The Best Long-term Investment—Making Loans to God

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(Matt. 6:19-20)

Sirach 29:10-12)

Jesus’ homily, which has been preserved in Matthew 6:19-24, contributes a small but priceless piece to a larger canvas—stewardship in the faith and piety of late Second Temple-period Judaism.

Treasures in Heaven

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Matthew 6:19-24 represents a homily on maintaining a proper attitude toward money. … For example, Matthew 6:19-21 parallels Luke 12:33, 34, Matthew 6:22, 23 parallels Luke 11:34-36, and Matthew 6:24 parallels Luke 16:13, which comes after the Parable of the Unrighteous Steward.

Cataloging the Gospels’ Hebraisms: Part Six (Parallelism)

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(Matt. 6:19-20; RSV)

A knowledge of Hebrew parallelism is one additional aid to investigators of the synoptic Gospels since, when two or more versions of a saying of Jesus have been preserved, the greater perfection of the parallelism in one version may be key in determining it is the earliest, the closest to the text of the conjectured lost Hebrew biography of Jesus of which early church sources speak. … Therefore, it is probable that Luke 12:33 is a revision of a text like Matthew 6:19-20.

Jesus’ Attitude to Poverty

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Revised: 21-Apr-2013

Certain circles within the Judaism of Jesus’ day took the view that there was something spiritually beneficial in poverty per se, that it was a mark of God’s special favor to be poor.The Hasidim were perhaps the most influential proponents of this philosophy in first-century Israel. These were a stream of Galilean sages who were close in theology to the Pharisees while at the same time in tension with them because the Hasidim emphasized the doing of good deeds more than the study of Torah.

“Treasure in Heaven”: Examining an Ancient Idiom for Charity

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For my brother, Jeff, whose charity towards me was always done with a “good heart;” truly he has stored his “treasure in heaven.”


Jesus’ Yoke and Burden

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Revised: 25-Nov-2014″Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light” (Matt. 11:28-30; NIV). Although extraordinarily beautiful, Jesus’ saying recorded in Matthew 11:28-30 is enigmatic. What is this saying’s meaning, and what were Jesus’ “yoke” and “burden”?

Notes on the New Testament as a Witness for Broader Jewish Patterns in Jesus’ Times

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If the argument for the Jewish matrix of the early Jesus-centered tradition is taken seriously, the New Testament sources should be expected not only to react to elements of that matrix, but also to reflect them. It is here that study of the Jewish setting of early Christianity for the sake of better understanding the latter morphs into the investigation of early Jesus movement sources as witnesses for broader Jewish tendencies. Scholars of Qumran developed salient methods and insights that allow us to learn from the Scrolls not only about the particular group that seems to have produced them, but also about its rivals as well as “wider Judaism.” It stands to reason that a similar effort can contribute to critical assessment of the “witness value” of the earliest Christian writings: We can suppose that much of the material found there mirrors more general patterns of broader Jewish thought and practice.

Jesus and the Oral Torah: Tithing

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Jesus must have been a generous giver himself, since he taught that one should “lay up treasures in Heaven” (Matt. 6:20) and that if one’s “eye is bad his whole body is full of darkness” (Matt. 6:23).

Rich Man Declines the Kingdom of Heaven

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Matt. 19:16-30; Mark 10:17-31; Luke 18:18-30 (Huck 189; Aland 254-255; Crook 294-295)For abbreviations and bibliographical references, see “Introduction to ‘The Life of Yeshua: A Suggested Reconstruction.'” Preliminary research on the Rich Man Declines the Kingdom of Heaven incident was carried out in 1986-1987. Seventeen Jerusalem School seminar sessions were devoted to this pericope: eight seminars were held February-June 1986, and a further nine seminars between November 1986 and May 1987.

Jerusalem School Seminar participants engaged in discussing the Rich Man Declines the Kingdom of Heaven incident.

Stewards of God’s Keys

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Pirke Avot, also known as The Sayings of the Fathers, or, simply Avot, is unquestionably one of the most valuable rabbinic texts for comparative study with the synoptic gospels.Note that the last chapter of Avot, chapter 6, known as “Acquisition of the Torah,” is a later addition. See Hanoch Albeck’s comments to Order Nezikin in The Mishnah (Jerusalem: Bialik Institute, and Tel Aviv: Dvir Co., 1988), 351, 381.