Corrections and Emendations to Flusser’s Judaism of the Second Temple Period

The image above shows David Flusser at a book signing event held on August 20, 1997. With him are Liz and Chuck Kopp.
Revised: 31-May-2017

The English translation of David Flusser’s two volume collection of essays, entitled Judaism of the Second Temple Period, and jointly published by Magnes, Eerdmans, and Jerusalem Perspective, presents to the English-speaking world important essays that had formerly been accessible only to speakers of Modern Hebrew.

As with any major undertaking of this kind, a few errors were not detected by the editors and proof readers before the final publication. In this blog we have collected the mistakes we have noticed, and we welcome readers to add any further corrections they may have noticed by submitting a comment below.

Flusser_Judaism & the 2nd Temple_HC_3 imprint.qxdCorrections to Volume One: Qumran and Apocalypticism

  1. “Foreword” (1:vii). A typographical error should be corrected as follows (correction marked in bold):

    Flusser’s contributions to Dead Sea Scrolls research, Apocalypticism, and Apocalyptic Literature is inestimable.

  2. “The Apocryphal Psalms of David” (1:258-282). It is unfortunate that the English title refers to “Psalms” of David, since the Hebrew title of the essay, שירי דוד החיצונים (“The Apocryphal Songs of David”), refers to a work designated as the “Songs of David” by G. W. Lorien and E. van Staalduine-Sulman, “A Song of David for Each Day: The Provenance of the Songs of David” Revue de Qumran 22 (2005): 33-59. Moreover, in this article Lorien and van Staalduine-Sulman refer to Flusser and Safrai’s article by the title “Songs of David.” Confusion could have been avoided had the title of the essay been translated as “The Apocryphal Songs of David.”
  3. “The Apocryphal Psalms of David” (1:280). Two mistaken omissions, one of a key word, the other of a few sentences, seriously affect the meaning of the paragraph which reads (omissions supplied in bold):

    The early Christians opposed this view, arguing that Psalm 16 could not be referring to David since he had died and remained in his grave to this very day. David, moreover, was a prophet and thus it was the resurrection of Jesus that he foretold, as Jesus had not been given up to Sheol, nor his flesh allowed to decompose for he ascended to heaven. David could not have prophesied about himself, for of course David did not ascend to heaven, and yet David said, “The LORD said to my Lord, ‘Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet,’” (Ps. 110:1). This verse is related to Ps. 16:8 which says, “from my right hand I will not be shaken.” The LXX translates this as, “because he is at my right hand,” but of course there is no difference for our interpretation whether the LORD is at his right hand or whether it says, “Sit at my right hand.” Clearly then the words of Psalm 16 were applied to both Jesus and David. We may suppose the same is true for Psalm 110. Similarly we find that Acts (13:33-35) applies Psalm 2:7—“You are my son; today I have begotten you”—to the risen Christ. These same words are used by the sages to refer to the Jewish messiah, and the psalm could quite naturally be interpreted as referring to David, since he was viewed as the author of Psalms and, at least in some circles, as the messiah himself.

  4. “The ‘Flesh-Spirit’ Dualism in the Qumran Scrolls and the New Testament” (1:285). A typographical error in the second line results in the phrase “relatively light.” The correct reading is “relatively late.”
  5. “The ‘Flesh-Spirit’ Dualism in the Qumran Scrolls and the New Testament” (1:292). A typographical error in the first line should be corrected to “Satan claims ownership on the grounds that he is the ruler of the material world….”

jstpv2Corrections to Volume Two: The Sages and Their Literature

  1. “Judaism in the Second Temple Period” (2:6-43). An English version of this article had already appeared as “The Jewish Religion in the Second Temple Period,” in The World History of the Jewish People; First Series: Ancient Times; Volume Eight: Society and Religion in the Second Temple Period (ed. Michael Avi-Yonah and Zvi Baras; Jerusalem: Masada Publishing; London: W.H. Allen, 1977), 3-40, 322-324. This previous English version, which was approved by Flusser, is not acknowledged in the present volume.
  2. “The Image of the Masada Martyrs in Their Own Eyes and in the Eyes of Their Contemporaries” (2:80). In the top paragraph just prior to footnote 17, the sentence ought to be emended as follows:

    Hillel and Shammai convinced the people to accept Herod as legitimate king, but since on account of their sins they could not be saved from him.

