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Christianity

YHWH, the God of Israel, Doesn’t Just Command Charity for the Poor

Hellenistic religion didn’t require charity. In contrast, the biblical command for charity is founded not only on YHWH’s commitment to reward the generous, but on YHWH adopting the voice of the poor, a critical factor in the vibrancy of early Judaism and Christianity.

Prof.

Gary A. Anderson

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Hasmonean Martyrdom: Between Christian and Jewish Tradition

Eastern Christianity includes prayer and a festival honoring the martyrdom of a woman and her seven sons who, in the time of Antiochus IV, refused to eat pork. The Talmud reimagines their story, depicting the woman and her sons as refusing to worship an idol in Roman times. This change reflects the rabbis’ tendency to downplay martyrdom in favor of a piety model centered on “dying” through exhaustive Torah study.

Dr.

Malka Z. Simkovich

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Marat Kila’s Notes on Esau in a Supercommentary on Rashi

Esau/Edom is viewed negatively already in later biblical texts and throughout rabbinic literature, becoming a symbol of Israel’s oppressors. Marat Kila, an otherwise unknown woman, is quoted in a 15th century supercommentary on Rashi offering a positive reading of Esau’s actions.

Dr. Rabbi

Wendy Love Anderson

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The Slave Bible: For Slavery or Salvation?

What really motivated the editors of Select Parts of the Holy Bible: For the Use of the Negro Slaves in the British West-India Islands (1807), better known as “The Slave Bible”?

Dr.

Brandon Hurlbert

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Is Atonement Possible Without Blood? A Jewish-Christian Divide

Blood has a significant role in many biblical stories and rituals, most prominently in the atonement sacrifices of Leviticus. With the destruction of the Temple and the loss of sacrifices, Judaism and Christianity took very different paths to achieving atonement.

Prof.

Marc Zvi Brettler

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Prof.

Amy-Jill Levine

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John the Baptist – A Jewish Preacher Recast as the Herald of Jesus

The historical John, יוחנן, was a thoroughly Jewish religious preacher, who had little if any relation to Jesus and his movement. Here is the story of how John and his central rite, baptism, became part of Christianity.

Prof.

Tamás Visi

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What Does Sarah’s Expulsion of Hagar Signify for Abraham’s Descendants?

Paul, in the 1st c., allegorizes the expulsion of Hagar to argue that his rivals should be expelled from the church, a lesson applied by later Christians to their own Jewish and Muslim rivals. Ramban, in the 13th c., uses the same biblical story to explain why Jews of his day are persecuted. Such readings highlight an assumption ingrained in Judaism and Christianity alike: Biblical stories speak to the present-day circumstances of their audience.

Dr. Rabbi

David M. Freidenreich

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A Model for Christian Students of the Bible

TheTorah.com offers Christians helpful models for how to engage Scripture with intellectual rigor in a manner that can enhance their own faith.

Prof.

Peter Enns