Mind the Gap.
Mind the Gap
P.O. Box 1209, Minneapolis, MN 55440-1209
9781506406428, $39.00, PB, 248pp, www.amazon.com
To have a more comprehensive understanding of the historical person of Jesus of Nazareth, his apostles, and the rise of early Christianity, it is necessary to study the Jews of the Second Temple period in terms of what they wrote and what Jesus and his followers might have read beyond the canonical Hebrew scriptures that comprised the Torah. In "Mind the Gap: How the Jewish Writings Between the Old and New Testament Help Us Understand Jesus", by Matthias Henze (who is the Isla Carroll and Perry E. Turner Professor of Hebrew Bible and early Judaism and founding director of the program in Jewish studies at Rice University) the reader is introduced the four-century gap between the Old and New Testaments and some of the writings produced during this period (different Old Testaments, the Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha, the Dead Sea Scrolls). Professor Henze also discusses how these texts have been read from the Reformation to the present, emphasizing the importance of the discovery of Qumran; guides the student's encounter with select texts from each collection; and then introduces key ideas found in specific New Testament texts that simply can't be understood without these early Jewish "intertestamental" writings the Messiah, angels and demons, the law, and the resurrection of the dead. Finally, Professor Henize discusses the role of these writings in the "parting of the ways" between Judaism and Christianity. A sound work of scholarship that is impressively well written, organized and presented, "Mind the Gap" provides insightful perspectives on early Judaism and early Christianity, making it an ideal and unreservedly recommended addition to community, seminary, and academic library Christian Studies collections, as well as the personal reading lists of both Christian clergy and non-specialist general readers with an interest in the subject.