Book Reviews

Judaism Is Not Jewish by Baruch Maoz
(Christian Focus ©2003 Scotland)

In his recent volume, Judaism is Not Jewish, Baruch Maoz provides a notable service for the Messianic Jewish movement by drawing the distinction between Jewish Christianity and Messianic Judaism in a clear and unambiguous fashion, and challenging Yeshua-believing Jews to make a decision between the two. He further serves the move­ment by accurately pointing out many of the deficiencies of the Messianic movement in the diaspora-e.g., the numerical predomi­nance of non-Jews, the encouraging of all non-Jews to observe Torah, and the inauthenticity of much of what passes in the movement for Jewish religious practice. But he also bestows an unintended gift on the Messianic Jewish movement: a theological attack whose weakness renders Messianic Judaism more rather than less credible.

Messianic Judaism Is Not Christianity by Stan Telchin
(Chosen Books ©2004 A Division Of Baker Books, Grand Rapids, Mi)

You can't tell a book by its cover, perhaps, but what about its title? Stan Telchin has written the latest in a series of oddly entitled books critical of Messianic Judaism. Last year saw the publication of Judaism is Not Jewish: A Friendly Critique of the Messianic Movement, by Baruch Maoz,1 and How Jewish is Christianity?: Two Views on the Messianic Movement, edited by the late Louis Goldberg, of blessed memory.2

Daniel Gruber, The Separation Of Church & Faith, Volume 1:Copernicus And The Jews
 (Hanover, Nh: Elijah, 2005. 332 PP.)

Daniel Gruber's recent work, The Separation of Church & Faith, Volume 1: Copernicus and the Jews, provides us with a fascinating and controversial discussion of a subject that the vast majority of Christians take for granted as an absolute and uncontested fact. In this first volume of a three-volume series entitled The Separation of Church and Faith, Gruber calls into question the legitimacy of the church and the concept of Christianity as theological constructs. On the basis of analysis of the biblical text through philological and theological methods, he rejects these institutions as unbiblical and instead argues that the commonwealth of Israel, which he defines as a community of Gentile nations with Israel at their center, constitutes the theological structure upon which the kingdom of God is based.

John W. Miller, How The Bible Came To Be: Exploring The Narrative And Message
(Mahwah, N.J.: Paulist Press, 2004. 188 PP.)

John W. Miller, professor emeritus at Conrad Grebel University College/ University of Waterloo in Ontario and author of The Origins of the Bible: Rethinking Canon History, 1 has produced a simple proposal with broad implications in How the Bible Came to Be . The latter book was drafted for teachers in a lay Bible study program and revised as a textbook for university undergraduates and graduates.

Book Review: Border Lines: The Partition of Judaeo Christianity
By Daniel Boyarin


Reviewed by Paul L. Saal

In recent years many books have been written which bolster the Messianic Jewish claim that Yeshua and his earliest talmidim would have been at home within the normative Jewish culture and practices of their day. Both post-critical studies of the Gospels and the “New Perspective” school of the Pauline epistles have sought to build bridges between nascent Christianity and the soon-to-emerge Rabbinic Judaism. To date though, not much credible scholarship of late antiquity has aided in the historical validation of a movement such as Messianic Judaism, which recognizes the messianic claims of Yeshua haNatzrati, while at the same time finding its cultural and religious home tenuously within the post-rabbinic Jewish people. Not until now, that is. In his most recent book, Border Lines: The Partition of Judeao-Christianity, Professor Daniel Boyarin has imaginatively laid out a thoughtful new reading of the emergence of Christianity and Judaism that can only prove helpful when considering the legitimacy of modern Messianic Judaism.

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