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Jesus' Jewish Culture
Hebraic Thought & Application
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Note: Find En-Gedi's own monthly Bible study articles on this page, and find the index to En-Gedi's Bible commentary articles here.

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Biblical Study                            Back to Top

Why Should We believe Jesus is the Messiah?... - Glenn Miller, Christian Think Tank - Discusses Jewish objections to Jesus that messianic prophecies are still yet to be fulfilled. Long discussion but very good.

The Kingdom of Heaven: God's Power Among Believers - Robert Lindsey, JerusalemPerspective.com - The "Kingdom of Heaven" is one of the most important and most misunderstood teachings of Jesus' ministry, which makes much more sense when understood within his culture.

Herod - Sly as a Fox, or Something Else? - Randall Buth, JerusalemPerspective.com - Jesus calls Herod a fox - but in first century culture, it didn't mean cleverness. What did it mean?

Jesus' View of Pacifism - David Bivin, JerusalemPerspective.com - What would Jesus' response be to the Sept. 11 attack? Bivin suggests that some teachings of Jesus have been misunderstood.

"Behold, The Man!" - Dwight A. Pryor, Center for Judaic-Christian Studies - His apostles and Jewish disciples came to know Yeshua first as a man, and only later as the risen Savior, the "Son of the living God."

Fishing in the New Testament: A Misunderstood Analogy for Evangelism - Daniel B. Wallace, Bible.org - Our understanding of the practice of fishing can have an effect on how we understand what Jesus was saying about evangelism.

The Akeidah (Binding) of Isaac - Daniel Lancaster - rabbiyeshua.com - A fascinating description of powerful messianic foreshadowing in the ancient Jewish understanding of the binding of Isaac.

HaShem - The Name - Paul Sumner, HebrewStreams.org - The name "Jesus" is linked in Hebrew to God's Name, which gives insights into passages in the New Testament.

The Beatitudes as Hebrew Poetry - Jonathan Went - Understanding Hebrew and poetic parallelisms helps unlock the meaning of the beatitudes. One of several articles on Hebraisms in the New Testament.

To Announce A Year of Grace: Some Thoughts on the Year of Jubilee - Jared L. Olar, Grace & Knowledge. A discussion of the ancient practice of Jubilee years and Jesus' use of the idea.

Paul in His Jewish Culture

A Summary of the New Perspective on Paul - Mark Mattison - Overview of the most influential recent scholarly writings on Paul in his first century Jewish context.

A Jewish View of Paul- Skype Interview with Mark Nanos - David Burnett interviews renowned Jewish scholar Mark Nanos on Paul in his first-century Jewish context.

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Jesus' Jewish Culture                 
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The Myth of Jewish Rejection of Jesus - Paul Sumner, HebrewStreams.org - An analysis of whether a commonly held assumption is true.

Jesus the Jew Jonathan Went, Leadership U. An overview of the trends in scholarship on Jesus, with a focus on the recent scholarly realization that Jesus was Jewish.

Polemics or Anti-Semitism? The New Testament and First-Century Judaism Craig Evans, Mishkan. Is the New Testament Anti-Semitic? An intriguing answer.

Which Language did Jesus Speak, Aramaic or Hebrew? Brian Knowles, godward.org. A summary of the thinking of scholars on which languages were spoken in Jesus' day, and whether He he spoke Hebrew as a daily language.

Jewish Laws of Purity in Jesus' Day - Marvin Wilson, JerusalemPerspective.com - Rabbinic laws about menstrual impurity form the background of several stories in the Gospels.

Daily Life in Bible Times

Education in Ancient Israel - Linda McKinnish Bridges and Deborah G. Atkinson, NewMediaBible.org - Description of educational practices throughout biblical times.

Olive Culture in Ancient Israel - David Eitam, Gems In Israel - An archeologist who specialized in ancient industries of the Holy Land explains the craft of making olive oil.

Lifestyle of Bedouins Today - Articles about daily life among Bedouins in the middle east, which often retains practices of biblical times. This article is on shepherding, others are on breadmaking, milk processing, and rug weaving.

Biblical Dress - Tassels

Fringes and Snails - John Collyer - Explanation of the command to put tassels (tzitzit) on the corners of garments, and the cultural understanding, and the significance of the purple dye.

The Search for Biblical Blue - Ari Greenspan, Bible Review (pdf)- The Israelites to were to wear tassels (tzitzit) with a cord dyed blue with tekhelet dye, made from a certain type of snail. For over a thousand years, the formula was lost, but recently has been discovered.

What did it Mean to Wear Fringes in Ancient Cultures? - bluethread.com - A Jewish site examines the traditions associated with tzitzit.