    This change is necessary because on the same page Flusser remarks:

    It appears that the refusal of the Houses of Hillel and Shammai was rooted in the conviction that his [i.e., Herod’s] reign was illegitimate.

  3. “The Image of the Masada Martyrs” (2:82). The sentence after footnote 26 ought to read:

    Second, it appears that both the sages and the zealots linked the concept of liberty with “the kingdom of heaven,” and this phrase likely played an important role in the zealot ideology.

  4. “The Image of the Masada Martyrs” (2:94). The sentence following footnote 72 should be corrected as follows:

    Up to that point, the Jews both within Israel and without were subjugated by foreign nations, the land was oppressed by the Romans Greeks, the priesthood was illegitimate, and the temple was desecrated.

    The cause of this mistake is that in the Hebrew version of the essay Flusser wrote “the wicked kingdom,” which in Rabbinic literature usually refers to the Roman empire, but “the wicked kingdom” was also used to describe the Hellenistic kingdoms that ruled Israel after the conquest of Alexander the Great.

  5. “‘What Is Hanukkah?’: The Historical Setting of the Hasmonean Temple Dedication” (2:131). We find the same mistake caused by misunderstanding “the wicked kingdom,” in the sentence that should read:

    Up to that time, the Jewish People in Israel and abroad were under foreign rule, and the land of Israel part of the wicked Roman Greek Empire.

  6. “‘But Who Can Detect Their Errors?’ (Ps 19:13): On Some Biblical Readings in the Second Temple Period” (2:167). A typographical error between footnotes 17 and 18 should be corrected as follows (correction marked in bold):

    It is unlikely that the word was due to the influence of the Gospel version,17 since the rest of the verse shows not such influence.18

  7. “The Decalogue and the New Testament” (2:172-190). An English version of this article had already appeared as “The Ten Commandments and the New Testament,” in The Ten Commandments in History and Tradition (ed. Ben-Zion Segal; English version ed. Gershon Levi; Jerusalem: Magnes, 1990), 219-246. This previous English version, which was approved by Flusser, is not acknowledged in the present volume.
  8. “‘Who Sanctified Our Beloved from the Womb’” (2:191-198). An English version of this article had already appeared as “Who Sanctified the Beloved in the Womb,” Immanuel 11 (1980), 46-55. This previous English version, which was approved by Flusser, is not acknowledged in the present volume.
  9. “‘Which is the Straight Way That a Man Should Choose for Himself?’ (m. Avot 2.1)” (2:232). A footnote ought to be added to the first sentence clarifying that the article by Shmuel Safrai that Flusser refers to was entitled מובנו של המונח דרך ארץ (“The Meaning of the Expression “Derech Eretz”), which appeared in the journal Tarbiz 60.2 (1991): 147-162. Flusser’s essay originally appeared in the same journal immediately following Safrai’s article.
  10. “‘Which is the Straight Way That a Man Should Choose?’” (2:245). Following footnote 48 there is a sentence that reads:

    Reflect before the word issues from your mouth. Consider your actions in accordance with good manners (derekh ’eretz). Set a reward for every step you take. Submit to divine judgment and refrain from grumbling.

    “Good manners” is problematic here because it is precisely this narrow definition of derekh eretz which Flusser claims does not fit in the passage. A better strategy would have been to have simply left derekh eretz untranslated.

  11. “Martyrology in the Second Temple Period and Early Christianity” (2:252). The omission of an entire sentence renders Flusser’s argument nonsensical. The translation should read (with omitted sentence in bold):

    The idea of purification through suffering also appears in the New Testament, e.g., in 1 Peter: “In this you rejoice, even if now for a little while you have had to suffer various trials, so that the genuineness of your faith—being more precious than gold, that though perishable, is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor” (1:6-7). The early Christians also believed, therefore, that the righteous are purified by means of trials and persecutions, similar to the purification of gold and silver. However the idea that the suffering of the righteous is like purification appears, of course, much earlier, for instance in the Jewish book The Wisdom of Solomon 3:5-6. There the suffering of the righteous is discussed: “Having been disciplined a little, they will receive great good, because God tested them and found them worthy of himself; like gold in the furnace he tried them, and like a sacrificial burnt offering he accepted them,” (RSV). To be sure, this passage refers only to the suffering of the righteous, not their death, and the suffering in question is not even said to be the result of persecution. Nonetheless, the passage is important both for its reference to being tested by fire, like gold, and for the alluded-to idea that the righteous are accepted by God as a well-being offering (shalem). Here lies the nexus between the notions of sacrifice and the suffering and death of the righteous.

