In this podcast, following from Part 1: Rabbi Hillel and Shammai; the Eighteen Measures, we look at Rabban Gamaliel and the profound impact he had on the Apostle Paul’s theology, teaching, and ministry–and even his knowledge of Greek language, philosophy, and culture. After that, the podcast finishes off with contrasting elements of Yeshua’s teaching and emphases with the other rabbis of His time.
As I’ve worked on this study, it’s struck me how often we insist on operating in extremes. For centuries, the attitude of Christianity towards the rabbis has been entirely negative, even to the point of attacking them where they’ve essentially agreed with Yeshua; e.g., unfavorably comparing R. Hillel’s, “Whatever is hateful to yourself, don’t do that to your neighbor” with the Golden Rule without even considering the context or those to whom the rules were addressed. Or for that matter, without noting that Paul essentially gave the same formulation as R. Hillel in Romans 13:10: “Love doesn’t harm a neighbor. Love therefore is the fulfillment of the law.”
On the other hand, there is a real tendency in some elements of the Messianic movement to idolize the rabbis and to try to rework every contentious contact with Yeshua into something that it isn’t. Yes, some of the Pharisees accused Yeshua of Satanism. Yes, some really were involved in the deliberations on how to get rid of Him. Yes, some really were trying to kill Him. We cannot whitewash that.
However, the emphasis in all of these statements is on the “some.” By recognizing the division in the sect of the P’rushim, and by recognizing that many of them were not only supporters, but followers of the Messiah–indeed, they were a major faction of the Nazarene movement (Acts 15:6)–we can be fair to the progenitors of traditional Judaism without distorting the New Covenant Scriptures. We can also remember that Jews today are no more united than we were 2000 years ago and regard each group and each individual according to their own merits.
Hopefully, you will enjoy these podcasts and find that they give you some new perspective on the Gospel accounts.
- Jesus and The Tradition of the Elders – Beresford Job (livingjourney.wordpress.com)
- Taking the Kingdom by Force Dinner Reception: (shalomministries77.wordpress.com)