A Tribute to Robert L. Lindsey, Ph. D. (1917-1995) and his work...

Excerpt from November 1996 Tree of Life
Quarterly Membership Magazine

This pioneer of Jewish roots studies, lives on in the work of many of the world's top scholars---Dr. Brad Young, Dwight Pryor, Dr. Marvin Wilson, and more. I never met the man, but was present at a meeting within days of his death in Tulsa with his daughter, Lenore, and son-in-law, Ken Mullican. It was our first meeting with other Jewish roots leadership from Oklahoma and Kansas, and was amazed at the strength in Lenore and Ken that night. Over the months we've been busy and not attended all the meetings since it involves a two hour one way drive for us, and Tom has been finishing his master's degree from Regents University. The Mullicans have visited with us more over the phone than in person, but we have appreciated their devotion to the memory of her father and the Jewish roots movement. We share a common board member, Randy Felton, from Oklahoma City, too, and that has strengthened our ties with them Recently as we were attempting to get our magazine put together, we had been asked by other associate ministries to include a catalog. We haven't attempted to compile a catalog as that meant more time delays, but prayed about it and felt a release to hold the magazine for the catalog. In my email discussions with Randy, I asked about Dr. Lindsey's materials. He told me to call Ken and ask if we might carry a few things, and where to get them. Ken was so gracious, and prayed about what to share with us. Their INTERNET page is partially up, and they list materials there, too. Here's the link to their site: www.hakeser.org.and their email address is hakesher@aol.com

I knew that there was a vast wealth of information available. Ken faxed me information and then we had a long friendly conversation about things. Ken revealed that there was still materials in Israel that needed to be brought to the USA, but that they had hit a snag. Strangely enough, God had hooked me to someone within that organization that might be able to help, and Randy was headed to Israel to make connections with that person. So perhaps the network could help in that regard. Baruch HaShem! After much discussion and visiting, Ken told me that he had prayed about their involvement with us, and felt released to use HaY'Did to help distribute Dr. Lindsey and HaKesher's materials.

Who would have guessed that today you would be holding in your hands over forty years of research and prayer, of which you can pick and choose to study? It is amazing to me that even while I was so far away from God, He was providing Dr. Lindsey and the others to dig into the wealth of information that is now available to me and you. Imagine listening as God revealed to Dr. Lindsey these truths in his sermons. Sure, we know more since then, but what would it have been like to sit in the Narkis Street Baptist Congregation in Jerusalem as he showed Yeshua as the Jewish Messiah for the first time in Matthew or Mark? Talk about Golden Oldie tapes!!! I want you to read about Dr. Lindsey and take a walk down memory lane... Cheryle Holeman, Media Director

No one loved the land of the Bible and the people of the land, both Jews and Arabs, more than Bob Lindsey. He first came to the land of Palestine in 1939 for a year and a half to study Hebrew while living with a Jewish family in Jerusalem. On the way back to the U.S. he traveled through the Orient and, in Japan, met the young woman who would become his wife. Margaret Lutz was returning to college after visiting her parents who were serving in Korea and had booked passage on the same ship as Bob. After completing seminary he returned to the Holyland in 1945 with his wife and two small children, Lenore and David, to become pastor of the Narkis Street Baptist Congregation in Jerusalem. He functioned in many different capacities while serving in Israel until his retirement in 1987 but he is perhaps best remembered by more people in his role as senior pastor of the church in Jerusalem.

Dr. Bob Lindsey was a world class scholar--he earned his BA from the University of Oklahoma, Th.M. from Princeton Theological Seminary, and Ph. D. from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky--but above all he had a pastor's heart. Except for a few brief periods through the years, the time for his scholarly pursuits was made up of a few hours here and a few hours there or a short "'vacation"' at the little cottage in Galilee away from telephone and pastoral duties. Bob's primary scholarly interest was the Synoptic Gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke. His concern for publishing the life and words of Jesus in modern Hebrew led him to translate the Gospel of Mark from Greek into Hebrew. In a time when many scholars were doubting the authenticity of the words attributed to Jesus in the Gospels, Bob was struck by the fact that when the sayings of Jesus in Greek were translated into Hebrew, what had been poor Greek syntax suddenly became good Hebrew! In addition, words and phrases that are meaningless in Greek (and English) were perfectly acceptable Hebrew idioms, many of which are used today in modern Israel. For example, Jesus' reference to a person having a "good eye" or a "bad eye" has spawned numerous sermons through the centuries---good sermons with good morals but which totally miss the point. In Hebrew idiom, good eye simply means "generous" and bad eye means ""stingy." Even today in Israel when someone is collecting for the heart association or whatever, the person soliciting may say, "Give with a good eye," that is, "Give generously." Thus, what we have preserved in our Synoptic Gospels in their present form is not the result of oral tradition passed along and written down by a Gentile church long after the time of Jesus, but a slavishly literal translation from a Hebrew original into Greek thereby preserving the original Hebrew syntax and idiom. While each gospel writer selects material from his sources and arranges the material in his own way, we can rejoice in the confirmation of the authenticity of the words of Jesus in the Synoptic Gospels.

