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Pesher is an approach to Biblical interpretation, found most notably in the Dead Sea Scrolls. It is based on reading scriptural prophecies as allegorically referring to one's present situation. For example, the Dead Sea Scrolls interpreted biblical prophesies addressing the Babylonians to actually refer to the Romans, since for the community which wrote them, the Romans were a real and present source of oppression, the Babylonians distant and irrelevant to their lives. Similarly, they also interpreted a number of biblical prophesies to refer to the founder of their own community (the Teacher of Righteousness) and his archrival (the Wicked Priest).
There are two main types of pesher. One type is a verse-by-verse commentary, in which successive verses of a single biblical book (or portion of a biblical book) are interleaved with commentary. The other type takes a thematic or topical approach, in which individual verses or passages are drawn from many different books.
Barbara Thiering attempted to link pesher to the New Testament, in conjunction with her idiosyncratic approach to textual interpretation. However, her approach has not found favour with the wider scholarly community.
This last statement is the favorite dismissal of her work on Wikipedia that is supported by the Christian-Wiki police. What follows here is a more precise meaning of Dr. Thiering's discovery, described in her books and website, of the pesher in relation to the Dead Sea Scrolls and the early Christian Church of Jesus. Given that the writers of the Gospels would have been familiar with the pesher technique of the Dead Sea Scrolls, it would have been logical for them to apply it. In many cases it is obvious, but in others it is more subtle.
All healings are metaphoric, for instance water into wine is the allowing of Gentiles from mere baptism by water to wine at the holy table; The death of Lazarus is merely excommunication. Many characters have multiple names: Salome is Martha and is also the "wife of Zebedee" and the Syrophoenician woman, etc; Simon the Zealot/Caananite is Zebedee, Simon the Magician/Tanner/leper, Simon of Cyrene, etc.
Different clues point to Jesus' survival from the cross such as the "poison" which seemed to kill him immediately, whereas he was just drugged to appear dead and quickly removed from the cross to be revived in the cave. (A miracle in itself, but free of the Resurrection and Ascension additions.) The fact that his legs were not broken allowed him to be standing when Magdalene mistook him for the gardener and for him to meet with Cephas on the road to Emmaus.
Finally the most important point is that all these supposed suppositions all support each other into a coherent whole.
- Barbara Thiering, Jesus the Man. Corgi, 1993. ISBN 9780552139502
- Nicholas P. L. Allen, A Critical Re-Appraisal of Thiering's ‘Pesher Technique’ Thesis. Journal of Early Christian History, Volume 4, 2014 Issue 2.