing Yeshua. But this is not just theory or theology. Each one of these nine benefits concerns practical matters, things that weigh upon us and are of consequence to everyone on a daily basis. They concern the normal and universal … Read entire article »

Filed under: Applying the Gospels, Discipleship - Formation, General, Identity of Yeshua, Judaism Today & Yeshua, Teaching of Yeshua

Why Yeshua? A Jewish Question.

Here is another mini eBook in the making: Why Yeshua? A Jewish Question. This is also the basis of a podcast that will be posted today on iTunes and at DerekLeman.com. A friend recently said to me, “Jews are better Christians than Christians.” He was referring first of all to the ethic of Jesus about healing and serving and making this world like the world to come. His claim was that the Jewish community does these things better than Christians. Second of all, he was referring to statistics about charitable giving and service work and those who engage in them. The Jewish community, far in excess of our smaller population, out-gives Christians in the work of feeding, clothing, providing medical aid, and so on all over the world. He followed this up … Read entire article »

Filed under: Divinity of Yeshua, Identity of Yeshua, Judaism Today & Yeshua

Jewish Jesus

If you prefer listening, you can listen to the podcast here (or subscribe to “Yeshua in Context” on iTunes). I read an interview with a scholar recently in which he talked about the patronizing concept of the Jewishness of Jesus. I’m not precisely sure what he had in mind as the interview did not get specific enough on this point and I have not read enough of this scholar’s work to be sure what opinions he holds. I do know one complaint he had: people who say their historical presentation of Jesus is a Jewish Jesus and then proceed to explain how Jesus is radically different from their notion of the Judaism of his time. He seemed to be ready to dismiss the value of speaking of the Jewish Jesus completely, and … Read entire article »

Filed under: Background to Gospels, Gospels as History, Judaism Today & Yeshua, Temple and Torah

Notes on the Sabbath Grain-Field Controversy

Mark 2:23-28 is a passage worthy of an entire book and much has been said about it. It is a riddle wrapped in a riddle smothered in enigma. Questions include everything from the mundane to the mysterious. Did Yeshua’s disciples actually break the Sabbath? Did they merely break an interpretation of the Sabbath rules according to some Pharisees? Is this ultimately about the Peah or corners of the field issue in Jewish law? Since the example of David is not a perfect match for what happens with the disciples, why does Yeshua use it? What does it mean, in the context of Second Temple Judaism, that the Sabbath is made for humankind? Is the Son of Man in vs. 28 Yeshua or humanity in general? … Read entire article »

Filed under: Applying the Gospels, Background to Gospels, Discipleship - Formation, Judaism Today & Yeshua, Law, Torah, Teaching of Yeshua

Yeshua as Torah, Part 1

Not only should we understand Yeshua in his time and his context, but we should also devote thought to applying Yeshua into modern contexts. The various Christianities are the usual focus of this re-contextualization of Jesus, but what of Judaism today? How does Yeshua fit into the context of a Judaism filled with 2,000 years of water under the bridge, halacha, theology, commentary, mysticism, and so on? This is the first post in the category (many more to come) “Judaism Today & Yeshua.” The more Torah the more life . . . he who has acquired for himself the words of Torah has acquired for himself life in the World to Come. –Pirkei Avot 2:7. The Torah said, I was the architectural instrument of the Holy One, blessed be he . . . … Read entire article »

Filed under: Besorah/Gospel/Good News, Identity of Yeshua, Judaism Today & Yeshua, Temple and Torah