Do You Prefer New Wine?

by David Flusser

The following remarks are based on three criteria:

  1. The observation of Robert L. Lindsey1Robert Lisle Lindsey. A Hebrew Translation of the Gospel of Mark, Jerusalem 1973. that the synoptic material, as preserved in Luke, was rewritten by Mark and that Matthew depends on Mark;
  2. The importance of contemporaneous Judaism for the interpretation of the Gospels;
  3. The simple truth that old wine is better than new wine.

This truth should be taken into account in the exegesis of Jesus’ words about fasting, contained in Mark 2:18-22; Mt 9:14-17 and Luke 5:33-39.  Continue reading

Notes   [ + ]

1. Robert Lisle Lindsey. A Hebrew Translation of the Gospel of Mark, Jerusalem 1973.

Some Notes to the Beatitudes

(Matthew 5:3-12, Luke 6:20-26)

by David Flusser

In one of my articles1D. Flusser, “Blessed are the Poor in Spirit,” Israel Exploration Journal Vol. 10, Jerusalem, 1960, pp. 1-13. I tried to show the Essene background of Jesus’ Beatitudes, and at the same time succeeded in finding in the Thanksgiving Scroll (XVIII, 14-15) a passage, which not only comes near to the general ideology of the Beatitudes, but also resembles Mt. 5:3-5 in literary patterns. The sectarian author thanks God:

To [have appointed] me in truth
a messenger [of the peace] of Thy goodness
to proclaim to the meek the multitude of
Thine mercies, and to let them that are
of contrite spirit
[hear salvation]
from [everlasting] source and to
them that mourn
everlasting joy.
Matthew 5:3-5
3. Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven,
5. Blessed are the meek,
for they shall inherit the earth,
4. Blessed are they that mourn,
for they shall be comforted.

Continue reading

Notes   [ + ]

1. D. Flusser, “Blessed are the Poor in Spirit,” Israel Exploration Journal Vol. 10, Jerusalem, 1960, pp. 1-13.

The Emergence of Christianity from Judaism

59 THESES by Prof. David Flusser, summer 1975*

1. Jesus was a Jew, lived the Jewish faith and died for it. He was “made under the law” (Gal. 4:4) and did not want to become a reformer of Judaism.

2. One can determine Jesus’s place in the contemporaneous Jewish streams. He has not preached and done anything which could arouse resistance and hate among Pharisees. His criticism of the Pharisees does not distinguish itself in any way from their own self-criticism. If he has considered himself the Messiah, then this was in fulfilment of Jewish hopes and could not become a reason for a tension between himself and Judaism. Continue reading

The Last Supper and the Essenes

by David Flusser

The discovery of the Essene Dead Sea Scrolls caused a revolution in research both of early Christianity and of Judaism. Many scholars thought that even the Sacrament of the Eucharist is Essene in origin. Is it not written in Josephus (Wars II, 129) that before their meal the Essenes purify themselves in cold water and “after this purification, they assemble in a private apartment which none of the uninitiated is permitted to enter; being now pure themselves, they repair to the refectory as to some sacred shrine”? But even if an Essene influence on the Christian sacrament should be accepted, a new question arises: if Christian sacred meals are influenced by the Essenes, does it mean that already Jesus’s last supper in Jerusalem was an Essene ceremony? Continue reading