The articles in this collection demonstrate that a change is taking place in New Testament studies. Throughout the twentieth century, New Testament scholarship primarily worked under the assumption that only two languages, Aramaic and Greek, were in common use in the land of Israel in the first century. The current contributors investigate various areas where increasing linguistic data and changing perspectives have moved Hebrew out of a restricted, marginal status within first-century language use and the impact on New Testament studies. Five articles relate to the general sociolinguistic situation in the land of Israel during the first century, while three articles present literary studies that interact with the language background. The final three contributions demonstrate the impact this new understanding has on the reading of Gospel texts.
One of the challenging tasks for archaeologists and biblical historians alike is the identification of sites mentioned in the Bible—some of which were destroyed and disappeared in time without a trace. The first comprehensive attempt to locate these places was that of Eusebius, the bishop of Caesarea and fourth-century church historian (ca. 260-339 CE). In his Onomasticon Eusebius cataloged most of the cities, sites and regions mentioned in the Old and New Testaments. Supplementing his list when possible, Eusebius provided detailed information concerning the sites’ history and location, including their distances in Roman miles from other well-known metropolitan centers in fourth century Palestine.
The Onomasticon of Eusebius is the most important book for the study of the Land of Israel in the Roman period. Scholars and students alike will find his work indispensable for an understanding the physical settings of the biblical narrative.
For the past forty years, but for only the first time in history, Christian scholars fluent in Hebrew and living in the land of Israel have collaborated with Jewish scholars to examine Jesus' sayings from a Judaic and Hebraic perspective. The result of this research confirms that Jesus was an organic part of the diverse social and religious landscape of Second Temple-period Judaism. He, like other Jewish sages of his time, used specialized methods to teach foundational Jewish theological concepts such as God's abundant grace. Jesus' teaching was revolutionary in a number of ways, particularly in three areas: his radical interpretation of the biblical commandment of mutual love; his call for a new morality; and his idea of the Kingdom of Heaven.
Jerusalem Studies in the Synoptic Gospels, the initial volume, focuses on the Passion Narratives in a search for the Historical Jesus. It also reexamines the synoptic problem in light of recent historical and archaeological research. The volume represents the first attempt by members and associates of the Jerusalem School to apply collectively the methodology pioneered by Robert Lindsey and David Flusser. Included in the volume is the final article written by the late Professor Flusser,
The Synagogue and the Church in the Synoptic Gospels.
The Gospels in First Century Judaea experts of Greco-Roman Judaism employ their expertise to offer fresh and innovative interpretations of gospel texts. Each study examines closely a passage from one of the four canonical gospels in order to shed light on it from various pertinent subject areas (e.g., linguistics, archaeology, fine art).
The studies presented in this volume follow on the heels of more than forty years of research into the Jewish backgrounds of the New Testament, with one innovative development, namely, reading and interpreting the gospels as accounts that originate in the first century Judaea and play a more integral role in the body of ancient Jewish literature.