Mary, Mary, who are you? – part 2

In order to gain possible insights into the origins of persons and events in the gospels, we have, over the past year and more, been attempting to read the Scriptures with the same types of “midrashic” mindsets that ancient Jewish scribes exercised. What follows is from Portrait d’Israël en jeune fille: Genèse de Marie by … Continue reading “Mary, Mary, who are you? – part 2”


Miriam stood afar off

And his sister stood afar off [μακρόθεν in LXX], to know what would be done to him. — Exodus 2:4 1.22. And his sister stood afar off (ii, 4). Why did Miriam stand afar off? R. Amram in the name of Rab said: Because Miriam prophesied, ‘My mother is destined to give birth to a … Continue reading “Miriam stood afar off”


Mary, Mary, where did you come from?

This is not the second part to the previous post that I had planned but it is related. While exploring what the rabbinic literature had to say about Miriam I was led to focus on the fact that Miriam “stood far off to watch” what would become of her baby brother in the basket floating … Continue reading “Mary, Mary, where did you come from?”


Mary, Mary, who are you? – part 1

On another forum lately there has appeared the question of why there are so many Marys in the gospels and why Jesus’ mother is given that name. With the partial exception of Jesus’ mother, they have no significant plot function at all. They appear then disappear with no obvious narrative role. What’s going on? These … Continue reading “Mary, Mary, who are you? – part 1”


Symbolic Characters #3: Mary, Personification of the Jewish People, “Re-Virgined”

Continuing the series on Nanine Charbonnel’s Jésus-Christ, sublime figure de paper . . . . –o– After this post I will pause from addressing NC’s book for a little while because I want to get a firm grasp of the next section before posting, and I think it is a very critical section, one that addresses the formation … Continue reading “Symbolic Characters #3: Mary, Personification of the Jewish People, “Re-Virgined””


Midrash and Gospels 3: What some Jewish scholars say (and continuing ‘Midrash Tales of the Messiah’)

Jewish scholars of midrash have recognized that “midrashic” techniques, methods of interpretation of texts in the Hebrew Bible, have been creatively woven into Christian Gospel narrative and teaching material as much as Jews worked creatively with midrash in their own literature. Jon D. Levenson Jon D. Levenson wrote The Death and Resurrection of the Beloved … Continue reading “Midrash and Gospels 3: What some Jewish scholars say (and continuing ‘Midrash Tales of the Messiah’)”


Birth and Death of the Messiah: Two Jewish Midrash Tales

A Jewish professor at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, Galit Hasan-Rokem, has argued that the Gospels grew out of a Jewish folklore-midrashic tradition. The Gospels are not written as folklore so there are obvious differences. And midrash has a variety of applications, but in general it is a Jewish approach interpretations of the scriptures that … Continue reading “Birth and Death of the Messiah: Two Jewish Midrash Tales”


Reading the Gospels through a Roman Philosopher’s Eyes

In the previous post focusing on Heracles (or Zeus-Heracles) as Logos I omitted a quotation that paired Heracles with Hermes (Roman name, Mercury) for the sake of trying to keep the focus on a single point. Here I am catching up: what the Stoic author Cornutus wrote about Hermes brings to mind several core motifs … Continue reading “Reading the Gospels through a Roman Philosopher’s Eyes”


Gospels Cut from Jewish Scriptures, #3

Here we look at a. the visions and rejoicing surrounding the birth of Jesus b. the shepherds, the magi c. massacre of the innocents d. flight to and return from Egypt e. Jesus twelve years of age in the temple Future posts will continue this series. The table is primarily a translation and slight modification … Continue reading “Gospels Cut from Jewish Scriptures, #3”


Where Did John the Baptist’s Parents Come From? Reading the Gospels “with Jewish Eyes”

The names of the parents of both Jesus and John the Baptist were arguably created from the imaginations of the Gospel authors working on Old Testament passages for inspiration. The names were fabricated because of the theological messages they conveyed. There is no evidence to indicate that they were handed down from historical memory. This … Continue reading “Where Did John the Baptist’s Parents Come From? Reading the Gospels “with Jewish Eyes””