The Talmud, Midrash, and Ramen Noodles

Posted By on March 18, 2013

When I was in college and grad school friends and I would often joke about whether books or food were a higher priority. Sure, it was funny, but every once in a while there was something that actually turned the conversation serious. Some of us literally (I speak to my shame) cut corners on money for pizza, burgers, laundry, etc. to buy something for our library. It was Ramen time.

There are few resources I’d say are so valuable that I’d eat Ramen noodles for a few weeks to cover it. One is DDD (Dictionary of Deities and Demons in the Bible). Another just hit pre-pub at Logos. It’s something we’ve talked about internally for years that I never thought I’d see. New Testament scholars have asked us many times to produce it, but it was a daunting task. I’m still a little surprised it’s actually taking shape.

I’m talking about the six-volume Kommentar zum Neuen Testament aus Talmud und Midrasch (“Commentary on the New Testament from the Talmud and the Midrash”) by Hermann Strack and Paul Billerbeck. You’re probably thinking, “Really, Mike? A six-volume commentary in German?” Yep. Now here’s the kicker: Logos has paid to have it professionally translated into English.

This set is in a league of its own — sort of a holy grail for NT studies. It is a massive collection of material from the Talmud and Midrash material applied to the contents of the New Testament in commentary form. Strack and Billerbeck how these ancient Jewish sources intelligently inform our reading of the New Testament in its Jewish religious context. Though a lot of scholarship has been done on Second-Temple Judaism since Strack and Billerbeck published their work, nothing has come close to replacing it.

Here’s how one scholar, Wayne Grudem, summed it up:

This reference work is unique in the entire world. It is the only work that has ever compiled, verse by verse, such extensive background quotations from Jewish literature around the time of Christ for every passage in the New Testament. But until now, it was only available in German.

With this resource in English, we no longer have to depend on commentators who confidently claim (sometimes incorrectly), “The rabbis at the time of Christ taught this or that,” because now all the relevant quotations from this vast and diverse rabbinic literature can be quickly found here in one place—and in English rather than the original Hebrew.

And in digital, searchable, indexed form, I might add.

For anyone interested in New Testament research, it’s time to start boiling the water. Get it on pre-pub while you can.


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12 Responses to “The Talmud, Midrash, and Ramen Noodles”

  1. Cory says:

    Did this resource have influence in your Divine Council work?

  2. Mike says:

    I just got my tax return & need to re-pad the emergency savings, after that emergency.

    You really are a temptress.

  3. Jeff says:

    I noted that those of us who will likely never use the German can get the English-only three volume set and pay about 40% less.

    That link is here:

  4. Ben says:

    That’s great news!

    For the German speakers among us, do you know if Logos digitalized the German original (which is in the public domain) themselves or if they made use of versions that had already been fully digitalized and were publically available online?

    Just asking in case. :-) I had searched for these a couple of months ago and actually found professional quality scans and OCRs on, but it would still have required LOTS of manual processing due to the different scripts and small print used.

    Thanks a lot!

  5. Bobby says:

    Tried to search your site for info on this before posting, didn’t know how else to get input, i realize you are busy. This may be an appropriate thread though. What do you have to say about christian non-violence and the idea that the new testament reveals a non-violent God, and that the revelation of Christ trumps flawed views of God from the OT? The idea that Revelation is misinterpreted as well. This article presents the idea.

    Point me in the right direction if you’ve talked about this before. Or someone else who knows these sites pretty well. Or other stuff that’s good on the topic.

  6. Bobby says:

    Just read the divine council.. Great Stuff. i’ll be reading more. and linking on FB.

  7. darren says:

    Glad to see your brain survived the excitonuro toxin called MSG that is in the flavoring
    Maybe cut some study time for the history and effects of MSG it is very interesting to say the least.

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