They Loved the Torah
by David Friedman, Ph.D.
Paperback: 136 pages
Publisher: Messianic Jewish Publisher
Released: June 1, 2001
Source: Review copy from the publisher.
Book Description, Modified from Back Cover:
Did Yeshua observe the Law? Did Paul teach his congregations to abandon the Torah? Was the devout Jew, Peter, persuaded that the Commandments were cancelled? Even though many Jews believe that Paul taught against the Law, this book disproves that notion. Dr. Friedman makes an excellent case for his premise that all the first followers of Messiah were not only Torah-observant, but also desired to spread their love for God's entire Word to the Gentiles to whom they preached.
They Loved the Torah gives evidence that Jesus and his disciples were Torah-observant. I already assumed this was true since Jesus fulfilled the Torah (and was sinless) and his disciples were Jews. Rather than going in depth into an argument, the author would often refer the reader to another book or article for that information. I was left feeling like the substance of his arguments was elsewhere.
The author's arguments were mainly based on examples from the gospels and Acts. However, he sometimes based his argument on an unproven or shaky assumption. For example, he assumes that the common people wouldn't feel positively about Jesus if he wasn't Torah-observant. He gave examples of common people having a positive reaction to Jesus. Therefore, Jesus was Torah-observant. I don't accept his assumption. There have been cults and movements were the "Christian" leader didn't stick with the Bible but people still liked what they heard and followed that leader. Jewish history also contains examples of this. His stronger arguments involved actual examples of Jesus and his followers observing the Torah in one way or another.
Basically, I'm not sure these arguments are strong enough to convince someone who didn't start off at least partly agreeing with his views. If you already agree, then there isn't much reason to read this book.
I should mention that I don't agree with his belief (which is only briefly mentioned) that Jesus intended for Messianic Jews to continue to follow the Torah and that Messianic Jews (under guidance from the Holy Spirit) graciously decided that Gentiles only had to follow a small subset of the Laws. But he's not dogmatic about it.
If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.