Book Review: Marvin Wilson’s Our Father Abraham: Jewish Roots of the Christian Faith

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For too long discussion of the Jewishness of Jesus has remained academic. Few scholars have had the interest or ability to unfold the practical meaning of the Gospels' Jewish roots for today's Church. Marvin Wilson, professor of Biblical and Theological Studies at Gordon College, has finally filled that void with Our Father Abraham. And the result is simply revolutionary.

For too long discussion of the Jewishness of Jesus has remained academic. Few scholars have had the interest or ability to unfold the practical meaning of the Gospels’ Jewish roots for today’s Church.

Marvin Wilson, professor of Biblical and Theological Studies at Gordon College, has finally filled that void with Our Father Abraham. And the result is simply revolutionary. For the first time someone has given the person in the pew an understanding of just what the Jewishness of Jesus means for his or her everyday life.

Our Father Abraham begins with a useful survey of the Jewish origins of the Church and provides some fresh perspectives on the early relationship between Jews and the Jewish disciples of Jesus. For example, Wilson points out that according to recent historical research from Israel, the בִּרְכַּת הַמִּינִים (birkat haminim, a first-century prayer against heretics) was not specifically formulated for use against Jewish followers of Jesus, as has often been maintained. The book also clears up a number of popular misconceptions about Judaism. One of the most widespread is the belief that Judaism teaches salvation by works, when in fact Judaism in the time of Jesus, and today, maintains that it is only through the mercy of God that salvation is obtained.

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