The Old Testament in Jewish Thought and Life Part 1 -- By: Charles Lee Feinberg
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The Old Testament in Jewish Thought and Life
[Author’s Note: This article and the one to follow are condensations of the material given in the W. H. Griffith Thomas Memorial Lectureship, November 10–13, 1953. Documentation has been kept within certain limits. The Lectures are to appear in book form with due elaborations and full documentation.]
The field indicated by the title of these lectures is so vast and the material so diversified that one may well despair at times of bringing much order or cohesion out of the chaos. Though the task may appear at first to be somewhat hopeless, because the literature is more than any one man can master in a lifetime of diligent study, there are still well-defined areas of investigation here as in any field of study. Broadly speaking, we have divided the subject into an investigation of the Old Testament’s influence on the conceptual life of the Jews, and then this motivation in their daily living, religious observances and customs, and their sacred calendar.
What value has all this for the minister of Christ who is enjoined of the Holy Spirit in the New Testament to be a faithful minister of the new covenant (1 Cor 4:2; 2 Cor 3:6)? The benefits accrue in several directions. First, the student of the Word of God is made to see what use was made of the Old Testament by the people to whom it first came; how it was interpreted by them; and how it has influenced their religious life and outlook to this hour. Secondly, no better background, as far as Israel is concerned, can be obtained for a proper understanding of the New Testament, such a study revealing to us why the Jews of our Lord’s day thought and felt as they did. Thirdly, the many pitfalls into which the Jews fell may well serve as warnings to us to avoid the same dangers. Finally, anyone interested in laboring intelligently among Jews with the gospel, even if not primarily so engaged, may well profit by such a study; and this is to say nothing of the light to
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be thrown upon present conditions among Jews in the State of Israel and throughout the world.
Old Testament Transcription and Translation
In this first portion of our subject, we shall treat of Jewish study, translation, and interpretation of the Old Testament. It has been well said that “the Jew as an individual, and the Jews as a people, are not philosophically controlled in thought or outlook.”1 If this be true, then what is the controlling factor in Jewish thought and outlook? Undoubtedly, it is the Old Testament. It h...
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