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Yeshua in Context » Spectacular Commentary

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

Repost: The Mountain in the Sermon

On Sunday, I’m speaking to a small class in North Georgia about the Beatitudes. As you progress into Matthew 5-7, this is a vital piece of information about the context. The following information is derived from a paper by Eric Ottenheijm of the University of Utrecht presented at the 2010 Society of Biblical Literature in the Matthew section. In Matthew 5:1, Yeshua went up on “the mountain.” No one knows which mountain, although there is a lovely hill which is the traditional spot. More important than a physical location, though, is understanding the allusion of “the mountain.” There are a number of mountains of great significance in the Hebrew Bible. The echoes of Exodus and Isaiah in particular add depth and meaning to the Sermon on the Mount. … Read entire article »

Filed under: Background to Gospels, Beatitudes, Besorah/Gospel/Good News, Identity of Yeshua, New Moses Theme, Sermon on the Mount, Spectacular Commentary

DHE Nuggets: Whole Eye vs. Evil Eye

DHE stands for Delitszsch Hebrew English Gospels, which you can see here. The “whole eye vs. evil eye” is a reference to Matthew 6:22-23. Here is how the RSV (Revised Standard Version) translates this saying of Yeshua: The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is sound, your whole body will be full of light; but if your eye is not sound, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness! For reasons I will argue below, this translation is definitely substandard. … Read entire article »

Filed under: Applying the Gospels, DHE (Delitzsch Gospels), Idioms, Spectacular Commentary, Study Tips, Teaching of Yeshua

The Mockery and Abuse at the Cross

The following comments on Mark 15:16-24 are derived from Yeshua in Context, chapter 15. I felt that in this shorter version, these comments highlight the artistry of Mark, his way of showing but not telling. Note especially in this comments how Mark uses the innocent sufferer theme of the Psalms without specifically citing the references. No doubt the Yeshua-community knew these references and associated them already with Yeshua’s death. Unlike the many statements leading up to the crucifixion, the story of how it happened itself is concerned less with theology than with presenting in stark reality the betrayal of a good man, the senseless mockery, the brutal misunderstanding of what his kingdom is all about. Meaning is between the lines, a midrashic retelling of the innocent sufferer theme in the Hebrew … Read entire article »

Filed under: Cross, Intertextuality in the Gospels, Passion Narratives, Spectacular Commentary

Schweitzer on the Son of Man Problem

The meaning of “Son of Man” in Yeshua’s sayings is complicated. Does he mean “human being” in any or all of the sayings? Does he mean “present Messiah” by the term (i.e., is he saying that is presently the exalted human ruler of Daniel)? Or does he mean “future Messiah” (i.e., when he returns he will be the exalted human ruler of Daniel)? In 1906, Schweitzer explored the problem in depth from its linguistic, historical, and exegetical angles and wrote this spectacular comment: Jesus did not, therefore, veil his Messiahship by using the expression Son of Man, much less did he transform it, but He used the expression to refer, in the only possible way, to His Messianic office as destined to be realized at His “coming,” and did so in … Read entire article »

Filed under: Son of Man, Spectacular Commentary

Notes: Background to Yeshua’s Kingdom Talk

The following is not really a blog post, but more like notes or source information to help grasp the background of “kingdom of God” as it might have resounded in the ears of Yeshua’s generation. Anne Moore, “The Search for a Common Understanding of God’s Kingship,” in Wayne O. McCready and Adele Reinhartz, ed., Common Judaism: Explorations in Second Temple Judaism (Minneapolis: Fortress, 2008). Marc Zvi Brettler, God is King: Understanding an Israelite Metaphor (Sheffield: JSOT Press, 1989). What are the underlying beliefs of people in Israel in Yeshua’s time about God’s kingship that resonate when he speaks of the “kingdom of God”? What does Yeshua’s generation think of when God’s rule is raised as an issue? … Read entire article »

Filed under: Background to Gospels, Kingdom Present, Spectacular Commentary, Teaching of Yeshua

The Mountain in the Sermon

The following information is derived from a paper by Eric Ottenheijm of the University of Utrecht presented at the 2010 Society of Biblical Literature in the Matthew section. In Matthew 5:1, Yeshua went up on “the mountain.” No one knows which mountain, although there is a lovely hill which is the traditional spot. More important than a physical location, though, is understanding the allusion of “the mountain.” There are a number of mountains of great significance in the Hebrew Bible. The echoes of Exodus and Isaiah in particular add depth and meaning to the Sermon on the Mount. … Read entire article »

Filed under: Background to Gospels, Beatitudes, Besorah/Gospel/Good News, Identity of Yeshua, New Moses Theme, Sermon on the Mount, Spectacular Commentary

Simon of Cyrene, Why You Should Know Him

We’ve already introduced the idea that some characters in the gospels are named because they became eyewitnesses, telling and retelling their story, in the early Yeshua community. See “Cleopas, Why You Should Know Him” under the “Eyewitnesses” category at the right. This helpful way of looking at named characters in the gospels as all thanks to Richard Bauckham and his book, Jesus and the Eyewitnesses. Simon of Cyrene is interesting for several reasons. One of them is that Mark also names his sons, Alexander and Rufus (15:21), while Matthew (27:32) and Luke 23:26) do not. What could be the reason? … Read entire article »

Filed under: Disciples & Named Characters, Eyewitnesses, Gospels as History, Spectacular Commentary

Cleopas, Why You Should Know Him

A strange thing happens at the end of Luke’s gospel (several strange things, in fact). Yeshua, unrecognizable even by his disciples, walks with two of them on a road to Emmaus. Which two? Only one is named: Cleopas. Why is only one of them named? And what else do we know about Cleopas? Here is where we get into some fascinating material from Richard Bauckham’s Jesus and the Eyewitnesses: The Gospels as Eyewitness Testimony. Cleopas is perhaps the most interesting case. And this evidence is the kind of simple, memorable material to silence skeptics who doubt completely that the story of Yeshua has a solid historical basis. … Read entire article »

Filed under: Disciples & Named Characters, Eyewitnesses, Gospels as History, Spectacular Commentary

The Teacher, A Parallel in Chronicles

Adela Yarbro Collins (Mark: A Commentary. Fortress, 2007) discusses in her introduction some of the aspects of Yeshua’s identity. One of the identifying roles of Yeshua is teacher. In this comment, she uncovers a little known parallel from the Hebrew Bible, of teachers sent out to travel as itinerants through the land teaching the people: … Read entire article »

Filed under: Aims of Yeshua, Background to Gospels, Identity of Yeshua, Spectacular Commentary, Teaching of Yeshua

Luke 12:13-34, Luke Timothy Johnson

It is out of deep fear that the acquisitive instinct grows monstrous. Life seems so frail and contingent that many possessions are required to secure it, even though the possessions are frailer still than the life. Only the removal of fear by the persuasion that life is a gift given by the source of all reality can generate spiritual freedom that is symbolized by by the generous disposition of possessions. Johnson, Luke Timothy. The Gospel of Luke. Collegeville: The Liturgical Press, 1991. p. 201. … Read entire article »

Filed under: Spectacular Commentary