Jewish Laws of Purity in Jesus’ Day

Articles 6 Comments

The sages were required to interpret the biblical commandments, including those dealing with ritual uncleanness of menstruants. Rabbinic regulations about impurity caused by menstruation form the background to several stories in the gospels.

“Jehovah”: A Christian Misunderstanding

Articles 6 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

“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one” (Deut. 6:4), known as the Shema, is a foundational teaching of both Judaism and Jesus.

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.

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.

Sabbath Breakers

Articles 4 Comments

Jesus’ observance of the commandments has been a topic of vigorous scholarly debate. However, when the Synoptic Gospels are carefully examined, one sees that Jesus never violated written or oral Torahs. But did his disciples?

Book Review: David Flusser’s The Spiritual History of the Dead Sea Sect

Articles Leave a Comment

Based on a series of radio lectures, the book retains much of its original conversational tone and structure, but has been expanded to present a more detailed overview.

The Centurion and the Synagogue

Articles 1 Comment

A Roman centurion’s concern for his slave focuses our attention on the presence of non-Jews in the land of Israel in the first century. A modern Jewish authority on the history of the period provides the story’s background.

“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.

Pilgrimage in the Time of Jesus

Articles 5 Comments

Luke states that Joseph and Mary made a pilgrimage to Jerusalem every Passover. The requirement of pilgrimage to the Temple in Jerusalem is mentioned in the passages of Scripture that deal with three annual festivals: the Feast of Unleavened Bread, the Feast of Weeks, and the Feast of Booths.

The Role of Women in the Temple

Articles 4 Comments

According to Jewish religious law, women were allowed in every area of the Temple precincts in which men were allowed. The Mishnah specifies areas within the Temple that non-priests were not allowed to enter, but it does not differentiate between men and women.