The genealogies of Matthew and Luke reflect diverging Jewish opinions about the time for the advent of the redeemer.
Parallelism is a central feature of Hebrew poetry. It permeates the words of biblical poet and prophet. The frequency with which parallelism occurs in the utterances of Jesus is surprising, and leads inevitably to the conclusion that the Greek source (or, sources) used by the authors of Matthew, Mark and Luke derive(s) from a Greek translation (or, translations) of Hebrew documents.
Doubling, or repeating, is a characteristic feature of Hebrew. Hebrew loves to say things twice (or more!) by adding equivalents. Words, phrases, sentences, and even stories, are doubled (or tripled).
One of the finest articles ever written on rabbinic parables and the parables of Jesus was published in 1972 in the now defunct Christian News from Israel. The article is a classic, but, unfortunately, no longer available. Jerusalem Perspective is pleased to resurrect this milestone article together with the responses of founding Jerusalem School members, the late Robert L. Lindsey and David Flusser.
The order of The Four Types usually implies ascending gradation from worst to best. When I read The Parable of the Sower, I am inclined to see the third group as representing the category in which most of us fall—including me.
Gospel parables are probably the most widely identifiable teaching form of Jesus. However, readers seldom recognize Jesus’ sophisticated skill as a first-century Jewish parabolist. Indeed, many Christians are unaware that his use of story parables is one of the strongest links between Jesus and contemporary Jewish piety. His parables also demonstrate that Jesus taught in Hebrew.
I appreciate this opportunity to return to some issues concerning the Targum of Job that I raised in Where Is the Aramaic Bible at Qumran? Scripture Use in the Land of Israel and to evaluate Jack Poirier’s response entitled, The Qumran Targum of Job as a Window into Second Temple Judaism: A Response to Randall Buth.
The documents at Qumran allow us to reconstruct Scripture access in the Province of Judea in the first century. From the evidence, we must assume that the Qumran community and the other Jewish communities in the land had direct access to the Hebrew Bible, generally understood it, and were interested in teaching that related directly to the Hebrew text.
In rabbinic parables God could be portrayed as behaving in a morally ambiguous manner: he might be a cruel slave owner or a heartless judge. In a few Lukan parables, Jesus also portrayed God as behaving scandalously. Often unsettling for modern readers, such portrayals added humorous elements to the plot and heightened the dramatic effect.
The “king parable” is a special form of parable often used by Jesus. Here is the opening of a “king parable” from rabbinic literature: “The matter may be compared to a king who arranged a banquet and invited guests to it. The king issued a decree that stated, ‘Each guest must bring something on which to recline.’ Some brought carpets, others brought mattresses or pads or cushions or stools, while still others brought logs or stones. The king observed what they had done, and said, ‘Let each man sit on what he brought.'”
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.
One of the many interesting results of synoptic research is the discovery of parallels between rabbinic literature and the Gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke. Rabbinic parallels enhance our understanding of the sayings of Jesus, and vice versa. Jesus’ parable below is more understandable when compared with its rabbinic parallels, and the rabbinic sayings are illuminated by Jesus’ parable.
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