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Jesus

Love Your Neighbor: How It Became the Golden Rule

The precept וְאָהַבְתָּ לְרֵעֲךָ כָּמוֹךָ “you shall love your neighbor as yourself” in Leviticus, is one of many action-oriented commandments focused on Israelite social cohesion. Only in Late Antique Jewish and early Christian sources, did the rule take on a transcendent role as the principle in which all of the Torah is encompassed.

Prof.

John J. Collins

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“My God, My God, Why Have You Forsaken Me?” — Jesus or Esther?

A midrash imagines Queen Esther reciting Psalm 22 the moment she was about to enter Ahasuerus' inner court. Are the rabbis responding to the Passion Narrative, in which Jesus, in his final moments, recites this lament on the cross?

Dr.

Abraham J. Berkovitz

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The Jewish Origins of the Christmas Story

The narratives of Jesus’ conception and birth as presented in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke echo Jewish history and cite Jewish prophecy. In that sense, the Christmas story can be said to have Jewish origins.

Prof.

Amy-Jill Levine

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Shabbat with Food: From Biblical Prohibitions to Rabbinic Feasts

Biblical prohibitions against preparing food on Shabbat are further developed in the Second Temple and rabbinic periods. At the same time, a new emphasis emerges: celebrating Shabbat with festive meals.

Dr.

Sarit Kattan Gribetz

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The Depiction of Jeroboam and Hadad as Moses-like Saviors

Set against the Pharaonic Solomon, Jeroboam frees Israel from servitude and founds the Northern Kingdom. Hadad plays a similar role on behalf of the Edomites. Why are these two “rebels” depicted as heroes?

Dr.

Tzvi Novick

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Balaam the Seducer of Jews and an Early Christian Polemic

Ancient Jewish interpreters imagined Balaam as the prototypical Gentile seducer. This trope was used by John of Patmos, the author of the book of Revelation and himself a Jew, to polemicize against his rivals among the early Christians.

Prof. Rabbi

Joshua Garroway

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Parents Eating their Children – The Torah's Curse and Its Undertones in Medieval Interpretation

Early rabbinic interpretation connected the curse of child eating (Lev 26:29; Deut 28:53-57) with the description of the Babylonian destruction of Jerusalem in Lamentations (2:20 and 4:10) and the Roman destruction of the Second Temple. In the Middle Ages, however, Jewish commentators de-emphasize this connection. The reason for this may lie in the 12th c. development of Christian Bible commentary.

Dr.

Wendy Love Anderson

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Attaining and Forfeiting Adam's Immortality at Sinai

The Jewish Version of the “Fall”

Prof.

Joel Kaminsky

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Ma'oz Tzur and the "End of Christianity"

Ma’oz Tzur is an intense anti-Christian text reflecting the mood and experience of Ashkenazi Jews during the Crusades, when dozens of Jewish communities were slaughtered in the name of the cross.[1] 

Prof.

Yitzhak Y. Melamed

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Akedah: How Jews and Christians Explained Abraham's Faith

God promised Abraham that Isaac would be his heir, yet God asked Abraham to offer Isaac as a sacrifice. What did Abraham believe that allowed him to reconcile this divine contradiction?

Dr.

Devorah Schoenfeld

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Can a False Prophet Perform Miracles?

Deuteronomy 13 discusses the case of a false prophet who does not have a message from God, but advocates worshiping other gods. Oddly enough, the false prophet can successfully perform miracles, or is able to predict the future.  How is this possible?

Prof. Rabbi

Marty Lockshin

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Permission to Eat from Your Neighbor's Field?

Prof. Rabbi

Shaye J. D. Cohen

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Do Not Covet: Is It a Feeling or an Action?

In English, to covet means to desire someone or something obsessively, wrongfully, and/or without due regard for the rights/feelings of others. It is a strong emotion, to be avoided. But does “covet” capture the meaning of the Hebrew verb חמד?

Prof.

Leonard Greenspoon

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Nittel Nacht: An Inverted Christmas with Toledot Yeshu

How Jews responded to the celebration of Jesus' birth by creating a cynical version of Christmas Eve lampooning him.

Shai Alleson-Gerberg

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The Subversive Kaddish

The Mourner's Kaddish strengthens the connection of living Jews with their deceased relatives. The custom was developed by twelfth century Ashkenazi Jews as a way of saving their loved ones from Gehenna (hell) and making heaven available to all.[1]

Dr.

David Shyovitz

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Isaac's Divine Conception?

“The Lord visited Sarah” (Gen 21:1) – When God (and his angels) appears to Abraham to announce the birth of Isaac, the text implies a hidden visit to Sarah. Does this mean, as both Philo and Paul claim, that Isaac was born from a divine conception?

Dr. Rabbi

Samuel Z. Glaser

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