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Meet the Rabbis: Rabbinic Thought and the Teachings of Jesus [Paperback]

By Brad H. Young (Author)
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Item Specifications...

Pages   270
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.96" Width: 6.64" Height: 0.7"
Weight:   1.06 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Jun 1, 2007
ISBN  1565634055  
EAN  9781565634053  

Availability  0 units.

Item Description...
Meet the Rabbis is an engagingly written introduction to rabbinic thought, literature, and the lives of the most influential rabbis. This is a must read for everyone interested in Judaism and Christian origins.

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More About Brad H. Young

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Brad H. Young (PhD, Hebrew University) studied under David Flusser and is the author of "Jesus and His Jewish Parables" and "The Jewish Background to the Lord's Prayer." He is the president and founder of the Gospel Research Foundation, which is committed to exploring the Jewish roots of the Christian faith, and is on the editorial board of the Compendia Rerum Iudaicarum ad Novum Testamentum. He is a faculty member of the Graduate School of Theology and Missions at Oral Roberts University, serving as professor of biblical literature in Judeo-Christian studies.

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Reviews - What do our customers think?
Some suggestions to complement "Meet the Rabbis"  Nov 1, 2008
There are so many good reviews on this book that I will only suggest reading the following books -on religion and Jews- in addition to Young's.

A) Religion in general

1) "The Phenomenon of Religion: A Thematic Approach," by Moojan Momen (astonishingly encyclopedic); 2) "Shamans, Sorcerers, and Saints: A Prehistory of Religion" by Brian Hayden (great overview of religion origins and development); 3) "God Owes Us Nothing: A Brief Remark on Pascal's Religion and on the Spirit of Jansenism" by Leszek Kolakowski (on predestination); 4) "The Book of Miracles: The Meaning of the Miracle Stories in Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, Hinduism and Islam" by Kenneth L. Woodward (very readable); 5) "Sin and Salvation in the World Religions: A Short Introduction" by Harold Coward (somehow dry but also covering Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Buddhism and Hinduism); 6) "Prayer: A History" by Philip Zaleski and Carol Zaleski (recently bought, not read yet); 7); "Alternative Tradition: A Study of Unbelief in the Ancient World (Religion and Society)" by James A. Thrower; and 8)"Dreaming in the World's Religions: A Comparative History" by Kelly Bulkeley (I have not bought it yet, it has been published this July).

B) Jews in history

1) "A history of the Jews", by Paul Johnson (general and very readable introduction); 2) "Les Juifs, Le Monde et L' Argent : Histoire économique du people juif" by Jacques Attali; 3) "Maimonides" by Abraham Joshua Heschel; 4) "The Pity of It All : A History of the Jews in Germany, 1743-1933" by Amos Elon; and 5) "In an Antique Land" by Amitav Ghosh (I have not read it yet, it is about the thrills of the India trade as portrayed in Goitein's Geniza).
Superb Introduction to the Rabbis for Christians  Oct 8, 2008
"Meet the Rabbis" is a great introduction and primer to the Rabbis whose wisdom is recorded in the Talmud (including an introduction and explanation of the Mishnah and Talmud themselves) and the Jewish way of thinking in general. Wish this work had been out decades ago!

Brad Young's material is aimed primarily toward Christian leaders, teachers, or serious students of Scripture (particularly the teachings of Jesus). Yet the work can be comprehended by the average layman.

The book is broken down into 4 main sections: (1) Introduction to Rabbinic Thought, (2) Introduction to Rabbinic Literature, (3) Introduction to the Rabbis, and (4) Study Helps.

Highlights include a parallel column section comparing some of Jesus' teachings from the Sermon on the Mount to quotations from the Rabbis in the Talmud (many of which can be traced back to rabbis who taught just before or during the ministry of Jesus).

Here is just one interesting tidbit: Did you know that the Rabbi Gamaliel (the First) -- the man who encouraged the Sanhedrin to release the apostles in Acts 5, and the man under whom Saul of Tarsus was mentored --Gamaliel was a descendent of David and the grandson of Hillel, the great rabbi whose teachings resemble those of Jesus?

This book is well worth the read. Young writes in such a way that you may not be sure where he stands on things, but I think he does so intentionally to accommodate a broad audience.

I would suggest this as good collateral reading for a Biblical hermeneutics class or a class on the Life of Christ. As a pastor, books like this help me as an interpreter and teacher. Really good stuff.
Well Worth a Read  Sep 20, 2008
Understanding the Judaic Roots of our faith brings a depth of understanding and knowledge that is sadly lacking in today's interpretive techniques. Contrary to modern teachings indicating that Jesus was the first born again man and man centered interpretations that bring man to godhood, this book is a breath of fresh air.

Putting Yeshua (Jesus) back into His cultural setting and firmly understood interpretive techniques used by the intelligentsia of the day opens up Scripture to a depth heretofore forgotten. Jesus was Jewish and relating back to that fact is re-opening Scripture to its original context instead of the Hellenized and in many cases mystical interpretations of today.

