It is usually a great surprise, for most Christians and Jews, to realize that the Jesus, the central figure of the Christian faith, never was a Christian, and never belonged to a Christian Church. On the contrary, during his entire life, Jesus was nothing but a Jew. He was born as a Jew, and he lived and died as such. Furthermore, according to the New Testament, he was resurrected as a Jew and ascended to heaven as a Jew. All the events of his life, death and resurrection, narrated in the Gospels and in the first chapter of the book of Acts, occurred well before the beginning of the church, hence, inside the Judaism of the time.
Since Chaim Potok published his first novel, The Chosen, in 1967, he has become one of the most popular and widely read authors on Judaism. Born in New York City, Chaim Potok first started writing fiction at the age of 16. In 1950, he graduated summa cum laude from Yeshiva University with a Bachelor of English Literature. From there, he went on to get his Master of Hebrew Letters and his rabbinic ordination at the Jewish Theological Seminary of America (1954) and his Ph.D. in Philosophy from the University of Pennsylvania (1965). His novels include The Promise, The Book of Lights, Davita’s Harp, My Name is Asher Lev and The Gift of Asher Lev. His nonfiction writings include Wanderings and Ethical Living for a Modern World: Jewish Insights.
Brad is a Christian and a native of Oklahoma who went to Israel and earned two graduate degrees from the Hebrew University. His doctorate explored the Jewish background of the life and teachings of Jesus. He compared the parables of Jesus in the Gospels to the parables of the rabbis in Jewish literature. Brad has written many books and articles on the Jewish origins of Christianity. His widely read book Jesus the Jewish Theologian (Hendrickson, 1995) opens up the original historical environment and allows readers to hear the message of Jesus afresh.
Rolf Rendtorff is Professor Emeritus of Old Testament Theology. From 1958 to 1963, he was Professor at the Kirchliche Hochschule Berlin, from 1963 to 1990 Professor at the University of Heidelberg, where he also served as Rector of the University (1970 to 1972). He has served as Visiting Professor at the Hebrew University, Jerusalem, at the Divinity School of the University of Chicago, at the Pontifical Biblical Institute in Rome, and at the University of Pretoria, South Africa.
Jews and Christians commonly think of their faiths as two separate religions, but in the beginning it was not so, nor need it be so today.
At the time when Christianity arose, Judaism was like a coat of many colors, consisting of many denominations. Readers of the New Testament or of the Jewish historian Josephus have encountered Jewish groups called the Sadducees, the Pharisees, the Essenes, and many other less well known groups.
Roberto Badenas has studied philosophy in Valencia, Spain, theology in Collonges, France, and received his doctorate in 1983 in New Testament Studies from Andrews University, Berrien Springs, Michigan, USA. As lecturer for New Testament Studies, he has taught at the Seventh-day Adventist Seminary in Sagunto, Spain (1971-1979), as well as at Salève Adventist University, Collonges, France (1985-1998).
The purpose of this article is to introduce Adventist and Jewish theologians to the Jewish component of the Adventist faith and eventually draw from this association specific lessons in regard to Adventist identity and to Jewish-Adventist relations.
Philippe Haddad graduated from the Jewish Seminary of France and has functioned as a rabbi in Marseilles, Nîmes, and Paris. Since 1992, he has been the rabbi in charge of the youth and is the director of the youth movement Tikvaténou. Rabbi Haddad is also the author of two books: Ces Hommes qui parlaient, réflexion sur le prophétisme (These Men Who Spoke, A Reflection on Prophetism) and Yona, leprophète malgré lui, pièce de théâtre (Jonah, A Prophet in Spite of Himself, A Theater Play).
The objective description of similarities and differences appearing here will provide a clear and immediate overview of the nature of the Jewish- Adventist connection and will draw lessons not only for a better understanding of each other, but also of a better understanding of one’s own religious identity, whether Jewish or Adventist.