This book study begins April 11, 2021 only on Zoom.
Amy-Jill Levine and Marc Zvi Brettler aim to foster better understanding between Jews and Christians in this impeccable volume examining well-known passages from Israel’s scriptures that are important to the New Testament. Stories they examine include the creation of the world, the Garden of Eden, and Jonah’s prophetic mission. For familiar texts such as “an eye for an eye” and “the virgin shall conceive and bear a son,” the authors trace how they were interpreted at different times by ancient Israelites, New Testament authors, postbiblical Jews, and later Christians. For example, viewing Adam and Eve as misguided actors requires “a code of conduct, and so we have the Jewish Torah, which helps to harness the evil inclination”—but if the story is considered “a narrative of a fall, then we require a narrative of a redemption, and so we have the Christian story.” The effect is often one of appreciation of the influence of translation choices—for example, Isaiah refers to an “almah,” literally meaning a young woman in Hebrew, but the Septuagint, which rendered the Bible in Greek, chose to translate it as “parthenos,” a term affiliated with virgin birth. This remarkable, accessible study will appeal to anyone interested in the Hebrew Bible.