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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Unique and real., 28 Feb. 2009
This review is from: Jewish New Testament-OE (Hardcover)
When I first saw a copy of the Jewish New Testament I thought, "There will be Jews and Christians alike who think that title's an Oxymoron." But I was aware that those in the know would know better!
However, the translation is by David Stern, a Messianic Jew. So, to my thinking, a Jew can only be the best person to translate the NT. After all, it was Jews who wrote all of it, except perhaps, for Luke. Perhaps! And if he was a Gentile then he stands unique as the only one to write anything in the whole Bible.
So the NT was written by Jews and its whole cultural background is Jewish, pointing to the Messiah, Y'shu. Jesus Christ was Jewish, like His disciples. They were mainly practising Jews. Jesus Himself utterly followed the Laws of Moses and told his disciples to do so also. It's right there in the NT [Matt 5:7; 23:2-3]. Paul the Apostle also gave a severe warning to Gentile Christians that they had better not even dare to speak against Israel [Rom 11:18]. And Jesus Himself warned of the final fate of such people who did not give succour to His blood brethren [Matt 25:44-46]. (The "least of my brethren" mentioned in the Scripture are not Christians. They cannot be because it is professing Christians He has condemned there.)
Jesus was not only Jewish but, as clearly proclaimed in the NT, He still is a Jew [Rev 5:5]. Those above facts are not known to most Jewish people. They would be astonished to hear them. Ironically, so would many "Christians" who ought to know better.
The ignorance of many--perhaps most--Christians regarding this matter has a lot to do with Jews seeing their Messiah as a fraud and an enemy. In Jesus' name Jews have been persecuted, hounded and massacred, especially by order of the Vatican and the Orthodox Churches. Hardly surprising then that they think the NT is anti-Semitic.
Even the people who carried out these atrocities against Jews, in the name of Christ, did so because they themselves thought the NT was anti-Semitic.
How could this be when it is so obviously not?
Well, the Catholic Church forbade any of the Bible to be read by the laity and it could only be interpreted by a priest. It was much the same in the Orthodox Churches. So the masses under those religious regimes were ignorant of what any of the Bible taught. And they were taught to believe that the Jews killed Christ. As the masses who were told this were illiterate and superstitious, they believed that the Jews had actually murdered God! The traditions of their religious leaders--in direct opposition to the clear teachings of Jesus--were put on a par with Scripture. In action, these traditions were put above Scripture.
Jesus said, plainly to the Sadducees, "You err because you don't know the Scriptures" [Matt 22:29; Mk 12:24]. That statement should have been a warning to any person claiming to speak for Christ. It wasn't by the leaders of the above churches and therefore many Jews perished in the flames of the Inquisition and the pogroms. Understandably, many Jews attribute this to the New Testament and to Jesus Christ.
Thankfully, the Reformation brought the Bible into the hands of the ordinary person in the street, bringing Protestantism to the fore. Many of the Protestant leaders could see that anti-Semitism was evil and demonic and was not condoned anywhere in the Bible. They could also see that the Church did not replace Israel. Protestant countries then became refuges for Jews fleeing Catholic and Orthodox persecution.
David Stern's Jewish New Testament translation brings home to Jew and Gentile alike just what this great part of the Bible really says about Jesus' teachings. I'm not saying other translations do not do this. But people have a habit of reading things in a shallow manner. The Gospel of John is a perfect example:
Both Jews and Christians think that this Gospel contains anti-Jewish statements. Logic alone would tell us that this cannot be so. John, like Jesus and the rest of the disciples were all Jews. Why would John then decry Jews? It ought to be obvious that he could not have been decrying himself and them! So why does he say "Jews" as if he and they were not the same people?
David Stern's translation makes it so obvious that you don't even need to think about the discrepancy. Where other Bibles put "Jew" he puts "Judeans." Had that difference been clearly established in other translations, no professing Christian could possibly have claimed that there was anything anti-Semitic anywhere in this wonderful section of the Word of God.
The Jewish terms and words dispersed throughout Mr Stern's translation are common knowledge to Jewish people. That should not put off non-Jews. There are footnotes explaining these and they are easy to follow. When they are given they're in a column at the right-hand side of the page.
The outlay and print makes the whole thing easy to read. It is a very easy way of learning Jewish terms. It will enrich your knowledge of the New Testament.
I already had a copy of the Complete Jewish Bible, Also translated by David Stern. I would encourage anyone to buy that also. (Though I am not advocating that these are the only Bible translations you should read.) But I was glad to have a copy of his Jewish New Testament too because it's a fine size to carry around in a bag or briefcase. So it would be easy to pull out in a cafe or on a park bench or wherever you'd feel like relaxing. You may get some surprised glances which in itself may be a nice way to start a witness.
I think this Jewish New Testament is also important due to these days of widespread ecumenism when the word of God is being watered down, ignored and misrepresented for the sake of a false unity among denominations and other religions. These denominations and religions are among some of have which have never held the Bible with any rightful reverence and have even disparaged it. The most blatant part of this is seen in their acceptance of this appalling heresy of so-called Replacement Theology. "Replacement Theology" is actually a return to the Romanist teachings that the Church has replaced the Jews. That of, course is not only unbiblical but it is anti-biblical and therefore of an anti-Christ spirit. Ecumenism is willing to sacrifice truth in the name of unity. The whole essence of Scripture teaches that it is better to be divided by truth than united in error. We are either for Christ or against Him. He said so plainly.
This New Testament translation by David Stern deserves to become popular, if only for the fact that it clearly gives undeniable evidence that God still has a place for Jews in His plan and that those who would dare deny that are skating on very thin ice indeed.
On lighter side, it it is an enjoyable way to learn more about the cultural mores of the Jesus and His times.
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 13 Apr 2012 13:25:05 BDT
M. Townsend says:
Thanks for an excellent and thoughtful review- very comprehensive.

In reply to an earlier post on 19 Apr 2012 01:31:29 BDT
Martin Horan says:
Thanks. I'm glad you liked it.
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Location: Perth, Scotland

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