  12. “‘Have You Ever Seen a Lion Toiling as a Porter?’” (2:332). An accidental omission caused footnote 6 to read simply “Luke 12:32.” The footnote should be restored as:

    In the place of this sentence (Mt. 6:34) a different saying is found in Luke 12:32.

  13. “‘Have You Ever Seen a Lion Toiling as a Porter?’” (2:333). In the middle of the second paragraph, Rabbi Eleazar’s saying should be corrected as follows:

    Whoever has what something to eat today, but says ‘What will I eat tomorrow?’—he is without faith.

Gospel Postcard: Magdala

The earliest mention of Magdala, a town which lay on the western shore of the Sea of Galilee, is found in the writings of Strabo (mid-first cent. B.C.E to early first cent. C.E.). Strabo, who referred to Magdala by its Greek name Taricheae (“salted fish”), stated: “At the place called Taricheae the lake supplies excellent fish for pickling; and on its banks grow fruit-bearing trees” (Geography 16:2 §45; Loeb). Magdala’s Hebrew name, Migdal Nunia (“fish tower”; b. Pes. 46a), also refers to the fishing industry, which was the economic backbone of this town. Both the Babylonian Talmud (ibid.) and Josephus (Life §157) mention Magdala with respect to its proximity to the city of Tiberias.

View from Magdala's shore facing south toward Tiberias. Photo courtesy of Joshua N. Tilton.
View from Magdala’s shore facing south toward Tiberias. Photo courtesy of Joshua N. Tilton.
The cliffs of Arbel overshadow the site of Magdala. Image courtesy of Joshua N. Tilton.
The cliffs of Arbel overshadow the site of Magdala. Image courtesy of Joshua N. Tilton.

The Gospels do not mention Magdala except obliquely as the hometown of “Mary (called Magdalene) from whom seven demons had come out” (Luke 8:2; cf. Mark 16:9). Since “Mary” was one of the most common names for Jewish women in the first century C.E., mentioning the town of her origin helped to distinguish this Mary from the other Marys who were associated with Jesus.

Despite the absence of any definite report in the Gospels to confirm our suspicions, the probability that Jesus visited Magdala during his itinerant mission is strong. Not only did Jesus have at least one follower from Magdala—the Mary mentioned above—but literary and recent archaeological evidence reveals that Magdala boasted a vibrant Jewish community in the first century C.E.

A Magdal street blocked with column drums, perhaps part of Josephus' defensive preparations for the Roman assault. Photo courtesy of Joshua N. Tilton.
A Magdala street blocked with column drums, perhaps part of Josephus’ defensive preparations for the Roman assault. Photo courtesy of Joshua N. Tilton.

According to Josephus, Magdala was an important Jewish population center at least as early as the mid-first century B.C.E. (J.W. 1:180). Josephus, who was commander of the Galilee during the First Jewish Revolt against Rome, describes how, in preparation for the Roman assault, he had personally overseen the fortification of Magdala. Although Josephus boasts that Magdala was “completely surrounded…with solid ramparts” except for the side facing the water (J.W. 3:464), only hastily built roadblocks have been found in recent excavations. These finds confirm Josephus’ own admission that the fortification of Magdala was not as strong as that of Tiberias (J.W. 3:465).

A ritual immersion bath (mikveh) discovered at Magdala. Photo courtesy of Joshua N. Tilton.
A ritual immersion bath (mikveh) discovered at Magdala. Photo courtesy of Joshua N. Tilton.

Other archaeological finds indicating a flourishing Jewish presence in Magdala include several ritual baths (mikva’ot), a public structure, which has been identified as the first-century synagogue, and a stone table bearing the earliest known carving of the Temple’s menorah (see featured image above). These new archaeological finds attest to the bustling Jewish town that thrived on the shore of the Sea of Galilee in the time of Jesus.



Aerial photograph of the first-century synagogue discovered at Magdala. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.
Aerial photograph of the first-century synagogue discovered at Magdala. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

In The Master's Steps

To learn more about Magdala and other towns that Jesus may have visited, we recommend Dr. R. Steven Notley’s New Testament atlas, In the Master’s Steps: The Gospels in the Land (Jerusalem: Carta, 2014).

JP Welcomes New Author—Professor Serge Ruzer

Serge Ruzer, Mapping the New Testament (Leiden: Brill, 2007).
Serge Ruzer, Mapping the New Testament (Leiden: Brill, 2007).

