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Restoring Abrahamic Faith
James D. Tabor
From The Publisher:
Restoring Abrahamic Faith attempts to set forth in a clear and engaging style an exposition of the ancient Hebrew Faith as revealed in the Hebrew Bible, with a particular emphasis on Abraham, Moses, the Torah, and the Prophets. Restoring Abrahamic Faith offers a compelling proposal for the 21st century, namely a return to the “ancient paths” of the Hebrew faith with Abraham, the first Hebrew, as a prime model. As such it is foundational to the origins of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, the three great Abrahamic Faiths that subsequently developed in different directions. Abrahamic Faith takes one back to the beginnings, and thereby offers a perspective that is as fascinating as it is valuable for anyone interested in the biblical tradition.
From The Author:
This book is very much a personal “manifesto” based on my own study of the Bible for the past 40 years. Although this work is based on my academic and historical work, it is nonetheless an biblically based exposition of the the ancient Hebrew faith as drawn from the Torah, the Prophets, and the Writings of the Hebrew Bible. My intention is to address, in particular, Christians, Jews, Muslims, and secularists, by offering a challenging presentation of the great questions of Biblical Faith. Some of the fascinating subjects covered are: Who is God? What are the Holy Scriptures? How does one know the will of God? How should we live? What does salvation mean? What about the so-called “Lost Tribes” of Israel? Is the present return of Jews to the Land of Israel significant? What about the coming of the Messiah? Who was Jesus and what was his message?
From the Preface…
I began thinking seriously about the contents of this book back in the late 1960s. I had graduated from college with majors in Greek and Bible, fired by a passion for discovering the historical Jesus. It was that Quest that led me to the insights and concepts represented herein. The more I learned about Jesus the more I realized how vital it was to see him as a Jew who put his faith in the God of Abraham, who upheld the Torah, and who lived and died for his ancestral faith.
As a Christian I had grown up with a strong emphasis on the New Testament. The “Old Testament,” as we called it, was looked on as mere “background” to the superseding revelation brought by Jesus and the apostle Paul. I had never taken the “Jewishness” of Jesus very seriously—at least not in terms of its implications.
I presented the results of my forty years of academic work on the historical Jesus in a previous book, The Jesus Dynasty (Simon & Schuster, 2006). This latest book, Restoring Abrahamic Faith, goes quite a few steps beyond. It is a personal manifesto of my own biblical faith, informed by my historical work, while at the same time moving outside its strict academic parameters.
I am enamored with the Hebrew Bible—Torah, Prophets, and Writings—and it has riveted me like nothing else over these many years. In its pages I find compelling testimony to the experiences of those who have sought to “walk with God,” and a program of hope for our troubled planet. The idea and the ideal of the Kingdom of God—that is, God’s will being done on earth as in heaven, is one that beckons us across the ages. This book is about that ancient Hebrew faith and what it might mean to us in the 21st century.
Pentecost, June 15, 2008
Mevaseret Zion, Israel
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About the Author
James Tabor (Ph.D. 1981, University of Chicago) is Chair of the Department of Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, where he has taught since 1989. He previously held positions at Notre Dame and the College of William & Mary. His training is as an historian of Christian Origins and Ancient Judaism. Tabor has combined extensive field experience in archaeology in Israel and Jordan with his work on ancient texts, including work at Qumran, Sepphoris, the “Suba” cave, and most recently, Mt. Zion in Jerusalem. He is chief editor of the Original Bible Project, a new scholarly translation of the Bible for the year 2012. Among his publications are Things Unutterable (1985), A Noble Death (1992) and Why Waco: Cults and the Battle for Religious Freedom in America (1995). His latest book, now out in paperback, is titled The Jesus Dynasty: A New Historical Investigation of Jesus, His Royal Family, and the Birth of Christianity (Simon & Schuster).
Table of Contents
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Truth Overcomes Fiction February 25, 2009
Reviewer: Ronnie Fulcher from Canton, MS USA
I have thoroughly enjoyed your book RAF. It simplifies the facts in such a way that it s a pleasure to read. If only I was ready for this years ago. I do believe it is inspired by the Spirit of HaShem. The truth it provides is great. As I read it my insides get charged. I was looking for a spiritual pick me up and I found one while reading RAF. I know this may sound like a commercial but its fact. I was once a United Pentecostal Church minister. I could not get answers to several questions that are answered in RAF. I found out that many religions want you to believe but not question. This book makes sense of who God really is and not what churches wanted me to believe.
