Most Jews do not grow up with New Testament stories. While the term “Prodigal son” may be familiar, Jewish readers may not know that this very Jewish parable, which begins “There was a man who had two sons” (Luke 15:11), evokes the Hebrew Bible stories of Cain and Abel, Ishmael and Isaac, Esau and Jacob. Jews who attended U.S. public schools prior to 1962 likely recited the “Lord’s prayer” every morning, but not a few believed the words included “Harold be your name” and “Lead us not into Penn Station.”
Most Jewish readers approach the New Testament, if they approach it at all, with at best a certain unfamiliarity. This is unfortunate, for much if not all of the New Testament is Jewish literature. Jesus himself was a Jew; he is, in terms of dates of documents, the first person in history to be called “Rabbi” (John 1:38, 49, 3:2, 6:25). Paul is a Jew; he describes himself as “circumcised on the eighth day, a member of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew born of Hebrews; as to the law, a Pharisee” (Philippians 3:5). Indeed, Paul is the only undisputed first-century Pharisee from whom we have written records (a case can also be made for Josephus). Most Biblical scholars think that the authors of the Gospels of Matthew and John were Jews. (The earliest manuscripts as well as references to them do not attach the names “Matthew” and “John”; the original Gospel texts were anonymous.) The author of the Book of Revelation (the Apocalypse of John) thinks in Jewish terms, as does the author of the Epistle of James.
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This is the first of a 4-page article about a new way for Jews - and Christians - to look at the Bible.
Any inroads into a better understanding between Christianity and Judaism should be explored for everyone's mutual benefit.
Speaking of Judaism, The Urantia Book teaches:
97:10.8 ...the successive teachers of Israel accomplished the greatest feat in the evolution of religion ever to be effected on Urantia: the gradual but continuous transformation of the barbaric concept of the savage demon Yahweh, the jealous and cruel spirit god of the fulminating Sinai volcano, to the later exalted and supernal concept of the supreme Yahweh, creator of all things and the loving and merciful Father of all mankind. And this Hebraic concept of God was the highest human visualization of the Universal Father up to that time when it was further enlarged and so exquisitely amplified by the personal teachings and life example of his Son, Michael of Nebadon.