Discipleship in Jesus' Day

Jesus' Education - David Bivin, JerusalemPerspective.org - The Jewish educational system in Jesus' day had high standards - people were much more literate than we have thought.

First Century Discipleship - David Bivin, JerusalemPerspective.org - In Jesus' day, becoming a disciple was a difficult calling. What was Jesus asking of us?

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Hebraic Thought and Application        Back to Top

Bless God, Not the Bread - Gary Alley - A discussion of the biblical custom of prayers of blessing and thanksgiving, and a reminder of our need to be thankful.

Study, the Highest Form of Worship - John Garr. In Jewish understanding, study of the Bible is worship - a challenge to us to rethink our priorities.

Rain in Jewish Tradition - JewishNatureCenter.org. A discussion of how Jews see rain as a great blessing, not a curse.

The Hebrew Mind vs The Western Mind - Brian Knowles, godward.org. A nice discussion of the difference between modern, Western mind and that of the ancient Hebrew mind.

The Biblical Concept of Remembrance - Doug Ward, Grace and Knowledge. What it means to "remember" in the eastern thinking of the Bible.

Contours of Hebrew Thought - Marvin Wilson (pdf, from HeartofWisdom.com) - The Hebraic background to Christian thought is at the heart of the rich spiritual legacy that the Jews have shared with Christians.

Jewish Ethics

(Note: The Jewish ethic to "judge favorably" seems to be related to Jesus teachings about not judging. See the En-Gedi Director's Articles on What Did Jesus Mean By "Do Not Judge?" and Living Out Jesus' Words on Judging for more details.)

Judging Others Favorably for Families - Aish.com - A very nice article for parents on how to teach their children about how to "judge favorably", and how to judge them favorably too.

The Other Side of the Story - ohr.org - The ethic to judge favorably inspired this site that is full of true stories of situations that on the surface pointed toward guilt, but after investigation, the person was innocent.

Judging Others and Yourself - Aish.com - About giving both ourselves and others the benefit of the doubt.

Pirke Avot - mench.com - "Pirke Avot" means wisdom of the fathers, and is a collection of wise ethical sayings of rabbis going back to about the time of Jesus. There are fascinating parallels to Jesus' teachings.

Bal Tashchit - Do Not Destroy - Site for Jewish ethics of conserving the environment based on biblical law.

Ethics of Speech

The Sin Against Persons - Arnold Wolf, clal.org - Rabbis have always understood that publicly shaming another person is a terrible sin indeed. This essay describes what implications it has for us.

Don't be Such a Yenta: The Jewish View of Gossip - Joseph Telushkin - An excerpt from his book "Words That Hurt, Words That Heal".

The Power of Positive Speaking - Malka Drucker - A sermon on ethics regarding what we should and shouldn't say.

Gossip: The Triple Murder Threat - Palatnik & Burg - Rabbis say that gossip is like killing three people. An explanation, with some ways to control our speech.

Stopping Lashon Hara - Sarah Radcliff, aish.com - An article for parents about teaching children not to gossip.

Jewish Prayer

Prayer without Ceasing: A Lesson from Hebrew Spirituality - Doug Ward, Grace and Knowledge. Describes traditional Jewish prayers and blessings in the time of Jesus, and evidence of them in the gospels.

Jewish prayer - Jewish Virtual Library - A collection of traditional Jewish prayers and articles about prayer.

The Amidah - A New Translation - David Bivin, Jerusalem Perspective Pipeline - As a Jew, Jesus would have prayed the beautiful Amidah prayers every day. The Lord's Prayer has many similar themes.

Jewish Beliefs as Found in Jewish Prayers - Rick Garlikov - Nice overview of some Jewish beliefs (written by a Christian) using Jewish prayer as illustration.

Prayers and Blessings - from Judaism 101, jewfaq.org - An introduction to modern Jewish prayer

Jewish Prayer - Eliezer Abrahamson - Describes contemporary daily prayers and prayer services for observant Jews.

Shabbat (Sabbath)

Shabbat - Jewish Virtual Library - Description of the traditions behind the Jewish celebration of Shabbat, explaining the interpretation of the biblical command and its observance. Also has a page on the home rituals.

The Shabbat - azamra.org. A description of the biblical command of Shabbat, and how Jews have interpreted it and lived it out.

New Covenant Shabbat Service - ascensionnet.org- A liturgy for Christian believers who may want to experience a sabbath themselves.


Covenants

The Magnificent Meal on Mt. Sinai (Exodus 24:1-18) - Bible.org - Excellent article about the Mosaic covenant in light of covenant making, and how it relates to the New Covenant that Christians partake in.

The Lord's Table as Covenant Meal - John Mark Hicks, Lipscomb University. Discusses the importance of the covenantal meal in biblical history, and how communion is an extension of that. Also explains the covenantal meaning and character of the Lord's supper.

