I listened to a few lectures on iTunes provided by The Jewish Theological Seminary (JTS) that I think readers of this blog may find informative.
First, go to iTunes and search for JTS’s “Library Book Talk Series,” where you’ll find several lectures available.
The two that I recommend are Yoram Hazony’s “The Philosophy of Hebrew Scripture” and Jonathan Klawans’ “Josephus and the Theologies of Ancient Judaism”.
Hazony discusses his 2012 publication The Philosophy of Hebrew Scripture. I found his thoughts on obedience and disobedience of God to be quite thought provoking.
Klawans discusses his 2012 publication Josephus and Theologies of Ancient Judaism. He challenges the idea that Jewish thought was limited to how to obey the law and not theological. This is done by exploring Josephus’ depictions of the Pharisees, Sadducees, Essenes, and others. He has some very interesting things to say about the Sadducees, even proposing that Jewish theology post-Holocaust is more akin to the Sadducees when it comes to how divine providence is understood than the Pharisees and the rabbinic tradition.
I think you’ll enjoy these talks. If you get a chance to listen to them come back and share your thoughts.
I haven’t yet done as you suggest (search on itunes for JTS and follow some of the Library Book Talk Series) and I will, nevertheless it should be pointed out that pursuit of modern ‘Jewish’ perspectives on the Hebrew bible are simply another framework by which we see scripture.
Many scholars have exposed the violent influence post-Christian Jewish exegesis has had on the text (such as the sanitisation of Messianic elements of old Covenant scripture, or a redefinition of monotheism to exclude hints of trinitarianism etc).
While there may be value in understanding the text through the eyes of a Pharisee, it should not automatically be assumed this perspective is an ‘authentic Hebrew’ perspective. If anything these views best represent early views hostile to Christianity.
That said, I would agree, understanding the perspective of Josephus is essential in establishing a framework of ancient secular views of Christianity, while also represent typical Roman thinking.
– why put ‘jewish’ perspectives in apostrophes ?
– when an argument rests on ‘many scholars’ arguing a point. without actual arguments given, I suspect there may not be actual valid arguments…….
– sanitisation of Messianic elements of old Covenant scripture ? What do you mean: do you refer to the Islamic view that Jews corrupted their own scripture ?
– violent influence post-Christian Jewish exegesis; in what sense was this influence ‘violent’ ?
– understanding the text through the eyes of a Pharisee. Do you refer to the authors as Pharisees ?
– a framework of ancient secular views of Christianity, while also represent typical Roman thinking.: are you saying that Josephus was secular ? Or typical Roman ?
– because ‘jewish’ is a rather hard thing to pin down neither quite being a religious term, nor an ethnic term, nor clDearly identifiable historically
– not sure what you mean by this second comment.
– Although there are a number of scholars who deal with this, one I’d recommend would be Michael Rydelnik (The Messianic Hope: Is the Hebrew Bible Really Messianic?) who shows how post-Christian Jewish scholars have influenced the text. He argues (I believe successfully) that the old covenant is far more messianic than it appears in English because of traditional anti-Christian prejudices of Jewish translators. Him being a converted Jew – I think he’s fairly objective.
– see above
– No, but relative to modern scholars Josephus was far more Roman than you or I, and also relative to those who accept the Christian world view a Jewish perspective is as good as any other …
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