I’ve just discovered the Jewish roots of my Christian faith. What should I read to learn more?

FAQs, Other Questions, Readers’ Perspective Leave a Comment

We have a number of book suggestions and online resources for you to get started!

Many JP readers ask us questions along the following lines:

I’ve just discovered the Jewish roots of my Christian faith. What should I read to learn more?

The good news is that these days there are numerous resources that can help you explore various aspects of the Jewish roots of Christianity. Some resources are better for introducing readers to Judaism, others are better for placing Jesus and early Christianity within its historical context of Second Temple Judaism, and others are great at pointing out how forgetting our Jewish roots has led to the distortion of the Christian message. What interests you most is probably the best place for you to begin.

Introducing Judaism

There may be no better resource for introducing Judaism, ancient and modern, to Christian readers than Marvin R. Wilson’s Our Father Abraham: Jewish Roots of the Christian Faith (Eerdmans and Center for Judaic-Christian Studies, 1989).

Brad Young’s Meet the Rabbis: Rabbinic Thought and the Teachings of Jesus (Hendrickson, 2007) introduces Christian readers to rabbinic literature.

For an introduction to Judaism by a Jewish author, who wrote specifically for a Christian audience, we recommend reading Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein’s, How Firm A Foundation: A Gift of Jewish Wisdom for Christians and Jews (Brewster, Mass.: Paraclete Press, 1997).

Introducing and Contextualizing Jesus

David Bivin, New Light on the Difficult Words of Jesus: Insights from His Jewish Context (En-Gedi Resource Center, 2005).

Richard Bauckham, Jesus: A Very Short Introduction (Oxford University Press, 2011).

Ann Spangler and Lois Tverberg, Sitting at the Feet of Rabbi Jesus: How the Jewishness of Jesus Can Transform Your Faith(Zondervan, 2009).

Joshua N. Tilton, Jesus’ Gospel: Searching for the Core of Jesus’ Message (Jerusalem Perspective, 2012).

Lois Tverberg, Walking in the Dust of Rabbi Jesus: How the Jewish Words of Jesus Can Change Your Life (Zondervan, 2012).

Brad H. Young, Jesus the Jewish Theologian (Hendrickson, 1995).

Introducing and Contextualizing the Early Christians

Paula Fredriksen, Paul: The Pagans’ Apostle (Yale University Press, 2017).

Paula Fredriksen, When Christians Were Jews: The First Generation (Yale University Press, 2018).

Origins of the Gospels

Robert L. Lindsey, Jesus, Rabbi and Lord: A Lifetime’s Search for the Meaning of Jesus’ Words (Jerusalem Perspective, ).

Peter J. Tomson, Presumed Guilty: How the Jews Were Blamed for the Death of Jesus (Fortress, 2005).

Christianity Through the Eyes of Jewish Scholars

David Flusser, Jesus (Magnes, 2001).

David Flusser, Jewish Sources in Early Christianity (MOD Books, 1989).


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