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.