Christian anti-semitism makes no sense, as not only was Jesus Jewish, so too were the vast majority of the earliest Christians, including the bulk of the New Testament writers. Whether anti-semites realise it or not, thosen who maintain prejudices against Jews maintain prejudices against Jesus, Peter, Paul, Mary, John, Mark, Matthew, James, and many more … Continue reading Anti-semitism is UnChristian
This curious painting by Indian Jewish artist Siona Benjamin is called Tikkun Olam. In Jewish teachings, Tikkun Olam is any activity that improves the world, bringing it closer to the harmonious state for which it was created. The pale blue female figure, balancing on a lotus flower, is a portrait of the artist herself. With … Continue reading Indian Jewish Art
Jew believe the word through which God spoke creation into existence was Hebrew. Muslims believe the word through which God spoke creation into existence was Arabic. Christians believe the word through which God spoke creation into existence was Jesus. I think that goes a long way to explaining why Christians have no sacred language.
The following excerpt is from Monotheism, Principal Angels, and the Background of Christology by W. Hurtado, University of Edinburgh. This is a pre-publication version of an invited chapter to appear in The Oxford Handbook to the Dead Sea Scrolls, edited by Timothy H. Lim and John J. Collins. Jewish traditions place stress on God’s uniqueness and … Continue reading Angels and Veneration in Ancient Judaism
People coming to the Old Testament for the first time often make the assumption that its laws were intended to be universal, for everyone. Such assumptions, however, are misguided, as they aren't always even applicable for Christians. Some laws were for everyone. An example comes from God's covenant with all people through Noah, recounted in … Continue reading Why the laws of Moses aren’t always for Christians
Were the early followers of Jesus Jews, not Christians? I have seen this question posed in a number of ways and I would like to suggest the question assumes a dichotomy which is largely false, or at least not so black and white as the question implies. For the truth is the bulk of the … Continue reading Were the earliest followers of Jesus Jewish or Christian?
Many have suggested to me that Jesus advocated the same food laws as Mohammed and Moses. The gospel of Mark, however, tells another story: The Pharisees and some of the teachers of the law who had come from Jerusalem gathered around Jesus and saw some of his disciples eating food with hands that were defiled, that is, unwashed. (The … Continue reading Did the prophet Jesus consider any food forbidden?
Those familiar with the Kabbalah will no doubt be familiar with the ten sephirot of the Tree of Life. But have you ever wondered where the rabbis who penned the Kabbalah got the names of the sephirot from? Well, having searched the scriptures and later tradition I believe the two key verses that inspired them … Continue reading The Sephirot And The Scriptures
When interpreting Old Testament law it's important to recognise who it's for. For while some laws were given to humans in general, other laws were given to the Israelites alone. And while some laws were given to the Israelites in general, other laws were given to the Levitical priests alone. And while some laws were … Continue reading Who is the Old Testament law for?
I have been brushing up on Hebrew this summer and in the process I uncovered some interesting correspondences between the messianic prophecies of Isaiah 11:2 and the divine emanations of the Kabbalistic tree of life. In essence, the prophet foretold that the Spirit of Chokmah, Binah, Da’at and Gevurah would be found in the Messiah. … Continue reading Christ as the Fulfillment of the Kabbalistic Search
Some unexpected questions about the Hebrew language came up for me today. While researching Hebrew letter symbolism I came across a reference on Wikipedia which suggested that "In the traditional form, vowels are indicated [in the Hebrew language] by the weak consonants Aleph (א), He (ה), Vav (ו), or Yodh (י) serving as vowel letters … Continue reading Is the name of God, YHWH, without vowels?
This calligraphic work by Baruch ben Shemaryah, 1794, contains the entire biblical Song of Songs in tiny Hebrew script. It is housed at Yale University Library. I found it while researching Jewish art.