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Documents discovered in the Judean Wilderness near the Dead Sea provide some insight into the use of Hebrew in the land of Israel not long after the time of Jesus.

The July issue of The Church Quarterly Review in 1922 contained an article by William Lockton in which the author challenged the scholarly consensus concerning the solution to the Synoptic Problem. This important study, which is now in the public domain, was later to be of great importance to Rev. Dr. Robert L. Lindsey as further confirmation of Lindsey’s growing conviction that the Gospel of Mark is a highly edited epitome of the Gospel of Luke.

In this free sample lecture from the 2006 Jerusalem Perspective Conference, archaeologist and JP contributor Ronny Reich discusses the excavation of the first-century remains of the pool of Siloam discovered in Jerusalem. The complete collection of presentations delivered at the 2006 Jerusalem Perspective Conference is available through the En-Gedi Resource Center.


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 order of Gospel stories as they may have appeared in the conjectured 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.

Unlike most other biblical commentaries, “The Life of Yeshua: A Suggested Reconstruction” is not a commentary on any one text, but rather a commentary on the development of the traditions that came to be included in the Synoptic Gospels. The primary concern of this commentary is to better understand Jesus’ actions and words by attempting to get as close as possible to the earliest stages of development of the traditions that are now known only through the Gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke.

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….

…and he said to him, “Rabbi, wherever you go, I’ll follow.” But Yeshua said, “Beasts and birds have homes, but those who join me won’t even enjoy that basic comfort.” Someone else said, “Lord, I’ll follow you after I’ve seen my dad through to the end of his days.” But Yeshua said, “Come join my life-giving mission, and let those who have not been brought to life take care of everyday existence.” Yet another said, “I will follow you, Lord, but first let me go say good-bye to my family.” But Yeshua said, “The person who commits himself and then takes it back isn’t fit for my band of disciples.”

“Can you imagine anyone who would begin construction of a watchtower without first working out the cost to see if he has enough money to complete the job? Otherwise, he might only get the foundation in before running out of money. Then all those who saw it would ridicule him. ‘Look,’ they would say, ‘he couldn’t finish what he started.’

“Can you imagine a king who would attack another king without first sitting down with his staff to discuss whether he is able to withstand the king who is coming with an army twice the size of his own? If the consensus was that he could not, wouldn’t he send messengers to signal his submission while the enemy was still a long way off?”

Jesus response to the rich man and Jesus’ 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.”

“Anyone who wants to join me but puts family ties or love of self ahead of me cannot possibly be my full-time disciple. Anyone who is not prepared to die cannot possibly be my full-time disciple. Anyone who does not renounce his possessions cannot possibly be my full-time 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.”

Coming Soon! An Updated Reconstruction and Newly Revised Commentary for the Disciples’ Prayer

Without a knowledge of the saying’s context, Jesus’ saying about eyes and ears and prophets and righteous men, seems quite prosaic. However, when it is understood that this saying deals with the Kingdom of Heaven, it becomes one of Jesus’ most exciting and dramatic statements.

The day of the holiday of Unleavened Bread arrived, so Yeshua sent Petros and Yohanan, instructing them: “Go prepare the Passover lamb for us.” They asked him: “Where do you want us to make preparations for you to eat the lamb?” “Listen,” he replied, “when you enter the city, you will meet a man carrying a water jar. Follow him. At the house he enters, say to the owner: ‘Our teacher asks: “Where is the dining room where I may eat the Passover lamb with my disciples?”’ He will take you upstairs to a large room with couches spread. There make the preparations.” Going into the city, they found everything exactly as he had said, and they prepared the lamb there.

This excursus, which is a work in progress, is an attempt to identify and collect certain redactional words and phrases characteristic of the editorial style of the author of Mark’s Gospel, specifically the “Markan stereotypes” (words that appear with unusually high frequency in Mark) and “Markan pick-ups” (words that the author of Mark borrowed from other sources). We will continue to add to the catalog as further Markan pick-ups and Markan stereotypes are identified in the course of our research for “The Life of Yeshua: A Suggested Reconstruction.”

