Scholarship

“When a New Testament scholar provides evidence that the Judaism of the dual Torah…flourished in the early decades of the first century in Galilee, then…”

When a New Testament scholar provides evidence that the Judaism of the dual Torah, represented by the Mishnah, Tosefta, two Talmuds, and midrash-compilations belonging in particular to rabbinic authorities, flourished in the early decades of the first century in Galilee, then and only then will the promiscuous citation of those writings in the interpretation of the life and teachings of Judaism prove intellectually legitimate. Otherwise silly arguments about “would our holy rabbis lie?” and “you have to believe it until you can prove it didn’t happen” will be seen for what they are. These form Judaic counterparts to the labor-saving devices that ease the work of New Testament scholars: self-evidence in place of plausible proposition, compelling argument, and well-analyzed evidence.

Jacob Neusner, Rabbinic Literature & The New Testament: What We Cannot Show, We Do Not Know (Valley Forge, PA: Trinity Press, International, 1994), 8-9.