The Mind Behind the Gospels: A Commentary to Matthew 1-14 (Reference Library of Jewish Intellectual History)

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9781934843338: The Mind Behind the Gospels: A Commentary to Matthew 1-14 (Reference Library of Jewish Intellectual History)

In this work, Herbert Basser uses a new translation of Matthew, graciously offered by Peter Zaas (with some minor revisions by David Malone and Herbert Basser), to give us a verse-by-verse commentary to the first half of the Gospel based on his study of Matthew through the lens of Jewish texts. These texts, skillfully interpreted by Basser, illuminate the powerful poetry and mystery behind much of Matthew s genius in reworking evangelists sources. These Jewish materials provide a creative, cultural way of thinking about what God expects from human beings infused with the words and images of Matthew. Basser demonstrates how Jewish idioms and artistry move the speeches, story, and figure of Jesus through various layers of Church tradition, from a Jewish preacher to a Gentile savior. Each chapter of commentary is preceded by a preliminary discussion, and the book is introduced by an accessible, scholarly preface and introduction discussing the methodological issues of the commentary as a whole. In many ways, this book deepens Basser s initial views of the New Testament in his Studies in Exegesis, (Leiden and Boston, E.J. Brill, 2000). The present book will appeal to a broad audience of knowledgeable readers of any or no faith. Basser is presently completing his annotations to the Epistle of James for The Jewish Annotated New Testament, to be published by Oxford University Press.

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About the Author:

Herbert Basser (Ph.D. University of Toronto) is Professor of Religious Studies at Queens University, Canada. He is an author of Pseudo-Rabad, 1998, and Studies in Exegesis: Christian Critiques of Jewish Law and Rabbinic Responses 70-300 CE., 2000.

Review:

''Herbert Basser's commentary on Matthew 1-14 both offers fresh insights into the composition of the First Gospel and makes a major contribution to the understanding of the Jewish roots of Christian origins. Employing later compilations of Jewish literature along with the expected Tannaitic, Targumic and Qumran materials, he is able to construct an interpretive model of how Jews read Scripture, discerned orthopraxy and maintained community. His approach does not artificially force Judaism into a predetermined model; instead, it recognizes that within the diversity of that thought there exist particular interpretive strategies and rhetorical modes of argumentation. Confirming many of his connections are both Septuagintal readings and Syriac translations of both Hebrew biblical material and early (Greek) Christian literature. Basser's decision generally to avoid theoretical issues of synoptic parallels for criticism and textual variants is wise. The commentary does address synoptic parallels and textual variants where relevant.'' --Amy-Jill Levine, Professor of New Testament Studies at Vanderbilt University Divinity School

''This book can be genuinely, even startlingly, transformative. Certainly, it is one of the most seminal volumes I have read in recent years--as one brilliant "mind" from antiquity is here explicated by another from modernity, admirably providing "new and strong oars for navigating the Gospel material afloat in the sea of the Jewish literary tradition" (p. 18).'' --Michael Cook, Hebrew Union College -- Jewish Institute of Religion, published on H-Judaic, January 2010

''Chapter by chapter, Basser (religion, Queen's U., Canada) elucidates what he sees as Jewish concerns embedded in the rendering of the birth and ministry of Jesus of Nazareth, as presented in the first 14 chapters of the Gospel of Matthew. He assumes that the author drew selectively on various oral and/or written materials at his disposal, among them early stories told by followers of Jesus both during his lifetime and shortly after his death that cast light on the cultural context of prevailing trends in Second Temple Judaism as they were understood by that Jesus community. His literary model for the transmission of the Jesus stories are the materials concerning Israel Ba'al Shem Tov (1698-1760), which purportedly record his oral stories of the miracles, faith-healings, establishment-criticisms, and teachings to his disciples. That material, he says, circulated orally for 55 years after his death before it was transcribed.'' --(Annotation ©2010 Book News Inc. Portland, OR)

Herbert Basser s book on Matthew is of the highest quality. It is a thrilling piece of work of outstanding scholarship. --Shamma Friedman, Jewish Theological Seminary and Bar-Ilan University

Herbert Basser s volume on Matthew adds significantly to the scholarship on the Jewish sources of the Gospel text. His methods and analyses greatly enhance our understanding of first century Judaism and the influential reach of its biblical and rabbinic concepts. --Rochelle L. Millen, Wittenberg University

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Book Description Academic Studies Press, United States, 2009. Hardback. Book Condition: New. New ed.. Language: English . Brand New Book. This work offers a new translation of Matthew , graciously offered by Peter Zaas (with some minor revisions by David Malone and Herbert Basser). Basser gives us a verse-by-verse commentary to the first half of the Gospel in his study of Matthew through the lens of Jewish texts. These texts, skilfully interpreted by Basser, illuminate the powerful poetry and mystery behind much of Matthew s genius in reworking evangelist s sources. These Jewish materials provide a creative, cultural way of thinking about what God expects from human beings that is infused with the words and images of Matthew . Basser shows how Jewish idioms and artistry move the speeches, story, and figure of Jesus, through various layers of Church tradition, from a Jewish preacher to a Gentile saviour. Each chapter of commentary is preceded by a preliminary discussion and the book is introduced by a scholarly yet accessible preface and introduction discussing the methodological issues of the commentary as a whole. In many ways, this book deepens Gasser s initial views of the New Testament in his Studies in Exegesis, 2000 . The present book will appeal to a broad audience of knowledgeable readers of any or no faith. Basser is presently completing his annotations to the Epistle of James for The Jewish Annotated New Testament to be published by Oxford University Press. Bookseller Inventory # AAN9781934843338

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Book Description Academic Studies Press, United States, 2009. Hardback. Book Condition: New. New ed.. Language: English . Brand New Book. This work offers a new translation of Matthew , graciously offered by Peter Zaas (with some minor revisions by David Malone and Herbert Basser). Basser gives us a verse-by-verse commentary to the first half of the Gospel in his study of Matthew through the lens of Jewish texts. These texts, skilfully interpreted by Basser, illuminate the powerful poetry and mystery behind much of Matthew s genius in reworking evangelist s sources. These Jewish materials provide a creative, cultural way of thinking about what God expects from human beings that is infused with the words and images of Matthew . Basser shows how Jewish idioms and artistry move the speeches, story, and figure of Jesus, through various layers of Church tradition, from a Jewish preacher to a Gentile saviour. Each chapter of commentary is preceded by a preliminary discussion and the book is introduced by a scholarly yet accessible preface and introduction discussing the methodological issues of the commentary as a whole. In many ways, this book deepens Gasser s initial views of the New Testament in his Studies in Exegesis, 2000 . The present book will appeal to a broad audience of knowledgeable readers of any or no faith. Basser is presently completing his annotations to the Epistle of James for The Jewish Annotated New Testament to be published by Oxford University Press. Bookseller Inventory # AAN9781934843338

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