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Messianic Judaism: A Critical Anthology Paperback – 1 May 2000


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Product details

  • Paperback: 248 pages
  • Publisher: Continnuum-3PL (1 May 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0826454585
  • ISBN-13: 978-0826454584
  • Product Dimensions: 15.6 x 1.3 x 23.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,413,231 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

"Cohn-Sherbok has done a commendable job of depicting the history and practice of Messianic Judaism in ancient and modern times in what wil no doubt prove to be a valuable and user-friendly resource for Messianic Jews and those interested in the movement. The author has also done a service to Messianic Jews. By taking the time and effort to dedicate a fair-handed book to the movement, Cohn-Sherbok has aided the Messianic Jewish movement in its quest for recognition, affirmation, and acceptance by the wider Jewish community." Akiva Cohen, Mishkan

From the Publisher

Reviewed in: Journal of Beliefs and Values 22.1 (2001)
"The book is memorable for its clarity and directness. It is also fair – Cohn-Sherbok attends to the diversity of views and structures within Messianic Judaism. He quotes at length from histories, liturgies and creeds produced by various congregations. This makes accessible much material not readily available to British readers and is likely to make Messianic Judaism a useful resource for undergraduates and seminarians. What comes through particularly well is the extent to which the ambiguity of Jewish believers’ identity is as much an internal problem as it is an internally imposed construct." Melanie Wright

