It seems like over the last few months there has been a deluge of excellent articles pouring forth from thetorah.com, a website devoted to studying the Hebrew scriptures and related subjects. Here are two that I found intriguing.
Brettler and Levine are a veritable powerhouse, having already worked together on the magnificent Jewish Annotated New Testament (Oxford University Press, 2017) as well as a more recent volume entitled The Bible With and Without Jesus: How Jews and Christians Read the Same Stories Differently (HarperOne, 2020). In this piece, they discuss the significance of Psalm 2 in its original context, its use in the New Testament, and how it was understood in later Jewish writings. It serves as a great introduction into the reception history of the passage.
Visi places John’s work in the context of Second Temple Judaism. In particular, he notes that John’s use of immersion for the purification of sins has its counterpart in the Community Rule from Qumran (1QS 3:6-9). He also notes what both Josephus and the authors of the New Testament had to say about Jesus. Towards the end of the piece, Visi contends that while the New Testament authors assert John was killed by Herod before Jesus’ death, the evidence seems to suggest quite the opposite: “Historical evidence…suggests that John the Baptist lived about five years after Jesus was executed.” All in all, this was a fascinating piece!
Featured image: Wikimedia Commons.