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

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

by Michael J. Cook
     
 

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An honest, probing look at the dynamics of the New Testament—in relation to problems that disconcert Jews and Christians today.

Despite the New Testament’s impact on Jewish history, virtually all Jews avoid knowledge of its underlying dynamics. Jewish families and communities thus remain needlessly stymied when responding to a deeply Christian

Overview

An honest, probing look at the dynamics of the New Testament—in relation to problems that disconcert Jews and Christians today.

Despite the New Testament’s impact on Jewish history, virtually all Jews avoid knowledge of its underlying dynamics. Jewish families and communities thus remain needlessly stymied when responding to a deeply Christian culture. Their Christian friends, meanwhile, are left perplexed as to why Jews are wary of the Gospel’s “good news.”

This long-awaited volume offers an unprecedented solution-oriented introduction to Jesus and Paul, the Gospels and Revelation, leading Jews out of anxieties that plague them, and clarifying for Christians why Jews draw back from Christians’ sacred writings.

Accessible to laypeople, scholars and clergy of all faiths, innovative teaching aids make this valuable resource ideal for rabbis, ministers and other educators. Topics include:

  • The Gospels, Romans and Revelation— the Key Concerns for Jews
  • Misusing the Talmud in Gospel Study
  • Jesus’ Trial, the “Virgin Birth” and Empty Tomb Enigmas
  • Millennialist Scenarios and Missionary Encroachment
  • The Last Supper and Church Seders
  • Is the New Testament Antisemitic?

While written primarily with Jews in mind, this groundbreaking volume will also help Christians understand issues involved in the origin of the New Testament, the portrayal of Judaism in it, and why for centuries their “good news” has been a source of fear and mistrust among Jews.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

This arcane treatise aims to familiarize Jews with the New Testament. According to Cook, Jews shortchange themselves by failing to learn about the New Testament since they live in a Christian environment where their ignorance is a handicap. He wrote this manual to help Jews overcome this limitation, which he contends is a departure from the value Jews place on knowledge. At Hebrew Union College, where Cook teaches Judeo-Christian studies, rabbinical students have to learn the New Testament, a requirement that he feels should be mandated for all Jewish seminarians and college students. His handbook lays out the content for such courses for the benefit of non-Jews and secularists as well as Jews. Unfortunately, instead of presenting a primer, Cook offers a complicated text, replete with esoteric diagrams. His assumption of a base of knowledge contradicts his assertion that Jews know little about the New Testament. He examines the Gospels, Acts, Epistles, and Revelation, discussing their abstruse and often contradictory meanings. Most beginning readers will get lost in Cook's perplexing consideration of minutiae, despite his comprehensive expertise. (June)

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From the Publisher

"A wonderful resource for Jews who seek to take on the challenges posed by the New Testament and for Christians who wish to understand Jews' relationship to Christian theology. Whether for individual or group study, [its] educational value is without measure."
Rabbi Eric H. Yoffie, president, Union for Reform Judaism

"Superb. Builds on Cook's mastery of sound New Testament scholarship with innovative interpretations and lucid [expression].... Useful for laity, clergy and scholars, [and] essential for [those] dedicated to Christian-Jewish dialogue."
Joseph B. Tyson, professor emeritus of religious studies, Southern Methodist University; author, Marcion and Luke-Acts: A Defining Struggle

“Covers the highlights of the Gospels and New Testament Christianity and makes [readers new to the topic] feel more at home. Useful for all engaged in Jewish and Christian dialogue.”
Rabbi Burton L. Visotzky, Appleman Professor of Midrash and Interreligious Studies, The Jewish Theological Seminary; author, A Delightful Compendium of Consolation

“Practical, pointed and provocative.... Points out how and why Jews need to understand this material. A welcome addition to both New Testament scholarship and Jewish-Christian relations.”
Amy-Jill Levine, E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Professor of New Testament Studies, Vanderbilt University Divinity School

“Groundbreaking.... Extraordinary insights into a long-neglected and misunderstood subject. Essential reading for people of all religions.”
Rabbi A. James Rudin, senior interreligious adviser, The American Jewish Committee

“Distills modern New Testament scholarship in a way that will greatly aid Jews.... Christians reading it will be fascinated by this Jewish 'take’ on it, and challenged in a positive way where they disagree, and they will, with some of the author’s conclusions. A must read for anyone involved in Jewish-Christian dialogue!”
Dr. Eugene J. Fisher, associate director emeritus, Secretariat for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops

“Sharp insights, broad scholarship and straight language ... opens up the world of the New Testament and the dynamics that produced it [and] will yield fruit for virtually every reader. Provocative without being explosive, an inspired and inspiring resource for the next era of Jewish-Christian encounter.”
Rev. Peter A. Pettit, PhD, director, Institute for Jewish-Christian Understanding, Muhlenberg College

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781580233132
Publisher:
Turner Publishing Company
Publication date:
05/01/2008
Pages:
416
Sales rank:
977,713
Product dimensions:
6.20(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.40(d)

Meet the Author

Rabbi Michael J. Cook, PhD, is professor of intertestamental and early Christian literatures and holds the Sol and Arlene Bronstein Professorship in Judaeo-Christian Studies at Hebrew Union College–Jewish Institute of Religion. He is author of Modern Jews Engage the New Testament: Enhancing Jewish Well-Being in a Christian Environment and is a leader in the field of Jewish-Christian relations.

Rabbi Michael J. Cook, PhD, is available to speak on the following topics:

  • Jews, Jesus and "Gospel Dynamics": Why the Future Is Not What It Used to Be
  • From Calvary to Oberammergau 2010: The Impact of Jesus' Death on Jewish Life
  • Now That Jesus Hasn't Returned, What Does It Mean for the Jews?
  • Jesus Was No Myth, But Who Then Was He?
  • "And as They Were at Table Eating" (Mk 14): Could the Last Supper Have Been a Seder?

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