02.02.13 Jewish Writings. The term usually refers to a collection of religious books that include the Babylonian and Jerusalem Talmuds, the Mishnah, the Midrash, and the Tosefta. But this collection does not include the Apocrypha and the Pseudepigrapha. Most of these were written within four centuries of the life of Jesus. Of particular interest, is that many sections of these writings reflect Jewish life before the temple was destroyed. For example, the Jerusalem Talmud Moed Quatan 1:5 provides information on the burial of the dead that give understanding to Matthew 8:21-22.
Insights acquired from the Jewish writings are important. There were many cultural and theological changes from the time the last Old Testament book was written, until the birth of Christ. Essentially, there are five reasons why this classification of books should be studied.
- Some books have a sense of urgency similar to the New Testament concerning the awareness of living near the end of time.
- These writings show various Jewish opinions concerning the kingdom of God, a subject obviously dear to the heart of Jesus.
- The strength of Jewish traditions, combined with the political anticipations of national freedom, was clearly revealed by some writers.
- Some difficult passages and concepts of the New Testament are clarified by rabbinic methods of interpretation. Some of these books provide cultural details that help “flesh out” biblical narratives.
- Finally, within Jewish literature is the general background against which the New Testament can be understood, an understanding that is beyond specific verses and passages, and pertains to the “macro-view” of the words and work of Jesus.
. See the video by Messianic Rabbi John Fischer, Ph.D., Th.D. at 02.02.16.V.
 See 02.02.01.V for more information on this subject.
. See 09.04.02.
. For further study, see Scott Jr., J. Julius. “On the Value of Intertestamental Jewish Literature for New Testament Theology.” Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society. 23:4 (Dec. 1980) 315-24.