The Synoptic Gospels Edited with an Introduction and a Commentary - Vol. 1

The Synoptic Gospels Edited with an Introduction and a Commentary - Vol. 1

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The Synoptic Gospels Edited with an Introduction and a Commentary - Vol. 1

The Synoptic Gospels Edited with an Introduction and a Commentary - Vol. 1

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Excerpt

The task which I have set before myself in this book is, I am fully aware, far too great for my narrow learning and capacities, yet it is one which so urgently needs doing that I have ventured to make a small beginning towards its accomplishment.

The book is fragmentary and tentative. Jewish commentary to the entire New Testament is required, and here I have only given a commentary upon a portion. Moreover, it is fragmentary and tentative for other reasons as well. If I had waited for several more years I might have gained much fresh knowledge, and modified many opinions here expressed. But it seemed best to wait no longer. Life is uncertain, and other duties make the hours which can be given to study few and sometimes even far between.

The book is also tentative because I am in many respects a pioneer. For of Jewish exposition of the Gospels there has been little. Endless Christian commentaries exist, written from many different points of view, with great learning and splendid patience, but Jewish commentaries can hardly be said to exist at all. Jewish scholars have usually taken up an attitude towards the New Testament, and more especially towards the Gospels, which does not lend itself to impartiality. It has not been a very fruitful and light-giving attitude. A main effort has been to show that to various admittedly admirable sayings of Jesus reported in the Gospels there are excellent parallels in the Old Testament or the Rabbinical writings. An atomistic treatment has usually been adopted. The teaching of Jesus has not been much discussed and appraised as a whole. And where it has been so discussed, the line has been rather to depreciate or to cheapen. Jewish writers have either looked for parallels or for defects. Considering what Judaism and the Jews have had to suffer at Christian hands, this Jewish treatment of the Gospels is not astonishing. No wonder . . .

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