“A Handbook on the Jewish Roots of the Christian Faith” is a volume of just over 300 pages. The book, edited by Craig A. Evans and David Mishkin, contains contributions from multiple scholars including Michael L. Brown (PhD, New York University), George H. Guthrie (PhD, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary), and Scot McKnight (PhD, University of Nottingham) on a variety of topics relating to the Jewish origins of Christianity.
The work begins with God’s plan for Israel and features articles on the covenants of Scripture such as the Mosaic, Davidic, and New Covenants. The focus then shifts in the following chapters to God’s plan for the nations, and messianic prophecy. Chapters 1 through 5 make up “The Soil” which is part 1 of 4. Parts 2 through 4 are “The Roots,” “The Trunk,” and “The Branches” and focus on topics like the Jewish identity of Messiah, his disciples, Paul, and the parting of early Judaism and early Christianity.
I particularly enjoyed Jim R. Sibley’s article on Jewish groups in the first century where he offers a concise, yet informative understanding of certain Jewish groups such as the Essenes, Pharisees, Scribes, which are somewhat aligned with the Pharisees, Zealots, Samaritans, ending with a portion on Jewish believers in Jesus.
The format of the articles is nice. I like that it can be read linearly, from cover to cover, or used as reference, only reading an article or two that the reader finds relevant to research or interest. Each article ends with a works cited page instead of being placed in the back of the book. However, in the back one can find an index of modern authors and ancient sources, as well as figures from the book.
Overall, I find the book informative on what it sets out to do. I know some Christians will be tentative to pick up this book in light of the “Hebrew Roots” movement, but I really enjoyed reading and I don’t think fear of this book based on that would be justified. It’s not necessarily light-reading, but certainly worth it for those interested in the Jewish roots of Christianity.
I received a copy of this book in exchange for my fair and honest review.