I love opinionated non-PC people. This blog is to vent my opinions on life, the universe and everything. Which is 42 which in gematria is "My Heart" (LBY) according to Rabbi Abulafia. The Divine Heart is the centre of everything.

Friday, May 31, 2013

Markan and Lukan Communities: A Fabricated Affair

by Brother Gilbert Bloomer

The Gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke are called synoptic Gospels because of the similarities of many of the stories they recount. This essay will focus on a comparison of the Gospels of Mark and Luke in their historical and cultural context.  There are many competing theories as to the priority of the Gospels, where they were written and in what time period. The identity of the writers is also queried. Many of these theories are based on subjective criteria and circular reasoning rather than historical, archaeological and philological research and argument. Using subjective modern literary theories many scholars have created fictional Communities and then read the gospels in the light of these artificially constructed entities that cannot be proved historically to have ever existed.

            Many modern writers place the writings of Mark and Luke in a time period post 70 AD and they speak of Markan and Lukan communities that developed their oral traditions into the Gospels we have of those names. Thus they do not accept the traditional belief found in the Fathers of the Church that these Gospels were written by John Mark (St Mark) or St Luke. However Bishop John Robinson a famous liberal Anglican set out, after a lifetime of accepting the modernist late datings of the Gospels, to research why we accept these late datings. He soon discovered that it was all built “on a house of cards”. There is no historical, philological, archeological or scientific evidence for dating the Gospels after 70 AD but much evidence that they were written before 70 AD. [1] There is no knowledge of the destruction of Jerusalem or the Temple in the New Testament except for a prophecy of Jesus. Those who don’t believe in prophecies due to their naturalistic philosophy[2] see this as evidence of knowledge of the destruction of the Temple. Using the same logic we would have to say that Isaiah 53 was written after Christ as was the Book of Daniel which also told of the Temple being surrounded by armies and destroyed.[3] Torrey writes:

It is perhaps conceivable that one evangelist writing after the year 70 might fail to allude to the destruction of the temple by the Roman armies (every reader of the Hebrew Bible knew that the Prophets had definitely predicted that foreign armies would surround the city and destroy it), but that three (or four) should thus fail is quite incredible. ..On the contrary, what is shown is that all four Gospels were written before the year 70. And indeed, there is no evidence of any sort that will bear examination tending to show that any of the Gospels were written later than about the middle of the century. The challenge to scholars to produce such evidence is hereby presented.[4]

Nobody has successfully presented any such historical or scientific evidence since Torrey wrote this. Modern scholars have just continued to accept the elaborate and fanciful literary theories of the Higher Critical School. Bishop Robinson quotes a layman about these modernist Higher Critics:

There is a world--I do not say a world in which all scholars live but one at any rate into which all of them sometimes stray, and which some of them seem permanently to inhabit--which is not the world in which I live. In my world, if The Times and The Telegraph both tell one story in somewhat different terms, nobody concludes that one of them must have copied the other, nor that the variations in the story have some esoteric significance. But in that world of which I am speaking this would be taken for granted. There, no story is ever derived from facts but always from somebody else's version of the same story. . . . In my world, almost every book, except some of them produced by Government departments, is written by one author. In that world almost every book is produced by a committee, and some of them by a whole series of committees. In my world, if I read that Mr. Churchill, in 1935, said that Europe was heading for a disastrous war, I applaud his foresight. In that world, no prophecy, however vaguely worded, is ever made except after the event. In my world we say, "The First World War took place in 1914-1918." In that world they say, "The world-war narrative took shape in the third decade of the twentieth century." In my world men and women live for a considerable time--seventy, eighty, even a hundred years--and they are equipped with a thing called memory. In that world (it would appear) they come into being, write a book and forthwith perish, all in a flash, and it is noted of them with astonishment that they "preserve traces of primitive tradition" about things which happened well within their own adult lifetimes…[5]

            The whole question of whether there were any such things as Matthean, Markan and Lukan communities has been challenged by certain recent scholars. Peterson in his book “The Origins of Mark: The Markan Community in Current Debate” writes:

…lack of agreement among Gospel community constructors is related more to the futility of the entire enterprise than to a need for further study…that the inferring and reconstruction of Markan communities from the text of the Gospels in order to provide a sure footing for its interpretation is a highly problematic practice indeed…[6]

Michael Bird in his article on the same question also mentions Richard Baukham’s opposition to using the gospel for a subjective construction of the community it is supposedly addressed to.[7] Bird himself using Baukham as his starting point sets out to demonstrate that skepticism is needed in regard to a connection between the Gospel of Mark and a Markan community and that if even such a community did exist it is impossible to identify its geographical setting with any certainty.[8] Bird also mentions how scholars cannot even agree about the location of this so-called ‘Markan Community’. Very erudite books have been written proposing Rome or the Galilee or Syria.[9] Even Raymond Brown wrote that that modern scholarship is not able to “reconstruct the profile of the community addressed by Mark”.[10] Maybe a solution to this is to accept that Mark and Luke’s Gospels were written to a certain type of early believer no matter where they were located.

            Analyzing the Gospel with a literary theory or theories in order to create an imaginative ‘Markan Community’ is a use of the creative imagination but not authentic history or science. There are also numerous competing theories on the priorities of the Gospels which are much too numerous to mention in this small essay.   Many believe that Mark was the first Gospel written and that Matthew and Luke drew on it. Matthew and Luke also drew on a lost source as well as Mark which they call Q. This theory is known as the “Two–Source Hypothesis”. E.P. Sanders, a famous New Testament scholar, writes:
…The evidence does not seem to warrant the degree of certainty with which many scholars hold the two-document hypothesis. It would also seem to forbid that a similar degree of certainty should be accorded to any other hypothesis…I believe our entire study of the Synoptic Gospels would profit from withholding judgments on the Synoptic problem while the evidence is resifted…[11]
Sanders considers that the solution to the synoptic problem would be much more complex.[12]

