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Jesus, the Jews, and the Battle for the Early Church

by Stephen Beebe

Pub Date: May 27th, 2008
ISBN: 978-1-4257-8939-8

An engaging reference explores the link between Judaism and the early Christian church.

Plant geneticist Beebe viewed faith as a crutch for those too weak to face the realities of life, until he rediscovered God through Bahá'í, a faith encompassing numerous religions. Finding his distaste for Christianity to be adverse to the Bahá'í belief that God works through all faiths, the author reexamined the Bible and the life of Jesus. After learning more about Christianity's Jewish roots, he finally came to terms with Jesus by placing Him within a historical context. This book, aimed at Christians eager to learn more about the roots of their faith, focuses on Jewish culture before and during Jesus' time. Unlike other Christian books exploring these traditions, Between the Menorah and the Cross does not cast Judaism unfavorably but instead attempts to create an accurate and unbiased depiction of Jesus by peering through a Jewish lens. For the most part, the book places a positive spin on the historical evolution of Christianity, regarding the transition from polytheism to monotheism, the new emphasis placed on ethics and the recent emphasis on individual spirituality as all parts of God's unique plan. Interspersed with short dramatizations of traditional stories from the Bible, the book explores topics such as the history of the Christian scriptures, the initial Jewish-Christian church that existed before Christianity further branched out, the emphasis placed on life after death and on the immortal soul, and the view of Jesus as an apocalyptical prophet instead of a transcendent son of God. The narrative tone is occasionally too conversational–even apologetic–which can be distracting from the provoking information contained within. Still, Beebe successfully supplies readers with a unique blend of historical information on Judaism and the early Christian church, placing familiar Christian stories such as the Good Samaritan within an insightful Jewish context.

A helpful, informative explanation of the common ground between Judaism and Christianity.