The story of Jonah being swallowed by a “great fish” (misunderstood as a whale) is familiar to Bible readers and those in the wider culture who have never read the Bible. Given the flexibility of the Hebrew phrase behind “great fish” (dag gadol), scholars have wondered whether Jonah connects back to biblical Leviathan, the well-know chaos serpent of Canaanite literature. In this episode we explore the potential connections.
It’s common for scholars and critics of New Testament presentations of the birth of Jesus to suggest that the idea of a divine Israelite messiah goes beyond what the Old Testament envisions. The most Jews would expect, so this thinking goes, is a military deliverer who was descended from the line of David, a mere human whom God adopts as his son. This episode provides a glimpse into the data that tell us otherwise. In Luke 1, the gospel writer portrays Jesus as more than a human, Davidic military deliverer.
Ezekiel and John 15, the Vine and the Branches
Jesus’ allegory about the vine and the branches, ultimately about himself (the vine) and those who would claim to be his disciples (the branches) is quite familiar to Bible readers. Far less familiar is the fact that the content of Jesus’ teaching draws on the Old Testament. Scholars, aware of this fact, nevertheless disagree as to which Old Testament passage is the primary point of reference. This episode of the podcast addresses that issue and demonstrates how its answer informs our understanding of the theological points Jesus (and the gospel writer, John) want to make in John 15.