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#1 Rick Yentzer

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Posted 02 December 2013 - 09:41 PM

As I'm reading through the Bible I would like to get a better understanding of the text from a Jewish perspective. I recently had the opportunity to hear a Messianic Jew teach on the scriptures and I was captivated by his knowledge of the nuances of the original languages, the words, and how a Jew would interpret and understand them.

 

So, I would like to know what text might you recommend?

 

Thanks.


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#2 Abram K-J

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Posted 02 December 2013 - 10:38 PM

I'm just starting to use the Torah Modern Commentary. I haven't used it much yet, but like what I've seen so far. The JPS Torah Commentary is also good, and on sale a few more days, as are a bunch of other similar resources. The Jewish Study Bible is not bad, but also not terribly in-depth at some of the points that I would like it to be.

 

There's also some good rabbinic stuff in Accordance that would help you get a handle on how the Hebrew Bible was interpreted in the centuries after it was completed.


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#3 Helen Brown

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Posted 03 December 2013 - 07:20 AM

For the entire Old Testament the Keil and Delitzsch commentary delves into the Hebrew text more than most.

 

For the Jewish perspective, the just released Jewish Annotated New Testament is excellent. The Messianic Jewish New Testament Commentary also provides a lot of Jewish background.


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#4 Rick Yentzer

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Posted 03 December 2013 - 04:48 PM

Thanks for the help! I purchased the Jewish Annotated NT.

 

There's also some good rabbinic stuff in Accordance that would help you get a handle on how the Hebrew Bible was interpreted in the centuries after it was completed."

 

 

Abram, Can you elaborate on this a bit? I'm interested to know of other sources I may already have.

 

Thanks.


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#5 Abram K-J

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Posted 03 December 2013 - 08:58 PM

There is the Mishnah, on which Accordance has posted a nice article here. This might be farther along than you want to be at the moment, but it's worth checking out. Some of the other rabbinic materials in Accordance are noted here.


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#6 Rick Yentzer

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Posted 03 December 2013 - 09:00 PM

Perfect. Thanks for the links.


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#7 Matthew Burgess

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Posted 04 December 2013 - 07:19 PM

If you don't have much experience with rabbinic literature, I'm not sure I would recommend diving into texts such as the Mishnah, Bavli (Babylonian Talmud), or Yerushalmi (Jerusalem Talmud) without some preliminary study.  The formatting, style, and exegesis are different than most early Christian texts.  However, the Eerdmans Dictionary of Early Judaism includes a number of introductory essays, as well as entries on all the key terms.  (I don't own the Accordance module, but I do own the print version, and I've been very pleased with it.)

 

In terms of print resources, the standard introduction to rabbinic literature is Strack and Stemberger's Introduction to the Talmud and Midrash (which was last revised in 1996).  If you're interested in early Jewish interpretations of the biblical text, the works of James Kugel (e.g., The Bible as It Was) or Louis Ginzberg (e.g., The Legends of the Jews, a version of which is now in the public domain and widely available on the web) are a good place to start.

 

Overall, once you have a better feel for the historical and literary context of rabbinic literature, I think it's a much more rewarding read.


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#8 Matthew Burgess

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Posted 06 December 2013 - 11:34 PM

One more great rabbinic resource that's freely available online: an online edition of Rashi's commentary on the Hebrew Bible may be viewed here.


Edited by Matthew Burgess, 07 December 2013 - 04:33 PM.


#9 Abram K-J

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Posted 10 October 2014 - 12:50 PM

I wanted to double back here and say how much I've thoroughly enjoyed reading the Torah Modern Commentary as I'm preaching through Genesis this fall. It's really good! If you're on the fence and have the money, you should get it.

 

It even comes with an English translation (looks like the Hebrew text mentioned on the product page is still forthcoming, but if you have another Hebrew text already, you can use that).

 

Between introductions, verse-by-verse Commentary, Essays, and Gleanings (insights from rabbinic commentaries and modern-day interpreters), there's a wealth of useful information here.

 

Highly recommended.


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#10 Dan Francis

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Posted 10 October 2014 - 11:56 PM

I wanted to double back here and say how much I've thoroughly enjoyed reading the Torah Modern Commentary as I'm preaching through Genesis this fall. It's really good! If you're on the fence and have the money, you should get it.…Highly recommended.

 

I love it as well... I have it and also the 5 volume JPS and find myself more often than not TMC provides me more insight to me than the 5 volume JPS (not calling them bad, just not as often having the comments that spark my soul). I have used the TMC for years having the previous edition in Hard Cover. Any Christian or Jew should consider purchasing this gem, it is insightful and the gleanings are wonderful.

 

I offer you one set of gleanings to see the superb sauce it adds to it's fine commentary:

 

LIVING IN EDEN (2:4–24)

 
The Sumerian Paradise
[The Sumerian epic Enki and Ninhursag is considerably older than Enuma Elish. Note also the lion, wolf, lamb, and kid living peacefully in Dilmun. Well over a millennium later, Isaiah used these images in his prophecy of the end of time (11:6).]
 
