Wednesday, October 3, 2012
The Worst Book Ever Written: How the Anti-One Law Bullies Have Now Set a New Record
So I just read this free ebook at Caspari.com because it was linked on Rosh Pina Project. Big mistake. It's a bunch of garbage. Here's my notes on this work of pure garbage:
Neither Fish nor Fowl? by Kai Kjoer-Hansen
This author literally cites zero exegetical support for the conclusion that the Apostolic Decree discourages non-Jews from following Judaism:
"The apostolic decree about the gentile believers becomes totally meaningless unless the Jewish believers believed that while they retained close links with their Jewish heritage, non-Jewish believers were not bound by these."
This is without a doubt the sloppiest article I've ever read in my life. Why is it the first article in the entire book?
A New Sect Within Judaism by Reidar Hvalvik
This is another non-academic article (e.g. it talks about "Easter morning" as the morning of the resurrection).
From Jewish Sect to Christian Church by Ray Pritz
This author also gives a sloppy exegesis of Acts 15, referring to the Decree as "ethical requirements":
"In the church, however, the picture was changed forever with the Jerusalem Council of Acts 15, less than 20 years after the resurrection of Jesus. From that point on, non-Jews were welcomed into the new sect – just as gentile converts to Judaism were considered to be fully Jewish – with only a minimum set of ethical requirements. This was a departure from established pharisaic method, and it indicates a clear decision to ignore the authority of the Jewish leadership."
Now, it should be obvious to non-baised, reasonable minds that the Decree, which references only four things and all related to idolatry and the pollutions thereof, is not any way to instruct someone to be ethical. If its ethics you want to teach then you have to reiterate most of the Ten Commandments. This is why the newest modern scholarship on Acts 15 rejects the idea that the decree is intended as a compendium of ethical instruction. Plus, the language used in the decree directly connotes pollutions associated with pagan practices in a specifically ritual context.
Who Was a Jew? by Richard Robinson
This author uses non-sequiturs such as the following:
"How do we know that Jewishness could not be “lost”? This conclusion
is made clear in certain rabbinic writings. Thus, for example, we find
the statement in the Babylonian Talmud, Sanhedrin 44a: “R. Abba b.
Zabda said: Even though (the people) have sinned, they are still (called) ‘Israel.’ R. Abba said: Thus people say, A myrtle, though it
stands among reeds, is still a myrtle, and it is so called.”"
First, suspect anyone who says "clear" in regard to the Talmud. Second, there's nothing in that statement that defends the full scope of what the author proposed. It's as though the author takes his the truthfulness of his speculations for granted and needs only to find the loosest support for them to prove that he's correct. However, to demonstrate that Jewishness could not be lost he would need to cite (1) something authoritative in its own right; (2) something clear; (3) something on point. He does none of these things. So that just tells me he's promoting his agenda in disregard of truth.
From Research Object to Living Reality by Kai Kjoer-Hansen
In this article, the author proclaims that gentiles are free from the Law:
"Gentile Christians were hereby challenged to examine why they would not grant Jewish believers in Jesus a liberty corresponding to that which the apostles had won for the gentiles regarding observance of the law (Acts 15)."
Oy. Vey. I've never seen such reckless writing before. Who are these people? They think that licentiousness is mandated by Acts 15!
And with that, I'm done reading this book. Okay, I'll read Dan Juster's (UMJC) article and then that's it. It's a complete waste of time this book.
Towards a Messianic Jewish Theology by Daniel Juster
Apparently this book is all about taking an unfounded interpretation of Acts 15 for granted as the gospel truth. Juster cites to Acts 15 as a rule that prohibits gentiles from practicing the Torah of Judaism:
"One of Luke’s purposes in Acts was to put forth a picture of
the united body of the Messiah composed of Jews and gentiles
reconciled together. In this body, Jews continue to live a Jewish life
and gentiles are not required to live a Jewish life."
He doesn't cite any evidence for this view. No exegesis. Just "Here's my view. My view is like the word of Moses for you." This is without a doubt the sloppiest book of pseudo-scholarship ever assembled by humans. And Juster founded the UMJC! Good grief.
Posted by Peter at 8:17 AM