Other books I recommend along the same lines are: Torah Rediscovered: Challanging Centuries of Misinterpretation and Neglect and The Forgotten Roots : A Beginners Guide To Judaic Roots
What Have We Here???   Aug 23, 2008
I learned quite a bit from reading this book and generally enjoyed reading it. However, I was frequently confronted by problems. For example, the author's selection and use of materials meant to illustrate and reinforce key points of his analysis are often either ill conceived or distorted. Next, there is a paucity of dates provided for material from the Rabbis that purport to parallel the teachings of Jesus. Whether these teachings were within twenty five years or four centuries of Jesus does matter. Another problem is this book's designation of historical time periods that do not conform to common terminology in this field of scholarship. And, then there is at least one glaring editorial mistake. Ultimately, this is a work of apologetics. It is many times scholarly and informative, but it also strays away from or avoids what is known fact too often. Young's operating premise is that Jesus' teachings were largely in harmony with the Pharisaic thought of His time. Many readers are acquainted with and have reacted negatively to the "hippy, liberal, cynic Jesus" primarily offered up by the Jesus Seminar. But, a far less perceived and discussed problem is the "Jewish Jesus" of recent scholarship. Consciously or unconsciously, this is many times motivated by scholarly attempts aimed at the expiation of guilt for the Holocaust and is often characterized by a cloying political correctness. All portraits of the historical Jesus so far offered by scholars seem to reflect a great deal about those who write them and the cultural concerns of their own times.

To illustrate Christian scholarly attitudes towards Judaism, Young reaches back to John Lightfoot in the seventeenth century. More contemporary expressions of anti-Judaism in Christian scholarship abound right up into the nineteen fifties. But, they would lack the pungency of Lightfoot's shockingly crude anti-Semitism. Also, the author offers a paraphrase of a Tannaitic saying that he renders without quotes as "Hillel is said to have had seventy disciples. The least of which was Yochanan ben Zakhai, ..." No mention is made of the fact that this saying is universally considered hyperbolic and that Yochanan ben Zakhai was actually the most distinguished of Hillel's disciples. Also, Hillel had far less than seventy disciples. Current scholarship views these statements as aggrandizements of the Hillel school by later Rabbis. The presentation of the Amidah prayer as rendered and explicated is misleading. First, the prayer as presented is a late recension and dates from far after the time of Jesus. Second, the Amidah was the prayer of the "eighteen benedictions" at time of Jesus. The general scholarly opinion opts for a nineteenth benediction added at Yavneh before 100 CE, and it was the "Birkat haMinim" which is in English the curse against the heretics. And, it may well have been formulated to remove Jewish Christians from the Synagogues. From beginning to end, Young's consideration of the Amidah prayer is a deep minority position. For the latest work on the topic, see "Birkat haMinim: Jews and Christian in Conflict in the Ancient World" by Yaakov Y. Teppler.

Dating protocols are generally accepted for the history herein assessed. The period of Second Temple Judaism begins circa 518 BCE and closes in 70 CE which then inaugurates the Rabbinic period of Judaism. The Tannaim thrive from about 20 BCE through 220 CE. What does the term "ancient Rabbis" that Young refers to really mean in terms of chronology? The early Rabbis are the heirs of the Pharisaic Tannaim who operated up to 70 CE. Next came the Tannaitic Rabbis of Classical Antiquity followed by the Amoraic Rabbis of Late Antiquity. Attempting to retroject the Rabbinic period back into the time of Jesus or beyond is ingenuous. That the ethical and Kingdom teachings of Jesus have many points of contact with its contemporary Judaism and the teachings of the somewhat later Rabbis goes without saying. After all, this was the milieu in which Jesus grew up, taught in, and was comfortable in. The vast majority of the New Testament is populated by Jewish-Christian documents. Jesus' teachings were in Jewish-Christian literary forms. But by no means does this mean that Jesus was a "Hatorah" Jew. There were profound conflicts between Jesus and Pharisaic Judaism, and one need look no further than matters of ritual purity and sabbath observance. The early Jewish Christian Church in Jerusalem was deeply enmeshed in conflict with Judaism within a decade of the death of Jesus. And, it turned deadly with the executions of Stephen and James the son of Zebedee.

Then there are the multiple assertions by Young that the early Jewish Christians worshipped and prayed in the Temple. The New Testament makes it very clear that the Jewish Christians taught and preached at the Temple. Never are early Jewish Christian or Jesus associated with the sacrificial cult of the Temple. With the exception of the attestation by Josephus and Hegisippus, an early Church father, that James, the relative of Jesus, prayed continually at the Temple, I find no other evidence that Young's assertions are correct. The degree to which both Jesus and the early Church were indifferent to the Temple and its cult is well illustrated in the book, "No Stone on Another ...," by Lloyd Gaston. As to editorial flaws, I will but mention one. A full chapter is devoted to Young's fine and accessible translation of the "Pirke Avoth" which appears in the Mishnah. Sixty five Rabbis or Pharisaic Tannaim are quoted in this document. Many of them multiple times. However, when one goes to the book's subject index, less than thirty of these sages are listed and not one entry regarding any of them cites their contribution in the chapter containing the "Pirke Avoth." This is inexcusable. I could go on. But, this litany of problems should suffice. In essence, this is a seductive apologetic work which is far more an advocacy piece than a serious consideration of all the available data and the widely divergent scholarly opinions on the materials covered. It is written so as to be easily accessible to any literate adult. If one is widely read in this area of scholarship, one can make the required differentiations inherently necessary for a proper assessment of this work. However, in style and content, this book is not aimed at scholars. Therefore, by reading it in a vacuum, the average inquiring reader may well be deeply misled.
Superior and Insightful  Jun 7, 2008
Brad Young is an excellent teacher who is divinely gifted as this work proves. It is a pleasure to read material that is so well researched and beneficial to both Jews and Christians. This book is a must for all Bible scholars and laymen, especially teachers of the Gospel.

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