Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Meet the Rabbis by Brad H. Young

book cover
Meet the Rabbis
by Brad H. Young

ISBN-13: 9781565634053
Paperback: 270 pages
Publisher: Hendrickson Publishers
Released: June 1, 2007

Source: ebook review copy from the publisher through NetGalley.

Book Description, Modified from Goodreads:
"Meet the Rabbis" explains to the reader how rabbinic thought was relevant to Jesus and the New Testament world, and hence should be relevant to those people today who read the New Testament. Rabbinic literature explores the meaning of living life to its fullest, in right relationship with God and humanity. The author seeks to introduce the reader to the world of Torah learning. It is within this world that the authentic cultural background of Jesus' teachings in ancient Judaism is revealed.

My Review:
Meet the Rabbis looks at Jesus' teachings within the context of 1st-century Judaism and introduces the reader to some of the early Jewish writings that contain similar teachings to Jesus. The author started by talking about how Jesus' teachings fit within the debates that the Pharisees were having at that time. He talked about the Great Sanhedrin and the Jewish view of the Torah and the Oral Law. He provided a general outline of what is in the Mishnah and the Babylonian Talmud. He specifically looked at the Ethics of the Fathers and provided a translation for the reader. He talked about the Amidah Prayer, Maimonides 13 Principles of Jewish Faith, and Hillel's Seven Principles of Bible Interpretation. He also talked about the various rabbis that are known from around Jesus' time (and after him) and quoted some of their sayings that are similar to Jesus' teachings.

At times, I felt the author was basically suggesting that Jesus was just another rabbi within the Pharisee tradition and that Christians misinterpret Jesus' teachings. He seems to feel that Christians should be more interested in the early Jewish teachings than modern Christian teachings as the Jewish commentary more accurately brings out what Jesus intended to teach. While I was interested in the similarities, differences, insights, and possible impact that Jesus teachings made on later Jewish ones, I do believe that Jesus was more than just another human Rabbi.

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.

Excerpt: Read an excerpt using Google Preview.