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Turning to Torah: The Emerging Noachide Movement Paperback – November, 1995

3.7 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Paperback, November, 1995
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

This fascinating book explains the search by a group of people, the Noachides, for a satisfactory religious belief. The Noachide movement, which has been growing for about 50 years, is based upon the seven ancient laws proclaimed by Noah in the Torah. Whereas there are over 600 laws in Torah governing only Jews, the seven laws of Noah were given to humanity in general?both to Jews and to Gentiles who wish to live religiously under Torah. As is true in any religion, hardships accompany the path of contemporary Noachides; and the author, herself a Noachide, deals with these sympathetically as well as autobiographically. Noachides do not have the support of communities, rituals or prayer books, for instance. One of the seven laws of Noah is a prohibition against idolatry. In their interpretation of this prohibition, the Noachides, who are monotheists, view worship of Jesus as idolatrous. Similarly, they believe the Torah to be the truth as revealed by God and the New Testament to have been written by human beings. The author's own spiritual quest, which has led her from the fundamentalist Christianity, through a near-conversion to Judaism and finally to Noachidism, seems at times to have caused her to substitute a literal belief in the Old Testament for a former one in the New.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 250 pages
  • Publisher: Jason Aronson Inc (November 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1568215002
  • ISBN-13: 978-1568215006
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 5.5 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,703,336 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By Stephen Triesch on March 3, 2005
Format: Paperback
In "Turning to Torah," Kimberly Hanke describes her troubled odyssey from teenage atheist to fundamentalist Christian to Torah-loving Noachide. For those unfamiliar with the latter term, it refers to a non-Jew who follows the seven moral precepts prescribed for Gentiles by the ancient rabbis. (In their most general form, these precepts prohibit idolatry, blasphemy, homicide, sexual immorality, theft, and taking meat from a living animal; there is one positive requirement, i.e., to form courts of law to enforce the other precepts and maintain social order.)

The book is clearly written and a quick read, but leaves crucial questions unanswered. What is Hanke's current understanding of Jesus? If Jesus and his early followers did indeed remain committed Jews, what was Jesus's central message and why did it attract followers willing to die for it? Does that message still have relevance today, and can a Noachide remain a follower of a Jesus understood as a Jewish prophet rather than as God incarnate? Does modern scholarship support Hanke's uncritical attitude towards the scriptural exegesis of Orthodox Judaism? Perhaps a second book from Hanke's competent pen could answer these questions.
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Whether you are a Christian, disillusioned Christian, or thinking about converting to Judaism Hanke's book raises some perturbing issues. Her journey is very interesting from her involvment with fundamentalist Christianity to orthodox Judaism to a comfortable niche as a Noahide. According to orthodox Jewry G-d gave Noach seven commandments for all of humanity to follow after the flood. These seven coincide with the seven colors of the rainbow. The Jewish nation was chosen by G-d to keep 613 laws and "be a light unto the nations."

Hanke devotes much of her book to pointing out that Jesus never intended do away with the 613 and that the original convenant with Abraham is still valid, i.e. G-d didn't change His mind. This is where my confusion begins to set in. If you go to the website [...] you will find some examples of New Testament scripture in which Jesus did claim to invalidate the laws of the Torah. In contrast to her gentle treatment here he is viewed as a false prophet. It does actually say in the Torah after many of the commands "this is a law for all times", but one could argue that there seem to be instances in the Torah of G-d changing His mind, e.g. when he was angry and wanted to destroy the Israelites and start a new nation with Moses. Hanke never actually answers the burning question of at the end of her journey as to whether or not she has concluded, based on her decade of evidence gathering, that Jesus is or is not the promised messiah. Does Hanke believe that the convenant with Abraham is still valid, but that G-d sent Jesus for the rest of humanity? If this is the case then it would invalidate the Noahide movement. This book also needs to be updated. I recommend [...] and [...] if you have any questions.
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Format: Paperback
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