Jesus and the book

Sep 10 2020

In Misquoting Jesus, Bart Ehrman offers an insightful summary of Jesus relationship to the Hebrew Scripture.

Christianity began, of course, with Jesus, who was himself a Jewish rabbi (teacher) who accepted the authority of the Torah, and possibly other sacred Jewish books, and taught his interpretation of those books to his disciples. Like other rabbis of his day, Jesus maintained that God’s will could be found in the sacred texts, especially the Law of Moses. He read these scriptures, studied these scriptures, interpreted these scriptures, adhered to these scriptures, and taught these scriptures. His followers were, from the beginning, Jews who placed a high premium on the books of their tradition.**

Ehrman provides a helpful starting point for thinking about Jesus’ experience. I agree that Jesus accepted the authority of the Torah and therefore adhered to and taught the material. I would nuance the term “studied” to avoid information-age assumptions. Jesus memorized and meditated on the text specifically, and in this way he “studied” it.

The story of the Hebrew Scriptures informed Jesus’ experience.

** Bart D. Ehrman, Misquoting Jesus: The Story behind Who Changed the Bible and Why (Harper Collins, 2009).

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