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Unformatted text preview: circumcision, kept the Sabbath, observed dietary restrictions, and committed themselves to certain standards of morality (e.g., the Ten Commandments). Beyond these basics, however, the Jewish people in the time of Jesus were radically diverse. And, of course, not everyone in Palestine was Jewish (see Matt. 15:21–28; Luke 3:14; John 4:5–9). Let’s take a quick survey of some people we will meet in the New Testament world of Palestine. Pharisees
The Pharisees may be the best known of the Jewish sects to readers of the New Testament. In many Gospel stories they are the opponents of Jesus, and often they are portrayed as narrow-minded legalists (Matt. 23:23–24) or even as hypocrites who don’t follow their own teaching (Matt. 23:3). The Pharisees emphasized faithfulness to Torah, including the study of scripture and obedience to the law. They also assigned authoritative status to an oral body of material known as “the tradition of the elders” (see Matt. 15:2), which eventually became codified within Judaism as the Mishnah (part of the Talmud). Their interpretations of the law seem to have been driven by a conviction that all of God’s people should live with the utmost sanctity They urged laypeople to follow the same purity regulations . in their daily lives that were expected of priests serving in the temple, the idea being that (in some sense) every house was a temple, every table was an altar, and Mishnah: a collection of rabbinic discussions regarding interpretation of the law of Moses; the Mishnah forms one major part of the Jewish Talmud. Talmud: a collection of sixty-three books (including the Mishnah) that contain Jewish civil and canonical law based on interpretations of scripture. Box 1.2 Published by Baker Academic Copyright 2009 by Mark Allan Powell Basic New Testament Chronology 63 BCE ca. 6–4 BCE ca. 30–33 CE ca. 32–36 CE ca. 46–65 CE ca. 62–65 CE ca. 65–73 CE 66 CE 70 CE 73 CE ca. 80–100 CE Pompey conquers Jerusalem for Rome birth of Jesus crucifixion of Jesus conversion of Paul Paul’s missionary journeys and imprisonment (as recorded in Acts) Paul’s letters written during this period martyrdom of Peter and Paul in Rome Gospel of Mark written outbreak of Jewish war with Rome destruction of the Jerusalem temple fall of Masada—definitive end of the Jewish war other New Testament books written: Matthew, Luke, John, Acts, and “second generation” letters by followers of the original apostles The People of Palestine at the Time of Jesus 19 ...
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- Spring '09