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Yeshua in Context >> General

REVIEW: Tverberg's Walking in the Dust of Rabbi Jesus

Walking in the Dust of Rabbi Jesus: How the Jewish Words of Jesus Can Change Your Life, by Lois Tverberg, PhD. Zondervan, 2012. Disclosure: I received a complementary review copy of this book from the publisher. Prefer to listen to the review in audio form? Click here. Lois Tverberg is a biologist, but in our circles she is better know for another occupation: a writer who explores the Jewish context of Jesus' life. As a Lutheran (at least in background), Tverberg is a writer well-suited to explain the Jewish context of Yeshua to Christian readers. As a scientist she has the energy and passion for research that are required to find connections between rabbinic literature and the gospels. Her portrayal has much substance because of her dedication to learning. What I like most ... Read entire article >>

Filed under: General

Back from Sukkot

Blogging will soon commence again here at I have been enjoying a season of High Holidays and Sukkot. But "normal" is returning and I'm back to exploring the life and message of Yeshua with renewed fervor. ... Read entire article >>

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October Fest

October is slow month (or fast month, depending on how you look at it). This month has been High Holidays (I am a Messianic Rabbi) and will be Sukkot. Blogging may come to a grinding halt here at Yeshua in Context in October, but I will be back. Blessings to all who come here and read. The reading cycle begins again October 16. If you would like to be on my Daily D'var email list (daily portions of Torah and gospels with outline and comments by me) then email me at yeshuaincontext at gmail and ask for it. ... Read entire article >>

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The Purpose of Parables

As part of a presentation I gave on September 18 at a "Studying the Jewish Gospels" event here in Atlanta, I developed an outline of "20 Ways to Read the Life of Yeshua." Among my twenty pointers were things like, "Forget that you know the end of the story," followed by examples in which onlookers and disciples can only be understood within the story as confused, as people who don't know for a second that Yeshua is to be the dying savior and rising lord. And another of my pointers, which forms the basis for this post: "Understand the genre of parables in rabbinic literature." And the golden text for learning about this subject: David Stern, Parables in Midrash (note: this is not the David Stern who is famous in the ... Read entire article >>

Filed under: Applying the Gospels , Background to Gospels , Beginners , Community in Yeshua , Discipleship - Formation , Erasing Anti-Judaism , General , Gospel Genres , Literary Features , Parables , Study Tips , Teaching of Yeshua

Mark 1:1, Greek-Hebrew-English

If you don't know Greek or Hebrew, no problem. Each time I do one of these there will be a few notes and nuggets of value for you even without facility in biblical languages. I will be concise in my notes, so these should be quite readable even if you are not technically oriented in your Bible reading. Who knows? By the time we get to some sayings of Yeshua, perhaps one of my mentors, Rabbi Carl Kinbar, will be willing to supply a theoretical Aramaic original (along the lines of Maurice Casey's work). For now, a simple exegesis of Mark 1:1. The Society of Biblical Literature Greek Text (minus accents): 'Arkhe tou 'euaggeliou 'Iesou khristou. Note: See below regarding the missing phrase "son of God." The Delitzsch Hebrew text (from the Delitzsch Hebrew ... Read entire article >>

Filed under: Detailed Commentary , DHE (Delitzsch Gospels) , General , Greek Text and Translation

Yeshua the Galilean

Are not all these who are speaking Galileans? -Acts 2:7 The miracle of that special Shavuot (Pentecost) at the Temple was something very human: the appearance of the Spirit of God in individual theophanies on the disciples. Many onlookers seem to have missed the tongues of fire that Luke says rested on the disciples. What they noticed was the strange speech. Humble Israelites were speaking languages from far away lands. And it occurred to the onlookers as more than strange that these powerfully endued speakers were Galilean. It was the Judeans, not the Galileans, who emphasized scribal education. If anyone might be expected to have such learning of languages, and possibly if anyone were to be chosen as a prophet, most would expect this to happen to Judeans and not Galileans. What is ... Read entire article >>

Filed under: Background to Gospels , Beginners , Galilee , General , Preachable Points , Temple and Torah

