Non-sensationalist religious food for thought.



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. 1, 2005

ISBN: 978-0-976-263-708

Page Count: -

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: May 23, 2010

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If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.


The authors have created a sort of anti-Book of Virtues in this encyclopedic compendium of the ways and means of power.

Everyone wants power and everyone is in a constant duplicitous game to gain more power at the expense of others, according to Greene, a screenwriter and former editor at Esquire (Elffers, a book packager, designed the volume, with its attractive marginalia). We live today as courtiers once did in royal courts: we must appear civil while attempting to crush all those around us. This power game can be played well or poorly, and in these 48 laws culled from the history and wisdom of the world’s greatest power players are the rules that must be followed to win. These laws boil down to being as ruthless, selfish, manipulative, and deceitful as possible. Each law, however, gets its own chapter: “Conceal Your Intentions,” “Always Say Less Than Necessary,” “Pose as a Friend, Work as a Spy,” and so on. Each chapter is conveniently broken down into sections on what happened to those who transgressed or observed the particular law, the key elements in this law, and ways to defensively reverse this law when it’s used against you. Quotations in the margins amplify the lesson being taught. While compelling in the way an auto accident might be, the book is simply nonsense. Rules often contradict each other. We are told, for instance, to “be conspicuous at all cost,” then told to “behave like others.” More seriously, Greene never really defines “power,” and he merely asserts, rather than offers evidence for, the Hobbesian world of all against all in which he insists we live. The world may be like this at times, but often it isn’t. To ask why this is so would be a far more useful project.

If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1998

ISBN: 0-670-88146-5

Page Count: 430

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1998

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This a book of earlier, philosophical essays concerned with the essential "absurdity" of life and the concept that- to overcome the strong tendency to suicide in every thoughtful man-one must accept life on its own terms with its values of revolt, liberty and passion. A dreary thesis- derived from and distorting the beliefs of the founders of existentialism, Jaspers, Heldegger and Kierkegaard, etc., the point of view seems peculiarly outmoded. It is based on the experience of war and the resistance, liberally laced with Andre Gide's excessive intellectualism. The younger existentialists such as Sartre and Camus, with their gift for the terse novel or intense drama, seem to have omitted from their philosophy all the deep religiosity which permeates the work of the great existentialist thinkers. This contributes to a basic lack of vitality in themselves, in these essays, and ten years after the war Camus seems unaware that the life force has healed old wounds... Largely for avant garde aesthetes and his special coterie.

Pub Date: Sept. 26, 1955

ISBN: 0679733736

Page Count: 228

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: Sept. 19, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1955

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