Should Jews Read the New Testament?

Reform Judaism’s Fall 2006 issue contains the article, "Christianity’s Forgotten Jews," adapted from Julie Galambush’s new book The Reluctant Parting: How the New Testament’s Jewish Writers Created a Christian Book. On any number of points, there’s much to both agree and disagree with, but chiefly the author stresses the original Jewishness of Christianity (the article features a re-do of DaVinci’s Last Supper as a full-blown seder) and the intra-Jewish nature of much in the New Testament of that has typically been characterized as anti-Semitism. A companion Study Guide is available for download.

Presumably Galambush’s book is meant, whatever its other aims, to encourage Jews to read the New Testament for themselves. The article meshes nicely with Rabbi Michael J. Cook’s call for Jews to read the New Testament (see his forthcoming book, Modern Jews Engage the New Testament, slated for publication in 2007).

Will Jews be turning to the New Testament in droves? Probably not. Some will object to the term "New Testament" altogether, arguing that it implies that the "Old" is obsolete and that it gives ground to the idea that the Jewish people are no longer the people of God. (Though in my Jewish home growing up, we always talked about the "Old Testament," and after all, it is older in time. If you like, the "Old Testament" has what we Jews call yichus, a respectable pedigree.) Others will see this openness to reading the New Testament as a sell-out of Judaism.

But the New Testament also has yichus. If the Jewish community at large accepts what Jewish scholars have known for a long time, that the New Testament is a Jewish book, maybe the discussion can finally turn on whether or not what it has to say is true, and why it matters.


Vikie said...

I think the Jews would want to know the Truth more than any one. They have known the Father, now it is time to meet the Son.
God has always deligated, from the beginning, so why wouldn't he deligate the most important job to his very own Son, in whom he could trust the most?
Sincerely and with Love,

Wagner said...

Como alguém que conhece as sagradas escrituras pode não ver Jesus como o Messias nelas?

Anonymous said...

I think the real reason why they're encouraging people to read the gospel to be able to "protect" themselves from "the enemy". And "the enemy" in this case is - Jews 4 Jesus and other missionaries. I hope that it will work the other way, a percentage of readers, eventually, will believe what they've read.

4praise said...

there are none so blind as those that will not see. Jesus as Messiah can be preached from the Torah or Old Testament. you will find his birth in Isaiah,his crucifiction in the Psalms his resurrection in the Minor Prophets. Also in Isaiah you will find that He is the Father. there are no contradictions in G*ds word only in men's preception of that word

Susan Joy Clark said...

I am so happy that your ministry encourages Jewish people to study New Testament and to understand prophecy and how the whole Bible fits together.

I have written a juvenile novel, And the Violin Cried, which will be released in mid-February. The story deals with a conflict between a Christian girl and a Jewish girl in a junior high. When a group of anti-Semitic boys, who call themselves the Black Knights get active in the school, the Christian girl has an opportunity to show her Christian love. to read more about it and get news, To order, go to

Becky Justice said...

Some questions.

How does one reconcile the FACT of ONE God, with the new fact of Three?

I was born and brought up in the Christian Church and have read both the Old and New Testaments many times. Apparently, God changed His mind at the time the New Testament was written???

NOwhere in the Old Testament does He say that he will be sending His son as the Messiah.

Then: I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. Anyone who breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called the least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven. (Mt. 5:18-20)

It is easier for heaven and earth to disappear than for the least stroke of a pen to drop out of the Law. (Lk. 16:17)

Yet, Paul taught that Circumcision wasn't necessary? Peter taught that Dietary laws were no longer in effect?

One must believe in the Divinity of Jesus? To the question, "what good thing must I do to inherit eternal life?", Jesus answered, "If you want to enter life, obey the commandments." When questioned further about which ones, Jesus enumerated the Ten Commandments (Mt. 19:17/ Mk. 10:19/ Lk.18:20).

I would remind all of the second Commandment.

Jesus went further. Matt 5:19-20(Jesus speaking)
"Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments(the laws of God), and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.
For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven."

Well, I guess Paul and Peter just realized they would get more converts if the did away with some of those pesky laws...........

Bob K. said...

If this noble effort to encourage Jews to read the New Testament does take off, I hope that David Sterns "Jewish New Testament" will receive the attention it deserves. What better rendering of this Jewish document is out there for the observent Jew? IF this is an honest effort, I see no problem with this.

Anonymous said...

we should not only concentrate on verses that could satisfy our thoughts. jews are the chosen ones and they will remain as such.
in the eyes of God we are all chosen people because he gave us the life..dont be afraid of discovering the truth about jesus whether you are a jew,christian or whoever.accept the truth, for he is the way, the truth and the life..that is in the bible not just a saying.

Anonymous said...

Chad et al,

Come home to Judaism and let God forgive you!