We at Jerusalem Perspective are always excited whenever we have the opportunity to introduce our readers to a prominent scholar whose study of the Second Temple period can help you contextualize Jesus’ life and message within the world of ancient Judaism. Our most recent author, Professor Serge Ruzer of the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, has just published a new article on JP that explores the Jewish context of Mark’s account of Jesus’ baptism, and how this description ties in with first-century Jewish messianic expectations. Check it out by clicking on the article’s title, “The Programmatic Opening of Jesus’ Biography as a Reflection of Contemporaneous Jewish Messianic Ideas.” And if you enjoy what you read, leave a comment to show Professor Ruzer how much you appreciate his work. An enthusiastic response will encourage Professor Ruzer and other scholars to keep sharing the fruit of their labor with JP’s readers.

Professor Serge Ruzer
Professor Serge Ruzer

Professor Ruzer actively participates in the Jerusalem School of Synoptic Research meetings and he has written numerous articles on Jesus and the Gospels. His book Mapping the New Testament: Early Christian Writings as a Witness for Jewish Biblical Exegesis (Leiden: Brill, 2007) plots the location of the early Jesus movement on the map of the late Second Temple period Jewish society. Other studies Professor Ruzer has authored include:

  • “From ‘Love Your Neighbour’ to ‘Love Your Enemy’”: Trajectories in Early Jewish Exegesis,” Revue Biblique 109.3 (2002): 371-389.
  • “‘Love Your Enemy’ Precept in the Sermon on the Mount in the Context of Early Jewish Exegesis: A New Perspective, Revue Biblique 111.2 (2004): 193-208.
  • “Antitheses in Matthew 5: Midrashic Aspects of Exegetical Techniques,” in The Sermon on the Mount and its Jewish Setting (ed. Hans-Jürgen Becker and Serge Ruzer; Cahiers de la Revue Biblique 60; Paris: Gabalda, 2005), 89-116.
  • “Son of God as Son of David: Luke’s Attempt to Biblicize a Problematic Notion,” Babel und Bibel 3 (2006): 321-352.
  • “Jesus’ Crucifixion in Luke and Acts: The Search for a Meaning vis-à-vis the Biblical Pattern of Persecuted Prophet,” in Judastick und neutestamentliche Wissenschaft (Göttingen: Vandehoeck & Ruprecht, 2008), 173-191.

Hebrew and Literary Reconstruction of Gospel Stories

JP is excited to announce that David Bivin and Joshua Tilton have recently begun work on reconstructing the “complete” story of Jesus and Levi the toll collector as part of the “Life of Yeshua: A Suggested Reconstruction” project. The reconstruction not only includes suggesting how the story of Jesus and the toll collector might have been worded in Hebrew (Hebrew reconstruction), it also attempts to show that, at a pre-synoptic stage, the Call of Levi was originally followed up by the Lost Sheep and the Lost Coin similes (literary reconstruction).

The discovery of this “complete” story of Jesus and Levi the toll collector was made by Robert Lindsey in collaboration with David Flusser when they realized how perfectly these “literary fragments” fitted together. This discovery led Lindsey to propose several more literary reconstructions, including the “Cost of Entering the Kingdom of Heaven” complex, and the “Mission of the Twelve” complex which is nearing completion.

In the following video clips Rev. Dr. Robert L. Lindsey discusses the possibility and the challenge of Hebrew and literary reconstruction.

Hebrew Reconstruction

Literary Reconstruction


Many people are excited when they read about our great strides in scholarship and want to contribute toward JP’s work. We welcome all types of contributions from prayers to encouraging your friends to become members to financial contributions.

Financial donations are best made by credit card or via a PayPal account:

Brian and the entire JP Staff

Biblical Geography on YouTube

We at Jerusalem Perspective would like our readers to be aware of an excellent resource for studying biblical geography: the Satellite Bible Atlas video commentary series on YouTube. The videos explore the physical settings of biblical narratives, helping viewers to understand how the lay of the land shaped and informed biblical events. The satellite images and aerial photographs featured in the videos afford a bird’s-eye view of Bible lands with a precision and accuracy no ordinary map can provide.

Watch the first video in the series here:




The video commentary is a companion to the Satellite Bible Atlas by William Schlegel, Associate Professor of Bible at The Master’s College, Israel Bible Extension (IBEX). But even for those who do not own the Satellite Bible Atlas, the videos offer an excellent introduction to the physical settings of the Bible.




