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56 of 61 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars True Christianity is rooted in Judaism
This valuable book explores the history of the first century of the Christian religion, showing that the early leaders of the church were Jewish, that the early church was organized on the pattern of the synagogue and explaining what Jesus really meant in his frequent use of Jewish idioms that were literally translated into Greek with the resulting confusion of...
Published on 23 July 2005 by Pieter Uys

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63 of 73 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing, sloppy writing with schoolboy howler errors.
This book comes with glowing endorsements from a number of serious, heavyweight scholars. Apart from the generous praise of these men, many of whom I respect highly, the author also has some impressive credentials himself. Consequently, as someone highly sympathetic to this genre, and having toured Israel a few times, I approached it expecting to be greatly blessed. I...
Published on 27 July 2007 by David Reid


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56 of 61 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars True Christianity is rooted in Judaism, 23 July 2005
By 
Pieter Uys "Toypom" (Johannesburg) - See all my reviews
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This valuable book explores the history of the first century of the Christian religion, showing that the early leaders of the church were Jewish, that the early church was organized on the pattern of the synagogue and explaining what Jesus really meant in his frequent use of Jewish idioms that were literally translated into Greek with the resulting confusion of meaning.

The book is written as a study text with review questions at the end of each chapter. What emerges is quite astonishing and not at all what many Christians have been led to believe. In the context of the Hebrew idioms, many perplexing utterances of Jesus become perfectly clear.

Chapter One presents the evidence for the Jewish background of the early church and discusses the early Hebraic names for the church. The fascinating Chapter Two deals with Jewish idioms in the teachings of Jesus; it includes passages on the parable of the reed and the oak, the golden vine, binding and loosing, the good eye and sounding the trumpet.

Chapter Three examines misconceptions regarding the law. It includes discussions of the law and grace, the Holy Spirit and the law, Paul and the law, the famous Gnostic Marcion and his view of the law, the letter of the law, the purpose of the law, and great Christian leaders' view of the law.

Chapter Four explores the old and the new covenants, the Noachide laws and 4th century theology, whilst the next chapter looks at subjects like the Holy Spirit, grace and gifts before Christ, the three stages of salvation and the relationship of the law to the New Testament.

Chapters Six to Nine are an in-depth study of the Pharisees, including their theology, their study and worship, and the Sadducees, Scribes and Essenes. There are also passages discussing their duties, their communities and the different types of Pharisee.

Their teachings are discussed in Chapter Eight, which includes discussions of miracles, traditions, evangelism and teaching methods. The final chapter looks at similarities between the Puritans and the Pharisees, Pharisaic doctrines and the schools of Hillel and Shammai.

The last chapter lists eight significant conclusions of the preceding text. These include the fact that Christianity was born within the matrix of Judaism and that the original language, idioms, customs, organizational structure and religious practices of the church were thoroughly Jewish.

The book contains a glossary, a bibliography and endnotes arranged by chapter. I highly recommend this work to all Christians who wish to understand the roots of their faith and what Jesus really meant, especially where his words in the English translations of the Bible appear to be confusing. In this regard, I suggest the interested reader also consult the brilliant book by David Bivin: Understanding the Difficult Words of Jesus: New Insights from a Hebraic Perspective and The Authentic Gospel of Jesus by Geza Vermes.
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63 of 73 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing, sloppy writing with schoolboy howler errors., 27 July 2007
By 
David Reid (Míjas, Málaga, Spain.) - See all my reviews
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This book comes with glowing endorsements from a number of serious, heavyweight scholars. Apart from the generous praise of these men, many of whom I respect highly, the author also has some impressive credentials himself. Consequently, as someone highly sympathetic to this genre, and having toured Israel a few times, I approached it expecting to be greatly blessed. I must say that although the majority of the material is helpful, there were several aspects of this book which left me frustrated and disappointed.

Firstly, it appeared that the author was merely quoting other people's scholarship. (I know we are all the product of multiple influences, but I couldn't help feeling that he hadn't contributed a single original thought anywhere in the book.A possible exception is page 24. See below.
This is a strange impression to get; I can't recall ever having felt the same about any other book). Perhaps this is why the other scholars praised him so highly; did they recognise their own material? The end result was that I couldn't take him seriously as an authority in his own right--just someone parroting the opinions of others.

