Posts tagged ‘josephus’

April 7th, 2012

Outlining the Historicity of the Resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth

by Max Andrews

Historicity of the Resurrection and Jesus[1]

1. The Five Facts

  • Jesus’ Death by Crucifixion
  • Disciples’ Beliefs that Jesus Appeared
  • Conversion of the Church Persecutor Paul
  • Conversion of Skeptic James
  • Empty Tomb

2. Jesus died due to crucifixion

  • Josephus
  • Tacitus
  • Lucian
  • Mara Bar-Serapion
  • Talmud

3. Jesus’ disciples sincerely believed Jesus rose from the dead and appeared to them

  • They claimed it
  • Paul
  • Oral tradition
  • Creeds (i.e. 1 Cor. 15.3-7)
  • Sermon summaries (i.e. Acts 2
  • Written tradition
    • Gospels
    • Matthew
    • Mark
    • Luke-Acts
    • John
  • Apostolic Fathers
  • February 4th, 2012

    The Historical Context for Pilate’s Release of Barabbas

    by Max Andrews

    Matthew 27.15-23

    Now at the feast the governor was accustomed to release for the people any one prisoner whom they wanted.  16At that time they were holding a notorious prisoner, called Barabbas.  17So when the people gathered together, Pilate said to them, “Whom do you want me to release for you? Barabbas, or Jesus who is called Christ?”  18For he knew that because of envy they had handed Him over.  19While he was sitting on the judgment seat, his wife sent him a message, saying, “Have nothing to do with that righteous Man; for last night I suffered greatly in a dream because of Him.”  20But the chief priests and the elders persuaded the crowds to ask for Barabbas and to put Jesus to death.  21But the governor said to them, “Which of the two do you want me to release for you?” And they said, “Barabbas.”  22Pilate said to them, “Then what shall I do with Jesus who is called Christ?” They all said, “Crucify Him!”  23And he said, “Why, what evil has He done?” But they kept shouting all the more, saying, “Crucify Him!”

    The Matthean passage is Pilate’s offer to exchange Barabbas for Jesus.  This historical background information given for this passage of Scripture was extremely helpful in understanding the context of the situation.  Though, admittedly, there are no extrabiblical references to a release of prisoners at a festival time, there is an account of a release of prisoners.

    August 7th, 2011

    “Let the Dead to Bury Their Dead,” Jesus Claims to be God

    by Max Andrews

    Luke 9.57-62

     As they were going along the road, someone said to Him, “I will follow You wherever You go.”  58And Jesus said to him, “The foxes have holes and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.”  59And He said to another, “Follow Me.” But he said, “Lord, permit me first to go and bury my father.”  60But He said to him, “Allow the dead to bury their own dead; but as for you, go and proclaim everywhere the kingdom of God.”  61Another also said, “I will follow You, Lord; but first permit me to say good-bye to those at home.”  62But Jesus said to him, “No one, after putting his hand to the plow and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.”

    The passage in Luke is in reference to a problem passage where Jesus describes the costs to being His disciple by claiming that you must put Him at priority above all else.  In a culture completely different from first century Judaism, the words spoken by Jesus are incredibly problematic and make Jesus seem to be unsympathetic to a man in grief. The historical context to Jesus’ words serve to eliminate the problem of sympathy and goes to show that His words carry much further to a deeper and more profound meaning.

    The key historical context that is needed is to understand is the Jewish thought and priority to the parents.  Parents were to always be shown favor.  In light of parents being due honor in the Ten Commandments, it was esteemed with more honor than many other commandments (Letter of Aristeas 228). Tobit [4.3-4; 6.14-5] gives further historical background on the priority and respect given to parents in the context of the death of a parent.

    Josephus elaborated on the view of funerals and the dead from a [Jewish] legal perspective according to the law [Against Apion 2.27-28 §§205-206].  The death of anyone was an event that was highly respected.  During the funeral procession, anyone who passes by was to join with those who are mourning and lament.  Josephus adds that the death of a parent is honored immediately after God Himself and if anyone does not honor this law then that person is to be stoned.

