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Showing posts from May, 2015

Relationships of the Israelite Religion, Rabbinic Judaism and Early Christianity

For the past 30 years I have been engaged in research about the Jewish Yeshua (Jesus) and the evolution of Christianity from a Jewish sect to a universal Gentile religion. The work of Dr. David Flusser had played an important role in my work. David Flusser (b. 09/15/1917 – d. 09/15/2000) was a professor at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem where he taught Judaism in the Second Temple Period and Early Christianity. He was a member of the Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities. Flusser published over 1,000 articles in Hebrew, German, English, and other languages.His work was rewarded by the State of Israel in 1980 with the Israel Prize.
His famous book, Judaism and the Origins of Christianity (© 1988 Magnes Press, the Hebrew University, Jerusalem, Israel), is a valuable resource for anyone studying the Second Temple Judaism and Early Christianity. I use it regularly in my work. Today, while working on something, I came across two passages that I believe are very important. I encourag…

Casts of Pompeii Reveal Last Moments of Volcano Victims

The plaster casts of 86 agonized victims of the Mount Vesuvius eruption in 79 AD will go on exhibit May 26, 2015, in National Archaeological Museum of Naples, Italy. People of Pompeii, a Roman city, were in their death throes when a cloud of gas from the volcano enveloped them, killing them. The gas was 300 degrees centigrade (572 degrees F). Clearly, from the expressions of their faces and their bodily contortions they were caught by surprise when the ash cloud finally consumed them. Harrowing image shows a child sitting on his mother when the ash cloud hit. See pictures and read article at -- http://www.ancient-origins.net/news-history-archaeology/frozen-time-casts-pompeii-reveal-last-moments-volcano-victims-003117


History of the Name “Jesus”

The history of the name “Jesus” begins in the Torah in the account in which Yahweh commanded Moses to choose one man from each of the twelve tribes to spy out the land of Canaan.
Of the tribe of Ephraim, Hoshea[1] the son of Nun . . .These are the names of the men which Moses sent to spy out the land. And Moses called Hoshea the son of Nun Yehoshua.[1]

The root word of Hoshea is HOSHUA, which means "salvation." It is important to understand that "salvation" in the Hebrew Scriptures or the Jewish culture did not mean “go to Heaven after death.” It meant “being delivered from some danger or threat.” Read the complete blog at -- http://therealyesua.blogspot.com/2015/05/history-of-name-jesus.html

Today is Shavuot aka Pentecost

Shavuot began on May 23 and ends on May 25.In Judaism it is known as the "Feast of Weeks" and in Christianity it is called “Pentecost.” In The Torah Shavuot is mentioned in connection with Passover and with bringing offerings from the harvest.  “You shall count off seven weeks [from Passover]…then you shall observe the Feast of Weeks, offering your freewill contribution according to how Adonai your God has blessed you.” (Deut. 16:10). During the Temple Period, two additions were made to the observance of Shavuot.  First, the priests would make a special offering of two loaves of bread on behalf of the nation.  Bread was an unusual offering, since it is made by human hands.  In general, offerings were animals or grain, raw materials coming directly from the earth to God.  This offering of bread, representing a human-Divine partnership in giving food to the world, would soon become important in the rabbis’ radical re-interpretation of Shavuot. The second special feature of Sha…

Rabbi Stephen S. Wise’s Sermon at Synagogue on Jewish Jesus Causes a Storm

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stephen_Samuel_Wise#/media/File:Stephen_Samuel_Wise.jpg
Rabbi Stephen S. Wise gave this sermon in late December 1925 and it set off a storm of protests in Jewish communities.  Before you read the article, it is important for you to be aware of some of the accomplishments of Rabbi Wise.
● a founder of the New York Federation of Zionist Societies in 1897
● first vice-president of theOregon State Conference of Charities and Correction in 1902
● appointed Commissioner of Child Labor for the State of Oregon in 1903
● co-founded the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP)
● founding of American Jewish Congress (AJCongress) in 1918
● founded theJewish Institute of Religion, an educational center in New York City in 1922
● founding president of the World Jewish Congress in 1936 (created to fight Nazism)
● co-chair of the American Zionist Emergency Council in WWII
● held press conference in 1942 an announced that the Nazis had a plan for the exter…

We The People

Redeeming the Captives, an Ancient TOV Idea

I was flipping through channels and came upon a program about Human Trafficking. We all hear about things like this, but after an initial shock, they are soon forgotten. Many of us "modern" people don't really think about "slavery." That concept is relegated to Biblical times or before the Civil War -- but "slavery", like so many other evils, never goes away. In the Hebrew Bible, Rabbinic writings, Jewish history and prayers - redeeming captives appears a number of times. It is a mitzvah (commandment) to redeem captives. Read Rabbi Leynor’s blog at -- http://tovcenter.blogspot.com/2015/05/redeeming-captives-ancient-tov-idea.html

The Creator's TOV Standard

Notice that the Creator's TOV Standard doesn't require one to believe anyone's theology about a Creator.

Remembering our former associate and longtime friend Sid Dosh

(Left to right) Sid Dosh, Jim Myers & Ike Tennison
If you ever met Sid Dosh, you knew you had met someone special. Sid was an outgoing person who made loved people. He was also a successful business man and a very serious scholar. We founded the Center for Biblical Analysis in the late 1980s. The many meeting in which Sid, Ike and I studied the biblical texts in Greek, Latin and Hebrew were experiences that very few people ever have. The depth of scholarship and our warm friendships made them experiences that we will never forget. Nine years ago today Sid left this world. Please take a moment and visit Sid’s BHC Memorial page at -- http://biblicalheritage.org/Memorials/dosh.htm

SWJC Middle East Update: Syria - The End of Assad's Regime

It was only a question of time. For the past four years it was never really a question of WHETHER the regime of Bashir al-Assad, despite Iranian and Russian support, would collapse but rather WHEN. And the "when" is very close. Read Gil Elam’s latest update at -- http://swjcdallas.blogspot.com/2015/05/syria-end-of-assads-regime.html

The Real Yeshua's Salvation Message

Change the Memes & You Change the Reality

Losing My Religion: Why People Are REALLY Leaving the Church (It’s not what you think.)

