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Category: Biblical Studies (page 2 of 16)

Review: The So-Called Jew in Paul’s Letter to the Romans

I recall my shock when a veteran teacher told me that Romans 2 was possibly the most difficult chapter in the letter for him to interpret. Upon my own study, I soon understood: though Paul’s rhetoric seems clear at first, there is a flow-chart-like abundance of exegetical options available to the interpreter. Change one small interpretation and the whole passage takes on a fresh meaning. As if there weren’t enough already, another branch in the flow chart is growing in popularity among scholarship today. This view questions the long-held tradition/assumption that Romans 2:17ff describes the Jew. The authors of this present volume have written on this question elsewhere, but The So-Called Jew in Paul’s Letter to the Romans presents a unified re-reading of Paul’s letter if this hypothesis were true.

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Review: Reversing Hermon by Michael Heiser

Though 1 Enoch is not in either Jewish or Christian canons, its ideas were highly influential in the first century. In fact, in Reversing Hermon, Michael Heiser argues that many of the details in the New Testament “can only be traced to 1 Enoch” (p2). Though Heiser is not alone in this claim, it will be a new idea to many and Reversing Hermon is an accessible presentation from an expert in the field of all things weird in the Bible.

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Review: Messiah ben Joseph by David C. Mitchell

Messiah ben JosephRead carefully, for not all is as it seems. A son of Joseph will be the Messiah. He will begin by gathering a following in Galilee before journeying to Jerusalem, where he will be killed. A foreigner will then attack Jerusalem, take captives, and leave many to wander in the wilderness. But the Messiah ben David will descend in the clouds to Jerusalem and raise the Messiah ben Joseph, and others, from the dead. There will be a time of peace before Gog will arise against Jerusalem. The LORD will then destroy Gog and Death itself, and the nations will go up to Jerusalem to worship Yahweh.

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The Ancient Origins of Messiah ben Joseph (Deuteronomy 33)

Leading up to Easter, I thought I’d trace the long-unknown concept found within ancient Judaism of a dying Messiah. In Messiah ben Joseph (review here), David Mitchell seeks to establish that the prominent and ancient Jewish tradition of a suffering, dying and rising Messiah was not a response to the life of Jesus, and certainly not that of Bar Kochba or Josephus. Rather, he is found within the Pentateuch itself. Mitchell’s two-pillar argument is found in deciphering the eschatological blessings of Jacob and Moses on Joseph’s seed in Genesis 49 and Deuteronomy 33. In this post, we will consider the second (see first post).

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The Ancient Origins of Messiah ben Joseph (Genesis 49)

Leading up to Easter, I thought I’d trace the long-unknown concept found within ancient Judaism of a dying Messiah. In Messiah ben Joseph (review here), David Mitchell seeks to establish that the prominent and ancient Jewish tradition of a suffering, dying and rising Messiah was not a response to the life of Jesus, and certainly not that of Bar Kochba or Josephus. Rather, he is found within the Pentateuch itself. Mitchell’s two-pillar argument is found in deciphering the eschatological blessings of Jacob and Moses on Joseph’s seed in Genesis 49 and Deuteronomy 33. In this post, we will consider the first.

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Review: Jew and Gentile Reconciled by Bryan E. Lewis

Was Paul a faithful reader of Scripture? Or did he twist Scripture to whatever he wanted? I believe Paul read faithfully, but must admit there are some problem texts. His use of Hosea 1:9-10 and Hosea 2:23 in Romans 9:24-26 is one that’s puzzled me for years. In Bryan E. Lewis’ published mDiv dissertation, Jew and Gentile Reconciled, he presents an ingenious solution, while unearthing a significant but surprisingly overlooked theme in the NT.

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