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Jesus as Rabbi

How was it that Jesus Christ could enter a new town and teach in the synagogue? Jesus as Rabbi term papers explain that in Jesus’ time, a synagogue was not a temple. In the ancient world, a temple was a place where people worshipped God by sacrificing animals; whereas synagogue buildings functioned in part as town halls.

A Jesus as Rabbi term paper refers to Jesus as both prophet and rabbi in the following ways:Jesus as Rabbi

  1. Foretelling of the coming of the Kingdom of God
  2. Proclaiming divine law
  3. Teaching in synagogues
  4. Gathering disciples and debating with other scribes in the manner of their profession and under the same authority of scripture 

Typically, a rabbi would teach in a synagogue with his pupils around him. He discussed with opponents or enquirers of matters pertaining to the Law. To the question, ‘Which is the chief commandment?’ for instance, Jesus answered in good rabbinic fashion—to love God and to love one’s neighbor.  “Certainly, Jesus comes before us in the Gospels as both herald of the kingdom of God and ethical teacher in the rabbinic mold”  (Matt 6:25-26; Matt. 7:1-2; Matt10: 20-30;Luke 17-7-10; Matt 7:24-27).  “Jesus was undoubtedly addressed as Rabbi (Rabbouni) and maran(a), the honorific titles accorded to a Jewish teacher of the law,” writes a Jesus as Rabbi term paper.  But in Judaism the relationship between teacher and disciple was temporary. After “graduation” the disciple set up on his own…with the relation between Jesus and his disciples the situation becomes very different.

But in post-Davidic times the figure of the Messiah did take on some almost superhuman, but not divine, attributes. The word acquired the following set of meanings. It was thought to refer to a descendent of David who would establish a kind of peaceable kingdom on earth. Later on this notion became expanded to include the idea of a cosmic redeemer against an eschatological background corresponding to such a status. Fishbane has stated that, “The messianic age was believed by some Jews to be a time of perfection of human institutions; others believed it to be a time of radical new beginnings, a new heaven and earth, after divine judgment and destruction”. Fishbane, however, also goes on to note that the “days of messiah” might have referred not to an individual being expected to rule at such a time, but to the time itself. Thus “an anointed (sanctified) time, rather than “an anointed” one.

The most theologically radical form of the idea of the “Messiah” that can be derived from the connotations Fishbane mentions, radical in the sense of indicating that the Messiah is imagined to be a figure associated with the end-time, that the Messiah is some form of personage, that the Messiah inaugurates a state of affairs on earth that is vastly more benign than the state of affairs that prevailed in Old Testament times or has prevailed since. None of this would indicate that the personage was divine in the sense of being either a member of a three person trinity or the Son of God; Jesus claim in this regard outstrips anything in the Old Testament. Perhaps more importantly, despite the attempts to claim a parallelism between Old Testament prophecy between the career of Jesus and what was foretold for the Messiah, those parallelisms are not really there in terms of how human history on earth played out. That is to say that Jesus’ coming was not followed by a kind of millenarian paradise. Rather, the earth we have had since he came and went is not greatly different from what it was before his ministry.

Let us look at the claim to divinity. The Christian authors of the New Testament took great pains to “anchor” the story of Christ in the Old Testament. For example, Matthew 1:1-17 is an elaborate genealogy tracing Christ-Messiah back to David, and Matthew 1:23 harks back to Isaiah7:14 which is taken as indicating: 1] a virgin birth for the redeemer; and 2], through the use of the name “Immanuel”—which means in Hebrew “God with us”—a supposed establishment of the Christ-Messiah’s divinity and the notion that the Hebrews themselves believed that the Messiah would be divine. But none of this holds up under modern textual criticism. Sheppard points out that the Hebrew noun for “young woman” that is used in Isaiah 7:14 does not necessarily connote virginity and that the mention of a child named Immanuel may refer to an immediate political context not to something so profound as the coming of the Son of God. The fact is that the linkage between the prophecies found in the Old Testament and Christ’s ministry on earth have often been based upon mistaken understandings of what the Old Testament really said and/or on the kind of tortured exegesis that Christian scholars from the age of the Early Fathers on were very fond of, types of exegesis under which any desired meaning at all could be drawn out of scripture.

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