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The Yeshua In Context Handbook

This is a post that will grow over time. Think of it as an online (and thus, free) book. I had planned to write something like this and publish it. Instead, I am adding bits and pieces at a time to this post (all the chapters will be linked from here with new ones added periodically). Perhaps it will be available as an eBook when I have posted a sufficient number of articles. Here is the growing Table of Contents (more to come): What is in the gospels? (Genre). Study Methods and Tips: Beginner to Intermediate. Reading as a disciple. Parables, Gospel by Gospel. List: Teachings of Yeshua. List: Teachings Unique to Luke. List: Healing Miracles of Yeshua. List: Exorcisms by Yeshua. List: Nature Miracles of Yeshua. Symbolic Actions and Kingdom Enactments. Midrash in the Gospels, the Example of Matthew 2:15. Yeshua's ... Read entire article >>

Filed under: 1a - Intro to the Gospels , Beginners , Featured , Reading Strategies , Study Tips

Study Methods and Tips: Beginner and Intermediate

What are the best ways to study the gospels? The following suggestions are not mutually exclusive. You might participate in more than one method: READING IMMERSION METHOD: Read Mark first. Then Matthew. Then Luke. Then John. This is the very likely order in which the gospels were written. Notice that Mark ends at 16:8. Anything after 16:8 printed in whatever translation of the Bible you are reading is based on late manuscripts and was added by scribes. Did Mark ever have an ending beyond 16:8? No one is sure. Notice what Mark does not have that Matthew and then Luke add: infancy narratives and resurrection narratives (Mark ends with the empty tomb). Notice that Luke's infancy and resurrection narratives are quite different from Matthew's. Notice how John's gospel is largely stories ... Read entire article >>

Filed under: 1a - Intro to the Gospels , Beginners , Reading Strategies , Study Tips

What is in the gospels? (Genres)

This is a rather imperfect list (some categories overlap) but one that helps us to know the kinds of material found in the gospels: Infancy narratives John the Baptist narratives Teaching narratives Parables Sayings Enactments and symbolic actions Miracle narratives Healing (and exorcism) miracles Nature miracles Identity stories Dispute narratives Passion narratives Resurrection narratives ... Read entire article >>

Filed under: 1a - Intro to the Gospels , Beginners , Gospel Genres

The Return of the PODCAST

The Yeshua in Context podcast is back. You can find it at on the Podcast page. Last week I posted "Intro to Eyewitnesses in the Gospels," a fifteen minute introduction to the idea that the gospels are sourced in the living tradition of eyewitness oral history, which was very active in the early congregations of Yeshua-believers. And yesterday, I posted "Two Mary's," with an inspiring look at Mary Magdalene and Mary of Bethany. Who were they? How was their witness vital to our understanding of Yeshua? If you want to subscribe on iTunes, search "Yeshua in Context" in the iTunes store (under podcasts). Note that the "old" podcast is still there in iTunes. The old podcast is called "The Yeshua in Context Podcast" and the new one is called ... Read entire article >>

Filed under: Disciples & Named Characters , Eyewitnesses , Formation of the Gospels , Podcasts

Q Theory

If you've not read much about "the synoptic problem" (theories about where Matthew, Mark, and Luke came from), this post may not be for you. These are simply some quick notes about Q Theory and Mark Goodacre's case against Q -- and I am persuaded by Goodacre that Q is a myth. Q is an imagined document which scholars think they see in the background of Yeshua-sayings that are shared only by Matthew and Luke (they don't occur in Mark). The Q theory is that Matthew and Luke each independently used Mark and this lost source of sayings which scholars call Q. Let me break that down. The theory is that Matthew did not know Luke and Luke did not know Matthew. The sources they had included Mark and Q (and both ... Read entire article >>

Filed under: Background to Gospels , Formation of the Gospels , Synoptic Relationships

VIDEO, Where did the gospels come from?

People make some assumptions based on pious tradition about where the gospels come from. The truth is more interesting. ... Read entire article >>

Filed under: Beginners , Disciples & Named Characters , Eyewitnesses , Formation of the Gospels , Gospels as History , Literary Features , Study Tips , Video

The Invisible Jews, Until the Sixth Century CE

People often think that Judaism was led by the Pharisees in an unbroken chain from before the time of Yeshua to the present day. In this mistaken notion of history, the Pharisees of Yeshua's time were the influential leaders of world Jewry who morphed into the rabbis of renown. The truth, well-documented in such books as E.P. Sanders's Judaism: Practice and Belief and J.D. Shaye Cohen's From the Maccabees to the Mishnah, is that the Pharisees and the early rabbinic movement were not that influential until at least the sixth century CE. Contributing to the faulty view of rabbinic dominance in early Jewish history is the Mishnah and Talmud and Midrashic literature. This, taken together, is called rabbinic literature. And in the rabbinic literature, the dominance of the rabbinic movement is ... Read entire article >>

Filed under: Background to Gospels , Pharisees , Sadducees

Video at the Musings Blog: What Was New for Jews in Yeshua?

At the Musings blog, and as a third video for my class on Introduction to the Apostolic Writings (New Testament), I discuss the significance of what Yeshua did in a Jewish context. What was so revolutionary? See "What Was New in Yeshua for First Century Jewish People?". ... Read entire article >>

Filed under: Applying the Gospels , Background to Gospels , Kingdom Future , Kingdom Present , Resurrection of Yeshua , Video