An Unusu­al Rela­tion­ship: Evan­gel­i­cal Chris­tians and Jews

Yaakov Ariel
  • Review
By – February 25, 2014

Pro­fes­sor Ariel of the Uni­ver­si­ty of North Car­oli­na traces the his­to­ry of Chris­t­ian, espe­cial­ly Evan­gel­i­cal Chris­t­ian, ideas about and poli­cies toward Israel and Jews since the nine­teenth cen­tu­ry, as well as var­i­ous Israeli and Jew­ish respons­es to these devel­op­ments. Ariel com­mu­ni­cates the com­plex issues and var­i­ous devel­op­ments clear­ly with­out mak­ing val­ue judg­ments. One can learn a lot very quick­ly, and draw con­clu­sions armed with facts.

The chap­ter titles pro­vide a help­ful sense of the scope of the vol­ume. Begin­ning with The Roots and Ear­ly Begin­nings of the Evan­gel­i­cal-Jew­ish Rela­tion­ship,” Ariel then moves through eleven chap­ters trac­ing Evan­gel­i­cal” or Evan­gel­i­cals” and such top­ics as their Mes­sian­ic Faith and the Jews,” their views on Jew­ish Restora­tion,” the Holy Land,” Mis­sions to the Jews,” their pro­duc­tion of Chris­t­ian Lit­er­a­ture in a Jew­ish Lan­guage”; and fol­lowed by top­ics such as Anti-Jew­ish Con­spir­a­cy The­o­ries”; Under­stand­ing the Holo­caust”; the Birth of the Jew­ish State”; the Build­ing of the Tem­ple”; and the Rise of Mes­sian­ic Judaism.”

When Chris­tians exclaim their love for the Jews” such a remark gives many Jews pause, and all the more when an expla­na­tion is attempt­ed. Did the way that the objectifica­tion of Jews” was declared some­how cre­ate sus­pi­cion even if also grat­i­tude? Did it feel like it was less about lov­ing Jews than lov­ing the idea of Jews (in antiq­ui­ty and at the end of times, but now?), maybe if not cer­tain­ly relat­ed to an impulse to save” Jews? This care­ful­ly researched his­tor­i­cal treat­ment will help to explain the para­dox­i­cal ideas and emo­tions that are like­ly at work. I think many read­ers will find it inter­est­ing, enlight­en­ing, and rel­e­vant. Index.

Mark D. Nanos, Ph.D., Uni­ver­si­ty of Kansas, is the author of Mys­tery­of Romans, win­ner of the 1996 Nation­al Jew­ish Book Award, Charles H. Revson­Award in Jew­ish-Chris­t­ian Relations.

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