Twenty years ago, David Bivin taught a 12-hour series of classes entitled “Aleph-Bet: A Beginner’s Introduction to Reading and Writing Hebrew.” The class was video-recorded and produced into a video series available on video cassette tapes (VCR). This incredible class brought the viewer into a basic understanding of how to read and write the language of Jesus’ day. Now, is making an updated, downloadable format of this class available for purchase. Pre-order your copy today!

After a hiatus of over twenty years, Hebrew Nuggets returns to Jerusalem Perspective. Learn to read the letters of the Hebrew alphabet with JP’s editor-in-chief, David Bivin, and discover valuable nuggets of information about the Bible Jesus read and the world in which Jesus lived. If you have ever wanted to be able to read words in Hebrew and to learn more about the richness of the biblical tradition, then Hebrew Nuggets is the perfect place to begin.

“Jot” and “tittle” are not everyday words in English. What do they mean and how should Jesus’ words in Matthew 5:18 be understood? Jerusalem Perspective‘s editor-in-chief, David Bivin, tackles these questions on behalf of a subscriber’s request for help.

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.

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

At some point during his public career, Jesus selected twelve of his most trusted disciples and sent them out as emissaries to Israel. These twelve emissaries were to act and teach in Jesus’ name, and proclaim the redemption of Israel by means of God’s Kingdom breaking into the human sphere. Between the stages of transmission from the earliest Hebrew biography of Jesus to the Synoptic Gospels the full story of the apostles’ mission was broken apart. In the “Practice Mission for the Twelve” complex we attempt to reconstruct the complete story.

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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Begin learning about the academic study of Jesus’ life and teachings (or enjoy a refresher course) by “sitting in” on “Windows on Jesus,” Halvor Ronning’s fifteen-part lecture series on the Synoptic Gospels and the Synoptic Problem.

Yeshua summoned his twelve emissaries to Israel and he gave them power to drive out dangerous spirits and to heal every disease and sickness those spirits had caused. Then he sent them on ahead in pairs to every city he intended to visit.

On the occasion of what would have been Prof. David Flusser’s 98th birthday (Sept. 15), we are pleased to share footage of an interview with Flusser on the historical Jesus that has recently come to light. The interview was conducted by Dr. Roy Blizzard as part of a television series entitled The Quest: In Search of the Jewish Jesus. In the interview Flusser discusses the language of Jesus, the importance of studying ancient Judaism of the Second Temple period for the understanding of Jesus’ message, and Jesus’ high self-awareness.

A baraita in the Babylonian Talmud appears to preserve a quotation from a written Hebrew source from the late Second Temple period that contains elements of Biblical and Mishnaic Hebrew similar to the style in which we believe the Hebrew Life of Yeshua was composed.

The Apostle Paul has had an extraordinary influence on the development of Christianity. In this video Marc Turnage examines Paul’s motives and actions before he became the “apostle to the Gentiles.”

One day Yeshua called his disciples together and chose twelve of them to be his emissaries to Israel. Their names were Shimon Petros and Andrai (his brother), Yaakov, Yohanan, Pelipah, Talmai’s son, Matai, Tomah, Yaakov Halfi’s son, zealous Shimon, Yehudah Yaakov’s son, and Yehudah from Keriyot, who was a traitor.

In 1922 William Lockton wrote an article for The Church Quarterly Review that challenged the foundations of accepted synoptic theory. Then, just as mysteriously as he had appeared, Lockton disappeared from the Synoptic Gospels scene. We therefore appeal to you, our readers, for your help. Maybe one of you can tell us when Lockton died, or where he is buried. Did Lockton marry? Does he have descendants? Where did he attend college, and what did he study? Is there a portrait of Lockton?

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.

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

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.

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.


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Jerusalem Perspective is excited to announce the publication of the Chinese translation of Joshua Tilton’s Jesus’ Gospel: Searching for the Core of Jesus’ Message.