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Our Father Abraham: Jewish Roots of the Christian Faith

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Although the roots of Christianity run deep into Hebrew soil, many Christians are regrettably uninformed about the rich Hebrew heritage of the church. This volume delineates the link between Judaism and Christianity, between the Old and the New Testament, and calls Christians to reexamine their Hebrew roots so as to effect a more authentically biblical lifestyle. As an intr Although the roots of Christianity run deep into Hebrew soil, many Christians are regrettably uninformed about the rich Hebrew heritage of the church. This volume delineates the link between Judaism and Christianity, between the Old and the New Testament, and calls Christians to reexamine their Hebrew roots so as to effect a more authentically biblical lifestyle. As an introduction to the world of Hebrew thought, Our Father Abraham is biblical, historical, and cultural in nature. At the same time, the writing is personal and passionate, reflecting Marvin Wilson's own spiritual pilgrimage and his extensive dialogue with Jews. The book (1) develops a historical perspective on the Jewish origins of the church, (2) sets forth the importance and nature of Hebrew thought, (3) discusses how the church can become more attuned to the Hebraic mind-set of Scripture, and (4) offers practical suggestions for interaction between Jews and Christians. The study questions at the end of each chapter enhance the book's usefulness as a text and also make it suitable for Bible-study and discussion groups. All Christians--and Jews too--will profit from Wilson's sensible treatments of biblical texts, his thorough understanding of both the Christian and the Jewish faith, and his honest historical analysis of the general failure of the Christian church to acknowledge and understand its relation to Judaism.


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Although the roots of Christianity run deep into Hebrew soil, many Christians are regrettably uninformed about the rich Hebrew heritage of the church. This volume delineates the link between Judaism and Christianity, between the Old and the New Testament, and calls Christians to reexamine their Hebrew roots so as to effect a more authentically biblical lifestyle. As an intr Although the roots of Christianity run deep into Hebrew soil, many Christians are regrettably uninformed about the rich Hebrew heritage of the church. This volume delineates the link between Judaism and Christianity, between the Old and the New Testament, and calls Christians to reexamine their Hebrew roots so as to effect a more authentically biblical lifestyle. As an introduction to the world of Hebrew thought, Our Father Abraham is biblical, historical, and cultural in nature. At the same time, the writing is personal and passionate, reflecting Marvin Wilson's own spiritual pilgrimage and his extensive dialogue with Jews. The book (1) develops a historical perspective on the Jewish origins of the church, (2) sets forth the importance and nature of Hebrew thought, (3) discusses how the church can become more attuned to the Hebraic mind-set of Scripture, and (4) offers practical suggestions for interaction between Jews and Christians. The study questions at the end of each chapter enhance the book's usefulness as a text and also make it suitable for Bible-study and discussion groups. All Christians--and Jews too--will profit from Wilson's sensible treatments of biblical texts, his thorough understanding of both the Christian and the Jewish faith, and his honest historical analysis of the general failure of the Christian church to acknowledge and understand its relation to Judaism.

30 review for Our Father Abraham: Jewish Roots of the Christian Faith

  1. 4 out of 5

    Dana

    outstanding foundation for our faith..

  2. 5 out of 5

    Chad

    A very helpful, in-depth study of the relationship between Judaism and Christianity, as well as the common roots of both in the Hebrew Scriptures. He surveys what we can learn from Jewish interpretive methods, worship, education, and much more.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Bob