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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 25 Feb. 2005
Format: Paperback
This book is a useful, well-researched introduction to Messianic Judaism and Jewish conversion to Christianity in general. The author is especially strong on the history of the movement and its precursors and is objective in his approach. I found two slight failings in the book. One is the very long section on 'Messianic Jewish' practices which are almost entirely pure normative Judaism. It might have been more useful to concentrate on where the two religions differ and to compare and contrast. Also, the author makes no mention at all of 'Messianic Gentiles' who are a very large and important part of the Messianic Judaism Movement and who have important ramifications for the whole theology of the Movement.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 12 reviews
54 of 59 people found the following review helpful
Model and Mitzvah - (review by Rabbi Bruce Cohen) 13 July 2000
By Bruce Cohen - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
In the summer of 1962, the late American President John F. Kennedy said "If we cannot come to agreement, at least we can make the world safe for diversity." Rabbi Dan Cohn-Sherbok's recent book has taken an important step in that direction within the Jewish world. Dan invited me to write a review of "Messianic Judaism," and because of the book's character, I am very glad he did. In the past year alone, two books on Messianic Judaism have been published by rabbis from within mainstream Jewish denominations. This is an extraordinary shift in theologic climate in and of itself. Mere years ago, it was nearly impossible to find a rabbi outside Messianic Judaism who would call Messianic Judaism any kind of "Judaism." Cohn-Sherbok's book has a particularly poiginant opening, because he describes its catalyst as having been Messianic Judaism's current ubiquity in the Jewish world. He asserts that wherever you go among Jewry today, at least one member of most extended Jewish families has been touched in some way by Messianic Judaism: a sister, a brother, a cousin - someone. This is an astonishing and courageous an approach. Cohn-Sherbok states unequivocally that Messianic Judaism is "on the map" in the Jewish world, and he invites all to learn to navigate in relation to its existence. Like an explorer having come upon a new island in the common routes of commerce, he dares to step onto the landscape, travel it, study it, and bring back a useful map to the world still unfamiliar with the territory. The amount of objectivity Cohn-Sherbok was able to summon to a highly controversial topic for his sphere was admirable. His book is a remarkably even-handed examination. He begins with Messianic Judaism's roots in antiquity; then, he examines its more recent history and the arc of its modern development. He also scrutinizes and describes current practices of the Movement, and does so without the slightest hint of "tongue in cheek" undertones. He writes as a sincere academician within the gates of Judaism, treating a topic of value to the Jewish world he serves. The book will be of great use to Messianic Jews, because Cohn-Sherbok is an outsider to the eddies and currents within Modern Messianism; he therefore writes about somewhat partisan issues with a clarity many will find refreshing. Further, his examinations of Messianic practice will be quite valuable for Messianic laity and clergy alike. For non-Messianic Jews, the book will serve two valuable purposes. Firstly, it will provide a "window" into Messianism opened by a trusted hand; thus, many of our people who would never darken the door of a Messianic synagogue will be given a virtual tour they otherwise would not have obtained. Secondly, Cohn-Sherbok's book models an approach to differences within the gates of Judaism I daresay we all hope will be more common in the future: putting aside knee-jerk invalidation reflexes in order to give strongly differing views a fair and dispassionate hearing on their merits. With several varieties of mainstream Judaism currently warring with one another to the extent that some are calling others "not Judaism at all" - it is quite refreshing to see Messianic Judaism on the table as a Jewish "in-house" issue for reasoning Jewish discussion. Rabbi Dan Cohn-Sherbok has set a precedent for fostering intra-Judaic toleration, and has at the same time modeled dispassionate theological exploration for his colleagues. Thus, with his book, Rabbi Cohn-Sherbok as done a double "mitzvah" (good deed).
28 of 31 people found the following review helpful
messianic judaism 15 Aug. 2000
By bruce schloss - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
This is a profoundly interesting book. There is no doubt the Jewish community detests Messianic Judaism and puts it about on a par with holocaust denial. Sadly, this is a knee-jerk reaction. Rabbi Cohn-Sherbok who is himself a Reform Jew and, from the evidence of his other books shares none of the beliefs of the Messianic community, has done an excellent job in presenting the history, beliefs and practices of the group objectively. It is an important piece of research and he has talked to critics of the movement as well as adherents. From his account, it is hard to imagine why any rational person would want to join the movement, but nonetheless it does appeart to be growing. If this is the case then it is important that the mainstream Jewish community voices its objections from the basis of secure knowledge. This book is an informed and fascinating piece of work and as such should be part of the library of every yeshiva, rabbinical college and synagogue. If the mainstream community were only secure enough to learn from fringe movements and make some attempt to understand their appeal to the more vulnerable members of our community, our synagogues might be fuller and our young people less turned off. Instead, the community prefers blanket condemnation and unreasoned abuse. No wonder the educated youth of today are disaffected. Rabbi Cohn-Sherbok is to be congratulated on his single-handed attempt to redress the balance; it is splendid to find someone in this day and age who takes Milton's defence of a free press seriously; as the great seventeenth century poet put it in his 'Areopagitica', 'Whoever knew Truth put to the worst in free and open discussion.' The Jewish community has nothing to fear from the Messianics; we simply need to be more confident in what we ourselves have to offer.
21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
Model and Mitzvah 9 July 2000
By Bruce Cohen - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
