03 March 2010
Starting to Read the NT
After arriving to the great sunny land of California, my benefactor handed me a bunch of literature with information about what proselytizing Christians might say, including many quotations from the NT. After reading some of it, I realized that all the scriptural verses were not in their context. Moreover, how could I discuss, with any knowledge, what the NT or Christianity believed about various matters? So, I set aside that literature and began to read the NT, itself. So far, it's been good - I'm progressing. Although there's a lot in there that, for lack of better phrasing, I just don't believe, nonetheless, I've found reading it interesting on three accounts:
1) Seeing how it/Jesus uses Biblical verses (that is, from the Hebrew Bible) that aren't necessarily the way that we Jews read them. On the other hand, it is also interesting to see how the NT is describing certain Biblical laws being followed in that time.
2) Getting a better sense of the origins of certain ideas that have trickled down to our day in contemporary America, but more interestingly, phrases, as well.
3) Reading about certain social circumstances as well as outlooks that would also be reflected upon rabbinic literature as well as similar statements (or dissimilar, for that matter).
This last one is something that may not appeal to a lot of people, but is the most intellectually fascinating aspect to me. Although I may be reading it on account of needing to know this stuff for professional reasons (whether that would be confronting missionaries, contrasting NT statements to Jewish positions, or even just to discuss with Christian clergy), it's this third reason that really keeps me going, as someone who enjoys reading and studying rabbinic literature.