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Modern Jews Engage the New Testament:…

Modern Jews Engage the New Testament: Enhancing Jewish Well-Being in a…

by Michael J. Cook, Ph.D.

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One probably should not review a book in light of what one wants it to be, or expected it to be, rather than what it is. My disappointment in this book is that I had hoped it would throw light on what a Jewish reader might find in the New Testament. That's not what this book is about. It is more a book of apologetics -- a guide to Jewish readers by a rabbi in how to read the New Testament without being impressed too much by it. Rabbi Cook's primary interest is the sections of the NT that have been used or abused to advance anti-semitism. He's not much interested in anything else. He wants to point out to the Jewish reader of the NT where these sections are in the NT, and how he, and some other biblical scholars, have come to believe they were added on to whatever is authentic in the NT. He believes in about every case when NT quotes Hebrew scriptures as prophecy (of Jesus being the Messiah), it is a case of later writers combing Hebrew scripture for a reference that they can then put in Jesus' mouth or attribute to an original writer. I was hoping he would see more commonality between Hebrew scripture and NT, but that is not a point of view from which he is writing. I am also disappointed that he fails to see any "Jewishness" in the first Jewish Christians. But there is no reason he should, I suppose, since he is writing his book for the clear cut purpose of arming Jews so they'll be able to answer anyone tossing out antisemitic opinions from the Bible. In no way is this an interfaith reading of scripture. In fact, I'm not sure Rabbi Cook deals with faith - scriptural, Jewish or Christian - at all in this book. ( )
  MarthaHuntley | Nov 1, 2010 |
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