Hermann L. Strack and Paul Billerbeck’s Commentary on the New Testament from the Talmud and Midrash is an important reference work for illustrating the concepts, theological background, and cultural assumptions of the New Testament. The commentary walks through each New Testament book verse by verse, referencing potentially illuminating passages from the Talmud and Midrash and providing easy access to the rich textual world of rabbinic material.
Originally published between 1922 and 1928 as Kommentar zum Neuen Testament aus Talmud und Midrasch, Strack and Billerbeck’s commentary has been unavailable in English until now.
Volume three contains an English translation of the commentary on Romans through Revelation. Translated by Joseph Longarino and edited by Jacob N. Cerone, this volume also includes an introduction by David Instone-Brewer.
Order all three volumes of the Commentary on the New Testament from the Talmud and Midrash
“Second, the quotations are presented without any context or discussion” (Page xxvi)
“But the Judaism that was rescued and recorded by Yohanan and his followers was not the same as the Judaism of New Testament times. The multitude of factions and sects was replaced by a single authority based on a majority vote by scholarly rabbis. Competing voices such as apocalyptic Jews and Qumran Jews were almost completely forgotten, though some of their literature survived. Details about other groups, such as the Sadducees, Therapeuti, and Zealots, have almost totally disappeared. Even groups similar to Yohanan, such as the followers of Shammai and Gamaliel, are known only by means of their disagreements with those closest to the dominant survivors, the Hillelites.” (Page xxxi)
“Hermann Strack’s academic life was devoted to combating anti-Semitism based on ignorance of Jewish sources. This involved court battles, pamphlet campaigns against powerful opponents, and academic publications. Despite his Christian convictions about the superiority of the New Testament, he refused to allow Jewish traditions to be denigrated and misrepresented.” (Page xxi)
“Illustrating the sayings, concepts, parables, theological background, and cultural assumptions is the main aim of Strack-Billerbeck. When read with this purpose, it is an unparalleled sourcebook.” (Page xxiii)
“A much closer parallel is now known in the opening page of the Qumran sect’s Community Rule: ‘in order to love all the sons of light … hate all the sons of darkness’ (1QS I, 10).” (Page xxv)
One can only hope that Strack and Billerbeck’s comprehensive Commentary will now receive the newfound appreciation it so richly deserves.
—Christfried Böttrich, professor in New Testament, Universität Greifswald, Germany
Strack–Billerbeck marked the culmination of nearly four hundred years of Christian engagement with Talmud and Midrash, the classic sources of Rabbinic thought. If used with discrimination it opens a door, in a way that no other work does, into the intense dialogue between early Christianity and Rabbinic Judaism.
—Philip Alexander, emeritus professor of post-biblical Jewish literature, University of Manchester, England
Everyone interested in the Jewish context of New Testament literature will welcome the appearance of the English translation of Strack and Billerbeck’s classic commentary that provides myriads of parallels with rabbinic literature. As an added bonus, David Instone-Brewer’s introduction very helpfully clarifies the proper use of this valuable tool and at the same time answers the criticisms leveled against it in its original German form.
—Craig A. Evans, John Bisagno Distinguished Professor of Christian Origins, Houston Baptist University
I have long wished for an English translation of Strack-Billerbeck.
—Craig L. Blomberg, Distinguished Professor of New Testament, Denver Seminary
Strack-Billerbeck, the essential tool for rabbinic opinion relative to the New Testament, has been accessible only to scholars or others who could read German. That obstacle has been eliminated with this new English translation, an achievement that will certainly position it as the essential tool in the English language for discovering ‘what the rabbis taught’ in regard to the content of the New Testament.
—Michael S. Heiser, executive director, Awakening School of Theology; host of the Naked Bible Podcast
Hermann Strack (1848–1922) was a German Orientalist and theologian. He studied rabbinics under Jewish-Bohemian scholar Moritz Steinschneider.
Paul Billerbeck (1853–1932) was a German Lutheran minister and scholar of Judaism.
Jacob N. Cerone is a doctoral candidate at the Friedrich-Alexander University at Erlangen-Nuremberg, coauthor of Daily Scriptures: 365 Readings in Hebrew, Greek, and Latin, and the editor and translator of Adolf von Harnack's The Letter of the Roman Church to the Corinthian Church from the Era of Domitian: 1 Clement.