This volume discusses links between the exegetical trends current in various Second Temple Jewish circles and patterns of New Testament conversation with Jewish Scripture. The standard focus on Jewish background of Christianity is complemented here by an alternative direction: the “mapping” of New Testament evidence as the early witness to more general trends attested in their fully developed form only later, in rabbinic literature. The question that dominates much of the discussion is: How can the New Testament be used for creating a fuller picture of Second Temple Jewish exegesis?
The book deals with a representative variety of samples from different layers of the New Testament tradition: Synoptic Gospels, Pauline Epistles and Acts.
Early Jewish Messianism in the New Testament Serge Ruzer takes a new tack on the investigation of early Christian polemical strategies against the backdrop of Second Temple Judaism. Complementing traditional inquiry on the subject, Ruzer focuses on those elements of Messiah- and Christ-centered ideas that bear witness to patterns of broader circulation – namely, the Jewish messianic ideas that provided the underpinning for the identity-making moves of Jesus’ early followers. The volume suggests that such attempts can be expected to reflect eschatological ideas of the Jewish ʻOtherʼ. Exploring cases where the New Testament shows itself an early witness for belief patterns found in contemporaneous or only later rabbinic sources, this volume reveals a fuller picture of Second Temple Jewish messianism.
The article discerns in both Qumranic sources and in those coming from the nascent Jesus movement responses to their shared experience of disappointment vis-à-vis postponement of the expected redemption. The discussion, focusing on 1QpHab and a number of New Testament epistles, highlights the usage in this context of the language of God’s mystery, standing for reinterpretation of redemption-centered prophecies and their adjustment to a new timetable. While no clear direct links can be posited, the comparative study of the texts independently penned within the two eschatological groups allows to single out an underlying more general late Second Temple religious pattern of coping with delay in the anticipated end-of-days deliverance.