(Book review) The Forgotten Jesus


Reviewed by: Hope Bolinger, a professional writing major at Taylor University, Upland, IN

 


Introduction

Title: The Forgotten Jesus  

Author: Robby Gallaty

Publisher: Zondervan

Publication Date: 2017

Format: Print book

Length: 224 pages

OVERVIEW

The Western idea of Jesus may envision him as a carpenter fashioning wood. Such a perception of him may cause individuals to wonder why in the world Jesus always appeared to answer each question with another inquiry. Gallaty offers a philosophical perspective on that.  He also does some challenging of long-held Bible beliefs, such as casting doubt on the idea that the wise men followed an actual literal star in the sky for years as a way of finding young Jesus, and whether or not an actual rooster crowed right after Peter denied Jesus three times.  Gallaty introduces readers to the contextual clues a first century Jew would read into the biblical text. In doing so he feels he can clear up some of the translation errors in the New Testament, while enhancing a reader’s understanding of the Messiah and the world he lived in.

This book is not well organized and some of the writing is inarticulate. Nevertheless, the majority of the book offers insights about Jesus the Jew, not adding anything to Scripture but, rather, enriching a Westerner’s perspective. At time dipping into the Old Testament, Gallaty reconciles the rift between the two sections of the Bible (especially since some Christians spend very little time reading the Old Testament) to show the impact of Jewish heritage and culture on Jesus.

ASSESSMENT

Rating (1 to 5)

4 stars

Suggested Audience

Christians with Western influence who are curious about an Eastern perspective of Jesus.

Christian Impact

Christians often avoid the Old Testament. However, the scriptures preceding the life of the Messiah play a vital role (i.e. prophecies, symbols, etc.). Gallaty give several examples of these parallels between the Old and New Testament in The Forgotten Jesus.



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One Response to “(Book review) The Forgotten Jesus”

  1. Since this book was also reviewed by another reviewer, we wanted to include his comments also.

    “Context is everything”—it’s a phrase we’ve all heard many times, easily taken for granted. Some might call it well worn, others overstated, but it has merit. After all, sometimes context is the only difference between friendly jibe and genuine insult, bizarre gibberish and sensible instruction, or even insult and praise. The phrase is old, but it still offers new insights today.

    In The Forgotten Jesus, Robby Gallaty uncovers some of those insights as he brings much-needed context to the person of Jesus Christ, seeking to understand the Savior according to the time and place in which he lived, rather than our own.

    Now, of course, context isn’t truly everything. To claim that words carry no meaning of their own would be ridiculous, and in the case of the Bible, potentially dangerous. But that really isn’t what Gallaty argues in this book. His approach to Scripture is one of absolute respect and scholarly precision, employing every source at his disposal to understand it on its own terms.

    Gallaty’s humble stance and thirst for understanding makes this text a varied, clear, and enlightening reexamination of Christ. The Forgotten Jesus makes high-level, orthodox scholarship accessible to the average reader through clear, conversational prose and a loose constellation of historical and biblical insights. These explorations don’t seem to be build toward any central, constructed argument, but they offer a broad picture of Israel, the Old Testament, and Jesus himself that helps deconstruct several of our common, Western misinterpretations.

    This picture takes shape fairly quickly as the book unfolds. Gallaty uses the introduction to provide evidence for his claim that the Western Church has largely divorced Christ from his Jewishness, and then spends his first chapter stressing the importance of properly understanding the Messiah’s cultural context. Then, he spends the next seven chapters investigating the Old Testament’s impact and relationship with the Gospel, the Jewish culture of the first century A.D., and several of Christ’s often misunderstood actions and teachings, in turn. The last chapter challenges the reader genuinely to wrestle with the information the book has explored, and a concluding “final word” encourages practical application.

    Ultimately, The Forgotten Jesus bridges a serious gap, speaking clearly to more common Christian audiences about crucial, often neglected aspects of theology. It sets a good example of careful and respectful interpretation of Scripture, as well as shows the place of scholarship and extra-biblical sources in a Christian’s learning. Gallaty doesn’t draw any huge conclusions, but that may well be to the book’s credit. This text is more about how we ought to read the Bible than what we ought to find in its pages. It is a light yet enlightening book that will encourage believers to think more deeply about their faith without demanding adherence to some specific proposal.

    ASSESSMENT
    Rating: 4 stars
    Suggested Audience: Christian young adults and adults
    Christian Impact
    In this insightful look at the historical context of Jesus’ life, Gallaty provides food for thought and spurs the reader toward a more reverent and rich understanding of the New and Old Testaments alike.

    Benjamin McKinney is a professional writing major at Taylor University and an avid reader. He has loved words well put for as long as he can remember.

    Like

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