    The historical facts that make these words of Jesus so incredibly profound are that it involved the death of someone and the death was of the man’s father.  The question that immediately arises is whether or not Jesus broke the law by telling the man to follow Him.  The answer would simply be “no,” He did not break the law.  Jesus completely overrode that priority given to parents and in doing so actually made a claim of divinity.  Notice that Josephus pointed out that parents were a priority immediately after God Himself.  In Jesus saying that He had priority over the death of this man’s father was a claim, which would be understood to those who knew the law, that He was God.  Jesus [as God] has immediate priority over everything.

    July 17th, 2011

    Equipping Christians: Must Read Biblical Studies Books

    by Max Andrews

    I’ve provided a list of recommended books that will hopefully aid you in having a foundational Christian worldview by being knowledgeable in many fields.  Today I’ve provided a list of my top ten recommended biblical studies books.

    10.  Bible Commentaries:  Commentaries will aid you in gathering critical background information for your text as well as assisting you in contextualizing the material.  Don’t become to reliant on commentaries for your exegesis, they should be used as a catalyst for deeper inquiry and to help you keep your contextual flow.  (For NT Exegesis I recommend the Exegetical Commentary of the New Testament series and for the OT I recommend Word Biblical Commentary.  I have found these two series to be quite beneficial, though there are several other excellent commentaries as well.)

    9.  Lexical Aids:  Lexicons will aid you in handling biblical languages in more adept ways then commentaries.  I was never a student of Greek or Hebrew (I’m a student of German) but I found that lexical aids helped me understand tenses, conjugations, moods, and other grammatical features of the text.

    8.  Diagrammatical Analysis by Lee Kanttenwein:  I admit, diagrammatical analysis is my least favorite component of exegesis but it is critical to a fundamental understanding of the text.  Getting down the grammar in absolutely critical for sound exegesis and will affect it more than you think.  It’s not much fun but it’s very important.

    7.  Word and Works of Jesus by J. Dwight Pentecost:  Words and Works of Jesus give a complete comparison of the Gospels’ references to Jesus words and works.  You’ll be able to view side my side accounts, which is easy for noting comparisons, differences, and thematic elements/development when working through the Gospels.

    6.  An Introduction to Early Judaism by James VanderKam:  This is an excellent book to aid you in understanding background information for Judaism.  This will help primarily with intertestamental studies and New Testament backgrounds.

    5.  The Greco-Roman World of the New Testament Era:  Exploring the Background of Early Christianity by James Jeffers:  This book is incredibly beneficial for your New Testament backgrounds studies.  This will aid in placing your exegesis in its historical, social, and political contexts.  This book is a must for New Testament research.

    4.  Reinventing Jesus by Ed Komoszewski et. al:  Reinventing Jesus is not only excellent in helping you understand the authorial intent of the Gospel writers but it also aids in apologetics.  It touches on types of literary, textual, and form criticisms and serves to aid in developing a sound model of historical reliability for the Gospels.

    3.  Jesus in Context by Farrell Bock and Gregory Herrick:  I have found this book to be one of the most valuable works on historical background information when it comes to studying the Gospels and Jesus.  This will provide historical background on passages and how it relates to what other historians have said.  It will list a passage for you and then give you relevant historical data as provided by Babylonian texts, the Talmud, Josephus, and other historical figures and documents.

    2.  Grasping God’s Word:  A Hands-On Approach to Reading, Interpreting, and Applying the Bible by J. Scott Duvall and J. Daniel Hays:  This book will teach you all the necessary steps and components for a sound biblical exegesis.  You will learn what steps are taken in exegesis and when those steps should be completed.  This also helps break down the different methods and requirements needed to exegete different biblical genres.  This is an absolute must for biblical studies students.

    1.  Exegetical Fallacies by D.A. Carson:  If you don’t have this book you need to click the link and buy it right now.  This book will teach you the boundaries in your exegesis.  This is not an introductory book for exegesis, you’re already expected to know hermeneutics, this will teach you to fine-tune your hermeneutic and caution you of the so-many fallacies that are often committed.