Innocent Blood

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How well-read was Jesus? The LOY segment entitled Innocent Blood probes the possibility that Jesus read and quoted a no-longer-extant Second Temple-period Jewish literary work that warned against violent religious extremism.

A Voice Crying

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An examination of the Jewish setting of John the Baptist’s proclamation of an immersion of repentance for the release of Israel’s sin indebtedness.

Praying Like Gentiles

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What can Jesus’ warnings against praying like Gentiles teach us about Jesus’ relationship to Second Temple Judaism and his attitude toward non-Jews?

Sending the Twelve: Conduct in Town

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David N. Bivin and Joshua N. Tilton suggest a Hebrew reconstruction of Jesus’ instructions about how the twelve apostles were to behave when they entered a town. In this pericope we learn about the giving and receiving of hospitality among Jesus’ earliest followers. We also learn what may be wrong about the popular view that shaking the dust from the apostles’ feet was a symbolic action meant to signal to Jews who rejected Jesus that they were henceforth to be considered as Gentiles.

LOY Excursus: The Kingdom of Heaven in the Life of Yeshua

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In this excursus to the Life of Yeshua commentary, David N. Bivin and Joshua N. Tilton delve into the ancient Jewish concept of the Kingdom of Heaven and discuss the ways in which Jesus made use of this concept in his own unique style.

Character Profiles: Gamaliel and Nicodemus

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Gamaliel saved the lives of Jesus’ apostles, and also influenced Paul’s ethics, even after Paul’s conversion. Nicodemus belonged to the Hillelite anti-Zealot circles to which Jesus himself was close.

The Jewish Cultural Nature of Galilee in the First Century

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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 Value of Rabbinic Literature as an Historical Source

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The thesis of this article is that rabbinic sources, when used in a careful manner, can provide reliable historical material pertaining to the Second Temple period. If this thesis is accepted, the consequences for the study of the New Testament Gospels are obvious.

Jesus and the Hasidim

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How do we define Jesus within first-century Jewish society? To which of the various Jewish sects does he belong? Was he a Pharisee, an Essene? After years of painstaking research, Shmuel Safrai has identified a new stream within the Judaism of Jesus’ time: the Hasidic movement. This may be a major breakthrough in New Testament studies, as well, because the picture Safrai paints of the Hasidim is amazingly similar to what we know about Jesus. 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.

Master and Disciple

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To understand the relationship between a first-century master and his disciples, one must appreciate the central role of Torah in ancient Jewish society.