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.
Gospel Postcard: Magdala
Excavations since 2009 have revealed the Galilean town of Magdala, the hometown of Mary Magdalene.
The Messianic Consciousness of Jesus: Lesson 07
In Lesson Seven of The Messianic Consciousness of Jesus series, Dr. Robert L. Lindsey continues his discussion of Jesus’ sermon in the Nazareth synagogue.
The Messianic Consciousness of Jesus: Lesson 06
In Lesson Six of The Messianic Consciousness of Jesus series, Dr. Robert L. Lindsey examines the story of Jesus preaching in the Nazareth synagogue (Luke 4:16-21).
The Jewish Cultural Nature of Galilee in the First Century
The prevailing opinion among New Testament scholars is that first-century Galilee was culturally and spiritually deprived, and that, therefore, Jesus came from an underdeveloped and backward Jewish region of the land of Israel. Professor Safrai here presents massive evidence against this view.
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.
Are Christians Supposed to Tithe?
If Jesus censured the Pharisees for loading burdens upon the people that they could not bear, would he not censure today’s pastors for doing the same thing?
The Synagogue the Centurion Built
Would a Roman officer have had the means to finance the construction of a synagogue in the lakeshore town of Capernaum?
Were Women Segregated in the Ancient Synagogue?
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.”
One Torah Reader, Not Seven!
Only around 100 A.D. did it become the custom to have the weekly Torah portion read by seven persons.
Gergesa: Site of the Demoniac’s Healing
The recent discovery of many of the ancient harbors that ringed the Sea of Galilee is an exciting chapter in Sea of Galilee research. One of these harbors is located at Kursi, ancient Gergesa. In this article, Mendel Nun contends that the demoniac’s healing and the miracle of the swine took place at Gergesa, not Gadara or Gerasa.
Stewards of God’s Keys
Jesus gave his disciple Peter the “keys of the kingdom of heaven” and promised that whatever Peter “bound” and “loosed” on earth would be “bound” and “loosed” in heaven. What scriptural allusions lurk beneath these expressions and what are their implications? How does the Jewish literary background of Matthew 16:19 help us better appreciate Jesus’ words?
The Sweetness of Learning
Although the Gospels give little information concerning Jesus’ childhood, we can suppose that in his formative years Jesus received a good Jewish education. Dr. Wilson gives us a glimpse into the Jewish way of training a child.
Master and Disciple
To understand the relationship between a first-century master and his disciples, one must appreciate the central role of Torah in ancient Jewish society.
The Centurion and the Synagogue
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.
Synagogue and Sabbath
The detailed description of Jesus’ visit to the Nazareth synagogue found in Luke 4:16-21 provides substantial information about synagogue life and customs in the early first century C.E. An examination of this passage will help us understand Jesus more clearly and accurately. This account in Luke’s Gospel agrees with other contemporary and especially rabbinic sources. Together they provide a complete picture of the synagogue in that period.
Sidebar: Synagogue Guest House for First-century Pilgrims
This Greek inscription provides evidence of the accommodations that were provided in Jerusalem for pilgrims.
One can form a reasonably accurate picture of what Jesus was doing in his childhood and adolescence.