Torah Ethics and Early Christian Identity (Gupta)

torah-ethics

This may have been a book release that flew under the radar at the end of 2016. This multi-contributor work (ed. S.J. Wendel and D.M. Miller) is something of a Festschrift in honor of Stephen Westerholm (see preface). The main topic of the volume raises this key question: “in what ways did the Mosaic law continue to serve as a positive reference point for Christ-believers regardless of whether they thought Torah observant was essential?”

The book is divided into three sections: Torah Ethics in Early Judaism, Torah Ethics and the New Testament, and Beyond the New Testament. Contributors include Adele Reinhartz, Scot McKnight, Beverly Gaventa, Terence Donaldson, Richard Hays (a reprint of a previously published essay), and the book is capped off by an essay by Westerholm himself. The essays do seem to hang together pretty well, but I found the title a bit misleading – I am not sure “Torah ethics” is the right word. It may have better been termed “Torah and Early Christian Identity.” Still, several worthwhile essays included. Of particular interest to me were these:

Anders Runesson, “Entering a Synagogue with Paul: First-Century Torah Observance”

Scot McKnight, “The Law of the Laws: James, Wisdom, and the Law”

Beverly Gaventa, “Questions about Nomos: Answers about Christos: Romans 10:4 in Context”

Terence Donaldson, “Paul, Abraham’s Gentile Offspring, and the Torah”

 

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4 thoughts on “Torah Ethics and Early Christian Identity (Gupta)

  1. Is the most important commandment in Torah found in Deuteronomy 6:4-5, or in Leviticus 19:18 ? It depends on who you are following. What about you? Which one is it?

    Poem – What is love?

    Two men came to Jesus
    With different motivations.
    They asked Him the same question
    Relevant to all the nations:

    Which is the Most Important?
    The answer was the same.
    Jesus did not manipulate
    He was not there to play a game.

    “Love the Lord your God” said Jesus
    as He quoted from The Law –
    to fulfill and not abolish
    was His purpose, full of awe.

    Jesus did not make all Scripture
    Into one new great commandment.
    He summarized The Law and Prophets
    “First and Greatest” and “The Second.”

    The Love of God is higher
    Than the love of any man.
    Receive from God, give back to God-
    Then to others, that’s His plan.

    The Love of God involves much more
    Than simply “love your fellow man.”
    Worship, trust, and pray to God,
    and obey Him – that’s His plan

    To worship and pray to neighbors,
    Whoever they may be,
    Or trust and obey our enemies
    Would be idolatry.

    The love of God is first and greatest,
    And the love of man is second.
    “All we need is love” are words
    of dead Beetles on the pavement.

    “The entire law is summed up in a single command”
    are not the words of Jesus our Salvation.
    It’s false teaching of Paul the Pharisee
    an “accuser of our brethren.”

    “Love” without God is Satan’s word through Paul
    in his chapter to the Corinthians.
    “I will show you the most excellent way”
    is the road to eternal perdition.

    Where is God in Paul’s chapter on love?
    Nowhere in view of the eye.
    Paul sings about himself like a Mexican Mariachi
    “I, I, I, I.”

    Jesus is The Most Excellent Way
    Not the words of a Pharisee.
    The words of Jesus are very clear.
    Jesus said, “You must follow ME.”

  2. Are you following Yeshua the Messiah, Son of Yahweh the Most High God?
    or are you following:

    BOSS PAUL THE PHARISEE
    [sing it to the tune of “Rapture” by Blondie]

    I’m Boss Paul, the Pharisee
    My hypocrisy’s plain for the world to see
    I travel the land and travel the sea
    to make a convert who is just like ME

    “All have sinned” – we know that’s true
    but it never means ME – it only means YOU
    My sins are all theoretical
    “I’m the worst of sinners”- but don’t ask where

    To be more like Jesus is what some strive
    except for me – I’ve already arrived
    I’m the perfect model since the road to Damascus
    What were Paul’s sins? Don’t ask us!

    I justify everything I do
    If I testify about myself it MUST be true
    I’m the only man in all history
    whose testimony doesn’t need two or three

    If I did something it MUST be right
    Don’t use the Scripture to shed any light
    Don’t do as I say, do as I do
    and then you can be a Pharisee too.

  3. The voice of Jesus……

    Looking forward – Chapter 2

    “I am he who searches hearts and minds”
    says the Risen Jesus Christ
    “Repent and do what you did at first”
    Don’t be lazy since He paid the price

    Yes, Jesus sees our sins today
    Don’t think that He is blind
    But the words of paul the Pharisee
    Will put you in a bind

    Jesus washed away your sins
    Don’t listen to paul the accuser
    paul abandoned the Church in Corinth
    And then paul became an abuser

    When you put your trust in Jesus
    Yes, your stains were white as snow
    You didn’t need to wear a Scarlet Letter
    Everywhere you go

    “I will repay each of you
    According to your deeds”
    This is Jesus speaking to The Church
    Not a business selling felt needs

    For “those who claim to be apostles”
    Jesus said they must be “tested”
    Priscilla, Aquila, and Apollos
    Persevered and were not bested

    They exposed the false teachings
    Of paul the Pharisee
    So the Church in Ephesus rejected paul
    And had a chance to be free

    Bibliography
    All quotes are the words of Jesus, in Revelation Chapter 2

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