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

By Garber, Zev | Shofar, Summer 2009 | Go to article overview

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


Garber, Zev, Shofar


Modern Jews Engage the New Testament: Enhancing Jewish Well-Being in a Christian Environment, by Michael J. Cook. Woodstock, Vermont: Jewish Lights, 2008. 416 pp. $29.99.

The title is meant to suggest that Jews can overcome their centuries-old fear and apprehension by reading the sacred scriptures of Christian belief and practice. Rabbi Michael J. Cook (Bronstein Professor in Judeo-Christian Studies at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, Cincinnati) asserts that the time is long overdue for Jewish educators, clergy, and lay people to penetrate responsibly into Christian scriptures in order to discover and appraise the historical Jesus, which can help to illuminate and correct the misgivings and misdirection about the Jews found in Christendom. Reciprocally, attributed Jesus admonitions ("The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses' seat; so practice and observe whatever they teach you" [Matt 23:2a] and "salvation is from the Jews" [John 4:22b]) mandate the Ecclesia to engage the Synagoga on matters of Heaven and Earth. Birthing Jewish-Christian dialogue is an exciting and exacting learning experience for the enrichment and betterment of two sibling religions committed to biblical narrative and teaching.

Cook appraises the books of the New Testament as documents of human instruction meant to be reverently received and critically reflected in the light of academic research. Generally speaking, however, the educated Christian believer would differ; he or she would assert a balance of divine and human instruction consttued in the instruction to acquire scriptural spirituality and wisdom. And herein lies a major dilemma. Devotees of the New Testament advocate the "Bible as is" and so stress the content (kerygma and didache), whereas Cook sees conflated and conflicted textual data that demand problem-solving techniques. Thus his book is a reflective reservoir that is fed by a range of interpretations and options. Feeding the depths (to continue the aquatic metaphor) are tributaries that combine the Synoptic problem and the quest for the historical Jesus, and old-new currents, such as the history of Christian-Jewish polemics and the importance of modern and post-modern thought on Christian origins. His assessment of textual variants explained in the context of dissimilar groupings of believers in the Way - with all its wisdom and wrangle - is even-handed, and his assent to the incontrovertible fact that Pauline Epistles more than the teachings of Jesus molded the central role of the Jew in Christian Heilsgeschichte is academically sound.

In presenting a Jewish understanding of the New Testament, Cook begins his journey by cutting through a labyrinth of technicality and detours of ideological babble. Around short and selective episodes, told in reader-friendly style, he introduces the known and not so known bits of biblical criticism, which demonstrate the courage of his conviction that historical accuracy is the right direction to portray the Jews correctly in the "Greatest Story Ever Told." Against the background of first-century Judaism, he examines key scriptural ideas in a literary, political, and cultural context, He explores their message concerning who Jesus is, how much or little his ministry is imbued with protorabbinic values and tradition, and the importance of the historical Jesus sans Christology in the life of contemporary Jewry. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Modern Jews Engage the New Testament: Enhancing Jewish Well-Being in a Christian Environment
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.