- File Size: 1779 KB
- Print Length: 98 pages
- Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
- Publisher: Mount Olive Press; 1 edition (May 27, 2014)
- Publication Date: May 27, 2014
- Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
- Language: English
- ASIN: B00KMDDNTA
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Lending: Enabled
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Divine Messiah Kindle Edition
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The major difference in Leman's approach is that he does not depend solely on traditional Christian arguments, but proceeds with his task from the viewpoint of Messianic Judaism. For those of you who are unfamiliar with this movement, it is not "Jews for Jesus" or a group of Jewish people who worship Jesus in a church setting. Messianic Judaism is the proposition that religiously observant Jews can accept and acknowledge Jesus or Yeshua as the prophesied Messiah within a completely Jewish religious and social lived experience. This is the world from which Derek Leman speaks, teaches, and writes.
I should note that like all of the other "Judaisms" in the world today (not to mention all of the different expressions of Christianity), there is no one, overarching Messianic Judaism. Thus Leman's opinion and research offers one of these streams of Messianic Jewish thought without representing them all.
In his review, Leman heavily relies on the research of New Testament theologian Larry Hurtado as well as Talmudic scholar Daniel Boyarin's commentary on Daniel 7 in his book "The Jewish Gospels" in order to support his own work on presenting a Divine Messiah to his Christian and Jewish audience. A number of other sources were cited as well, but this is a book written for a popular readership as opposed to a scholarly tome, so I can't conclude that Leman's search for authoritative commentary on his topic was exhaustive.
While many sources, both Biblical and extra-Biblical were offered in his book, for me, the issue came down to what I mentioned before, that the Hebrew Scriptures do not obviously require that Messiah must be God or co-equal to God. My own perspective on Messianic Judaism is that it provides a unique lens through which we can read the Bible and see a logical and linear progression of God's plan with the focus always being on Israel and with no discontinuity or "jumping the tracks" in order to justify the introduction of Messiah or the inclusion of non-Jews within a Jewish religious stream.
The one difficulty with that perspective is our understanding of Yeshua as Divine Messiah, which has its major support almost exclusively in the New Testament texts.
Derek's other point, which I think is especially important though it may be dismaying to anyone wanting a simple and direct explanation for Jesus as God, is that the Son of God also being God is a profound mystery, one with which we must continually wrestle as we travel our path of faith.
Leman states that the worship of Jesus as God happened with such abruptness in the early half of the first century that we have no records of the way the innovation came about. The textual analysis Leman utilizes establishes Jesus-worship, first among the early Jewish disciples and then later by the Gentile Christians, but the conceptual leap made by monotheistic Jews remains cryptic and elusive, so that a Divine Messiah cannot be proven by the documented evidence alone.
Derek Leman presents a compelling case for the Divine Messiah from a Messianic Jewish view that should appeal both to Jews and Gentiles involved in the Messianic and Hebrew Roots movements as well as to many Christians in the Church. I pray that those people, Jewish and Gentile, outside of those contexts, will read and respond to this portrait of Messiah as well.
One such assumption (perhaps the assumption from a Christian perspective) is that Jesus (Yeshua) is divine. Enter Leman’s Divine Messiah. Here he examines from a predominately Jewish perspective how Yeshua was exalted by the early believers to a place of divinity, surpassing every highly-esteemed prophet, angel, or any other being that had ever been known. Leman draws on a wide breadth of scholarly literature and demonstrates a firm command of it, but carefully crafts his book in such a way as to be appropriate for the interested (and time-constrained) lay reader. Meticulously cited, Leman presents a tightknit case that groundwork for the Divine Messiah concept was laid throughout the Hebrew bible as well as in extrabiblical Jewish literature from the Second Temple era and beyond.
I must also note, however, that, as a novice myself, the reader need not be acquainted with Jewish literature or tradition to fully appreciate Divine Messiah. Indeed Leman’s writing style engages readers on a tangible level, while still challenging their thinking to consider new lines of understanding Yeshua and the position He held in the lives of first-century Believers. Divine Messiah was indispensable to my ongoing reexamination and is, in my opinion, a must-read from an author whose body of work I personally hold in high regard.