As a Christian, I have been interested in the study of Judaism because it sheds light on the origins of my religion. Judaism is a fascinating religion, finding its basis in the Hebrew Bible, and in particular in the Five Books of Moses (the Torah), and any study of it will enlighten the one who sets out to study it honestly. Gone are the days when it was thought Judaism was a religion of law whose adherents blindly sought legalistic ways to follow God. Here are the days when an honest appraisal of Judaism can perhaps open the pathway for one to encounter the living God.
An excellent guidebook for such an adventure is Lifting the Veil: Hidden Judaism Revealed by Steven Evans. Evans has made a point of studying Judaism, Kabbalah (a mystic branch of Judaism), Torah, and the Talmud, and presents many of his findings in this book. While Evans acknowledges that his research causes him to understand, especially, many Torah episodes “in a different light, with a non-traditional perspective” this reviewer found his insights to be fresh and non-threatening, either from a Jewish or Christian perspective.
His book is divided into three sections: Essays on Torah, Essays on Jewish Practices, and Essays on Jewish Thought. Because this reviewer is a Bible student and a Christian, I will limit my observations to the first section, because of both space and knowledge limitations.
“Essays on Torah” contains eleven chapters that cover the gamut of Torah interpretation. Topics covered include: the death of the Egyptian first-born, why Abraham was not tested by God when he took Isaac to sacrifice him, why the common understanding about leprosy and uncleanness in Leviticus is wrong, and why Balak is a hero.
One of my favorite essays is the very first one, “Death of the Egyptian First-Born. ” In this essay, Evans describes the common understanding that the firstborn sons of the Egyptians were struck down. Then he describes his own position: It was not the firstborn sons of the Egyptians, for such an act would also include husbands, fathers, etc. , in addition to children. Rather, it was a battle of God versus the false gods of Egypt. The death of the firstborn, being the last plague and the one that finally convinced Pharaoh to let the Israelites leave Egypt, was the actual destruction of the false gods of Egypt and the recognition of the oneness of God.
Evans’ essays are well thought out and they are not presented as mere opinions: Evans appeals to the Torah many times to make his point. At times, I found myself objecting to certain points, only to be rebuffed by scripture(!) as Evans pulled out the appropriate text.
For an introduction to aspects of Judaism, and for a fresh approach to Torah, check out this book. You will find it fascinating and will have trouble putting it down.
Jeremy M. Hoover is a freelance writer who writes book reviews, proofreads, and writes articles that help you promote your website. Read more at his website, http://www.jhooverwebcopy.com . For help promoting your book, look at Jeremy's book marketing service , http://www.jhooverwebcopy.com/bookmarketing.htm To request a review or Jeremy's proofreading service, please email him at jeremyhoover AT gmail.com.