Nov 12, 2017
Apocalypses were popular reading amongst Jews in the centuries they spent under Roman rule. Rabbinical Judaism blotted the apocalypses from its collective memory. Christianity incorporated them into its very soul. I cover the greatest apocalypse of them all, 1st Enoch. The book of Tobit is my special guest star.
Oct 29, 2017
Jews produced a vast number of religious books in the centuries before the birth of Jesus. They had no influence on later Judaism, but profoundly influenced Christianity. We call them parabiblical or pseudipigraphical. Their significance was not appreciated until the discoveries of the Dead Sea Scrolls.
Oct 15, 2017
The Jews have a placid existence under Persian rule, and create Judaism. They reconstruct their religion, one now without kings and prophets. From on, the Law is all. I discuss the last of the books of the Tanakh: the romances of Esther and Judith, the hateful but mercifully brief prophet Obadiah, and the funniest book...
Oct 1, 2017
Governor Nehemiah and priest-scribe Ezra finally bring the Jews back home from Babylon. Modern scholars reverse the Biblical order of the two, and so do I. The two institute a tax-payer-funded theocracy. Ezra rejects the old Hebrew religion and founds modern Judaism. Intermarriage is forbidden. Against that stance is...
Sep 17, 2017
After Sheshbazzar's failure, the second wave of returnees are led by the enigmatic figures of the supposed Davidic king Zerubbabel and the high-priest Joshua. Those returning spurn those who stayed behind, implying that the only real Jews are those who were exiled. Zerubbabel inexplicably disappears from the...