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.

A Body, Vultures and the Rapture (Luke 17:37)

Articles Leave a Comment

“Wheresoever the body is, thither will the eagles be gathered together” (Luke 17:37; KJV), is certainly one of the most enigmatic of Jesus’ sayings. Commentators have noted that Jesus employed a proverbial saying to reply to his disciples’ question; however, they differ about what the proverb means in this context.

“He Shall Be Called a Nazarene”

Articles 2 Comments

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.

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.

Literary Languages in the Time of Jesus

Articles 3 Comments

Not only was Hebrew the most prevalent spoken language in the land of Israel during the first century, it was also the language in which most literary works were written.

“And” or “But”—So What?

Articles Leave a Comment

Writings that were originally composed in Greek tend to have a higher ratio of de to kai than writings that have been influenced by a Semitic language.

Spoken Languages in the Time of Jesus

Articles 3 Comments

Professor Safrai presents an overview of the three languages used in the land of Israel during the days of Jesus, and concludes that Hebrew was the primary language spoken by the Jewish residents at that time.

Who Is a Jew in the Gospels?

Articles Leave a Comment

Most English translations consistently translate the Greek word Ioudaioi as “Jews.” But this inflexible translation has often contributed to an anti-Semitic interpretation of the New Testament.

Hebrew Nuggets, Lesson 24: Messiah (Part 2)

Articles 1 Comment

Athough the concept of Messiah is importance both in Judaism and Christianity, the Hebrew word מָשִׁיחַ (maSHIaḥ, messiah) was not often used in Jesus’ day. Jesus and his contemporaries rarely spoke of the Messiah by that name, but preferred to use other more oblique terms. In the New Testament, maSHIaḥ almost always appears in its Greek translation: χριστός (christos, anointed with oil; Christ). The Greek transliteration μεσσίας (messias) appears only twice, in John 1:41 and 4:25.

“Son of Man”: Jesus’ Most Important Title

Articles 2 Comments

There is a common thread uniting the views of those who think that Jesus signaled Daniel 7 by using the Aramaic bar enash in the middle of Hebrew speech. Anyone who holds this view must assume that Jesus spoke or taught in Hebrew much of the time. That Jesus used Hebrew a significant amount of the time is a sociolinguistic conclusion that has a growing number of supporters in New Testament scholarship, but one that is still a minority opinion.

“Let Down Your Nets”

Articles 2 Comments

In this article Sea of Galilee fishing expert, Mendel Nun, discusses the different types of fishing nets that were used in the first century by fishermen. Nun’s knowledge of ancient fishing techniques illuminates the stories of Jesus and his followers, many of whom were fishermen.

The Sons of His Will

Articles Leave a Comment

Christmas brings many carols and cards containing the words from Luke 2:14, “Goodwill to men” and “Peace to men of goodwill.” The angels praised God with words that in English may sound like a politician wishing us to “Have a nice day.” Most of us sense that these words reflect something deeper, but why did the angels use such seemingly innocuous words?

“Binding” and “Loosing” in the Kingdom of Heaven

Articles 1 Comment

Jewish sages were called upon constantly by their community to interpret scriptural commands. The Torah forbids working on the Sabbath, for instance, but it does not define what constitutes work. As a result, the sages were required to rule on which activities were permitted on the Sabbath. They “bound,” or prohibited, certain activities, and “loosed” or allowed, others.

Discovering Longer Gospel Stories

Articles 5 Comments

Research by Robert L. Lindsey has helped clarify the process by which gospel texts were preserved and transmitted. Luke desired, he said in his prologue, to present to Theophilus an “orderly” account. Such ordering is to be noted in Matthew and Mark, as well. These attempts at ordering help us understand why so many of the synoptic gospel stories appear in a different chronological order from gospel to gospel.

Jesus and the Oral Torah: Did Jesus Wear Phylacteries?

Articles 3 Comments

The Gospels attest to the fact that Jesus had tassels on the four corners of his outer robe (Matt. 9:20; 14:36; Mark 6:56; Luke 8:44). Although there is no explicit evidence in the Gospels, we have reason to suggest that he also may have worn phylacteries.