18 July 2012

What is a "new" testament?

From the Jerusalem Post today: "Many MKs opened their mailboxes on Monday morning and were appalled to find a New Testament inside, sent to them by a messianic organization. The Bible Society in Israel, a messianic Judaism institution for research, publication and dissemination of holy books, sent a “Book of Testaments,” which combines the Tanach and New Testament in one, leather-bound volume, published with references in Hebrew for the first time."

David Stern translated the New Testament into English in his Jewish New Testament a couple decades ago and still is the most popular of the Jewish views of the "New Testament" that is out there. It's English, though and the Hebrew version was sent to the parliamentary members.

Some Knesset members were not happy, but it's freedom of speech which allows such, isn't it?

Again from the Post: "MK Tzipi Hotovely (Likud) sent a letter of complaint to Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin, writing that “it cannot be that missionary materials can be distributed in the Knesset.” "Texts that were used to persecute and harass [Jews] cannot be distributed through the front door of the State of Israel,” Hotovely fumed."

The book was accompanied by a letter from Bible Society head Victor Kalisher, stating that he is proud to present the new publication featuring 90,000 annotations, which resulted from cooperation between researchers in Israel and abroad “that love the holy texts.” Kalisher wrote, “Many of the Torah’s prophecies come true in the New Testament.” Kalisher told The Jerusalem Post that some MKs already received books, and he plans to eventually send them to all 120 legislators, including ministers and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.

When asked if he would send New Testaments to haredi politicians, Kalisher said: “Every enlightened man expects others to respect the Torah, and should show respect for other religions.” At the same time, the Bible Society head said he did not mean to offend anyone by sending the books.

“This is a tool to promote communication and understanding for the People of the Book,” Kalisher stated."

The "Jewish Annotated New Testament" by Amy-Jill Levine published last year is also gaining traction and as such is also filling a void in academic circles for those Jewish and non-Jewish people who want to investigate, academically or otherwise, the orientation of the Bible in ancient times among the Jewish followers of Jesus. It makes sense.

Jewish people were the first to follow Y'shua. Jewish people were the framers of the New Testament. They wrote the book, and it's a matter of cultural understanding of the New Testament (what some call the New Testimony) that is required to get it right.

If you have a copy, open it. If you don't have one, we have both Stern's and Levine's in our shop in Bondi. Or online. It's worth a read. It couldn't hurt. Or can it?

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