Samuel the rogue prophet/priest

Samuel the rogue prophet/priest

A significant portion of the Judaean writings in the Tanakh is devoted to what I’ll call the Davidic Dynasty, including some pre-history, history of David and his descendants, and then prophecy devoted to a Davidic “messiah” to come. The so-called prophet Samuel plays a foundational role in this story, but was Samuel actually who the …

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The Hebrew Calendar

The Hebrew Calendar

For people who have embraced Torah observance later in life rather than having been born into it, the Hebrew calendar can be confusing, and even a point of contention. We want to observe the appointed times correctly, but the Torah does not provide calendar calculation specifics. Established Israelite communities today (the various flavors of Judaism …

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The Chosen Place is not Jerusalem

The Chosen Place is not Jerusalem

According to Judaism there is only one place where offerings to YHWH can be made–the temple in Jerusalem. Without it, Jews are not authorized to bring offerings at all. This understanding comes from the book of Deuteronomy, which over 20 times mentions a “chosen place” as the only location for offerings and pilgrimage feasts. Surprisingly, …

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What about the Lunar Sabbath?

What about the Lunar Sabbath?

A number of people seem to be convinced that the Sabbath (Hebrew: Shabbat) cycle must be based on the cycle of the moon, rather than repeating seven day weeks. The lunar Sabbath theory seems to be driven by the fact that most of the other appointed times (Hebrew: mo’edim) such as Pesach, Chag HaMatzot, Yom …

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Where is the chosen place?

Where is the chosen place?

Everyone knows the most holy place in Israel is Jerusalem, and in Jerusalem the temple mount, right? A year ago, my answer to such a question would have been “Of course!”. Today I would answer this question much differently.

Was Jesus the Jewish Messiah?

Was Jesus the Jewish Messiah?

The idea of a “Messiah” is found outside of the Torah. The Torah does not promise a “Messiah”. I personally do not consider anything but the Torah inspired or authoritative, so therefore I don’t accept that there even needs to be a Messiah. However, if you do accept the Judean writings (i.e. the rest of …

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Answering Tovia Singer on the Oral Torah

Answering Tovia Singer on the Oral Torah

A friend recently suggested that Tovia Singer had some convincing arguments in favor of the oral Torah, so I pulled up a short video of his, documenting some of those arguments, and decided to write this response. I place a high value on the work of Tovia Singer, and have watched and appreciated many of …

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Is the Oral Torah Divine?

Is the Oral Torah Divine?

Today’s rabbinic Judaism is governed not just by the Hebrew Scriptures, but also by the Talmud, a written collection of oral traditions. After the destruction of Jerusalem in the first century CE and the exile of the Jewish people, it was feared that Jewish tradition would be lost, and around 200 CE Rabbi Judah the …

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Does Forgiveness Require Death?

Does Forgiveness Require Death?

In the New Testament book of Hebrews, we find this well known Christian assertion: Indeed according to the law almost everything was purified with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness. (Heb 9:22 NET) Is this actually true? This idea is often cross referenced to the following “prooftext” from the Hebrew …

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The Problem with Christian Holidays

The Problem with Christian Holidays

25 years before my deeper study of the scriptures prompted me to leave the church, I had already developed strong convictions against Christian holidays. There is virtually no-one, not even among conservative Christian scholars and apologists, who denies the pagan origins of Christian holidays. The question is: what, if anything, is wrong with co-opting pagan …

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