    This book is excellent, Scripturally based, is written with compassion, authority and reveals how the roots of Christianity run deep into "Hebrew soil", showing the Hebrew heritage of the Christian Church to be rich and extensive. This is a must read and is a very good primer which should encourage the reader to read more from men such as David Baron, Adolph Saphir, and Alfred Edersheim. The book describes at the outset how this heritage has been largely unexplored and ignored by Christian semin This book is excellent, Scripturally based, is written with compassion, authority and reveals how the roots of Christianity run deep into "Hebrew soil", showing the Hebrew heritage of the Christian Church to be rich and extensive. This is a must read and is a very good primer which should encourage the reader to read more from men such as David Baron, Adolph Saphir, and Alfred Edersheim. The book describes at the outset how this heritage has been largely unexplored and ignored by Christian seminaries, colleges and other educational institutions. Jesus did speak from "within Judaism" and never abandoned His "ancestral faith". The book also describes how a prime facet of Old Testament/Jewish thought was the promise and fulfillment of Biblical prophecy in relation to the coming Messiah. Something which the earliest Christians, themselves Jews, found resolved in the person of Jesus Christ. One of the problems in the book is that there is almost no difference in meaning made between "Jewish thought" and " Biblical thought". The Book also fought the departure of Christianity from its biblical roots, and this is true, but failed to realize that Rabbinic Judaism also departed from the faith of Father Abraham who rejoiced to see the day of the Lord Jesus. As always we should think as we read and study. Overall this book is extremely helpful for those who desire to study and think deeply about Scripture.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Brigitte

    Bob and I are reading this together .. Out loud .. Many hard to pronounce words .. Very good , for us it takes 3 :Bob, I , and Ruach hakodesh aka holy spirit ... Some language for advanced students .. Marvin Wilson often uses words that are not often used in conversation.. Good to see there is oodles to get introduced to . Context very thoughtfully researched .. Footnotes ..for additional verification. We we continue the task .. Chapter by chapter.. Studying ... With the direction of our Father Bob and I are reading this together .. Out loud .. Many hard to pronounce words .. Very good , for us it takes 3 :Bob, I , and Ruach hakodesh aka holy spirit ... Some language for advanced students .. Marvin Wilson often uses words that are not often used in conversation.. Good to see there is oodles to get introduced to . Context very thoughtfully researched .. Footnotes ..for additional verification. We we continue the task .. Chapter by chapter.. Studying ... With the direction of our Father G-D. Thank you , bb This is one we keep going back to .... Questions at the end of each chapter very helpful...... To make sure u understood ...like a quiz ... Great book for the advanced students in class.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Matthew John

    This book can be fairly dense at times, but it fascinatingly illuminates, as it's subtitle attests, the "Jewish roots of the Christian faith." The author points out, in ways that make you want to trust him, that perhaps Western Christianity isn't necessarily what it ought to be. That perhaps we Christians should all be a little bit more Jewish -- in how we approach the Scriptures and how we think about truth and faith. All in all, this book is a great read for anyone who wants truly to study the This book can be fairly dense at times, but it fascinatingly illuminates, as it's subtitle attests, the "Jewish roots of the Christian faith." The author points out, in ways that make you want to trust him, that perhaps Western Christianity isn't necessarily what it ought to be. That perhaps we Christians should all be a little bit more Jewish -- in how we approach the Scriptures and how we think about truth and faith. All in all, this book is a great read for anyone who wants truly to study the Christian faith.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Hope

    This is the most important book for believers to read. It covers a broad variety of topics. Here are some of them: A new People: Abraham's Spiritual Children, Church and Synagogue in the light of History, Understanding Hebrew thought, Jewish heritage and the Church, Toward Restoring Jewish Roots. I can't stress enough that you should read it. I've read it at least 3 times. It contains study questions at the end of each chapter that help enhance learning.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Paul

    This is the book that triggered my interest in studying more about the Jewish roots of Christianity. Dr. Wilson is one of the pioneering scholars of the Messianic Jewish movement, and this is his most famous book. It's a bit academic in style, but definitely readable. This is a great place to start if you have only been exposed to Gentile teachers.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Danny

    Amazing insight into the roots of the Christian faith. Couldn't recommend it more highly.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Marianne Ogden

    I bought two copies of this book so I could share one with friends. This book taught me so much, and it put an historic context on my faith.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Denise

    Great review of Christianity's Jewish roots. Also gives good insights into the way the biblical writers thought about truth and Scripture.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Sean

    If you want to understand the Jewish roots to the Christian faith look no further.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Tammy Martin

