The Nature of Jesus’ Task

Articles Leave a Comment

Christians read their Bibles through a lens of historical hindsight to illuminate certain features of Jesus’ teaching. Jews living in the first century did not have this benefit, and even one as saintly as John the Baptist struggled with aspects of Jesus’ messianic conduct.

Paraphrastic Gospels

Articles 2 Comments

As Robert Lindsey realized in 1962, Mark reworked Luke’s Gospel in writing his own. Mark liked to substitute synonyms for nearly anything that Luke wrote. If, for instance, Luke used the singular of a noun, Mark substituted the plural form of the same noun in writing his Gospel. And vice versa: if Luke used the plural, Mark substituted the singular. In this article, Robert Lindsey surveys a unique substitution category found in Mark’s Gospel: the replacing of one verse of Scripture with another.

Stewards of God’s Keys

Articles Leave a Comment

Jesus gave his disciple Peter the “keys of the kingdom of heaven” and promised that whatever Peter “bound” and “loosed” on earth would be “bound” and “loosed” in heaven. What scriptural allusions lurk beneath these expressions and what are their implications? How does the Jewish literary background of Matthew 16:19 help us better appreciate Jesus’ words?

Why I Am a Member of the Jerusalem School

Articles Leave a Comment

The appeal of the Jerusalem School of Synoptic Research lies in the potential of its research methodologies to make the words and claims of Jesus clearer.

The Power of Parables

Articles 2 Comments

Jesus was a master teacher. Therefore, it is significant that he relied heavily on parables. What is it about parables that makes them so moving and memorable?

Remember Shiloh!

Articles 3 Comments

Without paying attention to ancient Jewish exegesis one can easily miss the full impact of Jesus’ statement, “den of thieves.” Was Jesus solely addressing the vendors, or was he aiming at bigger game?

Jesus’ Attitude to Poverty

Articles Leave a Comment

In light of Jesus’ demand of the rich young ruler to relinquish his entire fortune, one might assume that Jesus demanded this of every disciple; however, it is not certain that Jesus viewed poverty as the ideal state.

“Do Not Resist Evil”: Jesus’ View of Pacifism

Articles 1 Comment

The idea that Jesus taught pacifism arose primarily due to the misunderstanding of a number of his sayings. When viewed from a Jewish perspective, the gospel passages on which pacifism is based point to a quite different conclusion.

The Appearance of Jesus: Hairstyles and Beards in Bible Times

Articles Leave a Comment

No one knows for sure how Jesus looked in the eyes of his contemporaries. However, there is evidence that suggests the hair of Jesus may have been rather short—black or dark in color—and his beard closely trimmed.

Jesus’ Devout Jewish Parents and Their Child Prodigy

Articles 2 Comments

In the infancy narrative found in chapters one and two of Luke’s gospel, Luke has provided excellent character references for Mary, Joseph and Jesus. Jesus’ mother and father show piety far beyond the usual, and the young Jesus is eager to be in the temple studying Torah with the teachers of Israel.

That Small-fry Herod Antipas, or When a Fox Is Not a Fox

Articles 2 Comments

We need to start translating “fox” with its proper Hebraic cultural meaning.

Pieces to the Synoptic Puzzle: Papias and Luke 1:1-4

Articles Leave a Comment

Despite a rather turbulent transmission process, the Synoptic Gospels retain an astonishing amount of authentic and reliable material.

“He Shall Be Called a Nazarene”

Articles 1 Comment

One of the titles given to Jesus was “Nazarene.” Where did the title come from, and did it have any special significance? Ray Pritz traces the title’s origins.

“Jehovah”: A Christian Misunderstanding

Articles 5 Comments

In any attempt to understand the Bible, there is no substitute for a knowledge of ancient Jewish custom and practice. For example, the term “Jehovah,” which is found in many Christian translations of the Bible, originated due to Christian lack of awareness of Jewish custom.

The Shema in Early Jewish Teaching

Articles Leave a Comment

A careful investigation of early sources suggests that Deuteronomy 6:4 must have been the first portion from the Hebrew Bible that Jesus committed to memory.

The Divine Name in the Hebrew New Testament

Articles Leave a Comment

God has a personal name: YHVH. Like Semitic names in general, it was intended to reflect something of the bearer’s character. YHVH is related to the root h-v-h, “to be”, and reflects God’s eternity and timelessness.

Master and Disciple

Articles Leave a Comment

To understand the relationship between a first-century master and his disciples, one must appreciate the central role of Torah in ancient Jewish society.