Book Authors: Zev Garber and Kenneth Hanson Book Review by Eugene J. Fisher
This insightful volume represents the hands-on experience in the world of academia of two Jewish scholars, one of Orthodox background and the other a convert to the Jewish faith. As a series of separate but interrelated essays, it approaches multiple issues touching both the historical Jesus (himself a pious Jew) and the modern phenomenon of Messianic Judaism. It bridges the gap between the typically isolated disciplines of Jewish and Christian scholarship and forges a fresh level of understanding across religious boundaries. It delves into such issues as the nature and essence of Jesus message (pietistic, militant or something of a hybrid), and whether Messianic Jews should be welcome in the larger Jewish community. Its ultimate challenge is to view sound scholarship as a means of bringing together disparate faith traditions around a common academic table. Serious research of the great Nazarene becomes interfaith discourse.
The authors show the Jewishness of Jesus and his teachings. They delve into what unites and what distinguishes Judaism and Christianity, especially in the Jewish liturgical practices that the early Christians, who were mainly Jews, took from their ancient traditions and modified to establish the liturgies that Christians practice today. They call, rightly, for dialogue between all Christians and all Jews, having established how much we can learn about ourselves by learning from the other.