Judaism

56 posts

How to Read Ancient Texts

I am reading the proofs of my contribution to The Reception of Jesus in the First Three Centuries. The following quotes from Daniel Boyarin are true not only for dealing with what the Talmud has to say about Jesus but for any time we are engaging ancient texts. The effort must be made to read the texts in their own context and resist the temptation to ask of the texts the questions we have, but […]

Targum Lamentations Thesis in eBook

I have finally finished editing my doctoral thesis (from 20 years ago!) to make it accessible in ePub format! I have made no substantive edits to the text, so any errors present in the earlier version remain (the PDF is still available here). There are some quirks. The fonts seem to have come through ok, but where Hebrew/Aramaic/Syriac text is followed by a footnote the footnote sometimes(?) ends up at the end of the word, […]

Lest we return…

History does provide distance, but it does not erase the reality of what happened. Nor can changes in ideology or a desire for it to have been different. Yes, it is the nature of humans to harm one another, to be self-centered, and this leads to everything from petty grasping to the wars and atrocities that have never ended. It is human nature, but it is not human destiny. We must not forget and that […]

Psalm 123 – A Psalm for Today

It happens to be assigned for Morning Prayer today, but is truly a psalm for Today.  Psa. 123 A Song of Ascents.1 To you I lift up my eyes, O you who are enthroned in the heavens!2 As the eyes of servants look to the hand of their master, as the eyes of a maid to the hand of her mistress, so our eyes look to the LORD our God, until he has mercy upon […]

Jesus in the Talmud

This past year I was asked by Chris Keith to write a chapter on Jesus in the Talmud for The Reception of Jesus in the First Three Centuries. Last month I was invited to speak at the 1892 Club at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. They recorded it and have posted the presentation (and the rest of the series) on YouTube.  

Review of The Proselyte and the Prophet

The first review of my book on Targum Ruth, The Proselyte and the Prophet, came out this week on Reading Religion. Steven Fassberg offered a very gracious summary and review of the book while providing context for the study of the Targumim of the Megilloth. Please read it all, but to keep the suspense from building any longer, here are some of his concluding words. As much as the book is about the Targum Ruth, it […]

Jesus, the Mamzer, and Ruth

I am reading Peter Schäfer’s creative reconstruction of the background for Jesus in the Talmud and a thought occurred to me that I do not see how I missed before (and a connection Schäfer does not seem to make). The Talmud addresses Jesus’ lineage (b Shab 104b), asserting that he is a bastard, a mamzer in the Hebrew. The biblical legal issues surrounding a mamzer go back to Deut. 23. Deut. 23:2   Those born of an illicit […]

“A prayer of one afflicted, when faint and pleading before the Lord.”

The psalm assigned for today’s Morning Prayer is 102. Powerful, poignant, and a reminder both of the importance of lament in our prayer life and of faith within the midst of lament. Psa. 102:0   A prayer of one afflicted, when faint and pleading before the LORD. 1 Hear my prayer, O LORD; let my cry come to you. 2 Do not hide your face from me in the day of my distress. Incline your ear to […]

Valmadonna Collection Purchased by the National Library of Israel – Targum MS in Museum of the Bible

UPDATE: The Targum manuscript Valmadonna 1 was sold separately to the Museum of the Bible. This is very good news! It appears the entire a portion of the collection has been purchased by the Israeli National Library. As I shared several years ago Sotheby’s was exhibiting and the family seeking to sell this incredibly important collection. It is particularly important for Targum scholars because it includes Valmadonna 1 (formerly Sassoon 282). The Sotheby’s catalogue described the […]