A ZEAL FOR GOD NOT ACCORDING TO KNOWLEDGE
Remarkably little competition confronts this book outside of Michael L. Brown's Answering Jewish Objections to Jesus, a trilogy presently being published by Baker Book House. Although many books have been published dealing with the beliefs and arguments of various unorthodox Christian groups, such as Jehovah's Witnesses and the Mormons, and some concerning the arguments of Islam against Christianity, very few have dealt with what Jews have to say against Jesus as the Messiah. My book is attempting to plug a hole that was (until the advent of Brown's work) almost completely unplugged by any one book.
Many books have been written that defend rationally belief in the Bible and Christianity, such as (most famously) those by Josh McDowell and C.S. Lewis. There are a fair number of books and journal articles that have argued that early Christianity was not influenced by the beliefs and practices of the pagan mystery religions and Gnosticism. One of the best of these efforts recently available is Ronald Nash's The Gospel and the Greeks: Did the New Testament Borrow from Pagan Thought? Some have worked at interpreting and explaining the messianic prophecies of the Old Testament in great detail, although many of these efforts have long since gone out of print. A recent, in-depth scholarly examination of these appears in James Smith's What the Bible Teaches about the Promised Messiah. Many examinations of these texts, however, have been too brief and superficial to be persuasive to readers who are aware of the arguments the Jews mount against interpreting the messianic texts in a Christian manner, such as the relevant chapter of Josh McDowell's Evidence that Demands a Verdict, vol. 1. The key advantage of A Zeal for God Not According to Knowledge is that it attempts to deal with systematically and intellectually all the standard arguments Jews make against Christianity in one book, thus sparing the concerned reader from having to hack through three or more books in the genre of Christian apologetics to get the necessary information he or she needs.
There are four key advantages my book has over Brown's series: 1. It attempts to cover systematically all the relevant information in one book, not three or four. 2. It deals with the parallels made between Christianity and ancient paganism much more completely than Brown does. 3. It repeatedly and directly quotes, in the main text of the book, the arguments of the defenders of Judaism. Brown downplays these by at least generally relegating them to his notes. Instead of paraphrasing the arguments made by the defenders of Judaism, my book directly quotes them before analyzing their arguments in the rest of a given paragraph or section of a chapter. This helps to ensure that the actual arguments Jewish apologists mount are dealt with, and helps to inform Christian readers of the way these men attack belief in Jesus as the Messiah. 4. By extensively dealing with the reasoning of Hyam Maccoby, at least one form of the intellectual liberal Jewish perspective on Christianity is examined in my book. Unless the third volume of Brown's series remedies these drawbacks, my book has significant advantages over Brown's in important areas. Hence, although Brown has written a good and effective series covering the same general ground my book does, my book still has much to offer that Brown's doesn't. There's plenty of room for both works to be in print at the same time because millions of people are potentially concerned about the issues they cover.