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At the end of Matthew’s version of the Lord’s Prayer we read, “But deliver us from evil” in the King James Version and Revised Standard Version. A number of more recent English translations differ. The Good News Bible, New Century Bible, New International Version, New Jerusalem Bible and New Revised Standard Version all render Matthew 6:13b as keep us, save us, rescue us, or deliver us “from the evil one.” The difference is significant, and invites our curiosity.

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.


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 Yeshua’s 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?”

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.”

“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, 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.

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 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.

Welcome to JP (that’s our site’s nickname). Our work is centered on better understanding Jesus’ life and teachings, together with the language, land and culture of his day. If you are new to the site, please check out the special page we’ve created to help orient you to the many features our site offers. The page includes a link to a great video.
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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.

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.”

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In this video Jerusalem Perspective‘s editor-in-chief, David Bivin, demonstrates how translating Jesus’ sayings into Hebrew can provide clearer insight into Jesus’ message.

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