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The title Jerusalem School of Synoptic Research is a consortium of Jewish and Christian academics. The school occupies itself with the study of the Synoptic Gospels. According to its own claims it focuses on the historic, linguistic and cultural milieu of Jesus.[1] (See more under viewpoints.)

The beginnings of the collegial relationships that formed the Jerusalem School of Synoptic Research can be traced back to a Jewish scholar and a Christian scholar, respectively David Flusser and Robert L. Lindsey in the 1960s.[2] As of 2008 its membership includes: Leehee Aynav, Brian Becker, David Bivin, Randall Buth, Akiva Cohen, Weston Fields, Joseph Frankovic, Yair Furstenberg, Brian Kvasnica, R. Steven Notley, Dwight Pryor, Halvor Ronning, Mirja Ronning, Serge Ruzer, Marc Turnage, and Brad Young. Deceased members: David Flusser, Robert L. Lindsey, Shmuel Safrai, and Chana Safrai. [1]

Contents

Viewpoints

The consortium's own website states three assumptions, shared by its members, namely, "the importance of Hebrew language, the relevance of Jewish culture", and the Semitism underneath sections of the Synoptic Gospels that in turn yield results to the interconnection (of dependence) between the Synoptic Gospels.[3] The first two assumptions are perhaps not shared by the majority of New Testament scholars, but are neither considered to be fringe positions. For example, the common view is that Jesus and His milieu spoke Aramaic, however that Hebrew was spoken and even important is not unique to the Jerusalem School of Synoptic Research. [4] Many German scholars, especially Lutheran scholars, and New Testament Scholars worldwide have also acknowledged the importance of Jewish culture for the understanding of Jesus. It is especially the last assumption in more defined terms that invited a response of the academic community. Namely, the Jerusalem School of Synoptic Research is by some scholars perceived as a group that holds to Lukan Priority.[5]

Publications

Apart from individual publications of the school's members that reflect the school's assumptions and methodologies,[6] some members have bundled some of their efforts in a joint effort. This combined effort from members of the Jerusalem School of Synoptic Research resulted in the book, Jesus' Last Week: Jerusalem Studies in the Synoptic Gospels — Volume One, edited by R. Steven Notley, Marc Turnage, and Brian Becker.[7]

Reactions and criticism

A co-authored book Understanding the Difficult Words of Jesus [8] by David Bivin and Roy B. Blizzard Jr. catered towards the lay audience[9] was reviewed by Michael L. Brown. The book itself is not published by the Jerusalem School, but by individuals. Yet, Brown not only questioned the work of individual school member David Bivin and co-author Roy Blizzard Jr., but also the Jerusalem School of Synoptic Research as a whole:

In the event that JSSR devotes its primary efforts to: 1) the sober elucidation of texts which New Testament scholarship recognizes as difficult and obscure; 2) providing Jewish background to the Scriptures; 3) and shedding light on Semitic nuances of biblical words and phrases, then all of us can glean from their work. Should the Jerusalem School continue to devote itself primarily to the hypothetical work of retranslation and reconstruction, then their potential contribution to the ongoing ministry of the Word would be relegated to relative unimportance.[10]

The combined effort of Jerusalem School members in Jesus' Last Week, a work clearly catered toward the academic community[11] received a much more positive review by Nina L. Collins[12] in the journal Novum Testamentum. She closed her review by stating that:

This book is a product of the Jerusalem School of Synoptic Research, details of which can be found at http://www.js.org/index.htm. There is little doubt that, like the bird cage in Alexandria, this devoted beit knesset of properly equipped scholars has produced a perceptive set of essays, and it will be interesting to see the further insights that future volumes in this series will almost certainly produce.[13 ]

References

  1. ^ a b Jerusalem School of Synoptic Research. Retrieved 05 Nov. 2006. [1]
  2. ^ "A Tribute to Robert L. Lindsey, Ph. D. (1917-1995) and his work...:Excerpt from November 1996 Tree of Life Quarterly Membership Magazine", HaY'Did. Retrieved 05 Nov. 2006. [2]
  3. ^ "Methodology." Jerusalem School of Synoptic Research. Retrieved 26 Sep. 2009. [3]
  4. ^ As early as the beginning of the 20th century, we already have: Moses Hirsch Segal Mishnaic Hebrew and Its Relation to Biblical Hebrew and to Aramaic. A Grammatical Study ... Reprinted from the Jewish Quarterly Review for July Horace Hart: Oxford, 1909.
  5. ^ Among others: Delbert Royce Burkett, Rethinking the Gospel sources: from proto-Mark to Mark, T&T Clark: NY, 4. Beate Ego,Armin Lange,Peter Pilhofer, Gemeinde ohne Tempel /Community without Temple, Wissenschaftliche Untersuchungen zum Neuen Testament, Mohr Siebeck: Tubingen, 462n2
  6. ^ Cf. Brad Young, The parable as a literary genre in rabbinic literature and in the Gospels, Jerusalem : Hebrew University of Jerusalem, 1986.
  7. ^ Jesus' Last Week, edited by R. Steven Notley, Marc Turnage, and Brian Becker. Vol 1. Leiden: Brill, 2006.
  8. ^ David Bivin and Roy B. Blizzard Jr. Understanding the Difficult Words of Jesus, Shippensburg, PA: Destiny Image Publishers, 1994.
  9. ^ This book is evidently catered toward the lay audience, because of its style, incidental footnotes and type of publisher. It probably received nevertheless a review from Brown, because of its unique character and impact in its time of publication.
  10. ^ Michael L. Brown "The Issue of the Inspired Text: A Rejoinder to David Bivin" in Mishkan, Isso No. 20, 63.
  11. ^ This book is evidently catered toward the academic community, because of its style, abundance of footnotes and type of publisher. Also the review by Collins published in Nova Testamentum supports the academic nature.
  12. ^ Nina Collins is a British widely published scholar in the fields of Judaism and Christianity.
  13. ^ Collins, Nina L. "Review: R. Steven Notley, Marc Turnage, and Brian Becker, eds., Jesus' Last Week: Jerusalem Studies in the Synoptic Gospels - Volume One." NovT 49/4 (2007) 407-409.

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