In the summer of 1962, the late American President John F. Kennedy said "If we cannot come to agreement, at least we can make the world safe for diversity." Rabbi Dan Cohn-Sherbok's recent book has taken an important step in that direction within the Jewish world. Dan invited me to write a review of "Messianic Judaism," and because of the book's character, I am very glad he did. In the past year alone, two books on Messianic Judaism have been published by rabbis from within mainstream Jewish denominations. This is an extraordinary shift in theologic climate in and of itself. Mere years ago, it was nearly impossible to find a rabbi outside Messianic Judaism who would call Messianic Judaism any kind of "Judaism." Cohn-Sherbok's book has a particularly poiginant opening, because he describes its catalyst as having been Messianic Judaism's current ubiquity in the Jewish world. He asserts that wherever you go among Jewry today, at least one member of most extended Jewish families has been touched in some way by Messianic Judaism: a sister, a brother, a cousin - someone. This is an astonishing and courageous an approach. Cohn-Sherbok states unequivocally that Messianic Judaism is "on the map" in the Jewish world, and he invites all to learn to navigate in relation to its existence. Like an explorer having come upon a new island in the common routes of commerce, he dares to step onto the landscape, travel it, study it, and bring back a useful map to the world still unfamiliar with the territory. The amount of objectivity Cohn-Sherbok was able to summon to a highly controversial topic for his sphere was admirable. His book is a remarkably even-handed examination. He begins with Messianic Judaism's roots in antiquity; then, he examines its more recent history and the arc of its modern development. He also scrutinizes and describes current practices of the Movement, and does so without the slightest hint of "tongue in cheek" undertones. He writes as a sincere academician within the gates of Judaism, treating a topic of value to the Jewish world he serves. The book will be of great use to Messianic Jews, because Cohn-Sherbok is an outsider to the eddies and currents within Modern Messianism; he therefore writes about somewhat partisan issues with a clarity many will find refreshing. Further, his examinations of Messianic practice will be quite valuable for Messianic laity and clergy alike. For non-Messianic Jews, the book will serve two valuable purposes. Firstly, it will provide a "window" into Messianism opened by a trusted hand; thus, many of our people who would never darken the door of a Messianic synagogue will be given a virtual tour they otherwise would not have obtained. Secondly, Cohn-Sherbok's book models an approach to differences within the gates of Judaism I daresay we all hope will be more common in the future: putting aside knee-jerk invalidation reflexes in order to give strongly differing views a fair and dispassionate hearing on their merits. With several varieties of mainstream Judaism currently warring with one another to the extent that some are calling others "not Judaism at all" - it is quite refreshing to see Messianic Judaism on the table as a Jewish "in-house" issue for reasoning Jewish discussion. Rabbi Dan Cohn-Sherbok has set a precedent for fostering intra-Judaic toleration, and has at the same time modeled dispassionate theological exploration for his colleagues. Thus, with his book, Rabbi Cohn-Sherbok as done a double "mitzvah" (good deed).
29 of 37 people found the following review helpful
From the standpoint of a Messianic Jew.... 21 Aug. 2000
By Jeff Peacock - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
My dear friend, "a reader from New England" is wrong. I seriously doubt he or she even read the book. Dan Cohen-Sherbok's opus is one done of courage and tenacity and of not being afraid to see things that one necessarily doesn't want to see. When the "reader from New England" piously states, "Jesus DID say that he came to release his followers from the 'curse of the law', did he not?", he or she not only casts a glaring spotlight on their own ignorance, but the foundational problem within mainline Christianity. The apostle Paul, in his letter to Galatians, stated in Galatians 3:13, "Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us." He was referring to (if one takes the time to read the entire context and not just the portion that supports his or her own theological agenda) the fact that through Christ, no one has to try to "work" their way to heaven anymore. Indeed, Yeshua HaMashiach stated, "Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil." (Matthew 5:17) Why would He fulfill something that would be cursed? Dan Cohen-Sherbok's book is one that everyone, Jew and Gentile alike, and ESPECIALLY Christians should read and study and take to heart. I highly recommend it. Messianic Judaism is a much of part of Judaism as is Orthodox, Conservative, or Reform. Dan Cohen-Sherbok obviously agrees.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Model & Mitzvah - (review written by) Rabbi Bruce Cohen 9 July 2000
By Bruce Cohen - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
In the summer of 1962, the late American President John F. Kennedy said "If we cannot come to agreement, at least we can make the world safe for diversity." Rabbi Dan Cohn-Sherbok's recent book has taken an important step in that direction within the Jewish world. Dan invited me to write a review of "Messianic Judaism," and because of the book's character, I am very glad he did. In the past year alone, two books on Messianic Judaism have been published by rabbis from within mainstream Jewish denominations. This is an extraordinary shift in theologic climate in and of itself. Mere years ago, it was nearly impossible to find a rabbi outside Messianic Judaism who would call Messianic Judaism any kind of "Judaism." Cohn-Sherbok's book has a particularly poiginant opening, because he describes its catalyst as having been Messianic Judaism's current ubiquity in the Jewish world. He asserts that wherever you go among Jewry today, at least one member of most extended Jewish families has been touched in some way by Messianic Judaism: a sister, a brother, a cousin - someone. This is an astonishing and courageous an approach. Cohn-Sherbok states unequivocally that Messianic Judaism is "on the map" in the Jewish world, and he invites all to learn to navigate in relation to its existence. Like an explorer having come upon a new island in the common routes of commerce, he dares to step onto the landscape, travel it, study it, and bring back a useful map to the world still unfamiliar with the territory. The amount of objectivity Cohn-Sherbok was able to summon to a highly controversial topic for his sphere was admirable. His book is a remarkably even-handed examination. He begins with Messianic Judaism's roots in antiquity; then, he examines its more recent history and the arc of its modern development. He also scrutinizes and describes current practices of the Movement, and does so without the slightest hint of "tongue in cheek" undertones. He writes as a sincere academician within the gates of Judaism, treating a topic of value to the Jewish world he serves. The book will be of great use to Messianic Jews, because Cohn-Sherbok is an outsider to the eddies and currents within Modern Messianism; he therefore writes about somewhat partisan issues with a clarity many will find refreshing. Further, his examinations of Messianic practice will be quite valuable for Messianic laity and clergy alike. For non-Messianic Jews, the book will serve two valuable purposes. Firstly, it will provide a "window" into Messianism opened by a trusted hand; thus, many of our people who would never darken the door of a Messianic synagogue will be given a virtual tour they otherwise would not have obtained. Secondly, Cohn-Sherbok's book models an approach to differences within the gates of Judaism I daresay we all hope will be more common in the future: putting aside knee-jerk invalidation reflexes in order to give strongly differing views a fair and dispassionate hearing on their merits. With several varieties of mainstream Judaism currently warring with one another to the extent that some are calling others "not Judaism at all" - it is quite refreshing to see Messianic Judaism on the table as a Jewish "in-house" issue for reasoning Jewish discussion. Rabbi Dan Cohn-Sherbok has set a precedent for fostering intra-Judaic toleration, and has at the same time modeled dispassionate theological exploration for his colleagues. Thus, with his book, Rabbi Cohn-Sherbok as done a double "mitzvah" (good deed).
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