BOOK OVERVIEW

 

A ZEAL FOR GOD NOT ACCORDING TO KNOWLEDGE:

A Refutation of Judaism's Arguments Against Christianity

 

By Eric V. Snow

 

This book's introduction begins by explaining what aspects of belief in Christianity it defends and what is beyond its scope.

Here it also lays the necessary philosophical groundwork for readers who may be skeptical about only one true religion

existing, may think any critique of Judaism's truth-claims is necessarily anti-Semitic, or may believe this debate is simply

irrelevant in today's multicultural, diverse society. It also describes the four representative defenders of Judaism whose works

were chosen to be quoted from and examined for this book.

 

The book next takes up an extensive defense of the New Testament using the standard arguments of conservative Christian

apologetics. The three standard tests for evaluating a historical document's reliability are given a chapter each: (1) the

bibliographical test, (2) the external evidence test, and (3) the internal evidence test. Next, the claims that first-century Christian

doctrines were derived from the pagan mystery religions and Gnosticism are examined and refuted in separate chapters. A full

chapter is also given over to the careful exegesis of the battleground messianic texts of the Old Testament. The arguments of

the defenders of Judaism are quoted and refuted. Another chapter defends Christian salvation theology against the attacks

mounted against it by the defenders of Judaism. The next-to-last chapter upholds the New Testament's portrayal of

first-century Judaism, such as concerning the oral law and how accurately the Pharisees were portrayed. The last chapter is a

careful defense of the deity of Christ based upon a detailed analysis of the relevant New and Old Testament texts.

 

Although using solid scholarship that attempts to avoid claiming more than can be safely supported by reason and evidence, the

book still takes an aggressive, even polemical stance against the Jewish critics of Christianity. It attempts to deal with the

arguments of the defenders of Judaism in extensive detail in order to make a more convincing refutation than a general,

superficial work would make, thus appealing to the scholarly in this regard. Although having a full set of footnotes and a

bibliography in order to increase its value to scholars, it is still careful to define its terms and to identify various persons

mentioned in order to make itself more accessible to average but concerned members of the general Christian public. It is

aimed at Jews who wish to consider seriously the arguments for Christianity, at Christian missionaries working among Jews

who would need to know the arguments of their opponents in advance and how to refute them, and at perplexed lay Christians

whose faith has been shaken by the arguments of their Jewish friends or spouses.

 

A key purpose of this book is bring three genres of conservative Christian apologetics under one roof: (1) a general defense of

the Bible's inerrancy (here, the New Testament's in particular), (2) the case for first-century Christian doctrines not coming

from the beliefs of pagan religion, and (3) an exegesis of the Old Testament's messianic texts as being fulfilled in Jesus of

Nazareth. Instead of having to hunt through three books (or more) for arguments defending Christianity against Judaism, a

layman or laywoman now would need to consult only one.