Studying the Hebrew prophets is a regular act of realizing that, as Abraham Heschel addressed, distinguishing between the pathos of the prophet & the pathos God is often impossible. In Jeremiah, for example, it can be unclear if it is Jeremiah who is weeping for his people or God. Continue reading
Today’s one year Bible reading passage from the Hebrew scriptures begins the Book of Job. Continue reading
1. Total Solar Eclipses Are Not Rare, But Seeing One May Be
Although an individual, remaining in a single region her or his whole life, may never see a total eclipse or perhaps witness such an eclipse only once or twice in a lifetime, the occurrences of total eclipses is not rare. Total solar eclipses happen somewhere in the world about every 18 months. There will be five in the next six years:
Sometimes the scripture has these often brief, but revealing, almost tongue-in-cheek elements (that I love) in which it feels like the reader is sort of let in on a joke or a story where everything may not quite be what it seems.
In the Book of Judges, the people come to Gideon and say, “Rule over us, you and your son and your grandson also, for you have saved us from the hand of Midian.” Continue reading
Purim is a holiday celebrated by Jewish people for centuries to commemorate the defeat of Haman, who had plotted to have all the Jews massacred in the kingdom of the Xerxes, king of Persia. This sinister plot is revealed and ultimately stopped due to the boldness of Esther and her uncle Mordecai. You can read all about this in the Book of Esther in the Hebrew Bible. Continue reading
Most often there is no one “biblical position” on a topic, especially modern ones. Continue reading
The story told by Jesus in Matthew 25:31-46 begins with this introduction:
“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. Before him will be gathered all the nations and he will separate them one from another, as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.” (Matthew 25.31–32)
According to the Gospels, Jesus’ childhood and young adulthood was in Nazareth, in the central Galilee along the northern edge of the fertile Jezreel Valley. However, we know virtually nothing about this early period of Jesus’ life. After his baptism, according to the gospels, Jesus made his home in the town of Capernaum, located on the north shore of the Sea of Galilee. Continue reading
In light of tonight’s celestial event, I thought it would be good list the passages in scripture that refer to the “moon turning to blood.” There are three such passages, with one being a duplicate: Peter’s quote of Joel on the Day of Pentecost (the Jewish holiday of Shavuot, or “Weeks”). The other is from the book of Revelation. While there are other biblical passages that describe signs and events in the heavens (the most well known being the star signifying Jesus’ birth), these are the only three that mention what has popularly been called “blood moons”.
Note that the “moon to blood” also includes other celestial events, such as the sun being darkened (all three) and stars falling to the earth (Revelation only). Additionally, Peter seems to be saying that this prophecy from Joel was being fulfilled at Pentecost. I quote each of them at length for context: Continue reading
The 2015 David S. Lobel Visiting Scholar Lecture at Stanford was given by Dr. Marc Brettler, co-editor of the Jewish Annotated New Testament (JANT) with Amy Jill Levine. In the lecture Dr. Brettler gives some background on the work of the JANT, and then gives examples of his understanding of the Jewish context of several passages in the New Testament. The lecture begins 5 minutes into the video, and the contextual examples begin about 21 minutes into the video.
It is a long lecture, but I highly recommend watching it if the first century context of the New Testament is of interest.