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

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Helpless pawn or ruthless villain? The Roman prefect of Judea, Pontius Pilate, is famous because of his role in the New Testament Gospels. Pilate’s name is even mentioned in ancient Christian creeds. Yet in many Christian retellings of the story of Jesus’ crucifixion Pilate’s role is often portrayed incorrectly. In this video Marc Turnage reexamines Pilate’s character based on ancient literary sources, including the New Testament, and archaeological finds. In doing so, Turnage offers a new take on a familiar character.

The high priest Joseph Caiaphas is known not only from the New Testament Gospels as the high priest who opposed Jesus and his early followers, but also from Josephus the Jewish historian who lived in the first century C.E. In this video Marc Turnage provides an historical sketch of this pivotal character.

In this video Marc Turnage discusses the significance of stoneware vessels for understanding the cultural context of the Gospels. Marc Turnage, a member of the Jerusalem School of Synoptic Research, 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.

From May 29-June 2, 2015, the Narkis Street Congregation in Jerusalem held a conference that celebrated Robert Lindsey’s legacy as pastor, scholar and passionate disciple of Jesus. Now we are pleased to share with you recordings of the conference, so that anyone who was not able to attend can share the experience and everyone who was able to attend can go back over the wealth of knowledge that was shared by the lecturers.

The oldest known manuscripts of the New Testament were written in Greek, but by comparing Matt. 1:21 in Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek with the knowledge of the naming formula so common in the Hebrew Bible, we see that this verse only makes sense in Hebrew. Since the naming formula depends on a wordplay that does not work in Greek or Aramaic, Matt. 1:21, or the oral tradition behind it, had to be in Hebrew.

In an important study entitled The Gospel of Signs, Robert Fortna correctly identified a Jewish-Christian source embedded in the Fourth Gospel. This article is based upon the conclusions of Fortna’s research and explores their significance. I will also point out additional evidence Fortna overlooked that clarifies the origins and intentions of the Jewish-Christian source embedded in the text of the Fourth Gospel.

My sister and I recently visited the remote, high-desert country of Nevada’s Red Rock Canyon. The silence and breathtaking beauty of the rugged landscape drew me in, as desert places have drawn humankind since the beginning of time. Loss, failure, misunderstanding, betrayal, or simply craving more than what this world offers—all open our hearts to the desert’s call: seek God alone, in silence and solitude. In our inner deserts we wait for the God who waits for us there.

Miriam’s most memorable deeds involved water. Miriam watched over her brother Moses when he was placed in the waters of the Nile river. As an adult Miriam led the Israelite women in praise song and dance next to the waters of the Red Sea. This association has led to the introduction of a new Passover custom. Next to Elijah’s cup on our Seder table we now set another goblet—brimming with water—Miriam’s cup.

In this article, Dr. Robert Lindsey discusses the importance of the so-called “minor agreements” of Luke and Matthew against Mark for properly understanding the interrelationship of the Synoptic Gospels. David N. Bivin and Joshua N. Tilton collaborated with Lauren Asperschlager to bring this article, which previously existed only as an unfinished draft, to Jerusalem Perspective subscribers.

The purpose of this video is to describe Robert Lindsey’s theory of how the Gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke came into being and how they are related to one another.

Dr. R. Steven Notley is a contributor to Jerusalem Perspective and member of the Jerusalem School of Synoptic Research. He is Professor of New Testament and Christian Origins at Nyack College in New York. In this lecture Dr. Notley discusses examples of how the Hebrew language influenced the Greek text of the canonical Gospels.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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Why did the chief priests and Sadducees continue to oppose the early believers even after the crucifixion of Jesus? In this video Marc Turnage places the chief priests and Sadducees in their historical context and explains why the preaching of the apostles was unwelcome news to the Temple authorities in Jerusalem.