Mod­ern Jews Engage the New Tes­ta­ment: Enhanc­ing Jew­ish Well-Being in a Chris­t­ian Environment

Michael J. Cook
  • Review
By – January 11, 2012
Rab­bi and schol­ar Michael Cook aims to chal­lenge the Jew­ish avoid­ance of engage­ment with the New Tes­ta­ment, because this lit­er­a­ture has such a pro­found impact of Jew­ish peo­ple, yet Jews are gen­er­al­ly not informed enough to respond crit­i­cal­ly to Chris­tians about the top­ics that arise. This intro­duc­tion will help Jews under­stand this lit­er­a­ture in its con­text, and the way that it has been inter­pret­ed and employed, often to the detri­ment of Jews. It will also help inter­est­ed Chris­tians under­stand why Jews do not draw the same con­clu­sions as Chris­tians from this mate­r­i­al, for exam­ple, how it strikes Jews so dif­fer­ent­ly, and why it has been large­ly ignored or mis­trust­ed. Cook help­ful­ly dis­tin­guish­es between the his­tor­i­cal mate­r­i­al itself, and the his­to­ry of its inter­pre­ta­tion. 

Cook is at his best when explain­ing how to read from the van­tage point of Gospel Dynam­ics,” those tra­di­tions that Chris­tians devel­oped to make sense of Jesus in lat­er times. The dis­cus­sions about Paul, which make up only a small part of the vol­ume, are less help­ful, express­ing the tra­di­tion­al lines of inter­pre­ta­tion. His approach is acces­si­ble, yet learned, a valu­able resource for edu­ca­tors as well as inter­est­ed non-spe­cial­ists. Bib­li­og­ra­phy and indexes.
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.

Discussion Questions