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What's the problem with Messianic Judaism? Stan Telchin, a Messianic Jew and former pastor, explores in depth the heart and soul of Messianic Judaism. He exposes the motive behind its creation, its controversial doctrines, and its ineffectiveness in Jewish evangelism. Messianic Judaism has grown significantly in fewer than four decades. While intended originally to appeal to Jewish people, unexpectedly it appeals also to Gentiles. Telchin, in following the teaching of the apostle Paul, sees Messianic Judaism as divisive. With a firm and loving approach, he addresses the dangers of this movement, reiterates God's intention for his church to serve as "one new man" and, most importantly, advocates unity among the body of believers. Perhaps you're a pastor concerned with the enticing pull of Messianic Judaism on your congregation. Perhaps you've merely wondered about the validity of this movement. Or maybe you're a Gentile who has been made to feel less than worthy. Whatever the reason, if you believe that God sees a difference between Jews and Gentiles in the Body of Christ, then this book will help you think again. "It took courage for Stan to write so pointedly from his broad and insightful experiences within the Messianic movement. Forthright and comprehensive, these chapters deal with a problem all followers of Jesus face-the desire to be accepted by those who have yet to experience God's transforming love."-Arthur F. Glasser, Ph.D., dean emeritus, School of World Mission, Fuller Theological Seminary "What Stan tells you in this book may come as a revelation. Certainly it will be controversial. Questions should arise, and much discussion should be the result."-Moishe Rosen, founder, Jews for Jesus "Whether you agree with everything he says or not, you will find the book interesting and enlightening."-D. James Kennedy, Ph.D., senior minister, Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church
For centuries, Jews have been known as the "people of the book." It is commonly thought that Judaism in the first several centuries CE found meaning exclusively in textual sources. But there is another approach to meaning to be found in ancient Judaism, one that sees it in the natural world and derives it from visual clues rather than textual ones. According to this conception, God embedded hidden signs in the world that could be read by human beings and interpreted according to complex systems. In exploring the diverse functions of signs outside of the realm of the written word, Swartz introduces unfamiliar sources and motifs from the formative age of Judaism, including magical and divination texts and new interpretations of legends and midrashim from classical rabbinic literature. He shows us how ancient Jews perceived these signs and read them, elaborating on their use of divination, symbolic interpretation of physical features and dress, and interpretations of historical events. As we learn how these ancient people read the world, we begin to see how ancient people found meaning in unexpected ways.
The Jewish coming-of-age ceremony of bar mitzvah was first recorded in thirteenth-century France, where it took the form of a simple statement by the father that he was no longer responsible for his thirteen-year-old son. Today, bar mitzvah for boys and bat mitzvah for girls are more popular than at any time in history and are sometimes accompanied by lavish celebrations. How did bar mitzvah develop over the centuries from an obscure legal ritual into a core component of Judaism? How did it capture the imagination of even non-Jewish youth? Bar Mitzvah, a History is a comprehensive account of the ceremonies and celebrations for both boys and girls. A cultural anthropology informed by rabbinic knowledge, it explores the origins and development of the most important coming-of-age milestone in Judaism. Rabbi Michael Hilton has sought out every reference to bar mitzvah in the Bible, the Talmud, and numerous other Jewish texts spanning several centuries, extracting a fascinating miscellany of information, stories, and commentary.
Because a welter of details sometimes conceals the Torah's aura of holiness, Jewish mystics and spiritual teachers have for centuries attempted to reveal that aura through creative interpretation of the Torah text. The Aura of Torah explores these attempts in an effort to bridge the gap between the Torah text and the modern Jewish spiritual quest.The book collects a wide variety of interpretations of Torah passages, commentaries, and midrash rooted in the mystical side of Jewish tradition, translated by Rabbi Larry Tabick, with original Hebrew and Aramaic texts included. The quoted authors span many centuries and speak from many schools of thought: kabbalists writing within the tradition of the Zohar and other gnostic works; Hasidic teachers from the modern movement founded by the Ba'al Shem Tov in eighteenth-century Ukraine; and German pietists, or Hasidei Ashkenaz, of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. Tabick examines how these texts build on the underlying principles of the Torah--the supremacy of God, the interconnectedness of nature and morality, and the unique (though not exclusive) role of the Jewish people in the divine plan for all humanity--to point to a deep spiritual truth in the world of the divine and the soul.
Rabbis and other Jewish leaders discuss Jesus Christ as a Jew. Their thoughtful responses can help Jews and Christians alike to more deeply understand one another as well as renew and deepen our understanding of Christ.
In The Other Judaisms of Late Antiquity the late Alan F. Segal is at his very best. This reissued and expanded editionanow containing his celebrated "Heavenly Ascent in Hellenistic Judaism, Early Christianity, and Their Environment"adelineates the variegated nature of both Judaism and Christianity in their formative periods. As Segal demonstrates, it is more accurate to speak of Judaisms and Christianities. Through his deft deployment of social-scientific methods and due attention to Jewish primary sources from the Second Temple period, Segal is able to trace the intricate, internecine struggles among Jewish, Christian, and gnostic communities in the earliest days of the Common Era. In doing so, Segal masterfully validates the importance of inductive historical reconstruction and analytical comparative study for illuminating the complex religious world of the first three centuries.