    A STAPLE IN YOUR THEOLOGY LIBRARY- but not just for scholars. For all readers. A most informative book. Very deep, lots of information.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Carrie Ann

    The integrity of this book is high. I highly recommend it.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Lisa Johnson

    Title: Our Father Abraham (Jewish Roots of the Christian Faith) Author: Marvin Wilson Pages: 395 Year: 1990 Publisher: Eerdmans My rating: 4 out of 5 stars. In the journey of discovering the Jewish roots of my Christian faith, I have read many books. Some were very helpful and other books weren’t for various reasons. However, Our Father Abraham is a gem because the author takes great pains to explain various topics in a way that can be easily comprehended while also leaving the reader wanting more. At Title: Our Father Abraham (Jewish Roots of the Christian Faith) Author: Marvin Wilson Pages: 395 Year: 1990 Publisher: Eerdmans My rating: 4 out of 5 stars. In the journey of discovering the Jewish roots of my Christian faith, I have read many books. Some were very helpful and other books weren’t for various reasons. However, Our Father Abraham is a gem because the author takes great pains to explain various topics in a way that can be easily comprehended while also leaving the reader wanting more. At the end of each chapter, there are discussion questions that give people an opportunity to cement the information learned while also exploring the topic in the Bible. Other books may have a few discussion questions, but the author here gives each chapter over 20 questions. Plus, at the end of the book, there are footnotes that point to other sources for further study and contemplation. What makes reading the book enjoyable is, of course, the material and having an opportunity to discuss the material with a friend. If you have never tried doing this with a nonfiction book, I hope you will as it helped me remember what I read and clarified some points of the material I had trouble digesting. While the book is not a recent work, don’t let that put you off from reading it. I am not sure how much Messianic Judaism has changed since the book was published, but I look at some of the material as being helpful to understand the subject at the time. The most recent chapter I read helped me understand the way Hebrews view education and how other cultures do as well. Plus, it helped me see how that influences the society I live in. The book will remain on my shelf in the hopes that my progeny will read it and find the information helpful plus spur them on to seek more understanding and growth in their faith.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Sasha (bahareads)

    "Westerners have often found themselves in the confusing situation of trying to understand a Jewish book through the eyes of Greek culture." Our Father Abraham was supposed to be a required read for my Hebrew Culture and Civilization class, but it got cut by my professor; however, I had the opportunity to still acquire the book. It could be quite a lot of material to read at times, but the amount of information and knowledge in this book is outstanding! Wilson does a great job with trying to m "Westerners have often found themselves in the confusing situation of trying to understand a Jewish book through the eyes of Greek culture." Our Father Abraham was supposed to be a required read for my Hebrew Culture and Civilization class, but it got cut by my professor; however, I had the opportunity to still acquire the book. It could be quite a lot of material to read at times, but the amount of information and knowledge in this book is outstanding! Wilson does a great job with trying to mediate just Jewish our Christian faith is. I can see how Hellenized Christianity become as a result of drawing away from our Jewish roots. There are a whole bunch of rich topics here which I believe deserve to be read and re-read to fully grasp the concepts. I loved how what I read in Our Father Abraham reaffirmed what I'm learning in some of my Hebrew classes right now. This is a great read for anyone who wants to dive deeper into Christianity and what it means to be a 'Christian'.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Angela

    For any Christian looking to understand where we came from, this book is a great place to start. I took pages and pages of notes when it delved into the history of our religions—from Abraham, to the Jewishness of Jesus, to the separation of that new Jewish sect that eventually became Christianity. It's not biased one way or the other, stating facts and admitting when each side messed up that pushed Christianity farther and farther away from its roots. But it's not just history. It explores Jewish For any Christian looking to understand where we came from, this book is a great place to start. I took pages and pages of notes when it delved into the history of our religions—from Abraham, to the Jewishness of Jesus, to the separation of that new Jewish sect that eventually became Christianity. It's not biased one way or the other, stating facts and admitting when each side messed up that pushed Christianity farther and farther away from its roots. But it's not just history. It explores Jewish teachings, and how we can learn from them; it discusses Israel itself as our joint homeland. It ends with ways to bridge the gap, rebuilding a relationship between Jews and Christians that's not merely tolerant, but respectful and loving. Like the book states, it's not enough for Christians to just know of our Jewish roots. It's our duty to also act on those teachings, because in that is our history, too. And we could learn a thing or two about divine love (and love for one another) from our Jewish neighbors.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Debbie