Jacob ben Aaron—A Samaritan High Priest

Jacob ben Aaron ben Shelamah was the Samaritan high priest from 1861 until his death in 1916.[1] Born in Nablus in 1841, Jacob ben Aaron (Ya‘qūb bin Hārūn) was the nephew of the previous Samaritan high priest, but since his uncle died without having a son Jacob assumed the high priestly office.[2] Jacob ben Aaron was not only the spiritual leader of his people, he also represented the Samaritans to Western scholars who, in the late nineteenth century, had begun to take an interest in the history and customs of the Samaritan people.

Due to their interest, Jacob ben Aaron was commissioned to write a book about Samaritan traditions, which is variously entitled Kitâb aṭ-Ṭuqûsât (“Book of Religious Practices”) or Kitâb al-I‘tiqâdât (“Book of Principles”).[3] This book consists of ten chapters, many of which have been translated into English, and some of which are now in the public domain. They are as follows:

  • I: On the Origins and History of the Samaritans[4]
  • II: On Mount Gerizim[5]
  • III: On the Sabbath[6]
  • IV: On Circumcision[7]
  • V: On the Calendar
  • VI: On Ritual Purity[8]
  • VII: On Dietary Laws
  • VIII: On Marriage
  • IX: On the Torah
  • X: On Burial Practices[9]

Other writings by Jacob ben Aaron include:

In his writings Jacob ben Aaron expresses traditional Samaritan views and sometimes engages in polemics against Judaism and the Jewish community. Nevertheless, Jacob ben Aaron’s writings are of great importance as an historical source for understanding Samaritan culture, beliefs, and practices.

Although he was a high priest, copyist of sacred texts, translator and author, Jacob ben Aaron was a poor man whose family, together with the rest of the Samaritan community, suffered hardships under Ottoman rule.[10] Of his ten children, eight died during his lifetime. In one of the Pentateuchs he copied, Jacob wrote about his sorrow over the deaths of three of his children who died in the period during which the Pentateuch was being prepared:

I labored hard in the writing of this Torah…from the opening of the wounds and strife and grief which came upon me from the death of my three children. And a change came upon me as in fasting I considered the distress which had come upon me in His name. I was motivated to proceed with this Torah and I was not able to contain my bitterness, but I did not stop….[11]

Stereograph image of Jacob ben Aaron holding a Samaritan Torah scroll. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.
Stereograph image of Jacob ben Aaron holding a Samaritan Torah scroll. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.
A stereoscope for viewing stereograph images. Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

The image of Jacob ben Aaron shown above is from a stereograph, a form of photography popular in the nineteenth century in which two images from slightly different angles were taken, which, when viewed through a stereoscope, gave the viewer a three-dimensional effect.


  • [1] Robert T. Anderson and Terry Giles, The Keepers: An Introduction to the History and Culture of the Samaritans (Peabody, Mass.: Hendrickson, 2002), 138.
  • [2] Jacob, son of Aaron, The History and Religion of the Samaritans (ed. William E. Barton; trans. Abdullah ben Kori; Oak Park, Ill.: Puritan Press, 1906), 5.
  • [3] See I. R. M. Boid, “The Samaritan Halachah,” in The Samaritans (ed. Alan D. Crown; Tübingen: Mohr [Siebeck], 1989), 634.
  • [4] Published as Jacob, son of Aaron, The History and Religion of the Samaritans (ed. William E. Barton; trans. Abdullah ben Kori; Oak Park, Ill.: Puritan Press, 1906).
  • [5] Published as Jacob, son of Aaron, Mount Gerizim, the One True Sanctuary (ed. William E. Barton; trans. Abdullah ben Kori; Oak Park, Ill.: Puritan Press, 1907).
  • [6] Published as Jacob, son of Aaron, “The Samaritan Sabbath,” Bibliotheca Sacra 65 (1908): 430-444.
  • [7] Published as Jacob, son of Aaron, “Circumcision Among the Samaritans,” Bibliotheca Sacra 65 (1908): 694-710.
  • [8] Published in I. R. M. Boid, Principles of Samaritan Halachah (Leiden: Brill, 1997) 124-131 (text), 187-192 (trans.).
  • [9] Published in Moses Gaster, The Samaritan Oral Law and Ancient Traditions, Vol. 1, Samaritan Eschatology (London: Search Publishing Company, 1932), 129-187.
  • [10] On the conditions the Samaritan community faced in this period, see Nathan Schur, “Samaritan History: The Modern Period (from 1516 A.D.),” in The Samaritans (ed. Alan D. Crown; Tübingen: Mohr [Siebeck], 1989), 113-134, esp. 125-126.
  • [11] Anderson and Giles, The Keepers, 138.