The Symbolic Use of Abraham

I asked my congregation a test question. I said, "What does Abraham represent in the gospels?" The answer I got was, "Faith." It's not a bad answer considering that this was before we had read a few Abraham texts in the gospels. Yet, before we would jump to Paul's explanation of Abraham (Rom 4:3; Gal 3:7), it is good to consider a step earlier than the realization that Abraham represents faith. It is eye-opening to re-read some of the Abraham texts in the gospels with an eye for first century Jewish ideas about election, covenant, and afterlife. Let's begin with three texts: Bear fruit that befits repentance, and do not presume to say to yourselves, 'We have Abraham as our father'; for I tell you, God is able from these stones ... Read entire article >>

Filed under: Abraham , Afterlife , Background to Gospels , General , Kingdom Future , Kingdom Present , Teaching of Yeshua

Revealed to Little Children

In "Why Yeshua? A Jewish Question," I listed nine elements of Yeshua's identity and purpose that add something new to Judaism (see it here). The first of these nine elements has captured my attention and been the source of my thoughts and searching for a few weeks now: Yeshua is the Moses-like Prophet-to-Come, the New Moses, whose agency as the Voice of the Father reveals depths of God unknown or ambiguous in previous revelation. I listed for readers the findings of Paul Anderson regarding the prophet-like-Moses theme in the fourth gospel, which is not a minor motif but a guiding principle of the entire Gospel of John (see my post "Moses-Like-Prophet in John" here). In searching out examples of how Yeshua revealed greater depths of God than had previously been known, I first ... Read entire article >>

Filed under: Aims of Yeshua , Divinity of Yeshua , General , Identity of Yeshua , Judaism Today & Yeshua , Kingdom Present , Messiah , New Moses Theme

Tracking Down the Beloved Disciple, Polycrates

This Sunday (July 10), I'm repeating the "Eyewitnesses in the Gospels" seminar here in Atlanta (want to bring it your way?). The last of the five sessions is on the Beloved Disciple and the Fourth Gospel. The entire seminar is based on Richard Bauckham's Jesus and the Eyewitnesses and, to a lesser degree, The Testimony of the Beloved Disciple. I've had a number of "Beloved Disciple" articles here (see "The Beloved Disciple: Who is He?" and "The Beloved Disciple in Relation to Peter"). Now, I'm summarizing Bauckham's historical detective work following the trail leading to the identity of the Beloved Disciple. It's a twisted trail sorting through evidence with a number of errors which require explanation. It's fascinating to historically understand how simple the identification of the Beloved Disciple is and ... Read entire article >>

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

Moses-Like Prophet in John

In the fourth gospel, Deuteronomy 18:15-22 is a key passage. It's language (from the Septuagint or Greek version) is echoed throughout the gospel of John. Much of the Father-Son language in John comes from concepts and phrases in Deuteronomy 18:15-22, the Torah passage about the Prophet who is to come. Of course, the Deuteronomy passage is in one sense talking about the office of a prophet (and so, in that sense, all prophets like Samuel, Elijah, Hosea, Amos, Isaiah, and Jeremiah fit the meaning of the Deuteronomy passage). Yet the Prophet in Deuteronomy was also interpreted in another sense (as evidenced in the gospels) as a singular Prophet who would be greater than Moses. One could argue that this is not what the Deuteronomy passage intended, but there are two ... Read entire article >>

Filed under: Background to Gospels , General , Identity of Yeshua , Judaism Today & Yeshua , New Moses Theme , Yeshua as

The Son Who Has Spoken

Last week in "Why Yeshua? A Jewish Question #1'' and in the Podcast "Mosaic Revealer," I began to explain nine benefits of knowing Yeshua for those who already know God through Judaism. I'm still mining the very first benefit of the nine, which goes like this: Yeshua is the Moses-like Prophet-to-Come, the New Moses, whose agency as the Voice of the Father reveals depths of God unknown or ambiguous in previous revelation. As you can see from the wording, I am using language from the gospels themselves to describe the benefits of knowing Yeshua. But this is not just theory or theology. Each one of these nine benefits concerns practical matters, things that weigh upon us and are of consequence to everyone on a daily basis. They concern the normal and universal ... Read entire article >>

Filed under: Applying the Gospels , Discipleship - Formation , General , Identity of Yeshua , Judaism Today & Yeshua , Teaching of Yeshua

