I am still on a bit of a high from the SBL conference (see previous posts). I had a nice note from Michael Legaspi about yesterday’s post. I also got a bit of push-back on another blog where historical criticism is the preferred method:
I am off this morning to Chicago for Thanksgiving with Linda’s family. While there I will be reading two of the new books I got at SBL.
One is a translation and commentary on Radak’s commentary on Chronicles. Radak is a 13th century French-Spanish Jewish exegete whose full name is David Kimhi. Why am I reading his commentary on Chronicles? Because I will be translating his commentary on Ezekiel soon as part of my reading Ezekiel in preparation for doctoral studies. I am a lover of the medieval Jewish exegetes, like Rashi, Ramban (Nachmanides), Ibn Ezra, Radak, and so on. I figure reading his commentary on Chronicles will give me some idea of his style and so on. There is no English translation of Radak’s commentary on Ezekiel (hmm, publishing potential).
I will also be reading a new commentary on Ezekiel by Paul Joyce. He is the co-chair of the Ezekiel section at SBL. His commentary is concise and will help me get caught up on the who’s who of Ezekiel studies and what the current state of scholarship is. I now own six commentaries on Ezekiel (some of them expensive, but not Joyce’s short volume).
I have also been working on, and will keep working on, a Haggadah for the Birth of Messiah. Few people know I am working on this project. Some will even be offended that I am doing such a thing (there are some in the Messianic Jewish movement who do not merely refrain from celebrating Christmas, but who feel it is pagan and syncretistic).
While I do not celebrate Christmas, I am working on this Haggadah for two reasons. First, I think of the many intermarried families in our movement for whom Christmas is a troubling issue. The Haggadah I am preparing should help to make such a families commemoration meaningful and focused on the text in interaction with Jewish prayer about the coming of Messiah.
Second, though commemorating his birth is certainly not commanded, to honor at some time or times during the year, the birth of our Rebbe and Messiah, seems only fitting. I also commemorate his death on Passover week and his resurrection on Firstfruits.
I hope to have a Haggadah ready by the second week of December. I have put together a few exciting ideas already.
Blessings to you from Chicago-land and may your Thanksgiving be filled with family and peace.