This essay probes a number of Matthean and Lukan contributions to the shared Synoptic narrative, in search of possible reflections of contemporaneous Jewish customs and beliefs with broader circulation.
The Didache and its Relevance for Understanding the Gospel of Matthew
In this article, Professor Huub van de Sandt introduces readers to the fascinating treatise called the Didache, and discusses how this early Christian document, which was based on an earlier Jewish source, helps us understand the Gospel of Matthew.
A Declaration of Independence and a Pledge of Allegiance
In this blog, Joshua Tilton shares his personal reflections on the Lord’s Prayer based on his research for the Life of Yeshua project.
Hebraisms in the New Testament
The text of the New Testament contains many Semitic elements, some of which are Hebraisms. The Synoptic Gospels show evidence for the existence of wordplays and idioms that are typical of Hebrew.
David Bivin and Joshua Tilton envision how the Lord’s Prayer might have been formulated in its original language and explore the ancient Jewish context to which the Lord’s Prayer belongs.
The Amidah Prayer
The Amidah is the essential part of the morning, afternoon and evening weekday services in the synagogue. Every Jew is religiously obligated to pray the Eighteen Benedictions daily.
What Did Jesus Mean by “Do Not Judge”?
Jesus’ teaching on judging is one of his most frequently misunderstood sayings, sounding as if he is saying, “Have no discernment. Just ignore sin!” Often we struggle to find a way to sort out sin without actually calling it that so that we do not judge. While Jesus’ ethical demands are high, we often give up trying to follow them if they do not make sense to us.
To Be, or Not to Be, in the Driver’s Seat?
As I lay in a hospital bed at Hebrew University’s Hadassah-Ein Kerem Medical Center, it was obvious to me that my body was completely out of control. My heart had been beating erratically for over 100 hours, and the only hope for restoring my heart to normal rhythm was cardioversion (electric shock therapy).
The Angel Who Has Delivered Me from All Harm
Dr. Horst Krüger, Jerusalem Perspective’s representative in Germany, has suggested to me that Genesis 48:16 may be part of the background to a phrase found in the Lord’s Prayer. I believe that Dr. Krüger has made an important discovery.
Deliver Us From Evil
Just as good poetry can convey multiple allusions, so “Deliver us from evil” can carry a variety of notions of protection from doing and experiencing evil.
The Lord’s Prayer 10: A Hebrew Reconstruction
As a summary of Dr. Bradford Young’s series on the rabbinic background to the Lord’s Prayer, we present his English transliteration of the conjectured Hebrew original and its English translation.
The Lord’s Prayer 9: “Lead Us Not Into Temptation”
It is difficult to grasp the full impact of the Lord’s Prayer without an appreciation of its Jewish background. Today’s Christians have quite a different understanding of prayer, Scripture and faith than a Jewish teacher like Jesus. One easily can miss the great depth of Jesus’ message.
The Lord’s Prayer 8: “Forgive Us Our Debts”
Forgiveness is one of the main emphases in Jesus’ teaching. It is no wonder, then, that forgiveness is part of the short prayer that Jesus taught his disciples.
The Lord’s Prayer 7: “Give Us This Day Our Daily Bread”
The deceptively simple petition from Matthew 6:11, “Give us this day our daily bread,” has been a matter of controversy for centuries. The unusual Greek word epiousion, which is translated “daily,” is the root of the controversy. Some scholars have suggested that the original phrase contained the similar-sounding Greek word epeimi, (the next), and so meant “bread for the next day.” Nevertheless, the Latin translation of the New Testament understood the word as meaning bread needed for sustenance.
The Lord’s Prayer 6: “Thy Will Be Done”
We noted in a previous article that “Thy will be done” parallels “Thy Kingdom come.” Both phrases mean, “May you continue establishing your Kingship.” Jesus does not instruct his disciples to pray “if it is your will.” It is within God’s purpose that all men should repent and become a part of God’s reign. “May your will be accomplished” is a strong affirmative appeal.
The Lord’s Prayer 5: “Thy Kingdom Come” (Part 2)
Like Jesus, the rabbis made frequent reference to “the Kingdom of Heaven.” A familiarity with the way “Kingdom of Heaven” is used in rabbinic literature is essential for understanding its use in the Gospels.
The Lord’s Prayer 4: “Thy Kingdom Come” (Part 1)
Probably no other aspect of Jesus’ teaching has been so greatly misunderstood as the Kingdom of Heaven. Certainly, few themes are more essential for understanding Jesus.
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