I’m beginning a review series on Michael Heiser’s The Jewish Trinity Mobile Ed course. This is my second course so far, but I reviewed the first as an overview of Mobile Ed itself. With The Jewish Trinity, I will focus more on the content as I work through it.
I have been excited for the release of this course, having only discovered Michael Heiser last year but finding my world rocked, particularly through his work on the divine council. My wife can testify that I’ve become a little obsessed! Heiser is scholar-in-residence with Faithlife (developers of Logos Software) and is an expert in biblical languages and the Old Testament.
The Jewish Trinity
Though controversially named, The Jewish Trinity is essentially an Old Testament foundations of the Trinity. Many resist such an idea for various reasons: perhaps regarding the Trinity as a NT revelation, or from the skepticism of having seen such studies overburdened with blind dogmatism and anachronistic prooftexting. Heiser’s approach appears very different and likely to avoid these such problems.
Many would begin with Genesis 1:26 (“let us”) but critics would be quick to point out the anachronism in such an approach; Heiser begins on a surer footing: laying an OT foundation for divine plurality (the divine council) and then plurality within Yahweh Himself. Heiser aims to show that this is not simply “reading back” the NT into the OT because other ancient Jewish writings recognized these concepts and wrestled with them even before the NT period. The New Testament presentation of Jesus and the Spirit then connect the dots by building upon the scaffolding already present in the Old Testament and ancient Judaism. What’s more, this course has Jewish evangelism in mind – hence the title! If the OT itself can be shown to teach divine plurality within the Godhead, this will overcome the “stumbling block for Jewish people to accept the idea of Jesus as Savior and as God Incarnate because of their monotheism”. I look forward to seeing how this plays itself out in the lectures.
The implications are not relevant only for academics or evangelists. What Heiser is presenting here is a glimpse into an aspect of the Biblical worldview that many Christians are completely oblivious to. This is dangerous stuff that will shake your Biblical world. I know, because his teaching has shaken mine!
The Jewish Trinity is made up of 11 units (4 hours) all structured around a different question, each with sub-units:
- How Do I Respond to a Jewish Objection to the Christian Trinity?
- What Is Yahweh’s Council?
- Doesn’t the Old Testament Deny the Existence of Other Gods?
- Aren’t the Host of Heaven Just Celestial Objects Rather Than Actual Beings?
- What Other Being Was Identified with Yahweh?
- Did Jews Really Believe in Two Powers?
- How Did the New Testament Writers Understand the Second Yahweh Figure?
- How Does the Language of Divine Plurality Relate to Jesus as God’s “Only Begotten” Son?
- How Did New Testament Writers Express Belief that Jesus Was Unique among the Sons of God?
- Can Seeds of a Christian Trinity Be Found in the Old Testament?
- How Does an Old Testament Godhead Address the Claims of other Religions?
I won’t devote a post to each of these questions. I’ll maybe join some together or highlight parts that stood out the most. I hope to not just cover the lectures’ content, but also show how Logos software has helped me follow along and pushed my learning to the next step.
Read other parts in this review series.
Check out more about The Jewish Trinity at Logos.
Many thanks to Faithlife for providing a copy in exchange for review. Their generosity has not affected my opinion of the material.