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Debbie from ChristFocus
3 Stars Out Of 5
Some arguments based on assumptions; not much new for me
May 26, 2015
Debbie from ChristFocus
"They Loved the Torah" gives evidence that Jesus and his disciples were Torah-observant. I already assumed this was true since Jesus fulfilled the Torah (and was sinless) and his disciples were Jews. Rather than going in depth into an argument, the author would sometimes refer the reader to another book or article for that information. I was left feeling like the substance of his arguments was elsewhere.
The author's arguments were mainly based on examples from the gospels and Acts. However, he sometimes based his argument on an unproven or shaky assumption. For example, he assumes that the common people wouldn't feel positively about Jesus if he wasn't Torah-observant. He gave examples of common people having a positive reaction to Jesus. Therefore, Jesus was Torah-observant. I don't accept his assumption. There have been cults and movements were the "Christian" leader didn't stick with the Bible but people still liked what they heard and followed that leader. Jewish history also contains examples of this. His stronger arguments involved actual examples of Jesus and his followers observing the Torah in one way or another.
Basically, I'm not sure these arguments are strong enough to convince someone who didn't start off at least partly agreeing with his views. If you already agree or have previously read books about the debates among the Pharisees at that time (like what constitutes work on the Sabbath?), then there isn't much reason to read this book.
The book is a great reminder for the Church not to forget its Jewish origin. The author attempts to correct the common notion that equates Judaism in general (and Pharisaism in particular) as anti-Messiah by showing from the New Testament writings how the first believers were Torah-observant Jews. Although not the books intention, it would have been more balanced if the author tackled verses in the New Testament that apparently talk about the end of the law in the lives of the believers. I particularly like how the author describes grace, mercy, and love from the perspective of the Old Testament. He showed how these were never abstract concepts but intimately tied to practical realities in the lives of the Gods people.