            Robinson working from a historical methodology dates the Gospel of Luke between 40-60 AD and the Gospel of Mark between 45-60 AD. A leading Catholic scholar and one of the translators of the Dead Sea Scolls, Father Jean Carmignac, uses a philological and historical methodology. He discovered that it was very easy to translate the Greek Mark back into the Hebrew of Qumran. Carmignac states:
…I was convinced that the Greek text of Mark could not have been redacted directly in the Greek and that it was in reality only the Greek translation of an original Hebrew…The Hebrew-Greek translation had transposed word for word and even preserved in Greek the order of the words preferred by Hebrew Grammar.[13]
Carmignac then spent the next 25 years of his life researching the Hebrew origins of the Synoptic Gospels. One beautiful example he found in the Gospel of Luke was the Benedictus of Zechariah the father of St John the Baptist and husband to St Elizabeth. When Carmignac translated the Greek back into Hebrew he found a Hebrew play on words that was not there in the Greek. Zechariah proclaims: “..To show the mercy promised to our Fathers, and to remember his holy covenant: the oath which he swore to our father Abraham…”.[14] The Benedictus prayer (Luke 1:68-79), Carmignac tells us, when translated back into Hebrew is made up of three stanzas (strophes), each having seven stitchs. The prayer starts in the first stanza with “Blessed be the Lord the God of Israel” which is a Biblical and Qumran invocation. In the second stanza the first stitch[15] is the word mercy or grace which in Hebrew is hanan which is the root of the name Yohanan (John), the second stitch is ‘remember’ which in Hebrew is Zakar and is the root of the name Zechariah and the third stitch is the two words ‘oath’ and ‘swore’ which are two forms of the Hebrew Shava or Shaba which is the root of the name Elizabeth (Elisheva). The third stanza starts as it often does in Qumran literature with a personal pronoun “and you child”.[16]

             A Protestant scholar Robert Lindsey also discovered the same thing about translating the Greek of the synoptics into Hebrew. He also began with the Greek of Mark, however he found that the Gospel of Luke was even easier to translate back into Hebrew.[17] Both Carmignac and Lindsey along with the French Catholic scholar, theologian and Hellenist, Claude Tresmontant,[18] believe that the original Gospels were in Hebrew and not Aramaic.  The famous Orthodox Jewish New Testament scholar Professor David Flusser of the Hebrew University writes:

The spoken languages among the Jews of that period were Hebrew, Aramaic, and to an extent, Greek. Until recently, it was believed by numerous scholars that the language spoken by Jesus' disciples was Aramaic. It is possible that Jesus did, from time to time, make use of the Aramaic language. But during that period Hebrew was both the daily language and the language of study. The Gospel of Mark contains a few Aramaic words, and this is what misled scholars… There is no ground for assuming that Jesus did not speak Hebrew; and when we are told (Acts 21:40) that Paul spoke Hebrew, we should take this piece of information at face value''[19].

Flusser is convinced that the sayings of Jesus were mostly originally in Hebrew not Aramaic as taught by many scholars of the past. He writes:
There are sayings of Jesus which can be rendered both into Hebrew and Aramaic; but there are some which can only be rendered into Hebrew, and none of them can be rendered only into Aramaic. One can thus demonstrate the Hebrew origins of the Gospels by retranslating them into Hebrew'' [20]
            Thus Carmignac dates the Hebrew Mark to around the years 40-42 AD and its Greek version between 45-50 AD and the Greek Luke to just after 50 AD. It would seem very clear that the Gospels dated before 70 AD allows them to have been written by St Mark and St Luke themselves and the need for some kind of creative Markan and Lukan communities becomes redundant. Rather than relying on some fabricated oral traditions based on the literary theories of modern scholars one can now turn to the authentic oral traditions that are historically provable as they were written down by the fathers of the church and early ecclesiastical writers. Irenaeus tells us that St Mark was the disciple and interpreter of St Peter and "transmitted to us in writing the things preached by Peter." As does Eusebius who quotes Papias who quotes St John the Beloved Disciple of Ephesus.[21] Here we see an actual historically verifiable oral tradition and its transmission. Irenaeus also tells us that St Luke wrote the Gospel of Luke under the influence of St Paul. [22]

            Peter with Mark arrived in Rome sometime between 40-42 AD and Mark left for Alexandria sometimes around 43-44 AD. From Alexandria he went to Jerusalem and Antioch in 46 AD and then he was in Salamis in 47 AD.[23] He then returned to Rome until 49-50 AD when the Jews were expelled from Rome. Some older writers[24] claimed that 1 Peter was written around or before 49 AD when the Roman Jewish community was under threat. Mark after going to Antioch and then Cyprus eventually returned to Rome and was there during the time of St Paul’s first imprisonment[25]. Harrington writing in the New Jerome Biblical Commentary also agrees for a pre-70 AD date for the publishing of the Greek Mark. He states that the mention of the prophecy of the destruction of the Temple in Mark 13 does not mean that Mark was written after 70 AD.[26] He dates the publishing of the Greek Mark around 60 AD as he thinks that the persecution is connected to the persecution of Nero[27] rather than the earlier persecution under Claudius. He concludes that the Gospel was written in Rome by Mark as Papias states because of certain loanwords from Latin found in the Greek text. That Father Harrington uses historical (Papias) and philological (loanwords) evidence gives one more confidence in his opinion.[28]

            The Roman Church at this time was situated in two main centres the House of Prisca and Aquila where the more simple Jewish and Gentile believers met and the British Palace that became the House of Pudens where the Gentile believers met possibly with the more aristocratic Hellenist Jews. St Peter was closely connected with both centres. Archaeological discoveries at the sites of these two places have confirmed these early Christian traditions.[29] It may have been the Greek speaking Gentiles meeting at the House of Prisca and Aquila and the House of Pudens (the Palatium Britannicum) that desired a literalistic translation into Greek of the Hebrew Gospel compiled by Mark based on Peter’s teachings. Mark in his Greek gospel edited it to exclude information that would not be of interest to his Gentile readers and added some information to explain Jewish customs (see Mark 7).[30]

            Even though the Greek Mark was written for Gentiles it is necessary to understand the Jewish cultural context of the Hebrew original. Mark 7 is a good example. Many exegetics misinterpret Mark 7 in an anti-Jewish manner.[31] Harrington writes based on his faulty antinomian interpretation of  Mark 7 that Jesus:
...gives a public statement and a private explanation about the invalidity of the Jewish food laws... rejects the Pharisaic tradition surrounding the law’s observance... and abrogates the OT food laws...[32]
Jesus and the writer of the Gospel of Mark did not intend to discredit the traditions of the Sages of Israel. Jesus did criticize a group of Pharisees and Scribes who were placing the teachings of the Sages (Chazal) above the Biblical commandments and interpreting them in a way that distorted both the Sages teachings and Scripture.[33] Mark in chapter 7 verses 3-4 is not criticizing the Jewish customs about various washings but explaining them to the Gentile audience he is writing to. Jesus also in Mark 7 gives some examples of this misuse of Scripture and Tradition. These Pharisees and Scribes appeal to the authentic ‘traditions of the Sages’ but Jesus never criticizes this tradition only the twisted reasoning of this group who have misused the ‘traditions of the Sages’ to create their own man-made tradition that actually undermines the Torah and its interpretation by the Sages. Jesus very pointedly calls it “your tradition” to distinguish it from the “tradition of the Sages”.

