Introduction to Rabbinical Literature (Zoom Course)



3 Academic Credit Hours (February 2 – April 13, 2022)

Introduction to Rabbinical Literature

Course will be held via Zoom on Wednesdays, 4 – 7 PM GMT+3 (Israel Time)


Course Description

This course will examine key excerpts from the Oral-Law to learn how the Rabbis interpreted the Hebrew Bible, to understand their motives, and to consider their objectives. In the past, Rabbinic writings – the Halacha, Midrash and Aggadah – were regarded as the normative “modus vivendi” of Jewish life. Nevertheless, recent scholarship treats the Mishnah as a unique and revolutionary text, a new literary genre for the Jewish world: literature that identified and set-apart the Rabbinic sect from other contemporary Jewish groups. Moreover, it was developed in reaction to another Jewish movement, namely, Messianic Judaism (i.e., Christianity). In this course, we will engage in critical examination of passages from the Oral-Law as novel religious texts, developed amidst the destruction of the Second Temple and in response to the liturgy of the New-Testament.

Course Goals

This course is designed to enable students to achieve the following objectives:

  1. To introduce the Rabbinic literature and its different genres
  2. To value the importance of the Oral-Law for better understanding the Christian faith
  3. To show how the Oral-Law developed, particularly as a reaction to 1st century Messianic Judaism
  4. To demonstrate the interaction and mutual influence between the New Testament and the Rabbinic writings

Learning Outcome

  1. The students will gain a better appreciation of the importance of the Oral-Law for understanding the roots of their faith
  2. The students will be better equipped to speak about their own faith with the Jewish people
  3. The students will better understand the background of contemporary Judaism and the initial causes of “the parting of the ways” from Christianity
  4. The students will better appreciate the Jewish roots of the gospel and its power to change their lives amidst ever-growing power-struggles of world religions

Course Structure

This class will meet once a week by ZOOM, with interactive lectures and heated discussions.  All together there will be 10 three hour (with breaks) Live zoom lectures. Recordings will be available to registered students.

Course Topics

  • Introduction to course; the fall of biblical Judaism and the rise of the Rabbis; introduction to the literary context of 2nd Temple period
  • The pharisees, among other Jewish contemporary sects; The background and context for the development of the Oral-Law; the reformation of Judaism amidst the 2ndTemple destruction and the ‘Brit’
  • Who were the founding father of the Rabbinic ‘church’?; introduction to Rabbinic literature: Halacha, Midrash and Agada; why write the ‘Oral-Law’?; the rivalry between two New Covenants
  • Introduction to the Mishnah – the political-theological manifesto of Rabbinic Judaism; the use of the Old Testament as a book of laws, its misuse and its inevitable destiny of heading for oblivion
  • Introduction to Midrash and Agada; their use by the Oral-Law, their structure and their purpose; examples from key texts
  • The absolute freedom to interpret the Biblical text; examples from relevant Rabbinic prooftexts
  • The parting of the ways; the Oral-Law serration from Biblical and Messianic Judaism; examples from key rabbinic texts
  • Raising up the status of the Sages in the Jewish world; the new elite of disciples and the emphasis on education; examples from key texts
  • Shifting from ethnos toward ethos; the question of ‘who’s a real kosher Jew’ and the invention of conversion; examples from key texts
  • The development of Oral-Law teachings until this day; examining the Rabbinic religion in Israel and all across Jewry, its status and its future; conclusion of the course and its practical implications


Instructor: Dr. Golan Broshi

Dr. Golan Broshi is an Israeli born, Messianic believer in Yeshua and an active member of Or Ha-Sharon Messianic Congregation. He holds an MA in Social Education, MA in Jewish Education, and DMin in Middle East Leadership Ministry. He serves on the faculty of Israel College of the Bible in Netanya, Israel, as a full-time lecturer. His teaching field concentration is on Jewish Oral Law, Biblical Hebrew, and Education. Dr. Golan Broshi has published several scholarly articles and books including, The Rabbinic Reformation, The Oral Law Debunked (co-authored with Dr. Eitan Bar, One for Israel, 2018), “Shavuot,” in A Handbook on the Jewish Roots of the Christian Faith (eds. Craig A. Evans, David Mishkin, Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 2019)

Course at a Glance

  • Live Lectures via Zoom
  • Wednesdays, 4 – 7 PM GMT+3 (Israel Time)
  • Language: English

Required Textbooks

  1. The Bible (Tanakh and New-Testament).
  2. Untranslated Rabbinic texts in Hebrew (presented to the class by the teacher)

Students who sign up for academic credit hours will need to purchase 2 books from the suggested list (optional if the course is taken for personal enrichment):

      • Bar-Asher Siegal, Michal, Novick, Tzvi & Hayes, Christine (Eds.). The Faces of Torah: Studies in the Texts and Contexts of Ancient Judaism.‎
      • Boyarin, Daniel. Intertextuality and the Reading of Midrash. Indiana University Press, 1994.
      • Cohen, Shaye J. D. The Beginnings of Jewishness: Boundaries, Varieties, Uncertainties.
      • Collins, John J. The Invention of Judaism: Torah and Jewish Identity from Deuteronomy to Paul.
      • Dunn, James D. G. (Ed.). Jews and Christians: The Parting of the Ways, A. D. 70 to 135.
      • Flusser, David. Judaism of the Second Temple Period: Sages and Literature
      • Gutierrez, Juan Marcos Bejarano. The Transformation of Israelite Religion to Rabbinic Judaism.
      • Kaufmann, Yehezkel. Christianity and Judaism: Two Covenants.
      • Neusner, Jacob. The Four Stages of Rabbinic Judaism.
      • Oppenheimer, Aharon. Rabbi Judah ha-Nasi: Statesman, Reformer, and Redactor of the Mishnah.
      • Safrai, Zeev. The Literature of the Sages.
      • Schimmel, Chaim. The Oral Law: The Rabbinic Contribution to Torah sheBe’al Peh.
      • Stewart, R. A. The Earlier Rabbinic Tradition and it’s Importance for New Testament Background.
      • Yuval, Israel Jacob. Two Nations in Your Womb.

Course Fees

  • For Personal Enrichment  – $249 USD
  • For Academic Credit  – $750 USD
  • For Academic Credit – DTS Students – $450 USD

*These fees do not include required textbooks

**Payment is non-refundable