New Book By Marc Turnage

Windows Into the Bible
Marc Turnage, Windows into the Bible: Cultural & Historical Insights into the Bible for Modern Readers (Springfield, Mo.: Logion, 2016).

<em>Jerusalem Perspective contributor Marc Turnage has authored a new book entitled Windows into the Bible: Cultural & Historical Insights into the Bible for Modern Readers, which will be released at the end of March 2016. Our readers are familiar with Marc Turnage’s “Character Profile” videos that introduce New Testament figures including Caiaphas, Paul and Cornelius. Turnage was also co-editor and contributor to the first volume of Jerusalem Studies in the Synoptic Gospels: Jesus’ Last Week (Leiden: Brill, 2006).

In his new book Turnage guides readers on a tour through the world in which the stories of the New Testament took place. We eagerly anticipate the release of Windows into the Bible, which is already available for pre-order with online booksellers.

Premium Content subscribers to Jerusalem Perspective can read a sample chapter from Windows into the Bible by clicking on the following link:

«The Census of Quirinius and Luke 2»

First Online JP Course Now Available – Aleph-Bet: Hebrew Reading and Writing for Christians in 17 Easy Lessons

We told you earlier this year about our efforts regarding David Bivin’s 12-part series of classes entitled, “Aleph-Bet: A Beginner’s Introduction to Reading and Writing Hebrew.” The class was videotaped in 1995 and only available on VHS tapes. has secured the masters and paired it with our reading material contained in our Hebrew Nuggets for a first-rate course. This incredible class teaches you a basic understanding of how to read and write the language of Jesus’ day.

As David says in the first lesson, “NO study of ANY language pays-off like learning Hebrew.”

On the 20th anniversary of teaching this video series, we are proud to provide this outstanding 17-unit Online Learning Course. You can study at your own pace and even interact with other students if you prefer. We are excited about this new opportunity for learning we can provide our online community.

The “Aleph-Bet” Online Learning Course will include videos, helpful articles, reading and writing practice sheets plus a couple of quiz questions from time to time. We even throw in a pop-quiz every now and then to see how you are doing (don’t worry it isn’t graded). Once you have completed the course you will receive a Certificate of Achievement from Jerusalem Perspective.

Check Out The Course – the cost of the course is $24.95

Jesus’ Gospel, by Joshua N. Tilton, Now In Chinese Translation

12079263_1082040605162834_1102355339227459262_n<i>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. The Chinese translation, which was produced by HaDavar Yeshiva, was released earlier this month.

If you haven’t read it yet, there’s still time: the English e-book is available exclusively through JP’s kiosk.

Screenshot 2015-10-08 19.03.31
The 113 page PDF download includes a hypertext table of contents for reader convenience.


Here’s what one reviewer has to say about Jesus’ Gospel:

Joshua Tilton has written a carefully crafted and provocative book, Jesus’ Gospel: Searching for the Core of Jesus’ Message…. Each of the chapters, so well crafted and researched, offers insight into the Jesus of the Gospels and the Rabbinical teachings of the period. Careful research shows that the teachings of the Rabbis…are either implicit or expanded in the teachings of Jesus as found in the Gospels…. [E]ach chapter also opens to question many of the traditional—especially Evangelical—understandings of Christian belief. This is not to say that the book contradicts traditional doctrines, but that doctrines are challenged by the concepts developed in these pages. If we could correctly comprehend what Jesus meant by ‘kingdom,’ ‘love,’ and ‘the image of God,’ then we would understand Tilton’s view of Jesus’ Gospel.

—Rev. Ashton Nickerson
American Baptist Churches, U.S.A.

A Long Collaboration: Jerusalem Perspective and

Many of the photographs on Jerusalem Perspective come from the collections of Founded by Todd Bolen in 2001, provides photographic resources for studying and teaching biblical history, geography and archaeology.

The photos of are unique in combining scholarly interests with a photographer’s eye. Bolen and many of the contributing photographers are academics who know what’s most important and work for shots that teach. As a resident of the Jerusalem area for more than a decade, Bolen traveled to the major and minor sites, by land and by air, in different seasons and times of the day.