Dr. Lindsey's scholarly pursuits are closely tied to his association with his longtime associate and dear friend Professor David Flusser, Professor Emeritus of Comparative Religion at Hebrew University in Jerusalem. Through the years, the association of "Lindsey" and "Flusser" (as they were known to each other) in a series of seminars relating to the Synoptic Gospels resulted in the formation of a consortium of Christian and Jewish scholars known as the Jerusalem School of Synoptic Research. These scholars are examining the Synoptic Gospels within the context of the language and culture in which Jesus lived. The basis thrust of their endeavor is the direct result of the lifetime of biblical research of Robert L. Lindsey, Ph.D. Their work confirms that Jesus was a Jewish sage who taught in Hebrew and used uniquely Rabbinic teaching methods (which in no way affects our Christian theological view of Jesus but does assist us in understanding and interpreting his words.)

While many scholars believe that the present Gospels are the result of an oral tradition of the life and sayings of Jesus, modified for its own purpose by a Greek speaking Gentile church, and finally written down in Greek, the scholars of the Jerusalem School have arrived at a far different conclusion. They believe the first narrative of Jesus' life was written in Hebrew, and that much of it can be recovered from the Greek texts of the Synoptic Gospels. The School's central objective is to reconstruct as much as possible of that conjectured Hebrew narrative. This is an attempt to recover a lost Jewish document from the Second Temple period, a Hebrew scroll which, like so much Jewish literature of the period, has been preserved only in Greek. Therefore, their method involves translating the Synoptic Gospels from Greek into Hebrew and then studying the Hebrew text. This differs from the majority of New Testament research which considers only the Greek text, thereby failing to be aware of the Hebrew idioms or to benefit from a Hebraic perspective. Both Christian and Jewish scholars within the Jerusalem School benefit from their joint effort. Most Christian theology has been developed from a non-Jewish Greek perspective. As Christians, we are therefore trying to understand and interpret Jewish documents written by Jews for a Jewish audience (in the case of the Hebrew Scriptures or Old Testament) and documents written largely if not entirely by Jews from a Hebraic perspective (in the case of the New Testament--even in the case of Paul when writing to mixed or largely Gentile congregations). Therefore, the Jewish scholars offer the enlightenment of a Hebraic perspective. So why are the Jewish scholars interested in the Synoptic Gospels? They view them as important Jewish historical records with some information about the period that occurs in no other source to date. Thus, while the members of the Jerusalem School do not agree with each other about how to interpret the theological significance of their findings with regard to the life and words of Jesus, they do agree on the importance of reliable research methodology aimed at obtaining trustworthy historical evidence for the meaning of Jesus' words. Dr. Bob Lindsey's impressive list of publications include, in addition to numerous monographs and journal articles, the three-volume Greek Synoptic Concordance, and his books: A Hebrew Translation of the Gospel of Mark, Jesus, Rabbi and Lord, and The Jesus Sources. Dr. Lindsey, in his association with the Jerusalem School, was involved with a number of very important projects that are still in progress:

1. The Jerusalem Synoptic Commentary; 2. A new annotated English translation of the Gospels: 3. The Jerusalem School's own synopsis (side by side comparison of Synoptic texts) with very literal, or totally literal, English translation. The synopsis will be annotated with explanations of the Hebraisms in the text.

David Bivin, publisher of Jerusalem Perspective, a quarterly journal featuring the work of members of the Jerusalem School of Synoptic Research, heads the above listed projects in Israel.

In the U.S., HaKesher, Inc., founded in 1987 by Dr. Lindsey's daughter and son-in-law (Lenore and Ken Mullican) is dedicated to promoting the research of Dr. Lindsey and other members of the Jerusalem School. HaKesher distributes Dr. Lindsey's books, and his seminar and sermon tapes. (HaKesher is in the process of editing and making available sermon tapes of Dr. Lindsey's last seven years as pastor in Jerusalem.) They are an extremely valuable resource of teaching from a Hebraic perspective and embody the culmination of a lifetime of biblical research and living in the land of the Bible by Dr. Lindsey.

In addition, HaKesher has established the Robert and Margaret Lindsey Biblical Research Library. It is currently housed at the HaKesher offices and is a limited access research library. This library consists largely of books collected by Dr. Lindsey through the years and used by him in his research. To this collection, HaKesher continues to add appropriately significant volumes.

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