Were Women Segregated in the Ancient Synagogue?

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Did women play a passive role in the synagogue congregations of antiquity? Were they separated from male members of the congregation during prayer and study, as is the case today? According to Professor Shmuel Safrai, the answer to both questions is a resounding “No.”

The Nature of Jesus’ Task

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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.

One Torah Reader, Not Seven!

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Every Saturday morning in synagogues throughout the world the Torah is read aloud. Following ancient practice, seven men in turn read the weekly Torah portion. However, Professors Shmuel and Chana Safrai have recently discovered that a different custom prevailed until the destruction of the Temple in 70 A.D.: until at least the destruction of the Temple in 70 A.D., a single reader performed this task.

Hendiadys in the Synoptic Gospels

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Hebraisms are as ubiquitous in the Synoptic Gospels as cats in Jerusalem. One of my friends says that there are more cats in Jerusalem than any other city in the world. You find cats everywhere in this city. If you pass a rubbish bin, you may be startled as several cats fly out. You may also be startled by the number of Hebrew idioms in the Synoptic Gospels. Mark each Hebraism that is presented in the pages of JerusalemPerspective.com in your Bible, perhaps using a highlighter. In time, as you identify more and more Hebraisms in the texts of Matthew, Mark and Luke, you will see the gravity of the evidence for assuming a Hebrew tradition behind the Synoptic Gospels.