I am a Ph.D. student at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion. I study the History of Biblical Interpretation, which includes Jewish and Christian interpretations of the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament. My interests are religion, politics, TV, movies, and reading.
I finished Jacob Neusner's Messiah in Context. In this post,
I'd like to talk about a story in B. Abodah Zarah 2a-b, which concerns
God's judgment of the nations. Edom (Rome) says that it built
marketplaces and baths and accumulated gold and silver for Israel's
sake, so that she'd have the leisure to study the Torah. Persia says
that it built bridges and conquered cities for Israel's sake, so she'd
have leisure to study the Torah. But God tells them that they did these
thing for themselves, not for Israel. I had to laugh at these nations'
phoniness in the story. And Jewish audiences probably relished the
scenario of the nations having to answer to God for how they treated
Israel, as God does not buy their explanations.