Jesus and the Dead Sea Scrolls

Yesterday I talked about the significance of the Dead Sea Scrolls for understanding Jesus and the milieu out of which earliest Christianity grew. My basic point is that if Jesus was a Jew, then to understand him, you have to understand Jews in his world. And the Dead Sea Scrolls provide us valuable information to that end.

I am not saying that the Dead Sea Scrolls are representative of what all or even most Jews thought at the time. They clearly ...

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The Dead Sea Scrolls and Christianity

As we used to say back when I was a committed Christian, with respect to prayer: Be careful what you ask for! So I asked for questions that you would like me to address, and I have been receiving them in droves. Some of them I will be able to answer very quickly as a response to the comment itself, some I will handle in a post – or more, depending on how complicated the matter is. (If I intend ...

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Qumran and Masada

As I anticipated, my last day in Israel was the real climax.   We did three things of note (and several other things not of note):  the ruins of Qumran, Masada, and the Dead Sea itself.

I was disappointed with how our tour dealt with Qumran.  At the visitors’ center they now have a rather ridiculous little film to introduce the site, but it consists almost entirely of a dramatization, in which an imaginary member of the Essene community describes his experience ...

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More in Jerusalem

This has been a great trip.  One of the things I’ve liked about it is that it has been focused on Israel in a number of historical periods as well as in the present; it has not been entirely about Christian and Jewish Holy Sites.  And so, for example, today we did the City of David (that I’ll talk about below), had a grand overview of the Temple Mount (with the Dome of the Rock), walked through good chunks of ...

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Touring Jerusalem

We are in that part of our tour of Israel – getting near the end – when everything more or less melds together and you can’t remember what you did when or where.  These trips involve some serious sensory overload.

Today we did some amazing things.   First we went to the Western Wall, probably the most sacred spot for Jews in Israel.   Years ago people referred to it as the Wailing Wall, but no longer.   It is what remains of the ...

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On to Jerusalem

Just a quick post because of time constraints. We just got into Jerusalem and I am off to give a lecture in half an hour.

We left Tiberias (and the Sea of Galilee) this morning and traveled down to Jerusalem. En route we went to one of the traditional sites of Jesus’ baptism, in the Jordan River; it can’t be the actual site, since it’s way up north and it is clear in our earliest account, Mark’s, that John was baptizing ...

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Humans Who Become Angels

Here is the final bit on angels in the Jewish tradition, from chapter 2 of How Jesus Became God. Again, this is only in draft form, and it is nowhere near a complete treatment. There are entire books written on angels from a scholarly perspective – and a couple of very significant books on Christ as an angel or angel-like being. Here I have been able only to scratch the surface. But on the upside, if you scratch a surface ...

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More on Divine and Human Angels

In chapter two of How Jesus Became God, I have some more things to say about angels who are sometimes called “God” and sometimes appear as humans (in addition to what I’ve already said about the  “Angel of the Lord”).   This is only a draft, but it should give an idea of what I have in mind.

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Other Angels as God and Human

There are numerous other examples both in the Bible and in other Jewish texts ...

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Angels as Divine

I received an inordinate number of responses to my post discussing Christ as an angel in Paul, many of them suggesting to me that I had not provided enough background to make sense of this identification (Christ as angel), in light of ancient Jewish beliefs.  So here a discussion from early in the book about that, taken from my chapter 2.   There is more to be said about angels as both divine and in human form, and I’ll say more ...

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Divine Wisdom

Another passage from my chapter 2, on divine beings in Judaism

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If you read enough scholarly literature, you will quickly see that scholars tend to use some technical terms for no good reason, other than the fact that they are the technical terms scholars use. This is true even when scholar could talk in language that normal human beings normally use. When I was in graduate school we used to ask, wryly, why we should use a perfectly good ...

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