The author has ruined a great opportunity to present solid research on questions that affect all believers in the Body of Messiah, but especially those who have been sequestered or crippled from participating fully in public religious life. His attempt to cite the Jewish sources fails miserably, for he often cites the exact opposite of accepted halakhah or Mishnaic texts. This probably arises from a lack of training in how to read and reconcile the texts, for someone who would deliberately mislead his leaders would be insane to lead them to the actual sources so that they could find contradictory information with a full reading.
Although I had to quit reading the book after a few chapters because the author had invalidated his own research by persisting in the logical fallacy of false dilemma (truth or tradition?), brazen untruths, and errors in his selective citation of the Jewish sources and fundamental ignorance of Jewish religious history and the formulaic construction of the Mishnah, I can offer three examples of his fundamental errors for those who are considering the book as a credible source of information:
1. Trombley: "A young girl's destiny was controlled by her father until she was given away in marriage. She had no say in the matter; she was not consulted in any decision concerning her life...A woman was human property." (section "Marriage, Divorce, and the Torah in Chapter Three) The author's citation refers to Mishnah Sotah 3:8.
Actual Jewish practice: "Who is the minor that must exercise right of Refusal (in marriage)? Any whose mother or brothers have with her consent given her in marriage. If they did so without her consent she need not exercise right of Refusal." (Urbach, E. 1986. The Halakha: its Sources and Development. Israel: Massada, Ltd., p. 35; quoting from Yevamot 13:1).
The minor can refuse to marry, but according to the source, should she have been promised without consent, a formal declaration of Refusal is not needed, for the marriage is invalid anyway according to Jewish law. A daughter cannot be married without her consent, a Jewish halakha based in the Scriptures on young Rebecca's right of refusal to marry Isaac.
Trombley is similarly confused on the history of women in the synagogue and Temple. He might want to take a look at Women Leaders in the Ancient Synagogue by Brooten, a scholarly work. He might also research the ancient women scholars, such as Beruriah. Trombley tends to walk in on a conversation in the Mishnah and miss the initial question and conclusion. Knowing that the texts exist is different from being taught how to use the texts. I believe the common expression for this is "cherry-picking."
2. Trombley's false dilemma: Truth or tradition. The author believes all Jewish tradition or practice (halakha) is antithetical to the truth of the written Word. The example above demonstrates that the hope of any halakha, Jewish or Christian, would be to uphold the truth by establishing a practice that expresses the spirit as well as the letter of the Torah. In the Gospels, Yeshua's applications of halakha largely align with the School of Hillel's. The Scripture gives instructions, but halakha is how human beings actually apply the instructions in their daily walk. In each generation, applications will often reflect cultural norms, something not unique to Judaism, but other religions as well. Modern Jewish practice continues to evolve, and how women are invited into public religious life is undergoing significant changes today.
Here are examples of Yeshua and the apostles upholding some Jewish traditions:
1 Corinthians 11:2 NAS Now I praise you because you remember me in everything and hold firmly to the traditions, just as I delivered them to you.
2 Thessalonians 2:15 NAS So then, brethren, stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught, whether by word of mouth or by letter from us.
Look up the Strong's for "traditions" in each context, and it specifically points to Jewish traditions. The apostles were passing on SOME Jewish traditions to the Gentile congregations. They did not consider them all antithetical to the Scripture. Yeshua gives an example of how one should approach halakha:
Matthew 23:23 NAS Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cummin, and have neglected the weightier provisions of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness; but these are the things you should have done without neglecting the others.
Yeshua points out the halakha of tithing herbs (not in the Torah), which he says they SHOULD have done, but this practice was not as weighty as the written Torah, which in Leviticus (the heart of the law) commands Israel to love their neighbors and apply justice and mercy. To practice a tradition that sets aside the plain sense of the Torah was antithetical to Yeshua, not the presence of the tradition itself, which can also be done with a sincere heart.
The dilemma is false. It's not truth or tradition, but as with everything in the walk of a believer, the weightier matters are in the heart. Obeying either Torah or tradition to gain the approval of men is hypocritical; to obey the Torah or practice a tradition that is an expression of love for Yeshua is faithfulness. "If you love Me, keep My commandments."
3. Trombley praises ancient Greek culture Chapter Three, Section "How the Oral Law Began and Why," citing Greek marital fidelity and Alexander the Great as the one who spread this superior culture throughout the Near East. He doesn't bother to render a citation in this paragraph. Even a novice historian knows the sexual deviance, lack of regard for any human with an imperfection, and inferior treatment of women in the Greek culture. This culture is not the icon of women's rights and being "sensitive to human needs." Any 11th grade World Civ textbook should make that plain. Trombley's adoration of Greek monogamy seems blind to their persistent polytheism.
Although Trombley has scored an interesting title that will hook readers, the first chapters are little more than propaganda. He really missed a chance. He's followed the age-old formula, "When all else fails, blame the Jews." There are well-researched books out there, notably Garr's.