The Gospel of John’s Jewish-Christian Source

Articles 4 Comments

In an important study entitled The Gospel of Signs, Robert Fortna correctly identified a Jewish-Christian source embedded in the Fourth Gospel. This article is based upon the conclusions of Fortna’s research and explores their significance. I will also point out additional evidence Fortna overlooked that clarifies the origins and intentions of the Jewish-Christian source embedded in the text of the Fourth Gospel.

“Treasure in Heaven”: Examining an Ancient Idiom for Charity

Articles 2 Comments

The growing value placed on charity in the first century C.E. cannot be overstated. As a new sensitivity developed within Judaism that challenged the compensatory “blessings and curses” paradigm of the Hebrew Bible (cf. Deut. 28) as a basis to serve God, so there was a shifting emphasis towards altruistic love embodied in the Levitical commandment, “…and you shall love your neighbor as yourself (וְאָהַבְתָּ לְרֵעֲךָ כָּמוֹךָ אֲנִי יי; Lev. 19:18).”

From Melchizedek to Jesus: The Higher Eternal Priest in Jewish Second Temple Literature

Articles Leave a Comment

A scroll from the Judean Desert proves that the biblical Melchizedek was transformed into the eschatological high priest in some Jewish circles in the first century B.C.E.

Toward an Unclouded Vision of His Kingdom

Articles 1 Comment

In an effort to counter the risk we may be running of losing “the vision of the kingdom,” I will enumerate and comment briefly upon three optical aids for keeping it in focus.

Jesus’ Yoke and Burden

Articles 6 Comments

It appears that the original context for Jesus’ “Comfort for the Heavy-Laden” saying has been lost; however, passages in the apocrypha indicate that Jesus was speaking of Torah study and the rigors of first-century discipleship.

The Approval of Abraham: Traditions of God’s Acceptance of Abraham in Early Jewish and Christian Sources

Articles 1 Comment

When, in ancient times, people read the account of the life of Abraham, it was common for them to ask, “When did Abraham finally make the grade? At which point in his life was Abraham approved and accepted by God?”

If Your Eye Be Single

Articles 1 Comment

Couched within Jesus’ teaching is an idiom which is difficult to translate, “If your eye is single, your whole body is full of light” (Matt. 6:22). The Hebraic expression, “good eye” to denote generosity is well known in the Bible (Deut. 15:9; Prov. 22:9; 23:6; 28:22; Eccl. 14:10) and the writings of Israel’s Sages (m. Avot 5:15). Nevertheless, in Matthew 6, where you would expect to find the idiom, “good eye,” the adjective used in our saying is not καλός (kalos, good, pleasant) but ἁπλοῦς (haplous, single, simple).

First-century Jewish Use of Scripture: Evidence from the Life of Jesus

Articles 1 Comment

Through the window of a single New Testament episode we can gain insight into how Jesus and his Jewish contemporaries employed sacred texts with creative ingenuity to grapple with the complex issues of their day.

Jesus and the Hasidim

Articles 8 Comments

Jesus, who was quite close to the Hasidim and perhaps even involved with some of them, does not reflect Galilean boorishness or ignorance, but rather the dynamism and ongoing creativity of Jewish life in Galilee.

The Kingdom of God: God’s Power Among Believers

Articles 8 Comments

One of the greatest theological controversies in the last century concerns the meaning of the terms “Kingdom of God” and “Kingdom of heaven.” Because scholars have not given adequate attention to the fact that these are completely Hebraic terms, confusion has arisen concerning the period of time to which the Kingdom refers, who takes part in it and the exact nature of the Kingdom. Examining relevant Gospel passages in their Hebraic context will clarify what Jesus meant when he spoke of the “Kingdom of God” or the “Kingdom of heaven.”