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Sharing the Scriptures: The Word Set Free, Volume 1 (Stimulus Books) by Philip A. Cunningham

April 8, 2016

STSAt the time when the various documents of the New Testament were being written, here was increasing animosity between the Jews and those Jews who followed Jesus – it isn’t correct to contrast ‘Christians’ and ‘Jews’ – those terms came later.

The trouble is that those documents were set in aspic, as it were, so when preachers talk abut the passage for the day they tend to cast all Jews in a bad light. Ultimately, this had led to anti-Semitism, whether intended or not.

Despite high-sounding and pious proclamations from the mainstream churches, very few seminaries deal with this issue, so anti-Jewish preaching continues.

This book tries to set the record straight – if only busy preachers would take time to consult it.

It was written at a time when I was doing a series of Bible studies with my local group of The Council of Christians and Jews.  We covered much of the same ground and I had as possible publisher – but this book got in first – whatever – as long as the message gets out and is read and heeded.

Advice to preachers on not perpetuating anti-Judaism is long overdue, though this book does not cover all the ground. It only relates to the gospels yet the other New Testament readings sometimes get preached upon and they can be problematic, especially Galatians.


Here the evangelist is tapping the Jewish tradition that God’s Wisdom frequently meets with rejection even within Israel. For example, one deutero-canonical work observes that Israel was exiled because “you have forsaken the fountain of wisdom” (Bar 3:12) and an apocryphal text moans that “Wisdom came to make her dwelling place among the children of men and found no dwelling place” (Enoch 42:2).2 Given this tradition, it is not surprising that the incarnated Wisdom! Word of God would be portrayed as encountering rejection by both the world and Israel.

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