            Jesus using the commandment of “Honour thy mother and father”, as an example, demonstrates this unspiritual approach. Jesus is not criticizing the idea of a korban or the setting aside of gifts for God’s service. What he is criticizing is this groups perverted use of tradition to justify their evil desire to not help their parents and thus by their twisted use of tradition they undermined the written Torah and make the mosaic tradition of no value. When they criticized others for not performing n’tilat yadaim (washing of hands),[34] Jesus saw that it was from a hypocritical heart of judging others on secondary matters that at this time was not even a universal custom. Unfortunately this has been confused by the Greek of the text which has translated the Hebrew work ‘kol’ as ‘all’ when in Hebrew it can also mean ‘many’. The text should read in English ‘and many of the Judeans’ rather than “and all the Jews”. The Jews of the Galilee had a different minhag (custom) but it is obvious that Jesus himself observed the Judean and Pharisee minhag as they did not criticize him for eating without doing n’tilat yadaim, only some of his disciples. The reason for this is that Jesus’ family originally came from Judea and observed this greater stringency of washing before eating ordinary food (chullin/ common)[35] that many of the Pharisees practiced at that time. This stringency is not what Jesus condemned when done in the right spirit of enhancing the spiritual sanctity in ordinary acts, but when this stringency was used as a judgment of how pure another Jew was, he was indignant. 

The Sages of Israel compare the holy vessels of the Temple with the vessels of one’s tongue and heart. It is forbidden to comment on the level of observance of another Jew in a negative way this is lashon hara (evil talk). This is why Jesus is so upset with these Pharisees, that they should be committing the sin of lashon hara which is much worse than putting non-kosher food on holy vessels. To speak lashon hara pollutes the inner man. The temple and domestic purity of dishes is only a sign alluding to this spiritual purity/impurity of the inner heart and tongue.

Mark 7:19 is also a verse in which modern scholarship has reinterpreted the text as an editorial comment by Mark rather than an extension of what Jesus is saying.[36] The Latin Vulgate uses "purgans omnes escas" for the Greek "katharizon panta ta bromata" both meaning "purging all the meats". This refers to the stomach or body purging or purifying all foods from the body and it is part of what Jesus is saying. The King James Version and the Catholic Douai-Rheims agree with this translation. It is only some modern translations that falsely separate this from what Jesus is saying and make it artificially an edit by Mark "and thus he declared all foods clean". They add "And thus he declared" a phrase which does not appear in the original text.  This gives the passage an interpretation that is contrary to the original text. In fact the English translation of the Peshitta Aramaic text reads:
...17And when Yeshua entered into the house, away from the multitudes, his talmidim began asking him about this saying. 18He said to them, "You too are slow to understanding. Do you not know that everything which enters from the outside into a man is not able to defile him. 19Because it does not enter into his heart, rather into his stomach and is removed by way of excretion, which purifies all the food. 20But anything that goes out from a man is what defiles a man. 21For it is from the inside of the heart of the sons of men that evil thoughts proceed such as adultery, fornication, theft, murder, extortion, 22wickedness, deceit, lust, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride and foolishness. 23All of these things are evil, and from within do they proceed and defile a man…[37]

            Many writers have proposed that St Luke was a Gentile because of Colossians 4: 10-11 where Paul mentions those of the Circumcision. However others believe that Luke was a Hellenistic Jew and wrote his Gospel for Hellenistic Jews.[38] Origen states that St Luke is also called Lucius and is the same person as the Hellenist Jew mentioned in Acts as Lucius of Cyrene and he is also mentioned by Paul in Romans16:12.[39] John Wenham also gives seven reasons for identifying him with Lucius of Cyrene.[40]

            Luke not only is a Hellenistic Jew but he seems to have also been influenced by Essene Judaism with his recurring theme of the Messianic Banquets. N T Wright lists the eight Messianic Banquets in the Gospel of Luke. Firstly there is the banquet at Levi’s House in Luke 5:29-35, secondly the banquet at a Pharisee’s house in Luke 7:36-50, thirdly the feeding of the five thousand in Luke 9: 12-17, fourthly the dinner at Martha and Mary’s house in Luke 10:38-42, fifthly another banquet at a Pharisee’s house in Luke 11:37-54, sixthly a third banquet at a Pharisee’s house in Luke 14:1-15, seventhly the Last Supper and eighthly the Road to Emmaus breaking of the bread meal.[41] The eighth day has deep Messianic significance and is associated by the early Jewish Christians with the Sunday of the Resurrection. Brant Pitre also writes extensively on the theme of the Messianic Banquet. He quotes from the Qumran Rule:
…At a session of the men of renown, those summoned to the gathering of the community council, when God begets the Messiah with them: the chief priest of all the congregation of Israel shall enter, and all his brothers, the sons of Aaron, the priests summoned to the assembly, the men of renown, and they shall sit before him, each one according to his dignity. After, the Messiah of Israel shall enter and before him shall sit the heads of the thousands of Israel, each one according to his dignity, according to his position in their camps and according to their marches. … And when they gather at the table of community or to drink the new wine, and the table of the community is prepared and the new wine is mixed for drinking, no-one should stretch out his hand to the first- fruit of the bread and of the new wine before the priest, for he is the one who blesses the first-fruit of the bread and of the new wine and stretches out his hand towards the bread before them. Afterwards, the Messiah of Israel shall stretch out his hands toward the bread. And afterwards, they shall bless all the congregation of the community, each one according to his dignity. And in accordance with this precept one shall act at each meal, when at least ten men are gathered…[42] (1Qsa 2:11–22).
Pitre links the Messianic Banquet concept to Luke 22: 28-30:

You are those who have continued with me in my trials; as my Father appointed a kingdom for me, so do I appoint for you that you may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom, and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel[43]

This passage would only be truly understood and appreciated in its Jewish and Essene background by those of Jewish culture and learning. This idea is also found in Luke 13: 28-29:           
There you will weep and gnash your teeth, when you see Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the Kingdom of God and you yourselves thrust out. And men will come from east and west, and from north and south, and sit at table in the Kingdom of God
These references also allude to the Heavenly Banquet mentioned in Exodus 24 as does Luke 22:20’s mention of the “new blood of the covenant” with Exodus 24:8’s  “behold the blood of the Covenant”. Exodus 24 references the inauguration of the Sinai Covenant as a prelude to a Celestial Banquet before the Sapphire blue pavement or brickwork.[44] 

            It is also only the Jewish Christians who would instantly see the connection with the Infancy narrative of Luke being linked with the Ark of the Covenant imagery and thus realising that the Virgin Mary is the new Ark of the Covenant which the Almighty has overshadowed with his Presence. They would immediately see that Mary’s encounter with her cousin Elizabeth parallels King David’s encounter with the Ark of the Covenant in 2 Samuel 6-7. There are many other examples that could be discussed but due to the limits of this essay these will be a representative sample of why Luke is written by a Jew to an educated (Hellenistic) Jewish audience.