    This book was written about 30 years ago and is academic in tone, so I prefer the more recent books I've read on the Jewish roots of the Christian faith. Still, I found this worth reading. When speaking about Christian beliefs, the author would state an extreme view found in Protestant or Catholic Christianity and state it like it was the common Christian belief. This meant that he was often arguing against things my church doesn't actually believe. But, anyway, he feels that Christians ought to This book was written about 30 years ago and is academic in tone, so I prefer the more recent books I've read on the Jewish roots of the Christian faith. Still, I found this worth reading. When speaking about Christian beliefs, the author would state an extreme view found in Protestant or Catholic Christianity and state it like it was the common Christian belief. This meant that he was often arguing against things my church doesn't actually believe. But, anyway, he feels that Christians ought to be more Jewish if they're going to follow Jesus' teaching correctly. So he educates the reader about the Jewish mindset on topics like marriage and the family, valuing the aged, the land of Israel, education, worship, and the Passover. He also provided a brief history about how Christianity started to reject the Jewish heritage of their Jewish Jesus. He talked about how the Christian church got biblical teachings wrong because of this and urges Christians to learn more about the Jewish faith by getting to know Jews today.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Concise Reader

    Not worth reading. This was a frustrating book to read. The author tries to make the case that the Church has forgotten its Jewish roots and that this has been a source of many problems the church is experiencing. He doesn't really attempt to persuade the reader by working through the pros and cons of various arguments. There is hardly any arguments at all. Mostly, his conclusions are presented as self-evident, supported with quotes from the authors he agrees with. There is very little interactio Not worth reading. This was a frustrating book to read. The author tries to make the case that the Church has forgotten its Jewish roots and that this has been a source of many problems the church is experiencing. He doesn't really attempt to persuade the reader by working through the pros and cons of various arguments. There is hardly any arguments at all. Mostly, his conclusions are presented as self-evident, supported with quotes from the authors he agrees with. There is very little interaction with views he doesn't agree with. The lack of rigor aside, there is just not much insight here. His chapter on where the Church went wrong states that the Church doesn't really know how to live the life to the fullest on this earth as well as a community. I think there are better books that address these points.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Daniel

    Took me forever because of work taking away time, but completely worth it. This book is AMAZING. Reads like a dissertation at times, but full of knowledge of the Jewish faith and how it is interwoven with the Christian faith. It is mind-blowing how far the church has gotten away from its Jewish heritage, and this book does a great job of bridging the gap. Not sure this is for the brand new Christian...probably a better read for someone who has been a Christian for a while now. If you plan on goi Took me forever because of work taking away time, but completely worth it. This book is AMAZING. Reads like a dissertation at times, but full of knowledge of the Jewish faith and how it is interwoven with the Christian faith. It is mind-blowing how far the church has gotten away from its Jewish heritage, and this book does a great job of bridging the gap. Not sure this is for the brand new Christian...probably a better read for someone who has been a Christian for a while now. If you plan on going to/have already been to Israel, I highly recommend this one.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Scott Broberg

    If you are beginning on your journey of understanding the Jewish roots of Christianity this book is a must! Or, if you've been on the journey for a while, this book will enhance your journey and become an indispensable resource. I've had this on my shelf since 2004 and I continually refer back to it on the numerous topics he covers.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Michael Walker

    Well-presented case for Jesus Christ as the Jewish Messiah by a Biblical and Theological professor at Gordon College who dialogues between Christians and Jews.