The first collection produced by was the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands. Originally a four-volume collection, this series now includes 17,600 photos in 18 volumes that span the eastern Mediterranean world. Published by Kregel from 2003–2009, the Pictorial Library continues to be a popular photo collection of biblical sites and scenes.

But modern pictures suffer from modern times, and in an effort to see the biblical lands as they were before the construction of highways and apartment high-rises, Bolen sought out older photographic collections to publish in the Historic Views of the Holy Land series. Initial volumes included black and white images from the late 1800s and a popular electronic edition of the Survey of Western Palestine Maps. But the photos of David Bivin added a new dimension.bivin_cd_200 Bivin came to study in Israel in the early 1960s. Traveling with a Yashica-D medium-format camera, Bivin visited all of the major sites and many lesser-known ones, preserving historic scenes on high-quality color slides. In the early 2000s, he approached Bolen with boxes of his photographic collection and they agreed to digitize it to make it available to the world. Today, Bivin’s photos form the “Views That Have Vanished” collection, a unique and valuable window to the past.

Until Bolen began his work, most photographers shot for commercial agencies, making their images too expensive for use by teachers and pastors. A professor himself, Bolen focused on serving others with limited funds by creating photo volumes with hundreds of images available for less than the price of a single photo from a stock agency. Many of these photos are available with extensive descriptions at (in French:; in Spanish: His historic collections are featured at Bolen is currently creating a new series entitled the Photo Companion to the Bible.

Todd Bolen with Mount Gerizim and Mount Ebal in the background.
Todd Bolen with Mount Gerizim and Mount Ebal in the background.

From 1996 to 2007, Bolen was an associate professor of biblical studies at the Israel Bible Extension near Jerusalem. Today he teaches on the home campus of The Master’s College. He has graduate degrees from the Institute of Holy Land Studies (today Jerusalem University College) and The Master’s Seminary. His PhD is from Dallas Theological Seminary and his dissertation was on the Aramean Oppression of Israel during the Reign of Jehu. Bolen met his wife while both were studying in Jerusalem and three of their five children were born there. Bolen now lives in southern California, but returns frequently to the Middle East to lead study tours.

David Bivin recommends the free Newsletter:

I think that for the Bible student the BiblePlaces Newsletter is the most valuable newsletter published.

—David N. Bivin



2015 Lindsey Legacy Conference

Lindsey2015From 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. The title of the conference was “Entering the Kingdom of Heaven: The Legacy of Dr. Robert Lindsey at Narkis Street Congregation in Jerusalem.” Now we are pleased to share with you a selection of the lectures presented at 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.


Shabbat Morning Bible Study: Panel Discussion with David Bivin, Randall Buth, Brad Young, Steven Notley and Halvor Ronning on the Kingdom of Heaven


“The ‘Lindsey Bob’: Bob the Baptizer,” by Dr. Ray Pritz; “The Miracles of Jesus as Proclamation of the Kingdom,” by Dr. Brad Young


“The Gospel of Mark’s Exodus Play,” by Yoni Gerrish; “Why Lukan Priority,” by Halvor Ronning


“Personal Testimony,” by Dov Haiken; “Loving God with All Your Mind,” by Jordash Kiffiak


“Jesus’ Bold Messianic Claims,” by Dr. Lois Tverberg; “Biblical Languages and the Synoptic Problem,” by Dr. Randall Buth; “Iron Sharpens Iron: The Importance of Jewish and Christian Scholarly Collaboration,” by Dr. R. Steven Notley

Click here to see other sessions of the 2015 Lindsey conference.

Video Clip: Gabriel Barkay on “Was Jesus Buried in the Garden Tomb?”

In this video, excerpted from his lecture entitled “Was Jesus Buried in the Garden Tomb? First-Century Jewish Burial in Jerusalem,” delivered at the 2006 Jerusalem Perspective Conference, “Insights into Jesus of Nazareth: His Words, His Wisdom, His World,” Gabriel Barkay, world-renowned archaeologist of the Bar Ilan University, discusses burial customs in the first century, and what archaeology can tell us about the burial site of Jesus.

JP-Conference-LogoThe complete lecture, along with the rest of the presentations delivered at the 2006 Jerusalem Perspective conference, is available through the En-Gedi Resource Center. To purchase the lectures in audio MP3 format, or to purchase video recordings of the lectures included in an 8 DVD set, click here.