Dr Moseley's volume is a well written, thoroughly documented, understandable work with an important message: one cannot understand the Gospels or the early Church with precision unless one enters into the Jewish roots of the Christian faith.
This book explores the history of the first century of the Christian religion, showing that the early leaders of the church were Jewish, that the early church was organized on the pattern of the synagogue and explaining what Yeshua (Jesus) really meant in his frequent use of Jewish idioms that were literally translated into Greek with the resulting confusion of meaning.
The book is written as a study text with review questions at the end of each chapter. What emerges is quite astonishing and not at all what many Christians have been led to believe. In the context of the Hebrew idioms, many perplexing sayings of Yeshua (Jesus) become perfectly clear.
Chapter One presents the evidence for the Jewish background of the early church and discusses the early Hebraic names for the church. The fascinating
Chapter Two deals with Jewish idioms in the teachings of Yeshua (Jesus); it includes passages on the parable of the reed and the oak, the golden vine, binding and loosing, the good eye and sounding the trumpet.
Chapter Three examines misconceptions regarding the law. It includes discussions of the law and grace, the Holy Spirit and the law, Paul and the law, the famous Gnostic Marcion and his view of the law, the letter of the law, the purpose of the law, and great Christian leaders' view of the law.
Chapter Four explores the old and the new covenants, the Noachide laws and 4th century theology, whilst the next chapter looks at subjects like the Holy Spirit, grace and gifts before Christ, the three stages of salvation and the relationship of the law to the New Testament.
Chapters Six to Nine are an in-depth study of the Pharisees, including their theology, their study and worship, and the Sadducees, Scribes and Essenes. There are also passages discussing their duties, their communities and the different types of Pharisee.
Their teachings are discussed in Chapter Eight, which includes discussions of miracles, traditions, evangelism and teaching methods. The final chapter looks at similarities between the Puritans and the Pharisees, Pharisaic doctrines and the schools of Hillel and Shammai.
The last chapter lists eight significant conclusions of the preceding text. These include the fact that Christianity was born within the matrix of Judaism and that the original language, idioms, customs, organizational structure and religious practices of the church were thoroughly Jewish.
The book contains a glossary, a bibliography and endnotes arranged by chapter. I highly recommend this work to all Christians who wish to understand the roots of their faith and what Yeshua (Jesus) really meant, especially where his words in the English translations of the Bible appear to be confusing.
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