            This brief essay has sought to demonstrate that there are no such late post 70 AD Markan and Lukan communities as imagined by some modern scholars. Mark and Luke were Jews who wrote to the situation of the pre-70 AD church and it is this audience to which their Gospels were addressed. The Greek Mark to the Gentile believers and the Greek Luke to the Hellenistic Jews of the Roman Empire. One can almost smell the air of the sea of Galilee and its fishing boats in the down-to-earth narratives of Mark’s Gospel reflecting the story-telling of the Big Fisherman and this earthiness also appealed to many of the Gentile believers from among the poor and working class. These believers are attracted to the idea of the powerful Saviour who has suffered like they do.[45] These are persecuted believers[46] firstly by the Romans and secondly by the Jewish community in Rome which eventually causes the Emperor to expel them in 49-50 AD.

            Luke’s Gospel retains a more elevated style which has polished up these stories to appeal to the more educated and sophisticated Hellenistic Jews such as Theophilus the former Jewish High Priest (who may have written the Letter to the Hebrews). This essay chooses certain hypothesises that are based on looking at the historical, archaeological, cultural and philological context of the two Gospels rather than an invented and imaginary approach based on a highly artificial literary theories proposed by those of a modernist and naturalistic mindset.[47] It is highly unlikely based on these criteria that any such Markan or Lukan communities existed in the post 70 AD Church as described by many modern scholars and they are merely the fabricated fantasies of literary theorists. The community that embraced these Gospels, along with Matthew and John, was the Universal Community (Kehilla K’lali) of believers under the authority of the Petrine ministry and moving in the grace of the Pauline missionary mandate.

[1] Bishop John A T Robinson, Redating the New Testament (Philedelphia: Westminister Press, 1976) 1-30.
[2] Gary R Habemas, “The Late Twenthieth-Century Resurgence of Naturalistic Responses to Jesus Resurrection” Trinity Journal 2001, 179-196.
[3] Bishop John A T Robinson, Redating the New Testament, 1-30.
[4] C. C. Torrey, The Apocalypse of John, (New Haven, Conn, 1958), 86 
[5] Bishop John A T Robinson, Redating the New Testament, 356.
[6]  Dwight N Peterson, The Origins of Mark: The Markan Community in Current Debate, (Leiden:Brill, 2000), 4-5.
[7] Michael F Bird, “The Markan Community, Myth or Maze: Bauckham’s The Gospel For All Christians Revisited” Journal of Theological Studies Vol 57 pt 2 (UK: Oxford University Press, 2006), 475
[8] Michael F Bird, “The Markan Community, Myth or Maze: Bauckham’s The Gospel For All Christians Revisited”,  476.
[9] Michael F Bird, “The Markan Community, Myth or Maze Bauckham’s The Gospel For All Christians Revisited”, 477.
[10] Raymond Brown, The Churches the Apostles Left Behind (New York: Paulist, 1984), 28.
[11] Professor E P Sanders, The Tendencies of the Synoptic Tradition, (Cambridge: University Press, 1969), 278.
[12] E P Sanders, The Tendencies of the Synoptic Tradition, 278.
[13] Father Jean Carmignac, Birth of the Synoptics, (Chicago: Franciscan Herald Press, 1987), 1.
[14] Luke 1: 72-73
[15] In Hebrew poetry stitching is the repetition of keywords to tie a poem together. 
[16] Father Jean Carmignac, Birth of the Synoptics.
[17] Robert Lindsey, Jesus, Rabbi and Lord by (USA:CornerstonePublisher, 1990) 17-18.
[18] Claude Tresmontant, The Hebrew Christ: Language in the Age of the Gospels, USA:Franciscan Herald Press, 1989.
[19] Professor David Flusser, Jewish Sources in Early Christianity, (Israel: Mod Books, 1989), 11.
[20] Professor David Flusser, Jewish Sources in Early Christianity, 11.
[21] Daniel J Harrington SJ, “The Gospel According to Mark” The New Jerome Biblical Commentary (New Jersey: Prentice Hall Inc, 1990), 596.
[22] Hans Conzelman, The History of the Primitive Church, Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1973.
[23]  Joseph MacRory,."St. Mark." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 9. (New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1910.) .
[24] George Haydock, Haydock Bible Commentary 1859
[25] Pheme Perkins, “Mark Jesus, Suffering Messiah” Reading the New Testament: An Introduction (New York:Paulist,1978), 204.
[26] Daniel J Harrington SJ, “The Gospel According to Mark”, 596.
[27] Daniel J Harrington SJ, “The Gospel According to Mark”, 596.
[28] Daniel J Harrington SJ, “The Gospel According to Mark”, 596.
[29]  Professor Samuel Terrien, Till the Heart Sings: A Biblical theology of Manhood and Womanhood, (USA: Eerdman, 2004), 176-7.
[30] Pheme Perkins, “Mark Jesus, Suffering Messiah” Reading the New Testament: An Introduction, 204.
[31] Daniel J Harrington SJ, “The Gospel According to Mark”, 611.
[32] Daniel J Harrington SJ, “The Gospel According to Mark”, 611.
[33] Rabbi Harvey Falk,  Jesus the Pharisee; A New Look at the Jewishness of Jesus, New York ; Paulist Press, 1985.
[34] Rabbi Harvey Falk,  Jesus the Pharisee; A New Look at the Jewishness of Jesus, 149-150.
[35] See Tractate Chullin in the Talmud. Chullin means profane or unconsecrated or common.
[36] Daniel J Harrington SJ, “The Gospel According to Mark”, 611.
[37] Mark 7:17-23
[38] Professor E.Earle Ellis, The Gospel of Luke (USA: Eerdmans, 1980), 52-4
[39] Professor E.Earle Ellis, The Gospel of Luke, 52-4
[40] John Wenham, The Identification of Luke
[41] Nicholas T Wright, Jesus and the Victory of God, (USA: Fortress Press, 1996),  558.
[42] Brant Pitre, “Jesus, the Messianic Banquet and the Kingdom of God” Letters and Spirit  Volume 5 (2009), 136-7.
[43] Brant Pitre, “Jesus, the Messianic Banquet and the Kingdom of God”, 153.
[44] Brant Pitre, “Jesus, the Messianic Banquet and the Kingdom of God”, 157-8.
[45] Pheme Perkins, “Mark Jesus, Suffering Messiah” Reading the New Testament: An Introduction,207-210.
[46] Pheme Perkins, “Mark Jesus, Suffering Messiah” Reading the New Testament: An Introduction, 210.
[47] Gary R Habemas, “The Late Twenthieth-Century Resurgence of Naturalistic Responses to Jesus Resurrection”, 179-196.

