The Term "Rabbi" in the Gospels

By Tim Hegg

In this paper I want to investigate the claim that the the term Rabbi is anachronistic in the Gospels. In The Gospels and Rabbinic Judaism,1 the authors outline the premise that the term “Rabbi” was not used until after the destruction of the Temple (70 C.E.) and therefore must have found its way into some of the Gospel texts through the hands of 2nd century authors and redactors. Writing about Matthew in particular, Hilton and Marshall say:

Our analysis suggests that Matthew’s text may well not reflect an actual sermon given by Yeshua, but the situation at the time Matthew’s Gospel was written, when enmity between the early Messiahian and the Jewish communities was already hardening.


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1 Michael Hilton and Gordian Marshall, The Gospels and Rabbinic Judaism (SCM Press, 1988), pp. 35.

Tim Hegg

President / Instructor

Tim graduated from Cedarville University in 1973 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Music and Bible, with a minor in Philosophy. He entered Northwest Baptist Seminary (Tacoma, WA) in 1973, completing his M.Div. (summa cum laude) in 1976. He completed his Th.M. (summa cum laude) in 1978, also from NWBS. His Master’s Thesis was titled: “The Abrahamic Covenant and the Covenant of Grant in the Ancient Near East”. Tim taught Biblical Hebrew and Hebrew Exegesis for three years as an adjunct faculty member at Corban University School of Ministry when the school was located in Tacoma. Corban University School of Ministry is now in Salem, OR. Tim is a member of the Evangelical Theological Society and the Society of Biblical Literature, and has contributed papers at the annual meetings of both societies. Since 1990, Tim has served as one of the Overseers at Beit Hallel in Tacoma, WA. He and his wife, Paulette, have four children, nine grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren.