THE HEBREW YESHUA VS. THE GREEK JESUS by Nehemia Gordon

THE HEBREW YESHUA VS. THE GREEK JESUS

Light on the Seat of Moses from Shem-Tov's Hebrew Matthew

KIRKUS REVIEW

A scholarly examination of the theory that Hebrew versions of the Book of Matthew indicate that Jesus, or Yeshua, had beliefs similar to that of the Karaites.

Gordon, a Karaite Jew or Hebrew Scripturalist, lays out the necessary background of Pharisaic Judaism and the basic tenets of Karaite Judaism, and outlines previous scholarship on Shem-Tov’s medieval copy of an ancient Hebrew text of Matthew. He also presents linguistic support for Hebrew as the original language for the Gospel of Matthew, then picks apart minor differences between the Hebrew and Greek in several key verses. These slight differences could lead to major new interpretations of Jesus’s directives, namely that he was upholding Old Testament law and speaking against the “reforms” of the Pharisees, not attempting to replace the laws of Moses. Gordon’s discussion of Jesus’s beliefs touches on one of the earliest issues facing the Christian church–whether or not Mosaic law remains applicable post-Messiah. The author’s neutrality in such a touchy subject area is admirable, although not entirely surprising considering that the outcome of the Christian debate doesn’t directly affect him. Gordon focuses on Jesus as a Jew, not his finding’s implications for the Christian church. While the author’s research stands on its own, his conclusions are open to debate. Those with little background in Judaism and biblical study will likely be overwhelmed, but Gordon’s experience as a lecturer comes through as he attempts to make a difficult topic accessible. Extensive indices, appendices, glossary and bibliography provide guidance through the pages of Hebrew history and Talmud-filled footnotes. However, the author’s study is better suited for groups of Karaite Jews, Messianic Jews and scholars interested in studying who Jesus was as a man.

Non-sensationalist religious food for thought.

Pub Date: Jan. 1st, 2005
ISBN: 978-0-976-263-708
Program: Kirkus Indie
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