An Idea that Is Changing the World

The March 24, 2008 issue of Time Magazine featured a cover story called “10 Ideas that are Changing the World.”

cross_menorahThe issue highlighted 10 significant revolutions in modern understanding of reality. And on the list was Re-Judaizing Jesus. The article starts with the blurb: “Scholars are now rereading the Gospels through the eyes of a Jew: Jesus” If you’d like to read the rest, here is the link.

The article starts out with a disagreement on the Jewish context of Jesus between Rob Bell, pastor of Mars Hill Bible Church and Ben Witherington, New Testament scholar and popular blogger. People may disagree on the details, but no one believes that Jesus’ Jewish setting is unimportant any more. Only a few decades ago this kind of discussion didn’t exist, and now it is an important trend that is hitting the major news magazines.

Even though the article came out a few months ago, I thought you should know about it.



2 Responses to “An Idea that Is Changing the World”

  1. 1
    Kurt|February 21, 2009

    First off, I think that Witherington is a fine scholar, but I tend to lean toward the other option Here is my question for you Lois (assuming you have read the blog post about Bell at this site: )

    Q. How would you or others in your theological area of expertise respond to the charges that Ben Witherington, and other respected scholars make?

    Your previous post on Jesus as Rabbi certainly gave me some of the answer already…

    Have a great rest of the weekend and I am looking fforward to the book!

  2. 2
    Doug Ward|February 26, 2009

    I have a little bit different take on Jesus’ position vis a vis the Torah than Dr. Witherington does, but there’s one part of his critique that I think is very important: the need to read a broad range of commentaries and scholarship.

    There are a number of Christians who have learned about the Jewishness of Jesus through Bivin and Blizzard’s _Understanding the Difficult Words of Jesus_. Some people have come away from that book with the mistaken impression that there is some secret knowledge, available only through the Jerusalem School, that is needed in order to unlock the message of the Gospels.

    An antidote to this kind of “cultlike” mentality is to read more widely and find out about the perspectives of a wide range of scholarship. These days all good New Testament scholarship is full of “Jewish roots” information. As the Time Magazine article was saying, this is a major trend.

    I should also mention that I think Lois has always been careful to read widely, take a balanced view, and avoid the sort of pitfall that I’m talking about.

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