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.
5 thoughts on “Introduction to Messianic Judaism”
Sounds good. I’ve been wondering, when it comes to the topic of Paul and Judaism–specifically, the various charges that Paul either re-interpreted Jesus into a divine savior, or that he wrote his letters trying to squelch alternative interpretations of Jesus and exclusively promote his own, or that he ‘founded Christianity’… what are some of the best books that deal with that topic? I’ve seen you mention, for example, Daniel Kirk’s book “Jesus Have I Loved, but Paul?”
I realize it’s a multi-faceted and huge discussion.
Hey Danny, I’d check out Kirk on this–it’s really good. Also, David Wenham has two books on this topic, one that came out about 15 years ago and then one more recently. Also, N. T. Wright’s ‘What St. Paul Really Said’ is written to answer this question in the face of claims that Paul invented something other than what Jesus preached.
Thanks so much.
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