Magazine article International Bulletin of Missionary Research
Mapping Messianic Jewish Theology: A Constructive Approach/Jews and the Gospel at the End of History: A Tribute to Moishe Rosen
Mapping Messianic Jewish Theology: A Constructive Approach. By Richard Harvey. Colorado Springs, Colo.: Paternoster Press, 2009. Pp. xiii, 316. Paperback $22.99.
Jews and the Gospel at the End of History: A Tribute to Moishe Rosen. Edited by Jim Congdon. Grand Rapids: Kregel Publications, 2009. Pp. 271. Paperback $18.99.
Richard Harvey, the academic dean and tutor in Hebrew Bible and Jewish Studies at All Nations Christian College, in Ware, Hertfordshire, England, has produced a remarkable study of the history and development of Messianic Jewish theology that will be a standard reference for many years to come. Rabbi Dan Cohn-Sherbok, professor of Judaism at the University of Wales, who was Harvey's doctoral adviser, judges this to be "an outstanding study of seminal importance" (quoted on the front cover).
Harvey describes Messianic Judaism as "the religion of Jewish people who believe in Jesus (Yeshua) as the promised Messiah. It is a Jewish form of Christianity and a Christian form of Judaism"; it is "a bridge between the worlds of Judaism and Christianity" and, as such, "presents a challenge to the self-understanding of both the Church and the Synagogue" (pp. xi-xii, 1). It is estimated that there are 150,000 Jewish believers in Jesus worldwide; "more than 100,000 are in the USA, approximately 5,000 in Israel, the remainder being found throughout the approximately 13 million world Jewish population" (p. 2).
After a critical review of the most significant studies of Messianic Judaism since the 1970s, Harvey discusses the key theological issues facing the Messianic movement, namely, "the doctrine of God, the person of the Messiah, the theory and practice of the Torah and the future of Israel" (p. 12). In his mapping of the theological territory in these most needed areas, he limits his resources to theological material written by Messianic Jewish theologians who have been active in the modern Messianic movement, which shows where the movement is today. He concludes with an assessment of the future of messianic theology and offers questions for future research.
Well written and richly documented, Harvey's work will be widely appreciated and used as a valuable resource for understanding the Messianic movement and the challenges it presents. …