Learning to Walk in the Dust of Rabbi Jesus (free books too!)

Learning to Walk in the Dust of Rabbi Jesus (free books too!) November 28, 2012

Early on when I started this blog, I became aquanted with Lois Tverberg. Her written thoughts on Jesus reminded me of her good friend Ray VanderLaan who continues to have an influence on my theology (for those who are skeptical of the Jewish roots of Jesus scholarship because of what Ben Witherington said about Rob Bell, see this article). We fail to appropriately study Jesus when we extract him from his first century Jewish context.

This is why I have appreciated Lois’ books. Her first book (co-authored with Ann Spangler), Sitting at the Feet of Rabbi Jesus, is full of insights on Jesus, Paul, and the whole of the New Testament in its Jewish/Roman context. That book was the first free book I ever received to promote on my then, very unknown blog. When it came in the mail I was giddy that an author would be so kind… yep, a bit of a nerd, but you already knew that!

Lois published a second book in the same strand of thought this year called Walking in the Dust of Rabbi Jesus: How the Jewish Words of Jesus can Change Your Life. In this book she combines scholarly insights, passion, and devotional application that are all guaranteed to help readers come to know their rabbi more intimately. Now, if the title trips you up because you have heard that the idea of the “dust of the rabbi” is a mere myth not applying to Jesus’ own day, well Lois has written on that too. As for me, I want to become as dusty as possible as I learn to follow Jesus!

Well, rather than analyzing every part of this book, I’m going allow Lois to speak to you about her intentions in writing this project:

What would it look like to peel back the layers of time and to see the real Jesus? Obviously, it would be a mistake to project on him Jewish realities of later centuries. If we picture him with a bagel in one hand and a dreidel in the other, we’d be guilty of distorting his reality too, because both things are from later centuries and practices. But Jesus did eat matzah (unleavened bread) and celebrate Hanukkah, traditions that go back to before his time…. You might be surprised to learn that some of Judaism’s most influential thinkers, including Hillel and Shammai (30 BC to AD 10), lived in the decades right around Jesus’ time. Hillel’s grandson, Gamliel, was Paul’s teacher who came to the defense of the early church in Acts 5:33-39. The words of these and other early rabbis allow us to reconstruct the conversations going on around Jesus. They used the same kind of logic to answer questions, interpret Scriptures, and weave parables, which yields fascinating clues to Jesus’ words (25).

Lois goes on to add:

But as a Christian, I grew up without knowing the most basic details of Jesus’ Jewish world, aspects of his reality that have persisted in Judaism from the first century until today. What I’ve chosen to share in this book are a few core concepts that Christians have hardly known about, yet shed light on Jesus’s teachings. Often this Hebraic perspective unlocks biblical wisdom that our culture has forgotten over time (26).

If you are interested in reading this book, I have a couple copies on my shelf that I would love to give away! Share this post on Facebook (or Twitter) and then leave a comment with an email address to contact you and I will pick two winners at random!

***Unfortunately, I can only afford to ship within the US.

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  • Laura

    I’ve been wanting to read this book, and I totally agree with Lois’s premise. Would love a copy!

  • Sounds very interesting. Count me in.

  • Hi! a very interesting book. I’m From Chile :(, but I’ll try to win it.

    God Bless You!

  • Chris Baca

    Just shared it! I’ve been wanting a copy for a while! (cdbaca@gmail.com)

  • Just shared it on my FB Feed! Thank you Kurt for all the material and blogs you post. I’m glad I stumbled across this site. I haven’t heard much on Anabaptist aside from what I’ve read in Brian McLaren’s Generous Orthodoxy but I’d love to connect with you sometime.

  • I get a break from grad school in a few days and would love to read this over break. Hope I win! DBUCKHAM AT GMAIL DOT COM

  • Love this blog. thanks for everything!
    Shared this on Twitter
    Sarah Aeschliman
    [ saeschliman at olivet dot edu ]

  • Jason Hess, CJ

    Shared it on twitter my friend.

  • Kurt – Thanks so much for your review! I really appreciate your sharing your thoughts with your readers. Wish I could give a free one to everyone. 🙂

  • Hi Kurt. This book went on my wishlist after listening to Rabbi David Zaslow at Wild Goose West. trishadian@gmail.com

  • I would love one! 🙂 christopherbutson@live.com

  • Bryan Muirhead

    HOOK. IT. UP. bmuirhead09@apu.edu

  • Cathleen Lawler

    I read Lois Tverberg’s first book “Sitting at the Feet of Rabbi Jesus” and it was very helpful in preparing for our church team to spent 8 days in Israel. I have passed it on to other team members. Now I would like to read this new book that she has written. We just got back day before yesterday and I am ready to read more! Cathleen, cslawler@gmail.com

  • I would love to have a free copy of this book, Kurt! I’ll be so fascinate to know more about the Jewish side of Jesus. versetrane27@yahoo.com

  • Definitely sounds like an awesome book! PMCOBZach@gmail.com

  • Tammy Olsen

    passed it on. tammyolsen@comcast.net Beautiful words

  • jason

    would love to get my hands on anything so iluminating! monsmanj@gmail.com

  • Thanks again, Kurt.

    By the way, “Walking in the Dust of Rabbi Jesus” is being featured for $2.99 on Kindle for the next few days. The non-winners of your drawing might want to check it out. 🙂