Jesus, the Sabbath, and the Jewish Debate: Healing on the Sabbath in the 1st and 2nd Centuries CE

Author(s): Nina L. Collins


The claim that Jesus was criticised by the Pharisees for performing cures on the Sabbath has been continuously repeated for almost 2,000 years. But a meticulous, unprejudiced evaluation of the relevant gospel texts shows that the historical Jesus was never criticised by historical Pharisees for performing Sabbath cures. In fact, Jesus and the Pharisees were in complete agreement for the need for cures on the Sabbath day. It is also clear that the Sabbath healing events in the gospels have preserved a significant part of the history of the early Jewish debate which sought to resolve the apparent conflict between the demands of Jewish law, and the performance of deeds of healing and/or saving life. This debate, from its Maccabean origins through to the end of the second century CE, is the subject of this book. The story of the debate has escaped the attention of historians partly because it relies on the evidence of both the early postbiblical Jewish texts and the Christian gospels, which are not generally studied together.


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An in-depth examination of the Sabbath healing events in the gospels and the history of the Jewish debate on healing on the Sabbath.

Nina Collins lectured on Judaism and Modern and Classical Hebrew at the University of Leeds. Her publications include The Library in Alexandria and the Bible in Greek (2000).

Chapter 1. The Problem Chapter 2. An Overview of the Sabbath Events in the Gospels Chapter 3. The Sabbath and Post-Sabbath Healing Events in the Gospels Chapter 4. Sabbath healing in the gospels - Summary of conclusions of Chapter 3 Chapter 5. Terms and arguments of R. Eleazar b. Azariah, R. Akiva and R. Ishmael and their schools Chapter 6. Direct Interaction between R. Akiva and Matthew? Chapter 7. 2nd century interpretations of biblical verses based on Pentateuchal Jewish law Chapter 8. Two symbolic seals of approval from the amoraim Chapter 9. Specificity versus generality Chapter 10. Other Indications for Dating Chapter 11. The Earliest Dates of Composition of Tannaitic directives on Healing and/or Saving Life Chapter 12. A summary of the history of the early Jewish debate on acts of healing and/or saving life, and the contribution of the gospels and the historical Jesus to this Jewish debate

General Fields

  • : 9780567385871
  • : Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
  • : T.& T.Clark Ltd
  • : July 2012
  • : books

Special Fields

  • : Hardback
  • : 504
  • : Nina L. Collins