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Everything We Get Wrong about Jesus and Jewish Impurity Laws

Season 2: Episode 40
Everything We Get Wrong about Jesus and Jewish Impurity Laws
Date Aired: 11/06/2023

It’s easy to read the New Testament and come away with the idea that Jesus was in opposition to the Jewish ritual impurity laws. In fact, that’s what most Christian theologians have taught for the past 2,000 years. Is it possible that we’ve (gasp!) been misreading the Bible this whole time? Our guest Matt Thiessen says, “Yep.” In today’s episode, we travel back to the first century to understand how everyday Jewish people understood ritual impurity, and what Jesus’s miracles—healing a leper, curing a woman of a hemorrhaging condition—would have meant in that historical context. 

Listen to the episode on the Biblical Time Machine website or wherever you get your podcasts.

Disclaimer: The Society of Biblical Literature is not responsible for the content of this podcast. The opinions expressed in this podcast do not necessarily reflect those of the Society of Biblical Literature, its members, or its staff.

  • The Biblical Time Machine Podcast is hosted by Helen Bond and Dave Roos. Helen Bond is professor of Christian origins at Edinburgh University. She is the author of Women Remembered: Jesus’s Female Disciples, The First Biography of Jesus: Genre and Meaning in Mark’s Gospel, and The Historical Jesus: A Guide for the Perplexed. Her research focuses on the social and political history of first century Judaea, the historical Jesus and the canonical gospels. Dave Roos is a journalist and writer who contributes to, HowStuffWorks and the popular podcast Stuff You Should Know. Dave has a degree in religious studies from Duke University.