Bird, Michael F. “The Markan Community, Myth or Maze: Bauckham’s The Gospel For All Christians Revisited” Journal of Theological Studies Vol 57 pt 2 (UK: Oxford University Press, 2006), 474-485.
Brown, Raymond.  The Churches the Apostles Left Behind New York: Paulist, 1984.
Carmignac, Jean.  Birth of the Synoptics Chicago: Franciscan Herald Press, 1987.
Conzelman, Hans. The History of the Primitive Church, Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1973.
Ellis, E Earle. The Gospel of Luke USA: Eerdmans, 1980.
Falk, Harvey (Rabbi). Jesus the Pharisee; A New Look at the Jewishness of Jesus, New York ; Paulist Press, 1985.
Flusser, David.  Jewish Sources in Early Christianity, Israel: Mod Books, 1989.
Habemas, Gary R. “The Late Twenthieth-Century Resurgence of Naturalistic Responses to Jesus Resurrection” Trinity Journal 2001, 179-196.
Harrington, Daniel J ( SJ), “The Gospel According to Mark” The New Jerome Biblical Commentary (New Jersey: Prentice Hall Inc, 1990), 596-629.
Haydock, George. Haydock Bible Commentary 1859 <http://haydock1859.tripod.com/id264.html>
Lindsey, Robert.  Jesus, Rabbi and Lord USA: Cornerstone Publisher, 1990.
MacRory, Joseph. "St. Mark." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 9. (New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1910.) .
Perkins, Pheme. “Mark Jesus, Suffering Messiah” Reading the New Testament: An Introduction (New York: Paulist,1978), 202-213.
Peterson, Dwight N. The Origins of Mark: The Markan Community in Current Debate Leiden:Brill, 2000.
Pitre, Brant. “Jesus, the Messianic Banquet and the Kingdom of God” Letters and Spirit Volume 5, 2009.
Sanders, E P.  The Tendencies of the Synoptic Tradition Cambridge: University Press, 1969.
Robinson, Redating the New Testament Philedelphia: Westminister Press, 1976.
Terrien, Samuel. Till the Heart Sings: A Biblical Theology of Manhood and Womanhood USA: Eerdman, 2004.
Torrey, C C. The Apocalypse of John, New Haven, Conn, 1958.
Tresmontant, Claude. The Hebrew Christ: Language in the Age of the Gospels USA:Franciscan Herald Press, 1989.
Wenham, John. The Identification of Luke 
Wright, N T. Jesus and the Victory of God, USA: Fortress Press, 1996. 


Thursday, May 30, 2013

Resurrection of Jesus: Myth or History


    by Brother Gilbert Bloomer                                                          
This essay will discuss the historicity of the death and Resurrection of Jesus with an emphasis on its Jewish cultural context. For the orthodox Christian whether Catholic, Orthodox or Protestant the historicity of these events is central to their faith. In accord with this traditional faith the ‘Catechism of the Catholic Church’ affirms that the Resurrection and its manifestations are “real events” and are “historically verifiable”.[1]  However with the advent of the Modernist Higher Critical theology and its offshoots, over the last two hundred years, this orthodox Christian teaching has been called into question. There have arisen theologians who do not believe in or seriously question the historicity of the events of Jesus death and resurrection. Some of them speak of the Resurrection as a subjective experience of the Christ and they make a dichotomy between the Christ of Faith and the Jesus of History. These interpretations of Christ’s Resurrection draw from a world view that is philosophical and naturalistic[2] rather than Jewish or Christian. The event of Jesus of Nazareth’s death and Resurrection is an event situated within the ‘faith’ based community of Pharisaic Judaism.[3] When theology and philosophy divorce themselves from the Jewish and Pharisaic roots of the Christian faith then a subtle form of Gnostic Christianity takes its place.

            Today’s ‘peer-reviewed’ academia would have us believe that Pope Pius XII somehow approved of and encouraged the modernist theology with its elaborate and imaginary literary theories. In fact Pius XII in ‘Divino Afflante Spiritu’ encouraged Catholic theologians to use the modern studies in history, archeology, philology and other disciplines to understand the faith more deeply.[4] The theologians were encouraged to take into account the historical literary genres of the time and culture of a particular text. This did not include an encouragement to create their own subjective literary theories based on their own imagination rather than any factual or historical evidence. The Pope also warned against those who wished to limit the infallibility and inspiration of Scripture to only matters of faith and morals and affirms once again the Catholic teaching on Biblical inerrancy. Pius XII proclaims:
“…When, subsequently, some Catholic writers, in spite of this solemn definition of Catholic doctrine, by which such divine authority is claimed for the "entire books with all their parts" as to secure freedom from any error whatsoever, ventured to restrict the truth of Sacred Scripture solely to matters of faith and morals, and to regard other matters, whether in the domain of physical science or history, as "obiter dicta" and - as they contended - in no wise connected with faith, Our Predecessor of immortal memory, Leo XIII in the Encyclical Letter Providentissimus Deus, published on November 18 in the year 1893, justly and rightly condemned these errors and safe-guarded the studies of the Divine Books by most wise precepts and rules…”[5]
Instead of a true renewal of theology in the Jewish cultural roots of the faith, a growing acceptance of liberal theology based on literary theories and the late datings of the books of the New Testament occurred. When Bishop John Robinson a famous liberal Anglican scholar set out to research why theologians accept these particular datings, he found there was no historical or archeological or philological evidence for this but it was all based on what he called “a house of cards”.[6] He very convincingly demonstrated that all the New Testament was written before the fall of the Jewish Temple in 70 AD. There is no evidence whatsoever that any author of the New Testament knew of the fall of the Temple. The only mention of its fall is by Jesus as a future prophecy.[7] Of course modernist theology does not accept the validity of the miraculous or prophecy so they assume that the writers of the Gospels must have written after the events of 70 AD. Using this same mentality of naturalistic belief they dismiss the Gospels as historical documents and its claims of an historical death and Resurrection of Jesus.[8]

