Let’s get biblical with Tovia Singer

I wish I was able to delete this post but it won’t let me so I just doing what I can within the scope of the what’s allowed such as exiting and deleting my


Jesus, Son of God (and certainly not God the Son) or no, took the TaNaKh by the scruff of the neck. Judaism has become superbly humane along one axis since.

Yeah, I really like Pete Enns too on how he talks with his Jewish colleagues about Paul winging it and so on. I like his discussion which sounds very much like the podcast you’re talking about.

It’s so important to be honest about this, as you say. Certainly, the New testament people and intertestamental people were interpreting creatively, which is not the way we would ever accept anybody to do it in a Bible School. However, that was also accepted by Jews in the day. I struggle about it a lot.


Look at Jesus! He was worst of all!

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The NT plays fast and loose with the OT. There is no disputing this. There is a lot of stretching! Those who think everything about Jesus is clearly taught in the Old Testament ahead of time and Jewish people were ridiculous for not accepting a crucified Messiah are usually the ones who also think the earth is 6,000 years old. And yes, Paul’s arguments are sometimes not very good. He stumbles a bit. If you don’t confuse what he says and means with exactly what God literally says and means things get a little easier. Genre genre genre.

I think Jews would view the trinity as pure blasphemy. You might get away with an adoptionist Christology but calling a man God is probably about the worst possible thing you can do.


I’m not sure what to make of it. It honestly is about the most absurd thing you can think of. Three separate beings actually being one being. It is easier to understand Jesus and the Holy Spirit as manifestations of God than as completely separate beings but one and the same. I’m not that hung up on Creeds but at the same time I don’t have an issue with divine, ineffable mysteries. The NT clearly points to the deity of Jesus. Do you agree with that at least? Was Jesus pre-existent to you?


Fair enough. Are you familiar with adoptionism? Some read the synoptic Gospels in this way. The spirit of God descends on Jesus at his baptism in Mark and departs at the end with the last breath and tearing of the Temple veil. Some think Matthew and Luke pushed it back to the moment conception with their birth narratives. I think the NT has a mixture of developing Christologies. There is no simple answer.


Well in John 10 he is quoting Psalm 82 (oddly as the law) but as far as I am aware it doesn’t refer to humans there but divine beings (the divine counsel). I am not so sure Jesus called his opponent gods but instead quoted this verse and compared that to himself. It was his way of defending his self claim. But it’s also sayings material In GJohn which is highly suspect.

Is there another spot where Jesus calls us all gods that I am missing?

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I thought he was maybe talking about earthly rulers?
the odd thing here to me seems that he’s almost bringing his definition of godhood down to the average human being–if they are “gods.”

What useless divine beings was Yahweh criticizing?

Not sure. No idea what that author believed 2600-3000 years ago about heavenly beings and earth rulers when that Psalm was probably written. There are a lot of critical issues to consider. When exactly was the Psalm written and by whom? How was it interpreted in first-century Palestine? Angels and demons and heavenly beings were widely believed in during Jesus’ day. He was an exorcist! The OT isn’t purely monotheistic. More of a monolatry but it has polytheistic components all over it. The divine council looks heavenly, not earthly. It starts off mentioning God ruling in the midst of other gods (82:1).

What is the point of telling a mortal they will die as a mortal? (82:6-7). I can see their response: “No crap, Sherlock.” It looks to me like a divine being is judging unjustly and losing their mortality. I mean it could be about men as rulers were given high status in antiquity but were judges or kings in the time period ever considered immortal?

I don’t see much evidenceJesus was calling his opponents and all men gods. That is being read into John. He is quoting a Psalm and the reference was with himself as he was just accused of blasphemy but I am open to correction.

There is nothing really clear about Psalm 82 or Jesus’ statement in John.


I always thought Jesus was talking about himself and using the Psalm to justify the charges of “blasphemy” against him but I’m not sure of anything here. If I quote a statement from Psalms as Jesus does it doesn’t mean I am applying it to everyone though that could happen as well. Presumably his audience would have understood the reference. They didn’t agree with his exegesis it seems per the narrative.


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I’m a simple minded man me. It’s about human judges - the male theocratic ruling class, gods, sons of God because they had inherited the word of God, still in business a thousand years on. ‘Just because you are the visible gods of society, with power of life and death, doesn’t make you immortal, especially as you’re crap at it.’ is an easy paraphrase of Psalm 82. Jesus was implying the same to the gods of His time, reminding them that they too were sons of God by being failed keepers of His word and asserting His right to be their equal, of their pantheon, and in fact superior by understanding God’s intent. He wasn’t claiming to be God at all. Well He was and distracting from it.


Very much possible. I’m also a simple man and wouldn’t presume to exclude from possibility that the author of John, whoever that was, depicts Jesus defending himself using a Psalm about lesser divine beings not doing their job correctly from a monolater 2600-3000 years ago. The point is that Jesus is doing the work of God because he was sent from God and the title God is actually applicable to him, not to them. Jesus is making high claims of himself, not his opponents. Your interpretation seems to just dilute those self-claims in his defense (“you are a God like me too”). John is littered with very high Christological statements about Jesus from start to finish. You could be 100% correct but it would be interesting to see some ancient non-Christian rabbinic commentary on the issue to see how this Psalm was actually handled. Most of my works are Christian but I’m honestly not that concerned with it to dig up commentaries about it.


Being simple means keeping it simple. Not proliferating entities needlessly. Works for me.

Best exposition I have heard on this. Really. Ever.

Others must have said it before, but not as… bluntly : )

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Sadly, have never heard it in any key before.

That’s a bit presumptuous and uncharitable. What you call “proliferating entities needlessly” I call "reading the text.” You can’t use Occam’s razor to make a detail in the text just disappear. While we sometimes make too much of them, ignoring details isn’t being simple, it’s often just poor exegesis. Many an exegete has opined that Psalm 82 implies some sort of a transition from divine to mortal and in context, it seems prima facie unlikely that 1st century Palestinian Jews considered themselves gods. They were fiercely monotheistic. Until I see rabbinic commentary on Psalm 82 nothing will fully convince me either way.

No it’s parsimonious. The C1st AD Jews in question would have been very well educated enough to know that gods, elohim with a plural verb from the get go, not as in Genesis 1:26, where it segues from a singular verb to the plural of majesty, had been used for angels, messengers and ‘the judgement of God’, by Jews, for 300 years. What gentile exegetes say is neither here nor there. It’s like all imparsimonious claims, they don’t apply until evidenced otherwise. I’m ignoring no details at all. I’m not including synthetic ones. The concept of transitory beings from divine to mortal in 1000 BCE on the ‘evidence’ of a single psalm, isn’t significant evidence, especially as neither Jesus nor His contemporaries, rabbinic commentators all, show no sign of having such understanding.

Indeed how would you expect any strictly monotheistic rabbinic authority of the past two thousand two hundred years to argue for such?

Some 2nd rate non-European academic trying to make a name for themselves - there’s no such thing as bad publicity after all - should pretend to understand it that way. That the artistic Jews of David’s (I know, I know, who?) court like Asaph and David himself couldn’t be literary, poetic and imaginative with no implication of swallowing religious PIE.

“Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” -Colossians 4:6

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