The latest in the series based on the popular History of Philosophy podcast, this volume presents the first full history of philosophy in the Islamic world for a broad readership. It takes an approach unprecedented among introductions to this subject, by providing full coverage of Jewish and Christian thinkers as well as Muslims, and by taking the story of philosophy from its beginnings in the world of early Islam all the way through to the twentieth century. Major figures like Avicenna, Averroes, and Maimonides are covered in great detail, but the book also looks at less familiar thinkers, including women philosophers. Attention is also given to the philosophical relevance of Islamic theology (kalam) and mysticism-the Sufi tradition within Islam, and Kabbalah among Jews-and to science, with chapters on disciplines like optics and astronomy. The book is divided into three sections, with the first looking at the first blossoming of Islamic theology and responses to the Greek philosophical tradition in the world of Arabic learning. This 'formative period' culminates with the work of Avicenna, the pivotal figure to whom most later thinkers feel they must respond. The second part of the book discusses philosophy in Muslim Spain (Andalusia), where Jewish philosophers come to the fore, though this is also the setting for such thinkers as Averroes and Ibn Arabi. Finally, a third section looks in unusual detail at later developments, touching on philosophy in the Ottoman, Mughal, and Safavid empires and showing how thinkers in the nineteenth to the twentieth century were still concerned to respond to the ideas that had animated philosophy in the Islamic world for centuries, while also responding to political and intellectual challenges from the European colonial powers.
Providing a unique anthropological perspective on Jewish mysticism and magic, this book is a study of Jewish rites and rituals and how the analysis of early literature provides the roots for understanding religious practices. It includes analysis on the importance of sacrifice, amulets, and names, and their underlying cultural constructs and the persistence of their symbolic significance.
Providing an excellent overview of the latest thinking in Maimonides studies, this book uses a novel philosophical approach to examine whether Maimonides' Guide for the Perplexed contains a naturalistic doctrine of salvation after death. The author examines the apparent tensions and contradictions in the Guide and explains them in terms of a modern philosophical interpretation rather than as evidence of some esoteric meaning hidden in the text.
Training in rhetoric - the art of persuasion - formed the basis of education in the Roman Empire. The classical intellectual world centered around the debate between philosophers, who boasted knowledge of objective reality, and sophists, who could debate both sides of any issue and who attracted large audiences and paying students. The roles of the Talmudic rabbis as public orators, teachers, and jurists, parallel that of Roman orators. Rabbinic literature adopted and adapted various aspects of the classical rhetorical tradition, as is demonstrated in the Talmudic penchant for arguing both sides of hypothetical cases, the midrashic hermeneutical methods, and the structure of synagogue sermons. At the same time, the rabbis also resisted the extreme epistemological relativism of rhetoric as is evident in their restraint on theoretical argumentation, their depiction of rabbinic and divine court procedure, and their commitment to the biblical prophetic tradition. Richard Hidary demonstrates how rabbis succeeded in navigating a novel path between platonic truth and rhetorical relativism.
It is generally accepted that Jews and evangelical Christians have little in common. Yet special alliances developed between the two groups in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Evangelicals viewed Jews as both the rightful heirs of Israel and as a group who failed to recognize their true savior. Consequently, they set out to influence the course of Jewish life by attempting to evangelize Jews and to facilitate their return to Palestine. Their double-edged perception caused unprecedented political, cultural, and theological meeting points that have revolutionized Christian-Jewish relationships. An Unusual Relationship explores the beliefs and political agendas that evangelicals have created in order to affect the future of the Jews. Additionally, it analyses Jewish opinions and reactions to those efforts, as well as those of other religious groups, such as Arab Christians. This volume offers a fascinating, comprehensive analysis of the roots, manifestations, and consequences of evangelical interest in the Jews, and the alternatives they provide to conventional historical Christian-Jewish interactions. It also provides a compelling understanding of Middle Eastern politics through a new lens.
The Septuagint, the Greek translation of the Hebrew Bible created by Jews seeking a place of legitimacy for diaspora Jewishness and faith among the traditions of Hellenistic culture, was a monumental religious and culturalachievement. ThisGreek Old Testament, in its original form and revised versions, providedthe scripturalbasis for Judaism in the Greek-speaking diaspora, enabledthe emergence and spread of Christianity, and influenced translations of the Bible into African and European languages.Over time, however, theSeptuagint's relevancefaded for Jews,and the Hebrew text eventually reasserted its dominance within Judaism.This led many to neglect the Septuagint as an authentic witness to the biblical tradition. But the Septuagint remained important, inspiring biblical writings and further translations into Latin, Coptic, and Armenian. In combination with the Qumran biblical texts, it provides yet further indication of the multivocal state of the Hebrew Bible around the turn of the eras and proves to be a text of continuous interest for biblical scholarship and cultural-historical studies. Siegfried Kreuzer's Introduction to the Septuagint presents, in English,the most extensive introductionofthe Septuagintto date.It offerscomprehensive overviews of the individual biblical writings, including the history of research, current findings and problems, and perspectives for future research. Additionally, this survey presents a history of the Septuagint in its Greco-Hellenistic background, theories of its genesis, the history of its revisions,its lore in antiquity,andan overview of the most important manuscripts and witnesses of the convoluted transmission history of the text. The text includes extensive bibliographies that show the ongoing interest in Septuagint studies and provide a reliable basis for future studies. A collaboration representing multiple nationalities, professional perspectives, and denominational traditions, this dependable guide invites newcomers and experts alike to venture into the rich world of one of the most influential works of literature in history.