            In the late 1970’s, to the surprise of many, a famous orthodox Jewish New Testament scholar, Pinchas Lapide, came forward with a book “The Resurrection of Jesus: A Jewish Perspective” in defense of the historicity of the Resurrection of Jesus. Of course, as an orthodox Jew he did not accept that the Resurrection of Jesus proved he was the Messiah or God in the Flesh.  He wrote:
"…If the defeated and depressed group of disciples overnight could change into a victorious movement of faith, based only on autosuggestion or self-deception—without a fundamental faith experience—then this would be a much greater miracle than the resurrection itself…"[9]
He did believe that this historically verifiable death and Resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth showed some kind of divine approval and that Jesus was one who was important for preparing for the advent of the Messiah son of David. He also situated the Death and Resurrection in its historically Jewish cultural and spiritual context.[10] There is a clear tradition in Judaism that the Messiah son of Joseph would be killed and then resurrected.[11] The Talmud also teaches that the Messiah may come from among the Dead.[12] Lapide states that it is possible that the Jewish Messiah who comes in the future may have once been Jesus of Nazareth. He writes:
            “I cannot imagine that even a single Jew who believes in God would have the least thing against that… Should the coming one be Jesus, he would be precisely as welcome as any other whom God would designate as the redeemer of the world. If he would only come!”[13]

             In the late 1990’s an important tablet was discovered in the Holy Land. It was a three-foot tablet with 87 lines of Hebrew text from the first century BC. It is now called “Gabriel’s Revelation”. This text speaks of a future Messiah who would die and be resurrected “in three days” [l’shloshet yamin].[14] Daniel Boyarin a professor of Talmudic Culture at the University of California at Berkeley states:
 “…Some Christians will find it shocking- a challenge to the uniqueness of their theology- while others will be comforted by the idea of it being a traditional part of Judaism…”.

Israel Knohl, a famous professor of Biblical Studies at the Hebrew University who is an expert on the Jewish traditions of a Suffering Messiah, found in the Dead Sea Scrolls as well as in rabbinic and early Jewish apocalyptic writings evidence for the belief in  a resurrected Messiah.[15] He believes that the discovery of “Gabriel’s Revelation” solidifies the thesis that the idea of a suffering Messiah who dies and is resurrected, comes from Second Temple Judaism before the time of Jesus.[16] Knohl notes that Jesus made many allusions to his death and suffering in the Gospels but many New Testament scholars deny this. They teach that Jesus’ later followers wrote this into the Gospel as they believe the historical Jesus would not have any knowledge of this idea. However “Gabriel’s Revelation”, which has been authenticated by many leading Israeli experts, proves otherwise. Professor Knohl sees this through a Jewish prism. He states that the mission of Jesus
 “is that he has to be put to death by the Romans to suffer so his blood will be a sign for the Redemption to come. This is the sign of the son of Joseph. This is the conscious view of Jesus himself. This gives the Last Supper an absolutely different meaning. To shed blood is not for the sins but to bring redemption to Israel.”[17]  
The resurrection faith of the first Jewish Christians would see both aspects as interconnected in the Eucharist. In the Eucharist the fruits of the death and resurrection of Jesus is made present as the fountain of mercy and cleansing from sins referred to in Zechariah 12 in the context of the pierced one. At the same time they would see the Eucharist as a pledge, sign or promise of the eschatological redemption of all Israel by the resurrected Messiah.[18]

Raphael Patai is another Jewish scholar who earlier published an excellent resource titled “The Messiah Texts”. He presents the Jewish textual sources for the Jewish ideas of a Suffering or Leper Messiah and the Messiah son of Joseph who is killed and resurrected and that they are an integral part of Talmudic and mystical Judaism. Knohl himself claimed, from his study of the Dead Sea Scrolls, that there was a man named Simon whose followers believed he was the Messiah and that he would be resurrected after three days when he was put to death in 4 BC (he wrote this before he learnt of the discovery of “Gabriel’s Revelation”). Even today some elements within Chabad (Lubavitch) Hasidism have claimed that the late Chabad Leader, Rebbe Menachem Schneerson, is the Messiah son of Joseph and they await his resurrection. Some of these also believe that the late Rebbe as Messiah is God himself. They quote numerous Jewish sources to prove their point.[19]

“Gabriel’s Revelation” focuses us on the phrase L’shloshet yamin (in the third day) which is part of the early Jewish Christian creedal faith- “on the third day he rose from the dead”. Two decades earlier than the tablet’s discovery Rabbi Lapide writes of the significance of the ‘three days’.[20] Judaism has always read the story of the Binding (Akeidah) of Isaac by Abraham in the context of the hope of the Resurrection.[21] Lapide points to the significance of the phrase in Genesis 22: 4- On the third day Abraham lifted up his eyes…”.  Lapide also then sees the connection with the Sinai revelation and God’s appearance there in Exodus 19: 16. On the morning of the third day there were thunders and lightnings, and a thick cloud upon the mountain…”.[22]  For the Jewish Christian this is a manifestation of the resurrected God-Man and Messiah coming out of Eternity through the power of his Resurrection to give the Torah to Moses and Israel as Sar ha Torah (Prince of the Torah).[23]

Lapide also points to the figure of Joseph in Genesis 42:18- On the third day Joseph said to them, Do this and you will live…”. For the Jewish Christian this has even deeper meaning in the context of the Jewish traditions of Messiah son of Joseph who will appear in the Galilee and will be killed and rise from the dead.[24] Lapide then refers to the three days mentioned in regards to Jonah (Jonah 1:17),  Queen Esther (Esther 5:1) and Hosea 6:2. He writes:
“On the third day…contains for ears which are educated Biblically a clear reference to God’s mercy and grace which is revealed after two days of affliction and death by way of    redemption… thus, according to my opinion, the resurrection belongs to the category of the truly real and effective occurrences, for without a fact of history there is no act of true faith…”[25]

The  German Higher Critical school was known for its anti-Semitism[26] and for it wishing to distance the New Testament from its authentically Jewish origins by postulating a long development of Christian theology through oral traditions over three or four generations.[27] They ignore the fact that Jewish religious culture and its male population were extremely literate and that there is no historical or archeological evidence for this long development of oral traditions. The oral traditions that can be verified are those handed down by the Fathers of the Church and the Jewish fathers of the Talmudic wisdom. The elaborate literary theories[28] based on imaginary oral traditions have lead to the ideas of such theologians as John Dominic Crossan[29] and Edward Schillebeeckx who deny or question the historicity of the Resurrection and the post Resurrection encounters of the Apostles with Christ. They see it as a subjective experience of ‘the risen Christ’ in his later followers who then reconstructed the Jesus story to fit this experience. The canonical writings of the Gospels and other New Testament writings are then placed on equal footing with the Gnostic literature and Gospels. While many modern theologians don’t go as far as Crossan and Schillebeeckx in their understanding of the salvation events, they draw on the same modernist and naturalistic theories. In one sense, Crossan and Schillebeeckx are more consistent and take these theories to their logical conclusions.

