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

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  • Posted October 23, 2010

    A wonderful resource for all families!

    My teacher has crafted a truly useful tool for all families - Jewish or not - in addressing the challenging questions that have arisen out of generations of Jews living in a non-Jewish world.
    Dr. Cook's great plea is that the Jewish people - who pride themselves historically on progress through learning - overcome the general ignorance regarding the New Testament and Christian origins. The more people know and appreciate about traditions that differ from their own, the more confident they become in their own religious perspective.
    Beautifully thought, persuasively articulated. A great addition to the field of interfaith understanding.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 24, 2008

    Stimulating and Ground-breaking

    Cook wants modern Jews to come to grips with the New Testament and understand the 'Gospel Dynamics' by which Christian writers addressed the needs of their constituents forty to seventy years after the death of Jesus. The Gospels reflect a situation that arose during the decades after the first Jewish War with Rome in 66-73 CE. Some of the animosity that colored the relation between Jews and Christians in those years was read back 'retrojected' into Gospel accounts of Jesus' ministry. After centuries of persecution, based largely on a few scripture texts, leading up to the Holocaust, it is not surprising that modern Jews are intimidated by the New Testament. Some are even forbidden to read it. Should they dare to pick up a copy of the Gospels and peek into it, they will find shocking passages that describe Jews as intrinsically evil, without distinction as to time or place. No wonder that Jews don't read the New Testament and feel ill at ease in a Christian environment in the shadow of the cross. Unacquainted with the circumstances under which the Gospels were composed, when late-blooming prejudice was turned into historical event, the Jews in the pew do not know how to defend themselves on being told that they and their children have inherited the curse of their ancestors for having murdered 'the Author of Life,' in Acts 3:15. All this in spite of the fact that, according to the Fourth Gospel, those who arrested, scourged, and crucified Jesus were Roman soldiers in John 18:12. Readers and New Testament scholars will be stimulated by Professor Cook's fresh handling of the Infancy Stories, the Parables, and the Passion Narratives. After twenty centuries, it is hard to say anything new about Jesus, but it is interesting to revisit familiar New Testament passages and view them 'through Jewish eyes'. Cook's conception of dialogue neither begins nor ends with an adversarial position. He simply wants his Jewish and Christian readers to understand the New Testament from a literary, social, and philosophical point of view, free from contamination by late blooming 'sources' with polemical axes to grind. Above all, warns the author, Jews should not accept at face value a literal reading of emotionally charged ancient texts that have been used down the centuries to perpetuate hatred of Jews. Professor Cook is a scrupulously fair New Testament scholar and his research is addressed to members of his peer group in academia as well as to Jews and Christian laypersons. Helpful diagrams, figures, and charts, the product of careful research and design, add to the value of this handsomely bound volume with its four indices. Christian scholars, who have spent years in dialogue with one another, will find here a fresh look at the New Testament. I am confident that Cook's volume will become a standard resource in public and private libraries both here and abroad.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 13, 2010

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