The land Dilmun is clean, the land Dilmun is most
bright.
In Dilmun the raven utters no cries,
The ittidu-bird utters not the cry of the ittidu-bird,
The lion kills not,
The wolf snatches not the lamb,
Unknown is the kid-devouring wild dog,
Unknown is the grain-devouring…
The dove droops not the head,
The sick-eyed says not “I am sick-eyed,”
The sick-headed says not “I am sick-headed,”
The old man says not “I am an old man.”
FROM ENKI AND NINHURSAG [99]
 
Dust From the Soil (2:7)
God took dust from the four corners of the earth so that humans might be at home everywhere.
RASHI [100]
 
According to Islamic legend, the dust used was red, white, and black—hence the skin colors of humankind. “At home” is represented by the possibility of finding a suitable permanent home, that is, a grave. Every person can rest peacefully anywhere on earth.
 
Solitude
In the process of naming the animals, Adam realizes that he needs a helpmate (2:20). How are the two related? He discovers his solitude when he begins to give names, that is, to use words, and cannot say “human” to any other creature.
 
The Creation of Woman
God created woman while Adam slept so as to prevent him from observing the divine power. The deepest mysteries of divine creativity are withheld from human gaze.
BENNO JACOB [101]
 
Undivided
Man and woman were originally undivided, that is, the first human was created with the characteristics of both sexes, a hermaphrodite.
MIDRASH [102]
 
The Original Adam
From our biblical text grew a considerable body of ancient stories about the “Original Adam,” Adam Harishon or Adam Kadmon (or Kadmoni) as he was called. He was thought to have preceded the biblical Adam and to have been a perfect person who would return to the world at the time of redemption. [103]
 
The Two Adams
[According to Philo, in Sandmel’s words, “the original Adam (of Gen. 1:27) was a heavenly creation and unmixed with material things. He is the rational, preexistent soul. This soul becomes mixed with clay from the earth when God ‘fashions’ the earthy Adam of Gen. 2:7. There is joined to him Eve, sense-perception; but the serpent, pleasure, intrudes to divert man from lofty obligations into harmful ones. Man (mind) thereupon is quite different in his individual earthy state from what pure, generic mind was [p. 46] before it became mixed with body (in birth), and the mind intent on salvation must therefore free itself of the encumbrance of the body so as to regain its pristine immaterial purity.”]
The Adam of Genesis 1 was the idea of a human, and this idea never appeared on earth; it was the Adam of Genesis 2, fashioned out of material dust and immaterial spirit, who was the ancestor of the race. Fashioned of antithetical materials, Adam lived as all humans live, under the tension in which the material aspect of him tugged in one direction, the immaterial aspect in the opposite.
PHILO [104]
 
Genesis 1 and 2
Maybe the Torah intended both units, seemingly contradictory, to be placed together to teach us about the tension between biological equality and societal, cultural expectations and limitations based on gender. The first creation narrative certainly suggests both the dual nature of all human beings and the integrated oneness of all human beings.
If we analyze the two variants through the generalized lens with which men and women look at the world, the first story is women’s: one of existential relationship and connection of the interweaving of self and other. The rib story is mens: one of separation and detachment overcome through sexual union
The rib story brings us an explanation of gender, of why men and women are different and play different roles in society. It justifies the hierarchy our ancestors were beginning to experience.
ELYSE GOLDSTEIN [105]
 
Mercy and Justice
[In Jewish tradition, when God is called “Elohim” the divine quality of justice is emphasized, while “YHVH” (Adonai) stresses the quality of mercy.]
The quality of mercy is not strain’d,
It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven
Upon the place beneath: it is twice bless’d;
It blesseth him that gives and him that takes:
 
‘Tis mightiest in the mightiest; it becomes
The throned monarch better than his crown;
His sceptre shows the force of temporal power,
The attribute to awe and majesty,
Wherein doth sit the dread and fear of kings;
But mercy is above this sceptred sway,
It is enthroned in the hearts of kings,
It is an attribute to God himself,
And earthly power doth then show likest God’s
When mercy seasons justice.
WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE [106]
 
Blessing and Curse
At the end of the first creation story stands a double blessing—of the first human and the first Shabbat; at the end of the second creation story stands a double curse—on the first Adam and the earth. Between both stands Sin. The natural human is established by a blessing, the historical human by a curse. Both together form our dual nature and our dual fate.
MARTIN BUBER [107]
 
Man and Woman (2:23)
In contrast to Enkidu in the Gilgamesh Epic, the lone human in Genesis rejected the animals, the animals did not reject the human. No woman came to seduce Adam from his wild beasts. Indeed, woman was created after the man rejected the animals and still yearned for a friend. Enkidu enjoyed the harlot, learned from her, but not even considered her as a companion. Rejected by the animals, Enkidu yearned for a friend, a man like himself. In startling contrast, Adam immediately and enthusiastically recognized the woman as his companion.
ADRIEN J. BLEDSTEIN [108]
 
