Periodical Reviews -- By: Anonymous
BSac 119:475 (Jul 62) p. 259
Bamberger, Bernard J., “The Jewish Rediscovery of the Bible,” Eternity, May, 1962.
This is the second in a series of articles being published by this magazine in which Current trends among Protestants, Jews, and Catholics in their study of the Bible are being analyzed. Although this article is disappointingly brief, the author gives some useful keys to Christians who desire to understand Jewish Bible study. Beginning with the obvious proposition that the Bible to the Jew is the Old Testament, he notes that “Jews have rarely, if ever, sought to construct from biblical texts a single homogeneous doctrinal system and have never adopted an official Jewish ‘creed.’“ Hence, there has been a wide latitude allowed in interpretation and charges of heresy have been comparatively rare. However, “this freedom of theological exposition was balanced somewhat by greater rigor in the interpretation of legal passages in the Five Books of Moses.” The interpretation has been based not only on the study of the Scriptural text but upon the “tradition of the elders” or oral law which likewise was deemed to be inspired of God. The latter has been characteristic of the orthodox Jewish interpretation of the Old Testament. “In addition to these orthodox positions, there is a large liberal group within Judaism which takes a completely modernist attitude toward Scripture, and toward Jewish tradition as well.” Dr. Bamberger points out that the most outstanding trend in this country has been the expansion of programs of adult Jewish education coupled with a similar expansion in religious school and youth programs. “What has happened then has been not so much a rediscovery of the Bible as a rediscovery of Judaism.” In Israel, the Bible is studied in Hebrew and an Israeli child who has spoken Hebrew all his life will have considerably less difficulty in understanding the text of the Bible than a modern English or American child will have in understanding Shakespeare.” While the new emphasis on Bible study in this country has given the Jew a renewed appreciation of his heritage and destiny, Dr. Bamberger sadly admits that “many Jews in the new state who know the Bible well give little heed to its religious message. For them, the Bible constitutes the great classic of national Jewish
BSac 119:475 (Jul 62) p. 260
literature and the source of inspiration for national rebirth…. It seems strange to us that people who know the Bible thoroughly in Hebrew and who love it deeply should remain unresponsive to what it teaches us about God.” The reviewer would add that the spiritual poverty of the Jew whether in this country or in Israel only adds to the need of an increased witness to them of their need of Christ as Savior.
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