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5 Stars Out Of 5
Understanding the Difficult Words of Jesus
August 19, 2014
Our bible study group of four born again Christians are thrilled with this book. It DOES help each of us to better understand new testament verses which had been impossible for us to comprehend otherwise. We intend to read David's second book on this subject. And, we ALL wondered if someone had taken this Greek-to-Hebrew-to-English approach and produced a "new" new testament. We would each get one. Great job, David!
"Understanding the Difficult Words of Jesus" is a Bible study or Bible backgrounds book. The main part of the book was an argument that Hebrew, not Aramaic, was the "common language" of the Jewish people and the language that Jesus mainly taught in. The authors examined the problems with the Aramaic and Greek theories. They then talked about modern linguistic research and evidence outside the Bible and in the gospels for Hebrew being the everyday language of Jews in Israel.
Then they discussed some passages in the gospels where understanding the original meaning of the Hebrew idiom helps us to understand what Jesus meant. Many of these examples gave new or deeper insight into the passages. Others, I could see that their suggestions could be correct, but I wasn't completely convinced that their interpretations were more likely or enlightening than the usual ones. In any case, I found these sections very interesting and well worth reading.
The entire book was easy-to-read and -follow. I'd recommend this book to people who enjoy word studies or Bible background books.
It's hard to know how to review this when you don't know if the thesis is right. I grew up Jewish before becoming a Christian, and I still find it hard to believe, in the light of scholarship and what we have from ancient writings, that we can know that Jesus spoke Hebrew. The authors do not offer enough proof. This is the type of scholarship I have learned to beware of. There is too much evidence in the New Testament that Jesus spoke Aramaic. Who knows, He probably grew up in a trilingual culture--Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek. Students in Ukraine speak Ukrainian at school and Russian at the playground. And the USA has tens of millions that need English and Spanish to make it though a day. Ever go to Williamsburg, New York? Hassidic Jewish children reading the Torah in Hebrew and the Talmud in Hebrew and Aramaic, while speaking Yiddish and learning English, need four languages in a day's time.Well, maybe I'm wrong. But as a former professor, I detect a real lack of scholarship and convincing evidence.
An essential primer for understanding the Gospel message in the proper context of its Hebraic setting, second only to "Our Father Abraham" by Dr. Marvin Wilson, or "Jesus The Jewish Theologian" by Dr. Brad Young. "Understanding . . ." primarily covers the misconceptions of a Greek-based Gospel, clarifying the point of our Hebrew-based Gospel Vorlage, and our Hebrew Messiah (Jesus). If you desire to know the God Whom Jesus came to reveal, this book confronts our misconceptions concerning the God we serve, and His Messiah.