The Sulha - Reconciliation in the Middle East - Ilan Zamir, Jews for Jesus. A moving account of the use of the covenantal meal (sulha) to reconcile him to an Arab family whose son he killed in a car accident.

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Archaeology / Israel                      Back to Top

Dead Sea Scrolls

Scrolls from the Dead Sea - Online Exhibit from the Library of Congress - Very nice site with comprehensive overveiw of the archeological discoveries, the artifacts, the manuscripts and the cultural climate of the Dead Sea Scrolls.

Basic Facts Regarding the Dead Sea Scrolls - James D. Tabor - An introduction to the manuscripts found in the Dead Sea caves.

The Essenes and the Dead Sea Scrolls at Qumran - Goodnews Christian Ministry - A brief article explaining the significance of the scrolls and what is known about the Essene movement from other ancient sources.

Twenty-Five Fascinating Facts About the Dead Sea Scrolls - CenturyOne.com - A simple overview of the significance of the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls.

Qumran - Israel Mosaic - Description of the beliefs and practices of the Essene community of Qumran.

Other Achaeology/Israel

The Myth of a Gentile Galilee - Mark A Chancey - Most assume that Jesus lived in the "Galilee of the Gentiles", but evidence indicates that it was almost entirely Jewish.

The Evangelical Triangle - Jim Garrish - Most of Jesus' teaching occurred on the northwest side of the Sea of Galilee, among a very pious Jewish people.

Stunning New Evidence That Jesus Lived: Scholars link first century bone-box to James, brother of Jesus - Christianity Today. At end of the article there are many links to related articles and websites. A more recent follow-up article on the ossuary of James is on the site as well.

Archaeology and the Bible - Rabbi Dovid Lichtman, aish.com. Discusses how recent archaeological evidence has made us confident of the biblical record.

Biblical Insights From Archaeology - Ferrell Jensen, bibleworld.com. Discusses the usefulness of archaeology in understanding the Bible.

Galilee Yields Ancient Treasure - LeaderU.com - An account of the discovery of the famous boat from the Sea of Galilee from the time of Jesus, one of the top ten biblical discoveries.

The Story of Two Seas - www.inspirationalstories.com - A Jewish parable based on the Sea of Galilee and Dead Sea.

Pilgrims' Crossing - Jesus around the Sea of Galilee - Rami Arav, GemsInIsrael.com - What do we know about the cities in the Galilee where Jesus spent most of his ministry?

The Hebrew Alphabet - Description of various Hebrew alphabets, the system of adding points for vowels, and assigning numeric values. Also has links to download the fonts.

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Feast-Related Articles                Back to Top

General

Celebrating the Biblical Holidays - Robin Sampson, biblicalholidays.com - Can Christians celebrate biblical feast days, or is that Judaizing or legalistic? Her testimony and view of the topic.

The Holidays of God - Spring Feasts - Radio Bible Class Ministries - A nice overview of the biblical holidays that points toward Christ's work in them.

The Holidays of God - Fall Feasts - Radio Bible Class Ministries - A nice overview of the biblical holidays that points toward Christ's work in them.

 

Passover

He Who Is Coming: The Hidden Afikoman - Paul Sumner, HebrewStreams.org -The significance of one aspect of the Passover seder and how it points to Christ.

Passover, Last Supper, and Eucharist - Jonathan Went, Leadership U - Description of how the traditions of communion came out of Passover, how the earliest church celebrated it, and how it has changed in a Gentile church.

The Samaritan Passover - Todd Bolen, Bibleplaces.com - Near Shechem, Israel, descendents of the Samaritans still observe the Passover sacrifices as was done in biblical times. Read an eyewitness account, with thoughts on what the Passover sacrifice must have meant in those days.

Passover in the Time of Jesus - Daniel B. Wallace, Bible.org - The Passover meal as it was most likely celebrated in the first century.

Shavuot (Pentecost)

What is Shavuot/Pentecost? - IFCJ- How the "feast of weeks" (Shavuot) was fulfilled in the year of Jesus' death and resurrection.

Shavuot: The Religious Meaning - Amy J. Kramer, everythingjewish.com. The Jewish (non-messianic) understanding of the feast of Shavuot.

Virtual Shavuot - Orthodox Jewish site devoted to articles and teachings about the feast of Shavuot. Has section for children and recipes too.



Fall Feasts

Elul & Selichot - Hebrew4Christians - Elul is the last month of the Jewish year, and is a time to examining yourself spiritually, before the coming new year and the Day of Atonement.

Why Sukkot is a Harvest Holiday, Though There is Little to Harvest - Forward - Interesting insight on this important fall biblical holiday.