Drawing on textual evidence from the Old and New Testaments, as well as historical sources, Rosenberg shows that both men were educated, both encountered opposition from their communities, and both, as we know, became great leaders nonetheless.
What Rosenberg shows, which most accounts of these two men don’t even attempt, is the extent to which Moses and Jesus drew on their respective educations to inform their sermons. Rosenberg argues that Moses, having been educated among the royalty of Egypt, was heavily influenced by Egyptian medical literature and that this education is reflected in Moses’ own words and thoughts. Jesus, in turn, knew the Five Books of Moses and, as Rosenberg argues, owed much of his thinking to the knowledge he gained from the Old Testament, and from Moses in particular.
Rosenberg convincingly argues that the value in studying these parallels, and in studying the Bible in general, is that without this understanding we can’t properly understand modern civilization. Humanity has been so influenced by Judeo-Christian thinking that without understanding the source of this thinking we cannot properly understand who we are.
The book is thick with biblical examples and the 134-page chapter covering the dual biographies would have benefitted from further division into smaller chapters. The book is part biography and part biblical scholarship, with a brief introduction into some necessary biblical vocabulary. Overall Rosenberg offers an interesting coupling of two of the most influential lives in our collective history. Bibliography, index.
Ada Brunstein is the Head of Reference at a university press.