  22. 4 out of 5

    J.J. Richardson

    This should be a standard textbook in seminaries for understanding the base of the Christian faith.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Lisa

    Excellent resource for understanding the Jewish roots of the Christian church. Some chapters were more difficult to understand than others, but all in all a very informative book.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Javier Rojo

    Taught me how to study our hebraic soil from the roots up

  25. 4 out of 5

    Christina Rivera

    This should be a mandatory read for all Christians. This book completely changed how I read the Bible!

  26. 4 out of 5

    John

    This book is annoying me so much that I'm beginning my review before I finish so I don't forget all the places that it annoyed me. Mr. Wilson's [the author] goal is to reemphasize Hebrew culture and history and Scriptures [Old Testament aka Tanakh] which he feels [rightly] has been deemphasized in the course of church history [up until recently]. Mr. Wilson is obviously passionate about all of this. The problem is that he allows his passion to slip into the work where it shouldn't. Some examples This book is annoying me so much that I'm beginning my review before I finish so I don't forget all the places that it annoyed me. Mr. Wilson's [the author] goal is to reemphasize Hebrew culture and history and Scriptures [Old Testament aka Tanakh] which he feels [rightly] has been deemphasized in the course of church history [up until recently]. Mr. Wilson is obviously passionate about all of this. The problem is that he allows his passion to slip into the work where it shouldn't. Some examples: 1. In Chapter 7 he discusses anti-semitism in history. There is certainly a lot of material there to discuss, and he roundly [and rightly] criticizes the way Jews have been treated, often times by Christians [Martin Luther being a good example]. However, he paints with too broad a brush. In one spot he says that the Church Fathers "applied the lessons of the barren fig tree (Matt 21.18-22) to the Jewish people." Seeing as how the Tanakh [Old Testament] DOES compare Israel to a fig tree [https://www.blueletterbible.org/study...] , then the Jewish people perhaps, maybe, might have understood this metaphor as speaking about them. We can argue whether Jesus meant it for the Jewish people or not, however, it is certainly a legitimate possibility, so Mr. Wilson should not be so shocked at this interpretation. He may not like it, but it is a possible interpretation. 2. Next he complains in Chapter 7 that the early church fathers saw Old Testament as "offensive at worst and little more than antiquated at best." Really, Mr. Wilson? Really? If that were true then why did they insist that they be included into the canon of Scripture? However they may have felt about the Old Testament, they thought they were important enough to be included in the canon. This hardly seems to rate as "offensive at worst and little more than antiquated at best." 3. Mr. Wilson complains in Chapter 8 that the Old Testament is called, well, the "Old" Testament. He thinks it should have been named the "First" or "Original" Testament. Mr. Wilson can have his opinion, but when Jesus raised the cup and said "this cup is the new covenant in my blood," signaling that the old covenant had passed away [as Hebrews goes into some detail to point out], is it any surprise that the first 39 books of the Bible became known as the "Old" Testament which happens to be the antonym of "new?" 4. In Chapter 8, Mr. Wilson lambasts seminaries because "Many of these schools require more New Testament courses than Old Testament ones, and they often require study of Greek but make Hebrew optional." Mr. Wilson gives zero evidence for this assertion. From my own experience my M.Div required equal amounts of BOTH Greek and Hebrew, and perhaps the seminaries [if they actually do] offer more courses in the New Testament than the Old Testament because there is more demand for such courses. Mr. Wilson may not like this fact, indeed he is writing a book about it, but by the same token it would do little good for a seminary to offer courses that few people would take. There are such things as economics going on here, which Mr. Wilson seems to not consider at all. 5. Mr. Wilson says that the church "has been guilty of overemphasizing the dissimilarities of the Testaments....Many examples of this phenomenon may be cited:...we hear that the Old Testament has 'done away with,' abrogated,' or 'superseded' the Old Testament." Let me see, where have I heard that before? Thinking....thinking....oh, in the New Testament! “In speaking of a new covenant, he makes the first one obsolete. And what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away.” (Hebrews 8:13, ESV) The New Testament itself makes such a claim? Now that does not mean that studying the Old Testament is worthless, nor that we shouldn't care about it or understand it, but to say that it has been abrogated or superseded is to simply be biblical. One wonders why Mr. Wilson objects to that. Chapter 9: The contour of Hebrew thought was excellent, I believed Mr. Wilson had finally turned the corner and the rest of the book would be interesting as he unfolded Jewish life and culture. Ultimately, this section also disappointed me. He does a fine job of laying out what Jewish [for instance] marriage and family looks like, but doesn't really do a good job of connecting it with anything meaningful. Christian marriage should ideally be much the same, sometimes it is and sometimes it isn't, but that isn't because we don't understand the values the Jews placed on marriage and family, it's because we are sinners. I couldn't take any more after the marriage and family chapter. I skimmed the rest of the headings to see if Mr. Wilson had written anything that looked new or ground-breaking. It did not appear so. I am glad to be finished with this book. I do not recommend it. I found the book "Sitting at the Feet of Rabbi Jesus" much more engaging and readable and ultimately more interesting than Mr. Wilson's book.