If people-of-faith want to arrest the cultural flight from religion, we’re going to need to get serious about promoting healthy marriages, ministering more effectively to divorced families and children-of-divorce in particular, and finding ways for our churches to be places that provide a sense of family life for members (e.g., by having things like movie nights, game nights, parish meals, and other social ministries that model the kinds of activities traditionally held by families.) There is a reason the Church teaches that family is the basic unit of society.  As the family goes, so goes the church and politics and the culture as well. Read complete article at -- http://www.patheos.com/blogs/faithonthecouch/2015/05/losing-my-religion-why-people-are-really-leaving-the-church-its-not-what-you-think/

Christianity drops from 78 percent of the American population to 70 percent

The Pew Research Center’s second U.S. Religious Landscape Study, released today, is well worth reading. Pew contends that Christianity has dropped from 78 percent of the American population to 70 percent within the last seven years. Over the same seven-years time period — between 2007 and 2014 — those unaffiliated with any religious tradition has jumped almost seven points, from 16% to almost 23%, Pew found. Read the complete report at -- http://www.pewforum.org/2015/05/12/americas-changing-religious-landscape/

Our Most Wonderful & Valuable Gift

Our most wonderful and valuable gift is our human mind. Humans, like other animals, are born with a brain, but the human brain is capable of neural activity that we call the mind. Without those neural connections there is no mind.[i]
Our minds have huge amounts of computing potential that can be used to create free extraordinary fulfilled lives with purposeor lives trapped in endless loops of thoughtless habits that result in unfulfilled purposeless lives. If you feel like you are not living up to your potential, take a moment to grasp the potential power of the gift that you have access to right now at this very moment.
About a hundred billion neurons of several hundred types, each of which contains a cell body, a descending axon cable, and numerous dendrites and axon terminals -- ahundred billions neurons is 1011 , or a 1 followed by 11 zeros: 100,000,000,000.
Dendrites and axon terminals branching out to other neurons in approximately a thousand trillion synaptic connections betw…

The Salvation Message of the Real Yeshua

What must one do to be saved? The answers to that question reveal the answer to another question – What does it mean to be a “Christian?” – that have been given over the past 2,000 years. Interestingly, the one answer that I have not been able to find among all of those is the answer given by the Real Yeshua. Why? Read the complete blog at -- http://therealyesua.blogspot.com/2015/05/the-salvation-message-of-real-yeshua.html

In Living and Dying -- TOV Matters!

As many of you know, my work revolves around people who've suffered Traumatic Loss and Grief -- the type of things that usually sends people running for cover, something feared and never to be addressed. As with many "forbidden" topics, it is always better to discuss these things, rather than avoid them. How else do we learn from them? Obviously, it takes a grown up adult person to confront these fears and anxieties, but the result is being able to make empowered decisions about both "living” and “dying." This ability contributes to our personal, emotional and spiritual growth; an undeniable part of our human journey, which helps remove part of the fear of the "Great Unknown" -- Death. Read Rabbi Leynor’s blog at -- http://tovcenter.blogspot.com/2015/05/in-living-and-dying-tov-matters.html

How We Received the Words of Jesus

Jesus wasn't an American who lived in the 21st century and spoke native English to his audience. He wasn't a Christian and didn't attend a church every Sunday. Based on what we know from the Synoptic Gospels, Jesus was a Jew who lived in the 1st century, spoke Hebrew and Aramaic, practiced Judaism, attended a synagogue every Shabbat and engaged in rituals at the Jerusalem Temple. This is very important information to know when our goal is to linguistically understand the words of Jesus. Read the complete article at -- http://bhcbiblestudies.blogspot.com/2015/05/how-we-received-words-of-jesus.html


Accurately Understanding the Words of the Bible

Is Revelation 18 an Eyewitness Account of the Destruction of Pompeii?

Is Revelation 18 aneyewitnessaccount of the August 79 CE destruction of Pompeii that the author interpreted to be a sign of thedemise of the Roman Empire? The author of chapter 18 of Revelation provides us with a poetic oracle against the “great city” pictured as a “whore” riding the seven-headed beast of the Roman Empire – drunk with the blood of the martyrs and the saints. Her destruction comes with fire–in one hour–while those in ships watch her burning from afar, lamenting the loss of her wealth and the splendor of her trade and commerce. The Naples/Pompeii port was the gateway to ancient Rome. As such its destruction signaled that of the expected apocalypticFALLof Rome itself–both as a city and an empire. Read James Tabor’s blog at -- http://jamestabor.com/2013/10/09/the-destruction-of-pompei-and-the-new-testament-book-of-revelation/

Why the TOV Center & Why Now?

When my oldest son created a FB account for me, I didn't realize how much I would enjoy re-connecting with people, some of whom I haven't been in touch with for 40 years. Just this week, I had a great time having lunch with some of my friends from my former congregation here in Texas. Invariably, the majority of conversation revolves around "catching up", and then everyone wants to know, "So, what are you doing these days?" I tell them, (and everyone else I meet) about the TOV Center. Read Rabbi Leynor’s Blog at -- http://tovcenter.blogspot.com/2015/05/why-tov-center-why-now.html