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When we first arrived in the Holy Land, my wife and I toured as many sites as we could on both the Israeli and Palestinian sides of the border. The Herodium was a great place to bring people who were exploring the Holy Land for the first time to introduce them to this man, Herod, of whom they have heard so much. I always felt that the site spoke eloquently to visitors of both the brilliance and madness of Herod the Great.

“Teacher,” he asked, “what ‘good’ can I do to obtain eternal life?”
Yeshua replied: “Why do you refer to a deed as ‘good’? Call only one thing ‘good’—the Torah. You know how to obtain eternal life: keep the commandments—‘Do not commit adultery; Do not murder; Do not steal; Do not give false testimony.’”
“All these I have kept since I was a child,” the man interrupted.
At that, Yeshua said: “There is something more you should do: Give away all your wealth to charity—you will have heavenly wealth—and become my disciple.”

A key concept in the teachings of Yeshua is the Kingdom of Heaven. The Kingdom of Heaven is the subject of many of Yeshua’s parables and is at the heart of his proclamation. The Kingdom of Heaven has, nevertheless, frequently been misunderstood and misconstrued by scholars. According to Yeshua’s teachings, the Kingdom is not up in heaven, it is taking place here on earth.


A Commentary on the Synoptic Gospels, with a Reconstruction of Their Conjectured Hebrew Ancestor

Under the direction of David Bivin, Jerusalem Perspective has launched an attempt to reconstruct the account of Jesus’ life which, according to church tradition, was written in Hebrew by Jesus’ disciple Matthew.

The Map offers an overview of the conjectured order of stories as they appeared in the Hebrew Life of Yeshua.

Because we believe the Hebrew Life of Yeshua was ordered differently than any of the canonical Gospels, we have provided a “Map of the Conjectured Hebrew Life of Yeshua” that presents the Gospel stories in the conjectured order in which they originally appeared. But since readers may wish to simply look up a Gospel passage in the reconstruction, we have provided this key for easy reference.

A recognition of the importance of Hebrew in understanding the Gospels is a new contribution to grappling with the synoptic problem.

Upon leaving the synagogue, he [Yeshua] went to Shimon’s home. Now Shimon’s mother-in-law had taken ill with a fever. So they implored him [Yeshua] to heal her. Standing over her, he spoke sharply to the fever. The fever vanished, and she got to her feet and began serving them.

Shortly afterward, accompanied by a large crowd of his disciples, he went to the town of Nain. As he approached the town’s entrance, he met a funeral procession. The dead man was the only son of a widow, and no small crowd from the town was with her. When the Lord saw her his heart went out to her.
“Don’t cry,” he said….

Yeshua’s response to the rich man and Yeshua’s subsequent teaching about the importance of counting the cost of discipleship may have been prompted solely by the rich man’s question.

“Teacher,” he asked, “what ‘good’ can I do to obtain eternal life?”
Yeshua replied: “Why do you refer to a deed as ‘good’? Call only one thing ‘good’—the Torah. You know how to obtain eternal life: keep the commandments—‘Do not commit adultery; Do not murder; Do not steal; Do not give false testimony.’”
“All these I have kept since I was a child,” the man interrupted.
At that, Yeshua said: “There is something more you should do: Give away all your wealth to charity—you will have heavenly wealth—and become my disciple.”

“One could illustrate the worth of belonging to my band of disciples by comparing it to a man who stumbles upon buried treasure in a field. What does he do? He reburies it, and in his excitement goes and sells everything he owns to get enough money to buy the field and obtain the treasure.
“Or, one could illustrate its worth by analogy to a man who has spent his life buying and selling rare pearls. One day he comes upon the perfect pearl. What does he do? He goes and sells everything he owns to get enough money to buy it.”

A little Jewish background provides an important perspective on the Lord’s Prayer and removes the notion that all prayers should be short.

Without a knowledge of the saying’s context, the saying about eyes and ears and prophets and righteous men, seems quite prosaic. However, if this saying deals with the Kingdom of Heaven, it could be one of Yeshua’s most important sayings.

Yeshua directs Peter and John to go and prepare the Passover “that we may eat it.” When they arrive at the place where the meal will be eaten, the owner shows the disciples a furnished dining room where they can hold the celebration.

One of the clues that the Synoptic Gospels descended from a Hebrew Life of Yeshua is the number of foreign words that were transliterated into Greek from either Hebrew or Aramaic (it is often impossible to distinguish Hebrew from Aramaic in Greek transliteration).

The writing style of the author of the Gospel of Mark has long been regarded as idiosyncratic. Its pervasive use of the “historical present” and its bizarre proliferation of the word εὐθύς are two well-known examples. Although Mark is not the best source for the most authentic and historical traditions about Yeshua—for that we must turn to Luke and the non-Markan portions of Matthew—Mark remains an important and valuable witness to the development of pre-synoptic traditions and the way they were understood by the early Church.

