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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2 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.”

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