Gary A. Rendsburg


The Subversion of Myth

By Gary A. Rendsburg

A major finding of modern biblical scholarship is the extent to which the narrative in the book of Exodus is informed by the ancient Israelites’ knowledge of Egyptian culture, religion and literature. The birth story of Moses in Exodus 2:1-10 provides an excellent illustration of both the extent of and the transformation involved in such borrowing.Read More


Comfort, Comfort

By Gary A. Rendsburg

This week’s portion, Va-Et’hanan, includes two of the most famous sections of the Bible, a second version of the Ten Commandments in Deuteronomy 5:6-18, and the Shema in Deuteronomy 6:4-9. One could write endlessly about these crucial texts and their importance for the history of Judaism. However, I’ll focus instead on the Haftarah, IsaiahRead More


Determining the Bird

By Gary A. Rendsburg

This column, both when written by myself and by others, typically dwells on the larger issues inherent in the particular portion — for example, a theological point, an ethical or moral lesson, a social observation, whatever it may be. I depart from that norm this week with a look into the arcane world of biblical philology.ThisRead More


The Fate of Slaves in Ancient Israel

By Gary A. Rendsburg

With this week’s Torah reading, called Mishpatim or “Rules,” the presentation of the laws of ancient Israel formally commences. Earlier sections of the Torah have occasional laws imbedded in them, such as the law of circumcision in Genesis 17 or the laws pertaining to Passover in Exodus 12. But these items are few in number and areRead More


Misconceptions About the Ancient World

By Gary A. Rendsburg

The weekly Torah portion of last week, Vayikra, and of this week, Tsav — the first eight chapters of Leviticus — present in great detail the various rituals and sacrifices performed by the priests in ancient Israel.Instead of concentrating on a particular aspect of the portion, this week’s column is devoted to a lesson in the historyRead More






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  • Jon Stewart responds to his critics: “Look, obviously there are many strong opinions on this. But just merely mentioning Israel or questioning in any way the effectiveness or humanity of Israel’s policies is not the same thing as being pro-Hamas.”
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  • According to Israeli professor Mordechai Kedar, “the only thing that can deter terrorists, like those who kidnapped the children and killed them, is the knowledge that their sister or their mother will be raped."
  • Why does ultra-Orthodox group Agudath Israel of America receive its largest donation from the majority owners of Walmart? Find out here: http://jd.fo/q4XfI
  • Woody Allen on the situation in #Gaza: It's “a terrible, tragic thing. Innocent lives are lost left and right, and it’s a horrible situation that eventually has to right itself.”
  • "Mark your calendars: It was on Sunday, July 20, that the momentum turned against Israel." J.J. Goldberg's latest analysis on Israel's ground operation in Gaza:
  • What do you think?
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  • Why are peace activists getting beat up in Tel Aviv? http://jd.fo/s4YsG
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