New books

After getting to talk with David Bivin about rabbinic sources contemporary with Jesus, I found and am blessed by these volumes already. In the bottom one ("Aboth," or "Fathers") in the explanation of the front illustration (not even the preface, Yet!) was this blurb:

"All Israel have a portion in the world to come; as it is said, 'And thy people shall be all righteous; they shall inherit the land forever, the branch of my planting, the work of my hands, that I may be glorified (Isaiah 60:21).' .... The Talmud likens the vine to the Jewish people..."

Interesting to throw into the brain-pot Matthew 5:5 (Jesus talking about who inherits the earth), John 15:1 (I am the vine, you are the brances), and the idea that Jesus is the New, Righteous Israel, through whom we inherit redemption. Throw that all in the pot and let it simmer for a while!

There is a lot of works-righteousness mixed in to weed out ("Israel's efforts will bring about the Messianic redemption"), but the Scriptural imagery is very fruitful in reading the New Testament.


  1. Jeff Evans4:09 PM

    Have you used Lightfoot's _Commentary on the New Testament from the Talmud and Hebraica_? If so, how do your new books compare?

  2. I was forced to endure nearly two weeks of the Pirke Aboth in my NT class in seminary. The teacher made it equivalent with Scripture. I'm not sure I'm ready to give it another chance. But some of the Bivin stuff is interesting.

  3. Yes, Jeff, I have and use LIghtfoot often. Very good. These books are the sources for Lightfoot. Everyman's Talmud is arranged topically; LIghtfoot is by Gospel text; Aboth is a primary document of ancient rabbis - a tractate of the Mishnah.

    Come on, Red State, just because a liberal teacher abuses a text doesn't mean there isn't worth in it. Kind of like the apocrypha, maybe, only much more relevant to Jesus' teachings and ministry...

    For more on the Bivin stuff go to the VanderLaan link at top right, and click on Faith Lessons. These are less scholarly, more accessible, but still with lots of Text references...