If there ever was a series of posts every Messianic believer should read, it’s Yeshua Reconstructed.
In it, Messianic Jewish pioneer Stuart Dauermann dismantles, with articulate precision, popular myths and beliefs about Yeshua. Popular views like,
- “Jesus was good Jewish rabbi, not a gentile god”
- “Jesus threw away Judaism and started a new religion”
- “Jesus never existed, he was a myth invented by politically-charged gentiles”
Dauermann acknowledges the wide, varying popular opinions about who Jesus of Nazareth is, and piques us to reexamine and reconsider these.
Why? What’s the basis for reexamining your idea of who Jesus is?
Modern scholarship and its growing consensus about who, exactly, Jesus was. Dauermann, always the eloquent writer, puts it like this:
You could say that our agenda on this matter is three-fold: reexamining what we think of when we think “Yeshua of Nazareth,” reconsidering whether those are really valid or only established opinions, and reconstructing Yeshua in our hearts, minds, and lives so that the Yeshua “in here” corresponds more closely to the Yeshua “out there.”
We are saying that old assumptions about Yeshua/Jesus are falling like just so many pins in a 300 game. And the bowling ball that is knocking them over is the consensus of recent scholarship.
Modern scholarship’s growing consensus on Jesus undermines some of the popular-but-wrong opinions about him. Such myths include:
- That Jesus never claimed to be the Messiah
- That the New Testament was written hundreds of years later by people who didn’t even know the Yeshua of history.
- That the idea of a Divine Messiah, as God in human flesh, was a marketing ploy to sell Jesus to the pagan world.
- That the idea of the Messiah as a Suffering Servant was a Christian assault on the Jewish consensus that the passage speaks of the sufferings of Israel, not the Messiah.
- That Jesus and the apostles jettisoned the Torah, Shabbat and Kashrut, disassembling Judaism as we know it.
Dauermann shows, via a growing consensus among Bible scholars, that these widely-believed statements are shown to be false, “despite their long gray beards.”
We now know:
- Jesus claimed to be the Messiah, the Son of David, King of Israel;
- The New Testament with the possible exception of two or three books, was written within the lifetime of eye witnesses of the events it describes, with some of Paul’s letters written as early as AD 49 into the 50s, within 25 years of the events described, and the first of the gospels, Mark, written shortly after the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem, 70 CE.
- The idea of a Divine Messiah, as God in human flesh, was a bonafide Jewish opinion of the day, supported by fully respectable midrashic uses of Scripture;
- The idea of the suffering Messiah was old and well attested in Jewish life, and even after the time of Jesus, the rabbis of the Talmud still spoke of the Messiah in these terms, as did many rabbis later in history.
- Jesus was a defender of Torah against what he viewed to be revisionist abuses by the Scribes and Pharisees. None of his practice or his teachings may rightly be viewed as overturning Shabbat, and Kashrut, both of which he upheld in word and practice.
Reconstructing Yeshua sums up all these points beautifully, the post itself a culmination of a several weeks of posts building the evidence:
- Game-Changing Ideas from a Jewish Scholar
- ‘Son of God’ Doesn’t Mean What You Think It Means!
- ‘Son of Man’ and the Deity of Yeshua
- Boundaries: Can They Change and Be Renegotiated?
- Did Jesus Come So Jews Could Eat a Cheeseburger? (How the 1st century Pharisees and Scribes were Torah innovators, how this got them into trouble with Yeshua, and how Yeshua’s objections to their innovations have become conflated with objections to the Torah itself.)
- Is Jesus a Goyishe Fraud? (Answering the common myth that Jesus was just a Jewish rabbi, and the New Testament was written hundreds of years later by overzealous gentile followers, who turned him into a god.)
- Reconstructing Yeshua
Hats off to Rabbi Dauermann for highlighting the large quantity of convincing scholarship on the historical Jesus! It’s a step towards jettisoning the atheist-driven pseudo-scholarship on the mythical Jesus. And it’s a step towards renegotiating those old, human-erected boundaries between Judaism and Christianity. Yes!
Soaking in over the last few weeks Rabbi Dauermann’s articulation of Messianic hope in light of modern scholarship has strengthened my own faith – yes! – and I hope the same for you, fine Kineti readers.