  27. 4 out of 5

    June Hines

    Excellent book

  28. 5 out of 5

    Dennis Podryadchikov

    When a search for practical applications of life with God in community of other people takes one to realize that just Christian resources are not enough, a deeper dive into the Jewish heritages can beautifully explain so much about life with God on daily basis. In "Our Father Abraham", Marvin R. Wilson provides a profound introduction into Jewish worldview for Christians. Wilson takes his readers through debris of finding a proper relationship between Christianity and Jewry and points to many wa When a search for practical applications of life with God in community of other people takes one to realize that just Christian resources are not enough, a deeper dive into the Jewish heritages can beautifully explain so much about life with God on daily basis. In "Our Father Abraham", Marvin R. Wilson provides a profound introduction into Jewish worldview for Christians. Wilson takes his readers through debris of finding a proper relationship between Christianity and Jewry and points to many ways how the thousands-old history of the latter can enrich the followers of the former. The book is an excellent read for those who look to enrich their walk with God by discovering a treasure of a nation who has done for thousands of years.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Ben Smitthimedhin

    Incredible. Dr. Marvin R. Wilson takes us through the history of antisemitism, the differences in Hebrew thought from Western Christianity, and what the church can learn from Judaism (which is seen as the roots of our faith) all to back up the point of his thesis of how the Christian church should seek to reconcile their broken relationship with their own Jewish family and background while putting a halt on the trend of antisemitism. This has huge implications that can change one's perspective o Incredible. Dr. Marvin R. Wilson takes us through the history of antisemitism, the differences in Hebrew thought from Western Christianity, and what the church can learn from Judaism (which is seen as the roots of our faith) all to back up the point of his thesis of how the Christian church should seek to reconcile their broken relationship with their own Jewish family and background while putting a halt on the trend of antisemitism. This has huge implications that can change one's perspective on faith and Christian living completely as Dr. Wilson traces the history of some of the false beliefs that permeate the Christian church today. Highly Recommend!

  30. 4 out of 5

    Calvin Coulter

    Great book. A timely reminder that we have been grafted in to the root of Jesse and not planted as a replacement to the uprooted mother plant. Some good material on the Jewish traditional practice of belief in context. I enjoyed the use of the Fiddler on the Roof as an illustration of some of the principles being taught. The last couple of chapters were a bit slow going and slightly redundant. You probably won't agree with everything or every emphasis suggested by the book, but well worth a read Great book. A timely reminder that we have been grafted in to the root of Jesse and not planted as a replacement to the uprooted mother plant. Some good material on the Jewish traditional practice of belief in context. I enjoyed the use of the Fiddler on the Roof as an illustration of some of the principles being taught. The last couple of chapters were a bit slow going and slightly redundant. You probably won't agree with everything or every emphasis suggested by the book, but well worth a read through.

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