A close look at both the Epistle of James and the extrabiblical traditions concerning James “the first bishop of Jerusalem” reveals several points of contact with Qumran.
Some scholars have plausibly argued that the Enlightenment’s preoccupation with the problem of knowing was a direct product of the Lutheran and Reformed “theologies of the Word” that emerged from the Reformation…
The restoration of the Jewish homeland, Israel, and the reconnection of the Church to its Jewish roots are not unrelated phenomena. Many sectors of the Body of Messiah today are being stimulated and enriched by the “nourishing sap” of Israel’s faith, scriptures and scholarship. We are discovering that there is scarcely a single New Testament subject that cannot be amplified, deepened, or balanced by a Hebraic perspective. As disciples of Yeshua, we are deeply indebted to Israel.
One of the strongest impressions I have from my first year in Israel (1963-1964) was taking part in a Passover Seder (the joyous home celebration of Passover). It happened that during this first year in Israel my first contact with the Jewish people took place—there were no Jews living in Cleveland, Oklahoma, where I grew up.
Reading a passage from the New Testament against the backdrop of ancient Jewish tradition can sometimes add to the its significance. Romans 11:30-36 is one such passage, where without knowing the Jewish tradition to which Paul alluded, we run the risk of not hearing his emphasis clearly: God is merciful and his ways, incomprehensible.
Do we as Christians take seriously “the man Christ Jesus” (1 Tim. 2:5)? If we did, how would it change our perspective? Apparently not, if we are to judge by the essentials of apostolic faith as defined in early church creeds. Typically these creeds skip from Jesus’ supernatural origins to his sacrificial death. The Apostles’ Creed, for instance, emphasizes that Jesus Christ, the “Son of God, was born of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary, was crucified in the days of Pontius Pilate, and died, and rose from the grave….” What about the events between his birth and death? Are not his teachings fundamental to our faith, too?
Today, public worship can take place in a synagogue only if at least ten adult Jewish males are present. Women do not qualify as part of this quorum. Furthermore, women are separated from men within the synagogue: women worship in an ezrat nashim, a balcony, or section with a divider, located beside or behind the men’s section. Things were considerably different in Jesus’ day.
When discussing the question of inspiration of Scripture, it is important to consider also the way in which the church determined which books were from God and which were not. Most of us take for granted that the New Testament always had twenty-seven books.
Although the many similarities among the synoptic Gospels suggest an interdependence, there are also differences. According to Luke 4:22, after Jesus spoke in his hometown synagogue in Nazareth the people said, “Is not this Joseph’s son?” According to Mark 6:3, they said, “Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary…?” However, Matthew 13:55 recounts, “Is not this the carpenter’s son? Is not his mother called Mary?”
The command to love one’s neighbor was already thought of during the Second Commonwealth as the essence of the second half of the Decalogue, in which sense it is quoted in Sefer Pitron Torah.