Pinchas Lapide however states that the historical event of the Resurrection has primacy over the death of Jesus. The death of Jesus only gains its historical significance in the light of the resurrection. If Jesus had not risen from the dead then his death would be just one more Jewish crucifixion victim of the Romans among many.[30] He states: “I accept the resurrection of Easter Sunday not as an invention of the community of the disciples, but as an historical event.”[31] Carl Braaten in his introduction to Lapide’s book states that Lapide is aware of the so-called mainstream schools of theology who relegate the Resurrection of Jesus to a category of myth, legend or hallucination without any historical reality.[32] Lapide writes:
“I am completely convinced that the Twelve from Galilee, who were all farmers, shepherds and fishermen-there was not a single theology professor to be found among them-were totally unimpressed by scholarly theologoumena, as Karl Rahner or Rudolf Bultmann write them. If they, through such as concrete historical event as the crucifixion, were so totally in despair and crushed…then no less concrete a historical event was needed in order to bring them out of the deep valley of their despair and within a short time to transform them into a community of salvation rejoicing to the high heavens.” [33]

Lapide discusses those that seek to discredit the historicity of the Resurrection and to connect it with the stories of the death and resurrections of characters such as Osiris in the pagan mythologies. Lapide sees the so-called “plausible historical objections” which deny any historical reality to the resurrection of Jesus as seriously impaired and restricted. He states that “a physically comprehensible or rationally understandable facticity” is a “standard which is hostile to all human faith. It is a lack of empathy with the Jewish locus of that original Easter faith whose eyewitnesses and the first testifiers were without exception sons and daughters of Israel.”[34] It is rather strange that an orthodox Jewish scholar would be the champion of the historicity of the Resurrection while the former Catholic priest John Dominic Crossan writes of the body of Jesus being eaten by wild animals[35] and other theologians of Christian background speaking of the bones of Jesus still being in a tomb in the Holy Land.

Edward Schillebeeckx while not going as far as Crossan does follow Bultmann in not accepting the Resurrection experiences of Jesus to the Apostles as historical events. In his book “Jesus: An Experiment in Christology” he discusses firstly St Paul and his Damascus Road experience. He seeks to analyse, according to his own literary theory[36], this experience in the light of his wider discussion on “seeing Jesus Christologically”[37] He elevates his own literary theories and datings to the level of fact. Based on these new “facts”, Schillebeeckx sets out to demolish true faith in the historical element of Christ’s Resurrection and post-Resurrection appearances.[38]

Schillebeeckx does this by using theological jargon in order to mask his own loss of belief in the historical Messiah Jesus who rose physically from the dead. He writes to convince others that Christian faith and belief in the risen Christ is only an internal spiritual or mystical experience not historical happenings. He uses Paul’s experience of the Risen Christ to prove his point about the Resurrection experiences of the Apostles and other early Christians. He states:
“This was again the sole essence of all other Christ manifestations, which has been filled out either with the theology of the communities represented by Matthew, Luke and John or with the concrete career of the apostle Paul himself.”[39]

This non-historical approach turns Christian faith into just another form of Gnostic or mystery religion mysticism. The subjective inner experience is now placed on a level with the subjective inner experiences of all other beliefs. Christianity is transformed into a cut and paste religion that creates a mythic story about a resurrected messiah over a few generations. The Resurrection and the Resurrection encounters of the first Christians now has merely become another story with mythic resonance similar to the mythologies of the Ennead of Egypt, the Greek gods of Olympus and Norse gods of Valhalla.

Schillebeeckx uses the same process, based on the literary analysis he has used with Paul, to destroy faith in the historical events of the formation of the church and its teachings on the Resurrected Christ. He writes:
“The next question is whether the tradition of the appearance of Christ to Simon and the Eleven did not undergo in the course of the first few Christian generations the same sort    of development, growth and structuring that we detect in the Acts in a comparison between Acts 9, Acts 22 and 26.”[40]

This attacks the very basis of the faith of the Catholic Church as the deposit of apostolic teaching passed on faithfully by the Bishops and Fathers of the church.  This puts the Catholic and Christian faith on a par with other religions based on inner experiences that have no true or historical validity. These ideas are the most pernicious to faith as they masquerade in Catholic theological terminology and thus lead many souls astray from belief in a Creator God who is not the mere product of man’s own imagination. This form of theologising will only lead to loss of faith and belief in orthodox teachings and the embracing of Modernism and its associated errors.

Unfortunately certain segments of the priesthood (and theologians) today has been infected by this naturalistic approach to the life, death and resurrection of Jesus, just as certain segments of the Second Temple priesthood and scribes were infected by the Greek naturalistic approach of the Sadducees who likewise denied the miraculous and the Resurrection of the dead.[41] When faith in the historicity of the Resurrection of Christ is denied then Christ as the Lord of History is also denied. Christian faith then becomes a mere private, subjective and gnostic devotion cut off from its historical roots in the religious experience and encounter with the Divine by the Jewish people. While not discussed here in any detail a fuller understanding of the death and Resurrection of Jesus also needs to be understood through the prism of the Last Supper (and its continuance in the Eucharistic liturgy).

