Rabbinic Parables and Yeshua

Diamond VineyardIf you get a chance to read parables from rabbinic literature, it is striking how similar they are to parables told by Yeshua in the gospels. I spent some time last night in The Historical Jesus in Context, ed. Amy-Jill Levine, Dale C. Allison Jr., and John Dominic Crossan (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2006). Gary Porton has a chapter called

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6 Responses to Rabbinic Parables and Yeshua

  1. Pingback: Sitz im Leben » Jesus and Rabbinic Parables

  2. Jeffrey Garc says:

    It is interesting that research into Rabbinic parables has done little to change the fact that NT scholars largely think that he spoke Aramaic and would not have spoken Hebrew, even though all of the Rabbinic parables are preserved in Hebrew

  3. Jeffrey García says:

    It is interesting that research into Rabbinic parables has done little to change the fact that NT scholars largely think that he spoke Aramaic and would not have spoken Hebrew, even though all of the Rabbinic parables are preserved in Hebrew—even when interlaced into an Aramaic story.

    http://www.helektov.wordpress.com

  4. Jeffrey:

    Thanks for making an interesting point. I will pay attention to the issue you raise, though rabbinic literature and historical Jesus studies are more my hobby than my choice of specialty. The field is so crowded, I leave it to more knowledgeable scholars.

    I have done a small amount of translating Mishnah and Talmud texts. I want to ask for a clarification: are you saying that there is a tendency in Talmud and midrashic sources for the parables to use Hebrew instead of Aramaic constructions? How consistent is this trend?

    Your path in scholarship looks fascinating, studying with Lawrence Schiffman. Messianic Jewish Musings readers would do well to check out your blog: http://helektov.wordpress.com/

    Derek

  5. Jeffrey Garc says:

    Hey Derek,

    Thanks for recommending my blog.

    Shmuel Safrai z”l, former professor of Talmud and Rabbinic at the Hebrew University, wrote something that scholars often miss, viz., that the parables in Rabbinic literature always appear in Hebrew even when they are interlaced in an Aramaic story. This basically means that Rabbinic literature does not deviate from preserving the parables in Hebrew. Most NT scholars assume apriori that Jesus spoke Aramaic, as well as Greek, and that the Semitic original to the gospels is also Aramaic. Furthermore, that Hebrew, save very small pockets, was not understood by the people of Judea or the Galilee. Understanding the parables, as you know, has led to a plethora of books. I think if people noticed this major linguistic feature making the connection to later rabbinic literature and its Hebraic underpinnings would perhaps elucidate the meaning of such. That being said, the parables of Jesus are often a more primitive form than the ones we find in the Mishnah and Talmud.

    Thanks again,
    Jeff

  6. Jeffrey García says:

    Hey Derek,

    Thanks for recommending my blog.

    Shmuel Safrai z”l, former professor of Talmud and Rabbinic at the Hebrew University, wrote something that scholars often miss, viz., that the parables in Rabbinic literature always appear in Hebrew even when they are interlaced in an Aramaic story. This basically means that Rabbinic literature does not deviate from preserving the parables in Hebrew. Most NT scholars assume apriori that Jesus spoke Aramaic, as well as Greek, and that the Semitic original to the gospels is also Aramaic. Furthermore, that Hebrew, save very small pockets, was not understood by the people of Judea or the Galilee. Understanding the parables, as you know, has led to a plethora of books. I think if people noticed this major linguistic feature making the connection to later rabbinic literature and its Hebraic underpinnings would perhaps elucidate the meaning of such. That being said, the parables of Jesus are often a more primitive form than the ones we find in the Mishnah and Talmud.

    Thanks again,
    Jeff

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