Did Romans Allow Jews to Bury Crucified Victims? Readers’ Mailbag January 1, 2018

Here on the first day of the new year, I was digging around on the blog and I found a post that I *meant* to make a couple of months ago that I never did.  Don’t remember why!  But here it is.  It is from the Readers’ Mailbag, and about a very interesting and controversial issue: would the Romans have allowed anyone to bury Jesus the afternoon on which he was crucified?  I think not, even though I’m in the ...

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What Paul’s Conversion Meant

In my previous posts I talked about Paul’s life up to his conversion and the conversion experience itself.  Now, for two posts, I want to talk about what the conversion actually *meant* to Paul, particularly in terms of how it affected both his thinking and his life (which, for Paul, were very closely related to one another).  His thinking involved his theology and his subsequent life involved missionary work as the newly minted apostle of Jesus with a distinctive message.

It ...

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So … Was Matthew a Jew?

I am near the end of this thread on the Jewishness of Matthew’s Gospel. I have several more posts to go, so I’m not completely at the finish line; but it’s within sight. (I should stress that I am not intending to give an exhaustive analysis of the problem and all the relevant issues. That would take a very long book. In fact, scholars have indeed written significant books on the topic. One of my graduate students, Judy Siker, wrote ...

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Was Matthew’s Community Gentile or Jewish?

Given the importance of following the law for Matthew (especially as seen in 5:17-20 and in the Antithises), if we had no indication that Christianity spread among non-Jews soon after Jesus’ death, we might simply assume that Matthew’s community was comprised of Jews who continued to adhere to the law even if they disagreed with the Pharisees over how best to do so.  But Gentiles *were* joining the Christian church well before Matthew wrote his Gospel; indeed, at this time ...

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The Jewish Emphases of Matthew: Part 5

In the last post I tried to show that Matthew’s Jesus (remember: I’m not talking about the historical Jesus here; I’ve been referring to Jesus as he is presented in Matthew – a very different thing!) does indeed seem to think that his readers should follow not just the ethical aspects of the Jewish law, but the cultic aspects as well – keeping Sabbath, tithing, and so on.  At the same time, it appears that Jesus in Matthew thinks that ...

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The Jewish Emphases of Matthew: Part 4

In previous posts I’ve talked about Matthew radicalizing the law – so that his followers were to adhere to it even more closely than the scribes and Pharisees. Most Christians today think the Jewish law is irrelevant (except maybe for the Ten Commandments) (well, nine of them anyway: most Christians don’t keep the Sabbath.) (For years, as a boy, raised in the Christian church, I thought “Sabbath” meant “Sunday.” I assume that’s typical. But even so, we had no qualms ...

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The Jewish Emphases of Matthew’s Gospel: Part 3

In the current thread I have been posting about the Jewish emphases of Matthew’s Gospel, all in an attempt to move to an answer to the question of whether, in my opinion Matthew was himself Jewish. When I get done with these posts, I’ll explain what my opinion is and why I have it; I can tell by some of the responses so far to these posts that some people are in for a surprise….

In previous posts we saw that ...

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The Jewish Emphases of Matthew: Part 2

In continuation of the question of the relationship of the Gospel of Matthew – both the Gospel itself and its anonymous author – to Judaism, I lift from something I wrote somewhere else at some point a while back:

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Contrary to what many Christians have thought throughout the ages, for Matthew following Jesus does *not* mean abandoning Judaism and joining a new religion that is opposed to it. It is worth observing that even some Christians in Matthew’s own day appear ...

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The Jewish Emphases of Matthew

In evaluating whether Matthew was himself Jewish or not – the theme of my current thread — it is important to get a sense of his distinctive emphases in his portrayal of Jesus. Here there can be little doubt. The focus of attention in Matthew’s Gospel is on to the nature of Jesus’ relationship to Judaism. You see this off the bat in chapter 1. Whereas Mark’s Gospel begins with Jesus as an adult being baptized by John the Baptist, ...

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