In order to safeguard the truth and meaning of one’s personal, mystical and subjective encounter of the Resurrected Christ then the historicity of the life, death and Resurrection of Jesus must be upheld and that of the first Resurrection experiences of the disciples of Jesus recorded in the New Testament. One can only ascend safely to the spiritual, moral and mystical meanings of the death and resurrection of Jesus when it is rooted in historical reality.   This historical reality of the Resurrection occurs in the context of Jewish belief and culture and cannot be fully understood in its richness without a constant return to its Jewish sources. Lapide writes: 
“Without the Sinai experience –no Judaism; without the Easter experience- no Christianity. Both were Jewish faith experiences whose radiating power, in a different way, was meant for the world of nations. For inscrutable reasons the resurrection faith of Golgotha was necessary to carry the message of Sinai into the world.”[42]

[1] Catechism of the Catholic Church 639.
[2] Gary R Habemas, “The Late Twenthieth-Century Resurgence of Naturalistic Responses to Jesus Resurrection” Trinity Journal 2001179-196.
[3]Rabbi Harvey Falk, Jesus the Pharisee; A New Look at the Jewishness of Jesus, New York ; Paulist Press,1985.
[4] Divino Afflante Spiritu 24.
[5] Divino Afflante Spiritu 1.
[6] Bishop John A T Robinson, Redating the New Testament, Philedelphia: Westminister Press,1976.
[7] ibid
[8] Gary R Habemas, “The Late Twenthieth-Century Resurgence of Naturalistic Responses to Jesus Resurrection”, 179-196.
[9] Pinchas Lapide, The Resurrection of Jesus: A Jewish Perspective (USA; Augsburg Fortress Publishing House, 1982), 126.
[10] Ibid.
[11] Raphael Patai, The Messiah Texts: Jewish Legends of Three Thousand Years (USA: Wayne State University Press, 1979) 165-170.
[12] Sanhedrin 89b
[13] Pinchas Lapide, The Resurrection of Jesus: A Jewish Perspective, 19.
[14] Ethan Bronner, “Ancient Tablets Ignites Debate on Messiah and Resurrection” New York Times July 6 2008.
[15] Israel Knohl, The Messiah Before Jesus: The Suffering Servant of the Dead Sea Scrolls, University of California Press: USA, 2002.
[16] op. cit. Ethan Bronner, “Ancient Tablets Ignites Debate on Messiah and Resurrection”.
[17] Ibid.
[18] Romans 11.
[19] Samuel Heilman & Menachem Friedman, The Rebbe: The Life and Afterlife of Menachem Mendel Schneerson, (New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 2010), 29-64.
[20] Pinchas Lapide, The Resurrection of Jesus: A Jewish Perspective, 91-2.
[21] In fact one Jewish tradition teaches that Abraham actually killed Isaac and the Angel only stopped him from burning the body and Isaac was then resurrected. The Hebrew text can be read either way. A humorous legend of the Jews, states that Abraham also cut Isaac’s body up and when God resurrected him his head was on the wrong way. The shock of his mother Sarah seeing her son ride home with his head on backward led to her early death.
[22] Pinchas Lapide, The Resurrection of Jesus: A Jewish Perspective, 91.
[23] Professor Andrei Orlov, The Enoch-Metatron Tradition: Texts and Studies in Ancient Judaism, (Tuebingen: Mohr-Siebeck, 2005), 383.
[24] Raphael Patai, The Messiah Texts: Jewish Legends of Three Thousand Years, 165-170.
[25] Pinchas Lapide, The Resurrection of Jesus: A Jewish Perspective, 92.
[26] Some writers believe that this Higher Critical theology destroyed the Biblical faith of the German people which led to their being open to the Nazi propaganda. See Roy Schoeman, Salvation is from the Jews: the Role of Judaism in Salvation History from Abraham until the Second Coming, USA: Ignatius Press, 2003.
[27] Edward Schillebeeckx, Jesus: An Experiment in Christology (London: Collins, 1979), 378-379.
[28] Even Pinchas Lapide along with many other Christian and Catholic theologians who do defend the historicity of the Death and Resurrection of Jesus have been influenced by these modernist literary theories. They are a product of their times and the schools they attended. It is very important to affirm a study of the use of the literary genres of the culture and time as this creates a great antidote to the fabricated literary theories of modernist theologians and philosophers.
[29] See John Dominic Crossan, Jesus: A Revolutionary Biography Harper: San Francisco, 1994.
[30] Pinchas Lapide, The Resurrection of Jesus: A Jewish Perspective, 33.
[31] Pinchas Lapide, The Resurrection of Jesus: A Jewish Perspective, 13.
[32] ibid.
[33] Pinchas Lapide, The Resurrection of Jesus: A Jewish Perspective, 14.
[34] Pinchas Lapide, The Resurrection of Jesus: A Jewish Perspective, 42-3.
[35] John Dominic Crossan, Jesus: A Revolutionary Biography, 160.
[36] Edward Schillebeeckx, Jesus: An Experiment in Christology, 364-367.
[37] ibid, 378-379.
[38] ibid.
[39] ibid, 378.
[40] ibid, 379.
[41] Rabbi Harvey Falk, Jesus the Pharisee; A New Look at the Jewishness of Jesus.
[42]  Pope Benedict XVI wrote: "The Last Supper sees itself as a prolongation of the Sinai Covenant, which is not abrogated, but renewed" 

Ethan Bronner, “Ancient Tablets Ignites Debate on Messiah and Resurrection” New York Times July 6 2008.
Crossan, John Dominic. Jesus: A Revolutionary Biography Harper: San Francisco, 1994.
Falk, Harvey (Rabbi). Jesus the Pharisee; A New Look at the Jewishness of Jesus, New York ; Paulist Press, 1985.
Habemas, Gary R. “The Late Twenthieth-Century Resurgence of Naturalistic Responses to Jesus Resurrection” Trinity Journal 2001, 179-196.
Heilman, Samuel & Friedman, Menachem. The Rebbe: The Life and Afterlife of Menachem Mendel Schneerson, New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 2010.
Knohl, Israel. The Messiah Before Jesus: The Suffering Servant of the Dead Sea Scrolls, University of California Press: USA, 2002.
Lapide, Pinchas. The Resurrection of Jesus: A Jewish Perspective, USA; Augsburg Fortress Publishing House, 1982.
Orlov, Andrei. The Enoch-Metatron Tradition: Texts and Studies in Ancient Judaism, Tuebingen: Mohr-Siebeck, 2005.
Patai, Raphael. The Messiah Texts: Jewish Legends of Three Thousand Years, USA: Wayne State University Press, 1979.
Robinson, John A T (Bishop). Redating the New Testament, Philedelphia: Westminister Press, 1976.
Schillebeeckx, Edward. Jesus: An Experiment in Christology (London: Collins, 1979).
Schoeman, Roy.  Salvation is from the Jews: the Role of Judaism in Salvation History from Abraham until the Second Coming, USA: Ignatius Press, 2003.