Zondervan has just released Introduction to Messianic Judaism: Its Ecclesial Context and Biblical Foundations. I’ve been looking forward to this book’s publication since first hearing about it a few years ago. The reassessment of Paul’s relationship to Judaism in the wake of E. P. Sanders’s work has opened up new possibilities for faithfully envisioning the relationship of Christian discipleship to Judaism. This very important offering may well be a catalyst for further research and spark conversations in bringing unity to God’s entire family in Christ.
Edited by David Rudolph and Joel Willitts, the book has two parts. First, a history of Messianic Judaism, along with an overview of the sorts of communities that make up the movement. These chapters, written by leaders of Messianic communities, are intended to help Messianic Jews understand their own movement better and to introduce it to Christians who have little or no awareness of it.
The second part provides the biblical basis for reckoning with the relationship between Judaism and the Christian movement. These chapters, written by leading New Testament scholars, “demonstrate how post-supersessionist interpretation of the New Testament results in readings of the biblical text that are consistent with Messianic Judaism” (p. 18).
* “Supersessionism” envisions the relationship in the New Covenant between God and the Christian church as replacing the relationship in the Mosaic Law of God with the nation of Israel. Several strands of church tradition are officially supersessionist, but an implicit supersessionism lies at the heart of much Christian theology.
Congratulations to David and Joel on its publication! I’m eager to dig into it and I do hope that it does much to bring about the unity of the body of Christ for the glory of God.