Secondly, there were some awful blunders which ANY competent scholar should have weeded out in the reviewing stage--(if they ever read it in the first place). For example, on p. 24, he makes the claim that the apostle John was from a priestly family, based on Jn. 18: 15. All this says is that, "this disciple was KNOWN to the high priest." (He might just have been the fish delivery man for all we know!!). On this flimsy foundation he makes several foolish claims. Firstly this was why John let Peter go into Jesus' tomb first on the morning of the Resurrection, so as not to be defiled by a dead body. But next comes an absurd error based on Acts 4: 6, which he links to St. John also. It says, "Annas the high priest was there, and so were Caiaphas, JOHN, Alexander and the other men of the high priest's family." To the author this constitutes "proof" that the apostle John was of the high priest's circle. HOWEVER, if he'd bothered to read on, THE NEXT VERSE SAYS, "They had Peter and JOHN brought before them and began to question them." OBVIOUSLY, THIS ARISTOCRATIC PRIESTLY INQUISITOR JOHN OF VERSE 6 WAS NOT THE HUMBLE FISHERMAN JOHN BEING INTERROGATED BY HIM IN V. 7!!!!! John was a common name in the first century. When I read such massive blunders it removes all confidence in this man's scholarship. How he got all those letters after his name is a mystery to me.

Thirdly, sloppy handling of detail. On page 8 he talks of the Second Jewish War, but links the flight of the Christian community to Pella with that war, in 132 - 135 AD. It's not until page 69 that he corrects this error, rightly placing it in the First Jewish War of 66 - 70 AD.

Fourthly, what really bothered me was what I see as a dreadful theological statement on pages 36 -37. I quote, "The third misconception is the idea that New Testament believers have a "Better covenant" than God's Law. The passages from Hebrews, where this expression appears, are discussing the sacrificial system only, that is better in Christ, as God's Lamb, as opposed to a literal lamb. THE MANIFESTATION IS BETTER AND HAS CHANGED, BUT THE COVENANT ITSELF REMAINS THE SAME".
How can anyone claim that the New Covenant is THE SAME as the Old Covenant????? Hebrews clearly states that "By calling this covenant "New," he has made the first one obsolete; and what is obsolete and aging will soon disappear." Heb. 8: 13. No amount of semantics can twist the Bible into saying what he claims it says.
"For if there had been nothing wrong with that FIRST covenant, no place would have been sought for ANOTHER. But God found fault with the people and said : "The time is coming, declares the Lord, when I will make a NEW covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah. IT WILL NOT BE LIKE the covenant I made with their forefathers when I took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt." (Heb. 8: 7 - 9). WHAT COULD BE CLEARER?' THEY ARE TWO DISTINCT COVENANTS.
I don't dispute for a moment that it is the same thrice holy God Who makes both covenants with His people--and that His holy attributes and standards change not. But, as just one example of many differences, the priesthood has changed in the New Covenant--this alone tells us that the Mosaic system has passed away. The writer to the Hebrews makes this crystal clear--that Jesus was not of the Levitical priesthood, but rather in the order of Melchizedek. If the Old Covenant were still in place, Jesus, coming from the tribe of Judah as He did, would be disqualified to act as our great High Priest.

Fifthly, he totally fails to distinguish between the LAW OF GOD as a general revelation of His nature and standards, and the LAW OF MOSES, the Covenant made with Israel on Sinai. Several passages are confusing and misleading when this vital distinction is lacking.

I could go on but I don't want to be reminded of all the other irritations of this book--like the annoying writing style and how the serious, scholarly tone of the review questions at the end of each chapter seem ridiculous in the light of its errors. (I did BEGIN to fill them in--honest!).

I probably sound sour, fault-finding and critical, please excuse this. But this is not a good book and I found myself filling its margins with many irate protests. And please understand that I am highly sympathetic to this line of teaching in general. It's just that this is not a good example of the genre. There are far better choices one could make.
To be fair, the second half of the book was far better. He confines himself to a summary of the teachings of the Pharisees, which was quite helpful. I enjoyed that half far more. But even then, after seeing his poor scholarship previously, I found myself wondering, "Can I trust this as an authoritative source?"
Really 2 and 1/2 stars is the best I can give. Save your pennies for other writings, which won't drive you to distraction with their sloppy writing style, factual errors and schoolboy blunders.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Lot's of references., 16 Oct 2013
Short = but what I see is not exactly as the Bible is.
Looks to me like jewish rules still apply to gentiles.
Too many refererances to too many people.
I agree The most of the New testament is Hebrew
But that don't mean christians have to be judaizer
to be a Christian.
Most of this book is like the thought of Jews, You got
to be a jew to be a Christian..
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5.0 out of 5 stars Highly Informative, 28 May 2013
By 
Mr. Terence R. Scarborough (Tavistock UK) - See all my reviews
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A very interesting and helpful book that is well researched and gives a lot o9f information about the Jewish roots of Christianity. Should be read by all Christian Preachers and Teachers
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