A key concept in the teachings of Yeshua is the Kingdom of Heaven. The Kingdom of Heaven is the subject of many of Yeshua’s parables and is at the heart of his proclamation. The Kingdom of Heaven has, nevertheless, frequently been misunderstood and misconstrued by scholars. According to Yeshua’s teachings, the Kingdom is not up in heaven, it is taking place here on earth.

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When we first arrived in the Holy Land, my wife and I toured as many sites as we could on both the Israeli and Palestinian sides of the border. The Herodium was a great place to bring people who were exploring the Holy Land for the first time to introduce them to this man, Herod, of whom they have heard so much. I always felt that the site spoke eloquently to visitors of both the brilliance and madness of Herod the Great.

Jerusalem School member, Marc Turnage, uses four archaeological artifacts to peer into the world of Jesus and the Gospels in this video.
Marc Turnage is the director of the Center for Holy Lands Studies for The General Council of the Assemblies of God in Springfield, Missouri.
Learn more about Turnage and his work at his blog The Shard and the Scroll at www.theshardandthescroll.com.

In this essay, professor David Flusser of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem evaluates Robert Lindsey’s solution to the Synoptic Problem. Flusser writes: “Had someone managed to excavate some recessed cavern in the Desert of Judea and found an ancient jar containing Matthew’s eyewitness story of Jesus, newspapers and periodicals would long ago have publicized the discovery. ‘Finds’ made by retranslating to Hebrew Greek texts written nearly two thousand years ago—such as those in our first three Gospels—are considered to be less newsworthy.”

One aspect of the cultural context of the Gospels that is often overlooked is the role played by animals. In this article I will explore the significance of chickens in first-century Jewish culture and the part they play in the story of Jesus.

Did Luke see and omit Mark 6:45-8:21, or did Mark see and omit Luke 9:51-18:14? The present article explores the possibility that the Markan pericope, “What Makes a Person Impure” in Mark 7:1-23 is dependent upon the Lukan pericope on “Discourse against the Pharisees” in Luke 11:37-41.

Follow Garcia as he challenges Taylor’s work and brings about the conclusion that “We should attribute any differences between Galileans and Judeans primarily to issues of opposing halakhic opinions.”

The concept of ritual purity is perhaps one of the most difficult concepts in the Bible for people to grasp today. Whereas in many “traditional” societies the concept of ritual purity was (and is) taken for granted in daily life, the whole framework for the concept of ritual purity is totally foreign to the secular western mindset.

The growing value placed on charity in the first century C.E. cannot be overstated. As a new sensitivity developed within Judaism that challenged the compensatory “blessings and curses” paradigm of the Hebrew Bible (cf. Deut. 28) as a basis to serve God, so there was a shifting emphasis towards altruistic love embodied in the Levitical commandment, “…and you shall love your neighbor as yourself (וְאָהַבְתָּ לְרֵעֲךָ כָּמוֹךָ אֲנִי יי; Lev. 19:18).”

When the Israeli soldiers captured the Old City of Jerusalem during the Six-Day War, many Christians regarded this event as the fulfillment of Jesus’ prophecy in the New Testament: Jerusalem will be trampled by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled, (Luke 21:24). There is no need to wonder at this reaction within certain Christian circles, since there has always been a stream within Christianity which looks forward to a return to Zion at the end of days. Their hope is based both on the words of the Hebrew Scriptures and upon certain passages in the New Testament that reflect the hope for Israel’s national redemption.

Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount deserves endless study, and the more one studies ancient Jewish sources, the clearer the meaning of these words of Jesus becomes. Even at first glance, Matthew 5:17-48, the core of the Sermon on the Mount, has a distinctly Jewish feel. On the surface, however, this sermon can give the dangerous and deceiving impression that it sharply opposes the spirit of Judaism.

In 1959 I found myself attempting to study the Greek text of the Gospel of Mark with a view to translating it to modern Hebrew. The rather strange Greek of Mark, the Hebraic word-order, and the impossibility of rendering to Hebrew some of the special Markan Grecisms (like καὶ εὐθύς and πάλιν, which have no ancient Hebrew equivalents) left me wondering what kind of literary creation we have in this fascinating book.

Becker discusses a JP article where one verse of Mark has Jesus using an idiom which might be misunderstood by translators. Becker purports that the discovery should engage our readers on the topic of death after death.

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In this lecture, David Pileggi examines the Jewish origin of discipleship, which is founded on the principle of the imitation of God. Pileggi shows how discipleship is related to the repeated statement in Leviticus, “Be holy, for I am holy,” and discusses how this biblical theme informed the teachings of Jesus.

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