Jews have been a religious and cultural presence in America since the colonial era, and the community of Jews in the United States today -- some six million people -- continues to make a significant contribution to the American religious landscape. Emphasizing developments in American Judaism in the last quarter century among active participants in Jewish worship, this book provides both a look back into the 350-year history of Judaic life and a well-crafted portrait of a multifaceted tradition today. Combining extensive research into synagogue archival records and secondary sources as well as interviews and observations of worship services at more than a hundred Jewish congregations across the country, Raphael's study distinguishes itself as both a history of the Judaic tradition and a witness to the vitality and variety of contemporary American Judaic life. Beginning with a chapter on beliefs, festivals, and life-cycle events, both traditional and non-traditional, and an explanation of the enormous variation in practice, Raphael then explores Jewish history in America, from the arrival of the first Jews to the present, highlighting the emergence and development of the four branches: Orthodox, Conservative, Reconstructionist, and Reform. After documenting the considerable variety among the branches, the book addresses issues of some controversy, notably spirituality, conversion, homosexuality, Jewish education, synagogue architecture, and the relationship to Israel. Raphael turns next to a discussion of eight American Jews whose thoughts and/or activities made a huge impact on American Judaism. The final chapter focuses on the return to tradition in every branch of Judaism and examines prospects for the future.
The history of the Venice Ghetto, how it developed, its architecture, the concrete life of its inhabitants and their relations with the whole city form the subject of this book. A reconstruction of the Ghetto in its various historical phases makes it possible to see exactly how the quarter grew. Along with that are closely analysed the Jewish religion s customs and rites, the outstanding importance of Venetian Jewish printing the first in Europe, the cultural, artistic and artisanal, linguistic, familiar and economic contexts. In short, the story of a complete and enthralling microcosm that grew and prospered for over four centuries within the Serenissima Republic.
Weaving together Jewish lore, the voices of Jewish foremothers, Yiddish fable, midrash and stories of her own imagining, Ellen Frankel has created in this book a breathtakingly vivid exploration into what the Torah means to women. Here are Miriam, Esther, Dinah, Lilith and many other women of the Torah in dialogue with Jewish daughters, mothers and grandmothers, past and present. Together these voices examine and debate every aspect of a Jewish woman's life -- work, sex, marriage, her connection to God and her place in the Jewish community and in the world. The Five Books of Miriam makes an invaluable contribution to Torah study and adds rich dimension to the ongoing conversation between Jewish women and Jewish tradition.
Reveals nostalgia as a new way of maintaining Jewish continuity In 2007, the Museum at Eldridge Street opened at the site of a restored nineteenth-century synagogue originally built by some of the first Eastern European Jewish immigrants in New York City. Visitors to the museum are invited to stand along indentations on the floor where footprints of congregants past have worn down the soft pinewood. Here, many feel a palpable connection to the history surrounding them. Beyond the Synagogue argues that nostalgic activities such as visiting the Museum at Eldridge Street or eating traditional Jewish foods should be understood as American Jewish religious practices. In making the case that these practices are not just cultural, but are actually religious, Rachel B. Gross asserts that many prominent sociologists and historians have mistakenly concluded that American Judaism is in decline, and she contends that they are looking in the wrong places for Jewish religious activity. If they looked outside of traditional institutions and practices, such as attendance at synagogue or membership in Jewish Community Centers, they would see that the embrace of nostalgia provides evidence of an alternative, under-appreciated way of being Jewish and of maintaining Jewish continuity. Tracing American Jews' involvement in a broad array of ostensibly nonreligious activities, including conducting Jewish genealogical research, visiting Jewish historic sites, purchasing books and toys that teach Jewish nostalgia to children, and seeking out traditional Jewish foods, Gross argues that these practices illuminate how many American Jews are finding and making meaning within American Judaism today.
First published in 1991. Routledge is an imprint of Taylor & Francis, an informa company.
This watershed book by a leading Old Testament scholar presents an alternative perspective in the ongoing debate about the formation of the Hebrew Bible. It marshals all of the important counterarguments to the standard theory of Old Testament canon formation, showing how the Pentateuch and the Prophets developed more or less simultaneously and mutually influenced each other over time. The widely praised European edition is now available in North America with an updated bibliography and a new postscript reflecting on how the study of the Old Testament canon has developed over the last twenty years.
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