A new understanding of the coming Kingdom of God February 24, 2009
Reviewer: Curt Roberts from Virginia, USA
After having now read your book, Restoring Abrahamic Faith , it sort of feels like my search of wanting to learn more about Jesus the man, what he did on earth and what he actually believed has now come full circle. . . . My search was initially inspired by my first trip to Israel while still in the Navy nearly twenty years ago and one of the first books I read was Jesus A Life by A.N. Nelson which got me intrigued about wanting to learn more about Jesus the historical figure to help me settle some things that I held within my own mind about what I had learned about Jesus from all my Christian teachings. Now my undertaking of nearly 20 years which gave me more of an understanding of not only who Jesus was as a person, but what he was made to become by Paul, the early Christians and the Romans themselves. And so your book regarding restoring a more fundamental faith that is the foundation of what Jesus believed and what he preached really hit home for me, brought me some inner peace and a closure of sorts to my search for understanding more about Jesus. But now it also brings to me a new challenge of how to worship God properly, seek his guidance, and basically develop a personal relationship with God. I imagine there are places for people like me that have always been Christians through and through that have come to some sort of realization as I have but it is certainly not an easy task to share ones new assessment with other Christians most of whom will hold steadfastly to their beliefs in Jesus and what they believe they understand of it all. So this is quite a quandary you ve stirred up (in a way). Your book has done an exceptional job at bringing it all together though I must wonder how your average Christian will react to it. For me it took my own curiosity and inquisitiveness that started me on my nearly 20 year search for some truth and I don t see many everyday Christians doing that. I gotta give you credit though you seem to have hit the mark and at least to me, a person whom questions almost everything, you seem to be the one lone person that I am aware of that has put it all together with such realistic, reasonable, and rational explanation. I appreciate your efforts and I wish more people would come to the hard reality of what you seem to know and understand so clearly. I still believe Jesus was truly a special person and held fast to his Abrahamic faith and obviously his life has had a major impact on the world in which we live and so I will always hold him close and be staggered about what he accomplished, but I will now carry a new understanding of what he was preaching and what it is all about. That is the coming Kingdom of God.
Back to Square One February 24, 2009
Reviewer: Patricia Brill from Los Angeles, CA USA
Restoring Abrahamic Faith is a scholarly, superbly annotated work which I found profoundly moving on a personal level. While I have held many of the same views for some time, James Tabor summarizes them in a comprehensive yet succinct and accessible manner. He then goes a step further and explains the call to all nations to live the WAY of TORAH in the interest of creating a better world, and to bring about God s will on earth. I do not think this has ever been done as clearly and meticulously as in this work.
As time passes since my reading of this book, I reflect back on it often, and consider it a must-read in the quest of understanding the foundation of western civilization and the fabric of Judeo-Christian society in America. In its analyses of the prophets of the Hebrew Bible, the author presents stark contrasts between the prophecies and the actual events as related in the four gospels. This is a stunning discovery for one exploring the subject of messianic prophecy for the first time.
James Tabor, you have fulfilled your mission by bringing your urgent message to the world and in my view you may consider it one of the crowning achievements of your career!
Very Inspiring February 24, 2009
Reviewer: Lori Bollinger from Boston, MA USA
I have just finished Restoring Abrahamic Faith. I m not sure that my words will convey how profoundly your book has reached me. You have put into words something that I have felt and understood but didn t have words or ways to convey what I felt and understood. I was raised in the Episcopalian tradition and have attended many other main line churches in my lifetime but I have always talked to God. Your book has given me a new understanding of what Biblical Faith is. A new pathway has opened for me through your words and I can t wait to see where it takes me. Perhaps I need to learn Hebrew.
Serenely explosive February 26, 2009
Reviewer: Jonathan Gaskil from Vancouver, WA USA
I grew up as a Baptist then became a Charismatic in high school. Shortly after that I began a search for Truth that led me down many interesting paths and different Christian doctrines. Along the way I found many inconsistencies that I put to the side because I didn't want to face up to them. Eventually I couldn't ignore them any longer and I came to realize that the New Testament simply could not be valid as a successor to the Tanakh. Right around the time that I was struggling with this realization I received a copy of Dr. Tabor's masterpiece.
This book was just what I needed, and it pretty much put the last nail in the coffin as far as Christianity was concerned. But the great thing about the book is that it is not a personal rant against Christianity, nor does it focus on why you should reject it. Instead of being an anti-Christian book, it is a book extolling the virtues of following YHVH and His Ways, as written down in the Torah. Dr. Tabor describes Jesus not as the Son of God in accordance with Paul's teachings, but more as a passionate Jew who loved his God and tried to help his fellow Jews return to the simplicity of following the Torah.
I just loved the calmness with which Dr. Tabor described every aspect of his personal beliefs, knowing full well that each chapter is explosive to the foundational tenets of modern Christianity. If you want to know what the heart of the Torah and Prophets is all about, this book is exactly what you need to read. God's heart is fully evident--for His people the Israelites and for the entire world as well. I recommend it not just for those Christians who are seeking to know the truth, but also for anyone who suspects that years of man-made traditions within Judaism have possibly obscured the true Way of following YHVH.
Clarification of God's work in the New Testment February 26, 2009
Reviewer: Stan Denzinger from Atlanta GA USA
I have just finished James Tabor's book on the Restoration of Abrahamic Faith and found it substantiates and clarifies most of the historical and religious information I have read about from other scholars. However, I hasten to add that James' information is less intimidating and more balanced than others. I especially read the last two chapters with great interest as they cleared up several issues that have gone unanswered for many years. His knowledge of the OT and NT are interwoven in this book so as to convince me that Abraham s relationship with God is what we should have been seeking down through the ages. I want to congratulate Mr. Tabor on this work as I feel it is more informative than the The Jesus Dynasty as good as it was. I find his writing very encouraging, especially if one has an open mind to both the historical and Biblical findings Thanks for your efforts in the field of scholarship.
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