The Jewish Studies Blog

There are tools that are needed to mine the depths of the biblical texts. There are also many perspectives that enrich our study, like the perspective of first century Judaism. This site is one of those rare resources that provides both tools and perspective for the serious student of Scripture.

– Dr. Allen Mawhinney, A Retired Academic Dean, Reformed Theological Seminary

Reinterpreting “if You Are The Messiah, Tell Us...

This text is most often read as an instance of Jesus’ general lack of clarity in declaring his Messiahship. However, your current author holds that this is unwarranted. The request of Hoi Ioudaioi should not be read: “How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Anointed one, tell us plainly,” but “How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Anointed One, tell us plainly.” From the standpoint of Hoi Ioudaioi, given their religious authority as the formal representatives of the Judean religion, their authority to validate Jesus’ candidacy for Messiahship was not being honored.

Reassessing Jewish-christian Relations (prof. Amy-jill Levine,...

Prof. Amy-Jill Levine is a long-time unofficial mentor and a friend. In my opinion she is one of the brightest and bravest scholars of today. This lecture is entitled “Reassessing Jewish-Christian Relations”….

Cleansing Temple: Why Is John So Different From Synoptics?...

It is striking that the synoptics use a different quotation from the Old Testament to describe the reason for the temple cleansing. While the synoptics quote Jesus saying “Is it not written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer for all the nations ‘? But you have made it a robbers’ den” (Mk.11:17, Mt.21:13, Lk.19:46), John on the other hand justifies Jesus’ action in different way. We read in John 2:17: “His disciples remembered that it was written, “Zeal for your house will consume me.” For the Synoptic Gospels the issue seems to be the loss of Israel’s meaningful engagement with Gentiles (light of the world). For John, the issue is the appropriateness and purity of the place used for Jerusalem worship.

A Niche Market For John’s Gospel

Jesus speaks of his ministry to the other sheepfolds, uniting them under his rule in Jn.10:16 “And I have other sheep, which are not of this fold; I must bring them also, and they shall hear My voice; and they shall become one flock with one shepherd.” Historically this has been interpreted to mean simply uniting Jews and Gentiles together in the one body of Christ. The current authors are committed to the understanding that Israel’s God unites all nations of the world into one Body through Jesus’ love, his sacrifice, and his rule. However, while we agree that this text applies to “all” by extension, it seems to us that first of all it should be applied to the reunification of Northern and Southern Israel.

Who Are “the Jews” In The Gospel Of John?

Throughout Christian history, the Gospel of John has stood among the most favorite books of the Bible, alongside perhaps only the Psalms, Isaiah and the book of Romans. This gospel has also been a source of debate. One of the main reasons for this is its “anti-Jewish” rhetoric. The problem here is that the harsh words to “the Jews” were not addressed to a particular Jewish group as in other Gospels. After all, harsh rhetoric is also present in the so-called “most Jewish” of all the four gospels, the gospel of Matthew (Matt. 23) and is consistent with the standards of speech that were acceptable for the Israelite prophetic tradition (Is.1:2-4). However, in Matthew, as well as in Mark and Luke, in most cases it can be clearly seen that Jesus argued with Jewish groups like Scribes and Pharisees, but not with all Jews. It is peculiar that only in the Gospel of John is the un-nuanced “the Jews” (in most English translations) used repeatedly, usually referring to the opponents of Jesus who were often seeking to kill him (5:18; 7:1-10; 8:1-22, 8:40; 10:29-33; 11:8; 18:14; 18:28). Most-strikingly, it is to “the Jews” who initially followed him in this Gospel alone that Jesus said: “Your belong to your father, the devil.” (8:31) So, are Christian Bibles translating the Greek words “Hoi Iudaioi” accurately as “the Jews” in today’s sense of the word? Our guess is – probably not (to read more about it follow this link).

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