I’m reading so many books right now I feel I could run four or five blogs. I’ll only mention a few of them here. I’m interested to know if other Messianic Jewish Musings readers have read any of these or if there are ant great books burning on your soul right now.
The Last of the Just, by Andre Schwarz-Bart
Okay, I should be done with this one by now, but I tend to read fiction slowly, a little each day, unless I am reading a page-burner.
This is difficult though brief fiction. I am considering it as a selection in the upcoming Jewish Book of the Month Club here on MJM. I want to get a whole lot of you reading books together and discussing them (it may fail as an experiment, though I’ve already been told by one person they intend to get a group at their synagogue all participating). We’ll launch sometime around Passover.
The problem with Schwarz-Bart’s book is that sometimes the prose is unclear. Did that really happen or was the character imagining it? What exactly happened in that part? Sometimes I’ll read a paragraph five times and not understand it. Other times I’ll read a dozen pages with no problem. He needed a better editor, IMO. But the powerful parts are unforgettable.
Maybe it will be a selection a little further down the road in the book club, after people have had time to get into reading the great Jewish books and will not be put off easily by a little difficult prose.
The Last of the Just is a different kind of Holocaust story, tracing a family back a thousand years in a line of Lamed-Vovniks (the thirty-six righteous sufferers in Israel whose righteous suffering keeps God from judging the world — an idea that is not too distant from the vicarious suffering of Yeshua).
Holy Subversion, by Trevin Wax
A Baptist pastor from Tennessee writes a simple but effective book explaining the gospel in holistic terms. I am delighted with the idea of an Ephesians Road, a variation and subversion of the Romans Road which for a previous generation made the gospel a weak message of life after death, all but irrelevant to living now. This is a great book to give to those who need to see a bigger idea than “God has a wonderful plan for your life.” God has a wonderful plan for the cosmos, and if you’re smart and humble, you’ll lay down everything to join in the Tikkun Olam.
I will review it next week here on MJM.
Divine Reversal: The Transforming Ethics of Jesus, by Russ Resnik
This is a major book for the MJ movement. I hope entire synagogues will read it.
Russ Resnik, longtime Messianic pioneer and Executive Director of the UMJC, shares with Jewish wisdom the ethics of Yeshua. Ethics is an area we need a great deal more of in our movement. Russ blogs about this and gives you a taste of what the book is about at rebrez.wordpress.com.
The New Moses: A Matthean Typology, by Dale Allison Jr.
My podcast yesterday and the one next week are about this book.
Dale Allison is a top-shelf New Testament scholar. He develops the theory that Matthew emphasizes the Moses theme in order to protest a movement in his time to remove the Way of Yeshua from Judaism. Matthew, he says, sees Yeshua in completely Jewish terms.
How about you? What are you reading? Have you read any of these? What books do you recommend for the book of the month club?