Reclaiming the Reputation of the Pharisees

Two rabbisThis post is written in response to “Freeing the Church from Pharisee Influence“, but also to Christians in general. As a scholar on first-century Judaism and the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament), I get pretty tired of people beating up on the Pharisees. I’m also a Christian and I want people to read the New Testament appropriately. And so, I decided to write this article.

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Context is Crucial – A Commentary on Mark 12 (part 3)

This is the third part of my commentary on Mark 12 as we look at this chapter in its original context.  We are asking the question, “what did this passage of scripture mean to its original hearers?” and it is transformative to our understanding for certain.  Be sure to see the other parts of this commentary too as each builds on the previous.

Part 1 – Setting the Stage: The Sadducees

Part 2 – The New Tenants

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Reflections on the Pharisees

Tuesday night was the first session of my summer class The Jewish Context of the Bible.  I was very blessed to have so many people attend, probably around 60 (Update: official count was 81! Wow!).  We had a good class, with some excellent questions.  The audio recording of the class has been posted and here is the lesson handout (yes, the notes are a .doc file).

As a follow up, I’d like to dive a little deeper into one area of the lesson that we had to blow right through, and that is one of the central theologies of the Pharisees and how it plays right into Jesus’ teachings.

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