Man has no part in making woman. He exercises no control over her existence: He is neither participant nor spectator nor consultant at her birth. Like man, woman owes her life solely to God. To claim that the rib means inferiority or subordination is to assign the man qualities over the woman that are not in the narrative itself. Superiority, strength, aggressiveness, dominance, and power do not characterize man in Genesis 2. By contrast he is formed from dirt; his life hangs by a breath that he does not control; and he himself remains silent and passive while the Deity plans and interprets his existence.
PHYLLIS TRIBLE [109]
 
Good and Evil
When God created us, we were created with two impulses, the yetzer ha-tov and the yetzer ha-ra, both the good and evil inclinations (‏יצֶר‎).
[This is derived from the spelling of ‏וַיִּיצֶר‎ (“fashioned” in 2:7), with a double ‏י‎ instead of one; hence, each ‏י‎ was taken to stand for one ‏יֵצֶר.]
TALMUD [110]
 
When God had created humans, creation was called tov m’od, very good. Now, tov stands for the inclination toward good, and m’od for the opposite. But can the evil impulse be at all considered good? Yes, for were it not for this impulse no man would build a house, take a wife, or beget children
 MIDRASH [111]
 
 
W. Gunther Plaut and David E. Stein, eds. The Torah: A Modern Commentary. Revised; Accordance electronic ed. (New York: Union for Reform Judaism, 2006), 45-46.
 
-Dan


#11 ukfraser

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Posted 11 October 2014 - 04:22 AM

Totally agree about the TMC, but currently only Abram has posted a review. A challenge to be proactive in the store????? ;o)
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#12 Abram K-J

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Posted 11 October 2014 - 12:47 PM

Maybe Helen could confirm whether short reviews are better than no reviews, but I find that one thing that keeps me from writing product reviews in general is feeling a need to be thorough or comprehensive--but that might be better done on my own site, with short and sweet being better for an Accordance review on the product page anyway.


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#13 Dan Francis

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Posted 11 October 2014 - 03:35 PM

For me it is occasionally it is i own the resource elsewhere, and I believe Accordance wants reviews only if you own the Accordance Module. I could easily write a glowing paragraph on Barclay or NT for Everyone, but accordance is not where I have them. It is not that I would not have acquired them in Acc. had they been available or had I thought they were coming soon, but I got them where I could find them affordably as soon as possible. I will try to write a good review for TMC because it is a great resource. 

 

-Dan



#14 Helen Brown

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Posted 11 October 2014 - 06:05 PM

We appreciate any reviews of the material as long as you are familiar with it, you don't have to own it in Accordance. Short reviews are welcome as long as they are meaningful. The goal is to help another user decide whether this would be a worthwhile purchase for him.


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#15 Abram K-J

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Posted 11 October 2014 - 06:28 PM

... or her. :)


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#16 Dan Francis

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Posted 11 October 2014 - 09:36 PM

I have placed reviews not only on TMC but also on Barclay's and Wright's I am not 100% sure they will be useful but I tried to give my 2 cents on the resources without simply restating the info we are already provided in Accordance's description. I am not a pastor or academic, just a religious hermit (more truth than joke)  <_< But I do also know that people can accept any review with a grain of salt. 

 

-Dan



#17 bkMitchell

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Posted 14 October 2014 - 02:31 AM

...It even comes with an English translation...

Thanks for mentioning this point Abram!

 

I got the Accordance version of the Torah: A modern commentary as soon as it was released, however, until very recently I had no idea it had come with it's own original English translation of the Torah(Pentateuch). Although, I felt silly, It was a terrific surprise when I finally discovered it in my library. :)


Edited by bkMitchell, 14 October 2014 - 02:32 AM.

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חַפְּשׂוּ בַּתּוֹרָה הֵיטֵב וְאַל תִּסְתַּמְּכוּ עַל דְּבָרַי

 

 


#18 Gordon

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Posted 14 October 2014 - 05:16 AM

Besides the running commentary on the Biblical text and introductions to each of the books in the Tanakh,

The Jewish Study Bible has some excellent in-depth, insightful and scholarly essays at the end of the module:

 

Jewish Interpretation of the Bible: 7 essays

The Bible in Jewish LIfe and Thought: 8 essays

Backgrounds for Reading the Bible: 9 essays


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‏ כִּ֤י לֶ֣קַח ט֭וֹב נָתַ֣תִּי לָכֶ֑ם תּֽ֝וֹרָתִ֗י אַֽל־תַּעֲזֹֽבוּ׃


#19 bkMitchell

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Posted 16 October 2014 - 09:37 AM

Gordon made some great points about the Jewish Study Bible!

To illustrate those here's the table of contents with titles of essays mentioned above:

Attached File  Jewish Study Bible Table.png   332.15KB   0 downloads


Edited by bkMitchell, 16 October 2014 - 09:39 AM.

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חַפְּשׂוּ בַּתּוֹרָה הֵיטֵב וְאַל תִּסְתַּמְּכוּ עַל דְּבָרַי

 

 


#20 Dan Francis

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Posted 16 October 2014 - 12:02 PM

Since Gordon and BKM brought up the essays I thought I would mention the essays in the THE JEWISH 

ANNOTATED NEW TESTAMENT.... Here is the screen shot of them.
 
Attached File  Screen Shot 2014-10-16 at 11.00.28 AM.png   442.42KB   0 downloads





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