Book Review: Exploring Our Hebraic Heritage

Exploring Our Hebraic Heritage:  A Christian Theology Of Roots And Renewal, by Marvin R. Wilson

This is the sort of book that could have gone very well or very badly, and so I read it with some concern and even mild trepidation.  Much to my relief and enjoyment I found this to be an excellent book about a difficult subject, handled with a great deal of aplomb.  In fact, this is an author who appears, at least based on my own reading of the book, to have similar views about such matters as the meaning of Holy Days [1], the importance of the Sabbath and biblical food laws [2], the contrast between tidy Greek thinking and multilayered Hebraic thinking [3], and the complicated relationship between biblical Christianity and Judaism [4].  All of these are subjects I think about and write about fairly often.  While at first I had some misgivings about the high praise the author gave to rabbinic writings and the oral Torah, the author appears to be using this research largely in order to gain a context of Jesus Christ and the early church within late Second Temple Judaism, rather than as a way to bring legalism into Christian circles.  Needless to say, I found this to be a relief.

In terms of its contents, this book is a demanding read.  I found it to be immensely enjoyable, one of the best books I have read in quite a while, but this is a book that would likely be a stiff challenge for most readers who are not familiar with Hebrew theological terms or the history of Christian polemical writing against Judaism and against the laws of God.  The first part of the book looks at theological sources and methods, examining some pitfalls and stepping-stones in theology, the theological quest for our Hebraic heritage, and the foundational sources for Hebraic thought.  The second part of the book looks at the people of God by looking at who joins whom in conversion, the importance of Abraham as the first “Jew,” and how we think theologically about Abraham.  The third part of the book looks at God and His ways, starting from a look at the God of Israel, the reputation of Yahweh in His world, and the image of God and the idols of humanity.  The fourth part of the book examines our obedience as part of a life of worship, the importance of repentance and prayer, and Israel’s struggle with God.  The fifth part of the book looks into the future in debunking supersessionist thinking and encouraging a lifelong study of scripture.  Each chapter ends with a lengthy series of questions, each of which would be good for an entire blog or series of blog posts, making this a book that offers a lot to think about and reflect on.

I happened to read a library copy of this book, and so I will have to turn it back in fairly soon.  I think highly enough of this book, though, to recommend it as a resource, and to add it to my list of books to look to acquire for a reasonable price to add as a reference material and source of blog posts in my own library.  Any book that is worth looking for space for given my rather severe limitations on book store space is a book that I can wholeheartedly recommend.  To be sure, not everyone will be able to get a lot out of this book, and some people may find the author’s warm praise of Hebrew thinkers and Hebrew thought to be a bit off-putting, but for those who thoughtfully struggle with the issues of how those believers in Christ can seek to live in obedience to God’s laws and God’s ways and give proper respect and honor and consideration to what is written in the Hebrew scriptures, this book is a Godsend.  I cannot praise it enough.

[1] See, for example:

https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2013/09/14/a-festival-of-reconciliation/

[2] See, for example:

https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2011/07/23/you-shall-not-eat-an-examination-of-the-biblical-food-laws/

[3] See, for example:

https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2016/07/29/pardes/

https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2010/12/22/on-the-difference-between-greek-thought-and-hebrew-thought/

https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2013/02/02/when-greek-minds-try-to-understand-hebrew-texts/

[4] See, for example:

https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2012/04/21/book-review-the-jewish-heroes-of-christian-history/

https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2017/03/22/book-review-desert-and-shepherd-in-our-biblical-heritage/

https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2013/10/22/book-review-in-the-shadow-of-the-temple/

https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2014/06/25/book-review-elementary-principles/

https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2016/11/04/book-review-why-the-jews-rejected-jesus/

About nathanalbright

I'm a person with diverse interests who loves to read. If you want to know something about me, just ask.
This entry was posted in Bible, Biblical History, Book Reviews, Christianity, Church of God, History and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Book Review: Exploring Our Hebraic Heritage

  1. Pingback: Book Review: The Story Of Yiddish | Edge Induced Cohesion

  2. Pingback: A Cure For Itching Ears | Edge Induced Cohesion

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