Sadducean Scribblings #3

This series is about pointing accurately to some historical sources and contemporary historical scholars for insight into the Sadducees and chief priests. Understanding the characters in the gospels goes a long way to reading them accurately. E.P. Sanders (Judaism: Practice and Belief, 63 BCE - 66 CE) gives us some helpful and thoroughly researched pointers to the identity and character of the Sadducees. Here is my summary from pg. 318: (1) There is a "high degree of correspondence" between the aristocracy in Judea/Jerusalem and the Sadducean party. ... Read entire article >>

Filed under: Background to Gospels , General , Sadducees

June 2011 Happenings

Here in Atlanta, on June 5, I'm leading a small class on "Eyewitnesses in he Gospels" based on Richard Bauckham's Jesus and the Eyewitnesses. You might consider bringing me to your area to give this five-hour seminar. The blog posts in this category will give an idea of the kind of material the seminar covers: With all of the reasons people have now for thinking the Yeshua stories are late, invented tales, don't you think some well-researched evidence for gospels sourced in eyewitness testimony could be a good thing? My summer project will be writing Yeshua for Small Groups, a study and discussion guide you can use in your congregation or group (or start a group). Releasing this summer will be The Messiah Yeshua Children's Series Volume 1. The artwork ... Read entire article >>

Filed under: General

May 2011 Update

What is happening at I ran into a tough schedule and general weariness in April. I'm still recovering in May. My plan is to start filling in more information in some key categories and even rewriting articles to include a little more information or to improve them. I'm taking some time before I get back to any grand theorizing about formation of the gospels and eyewitness theory and so on. Look instead for me to re-post updated and improved articles in categories that need more information, like "Sadducees." Also, I'm preparing for the June 5, "Eyewitnesses in the Gospels" seminar here in Atlanta. It's just a half-day seminar. If you'd like to join us, email me at yeshuaincontext at gmail. -Derek ... Read entire article >>

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Chronicling the Formation of the Gospels #2

This is not exactly what I promised would be in Part 2, but these notes are about current decisions I am making in theorizing how the gospels were formed. Note the word current. I'd like to see, as I build on this, how believable it turns out to be. First, I accept the basic order of Mark, then Matthew, then Luke, and then John. ... Read entire article >>

Filed under: Formation of the Gospels , General , Gospels as History

Chronicling the Formation of the Gospels #1

How did the things we read now in the books of Mark, Matthew, Luke, and John get written down in the form we now have them? There are many decisions to make if we try to reconstruct a possible or probably story of gospel transmission. I'll try to make the story interested, not too bogged down with long lists of sources and proofs. I'll keep that kind of writing short and refer the reader to various scholars such as Mark Goodacre, Richard Bauckham, Paul Anderson, and others that I know I will find along the way have added something significant to an understanding of gospel transmission. I'm already leaning against some ways of conceiving gospel transmission. Goodacre has me nearly convinced that Q is a too-convenient scholarly chimera. Bauckham has me ... Read entire article >>

Filed under: Formation of the Gospels , General , Gospels as History

Birth Issues

This is a transcript for today's "Yeshua in Context Podcast." Note that I never recorded and posted last week's podcast on "Yeshua's Burial." Life had other plans. I should and will record the "Yeshua's Burial" podcast at some point. Meanwhile, later today, listen for "Birth Issues" on iTunes in the "Yeshua in Context Podcast" or at Only two out of four gospels have birth narratives about Yeshua. And the two birth narratives we have are so very different. They agree on major points, twelve of them, which I will list, but they are so different in other ways. It has often been said, and I think this is valid, that the gospel tradition developed backwards: the Passion and Resurrection narratives were first. Then the miracles, deeds, and sayings traditions developed. ... Read entire article >>

Filed under: Answering Objections , Birth of Messiah , Divinity of Yeshua , General , Gospels as History , Virginal Conception

March 28-29, 2011 in Toledo, Ohio

The first "Yeshua Seminar." Click on "Conferences" up top for the latest info. ... Read entire article >>

Filed under: General

January Newsletter Page is Posted

And it has news, links, and encouragement for you. Click here or just on the newsletter tab at top. ... Read entire article >>

Filed under: General