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.
Posted by Steve at 2:47 PM