Oskar Skarsaune, Dr theol, is professor emeritus of church history at MF Norwegian School of Theology in Oslo, Norway. His many publications include The Proof from Prophecy: A Study in Justin Martyr's Proof-text Tradition, Incarnation--Myth or Fact?, and In the Shadow of the Temple: Jewish Influences on Early Christianity. Reidar Hvalvik, Dr theol, is professor of New Testament at MF Norwegian School of Theology in Oslo, Norway. His publications include The Struggle for Scripture and Covenant: The Epistle of Barnabas and Jewish-Christian Competition in the Second Century, an introduction to the theology of Acts, and an introduction to the New Testament (both in Norwegian).
Reviews - What do customers think about In the Shadow of the Temple: Jewish Influences on Early Christianity?
Christianity - What's Jewish About That? Jan 2, 2008
A good introduction and reference to various socio-historical situations in Judaism from the first century to Rabbinic times and its influence upon or relation with the nascent Jewish and Gentile believers in Yeshua. A primary focus is how Temple thinking and understanding shaped and/or defined both religious milieus. Instead of forging its own academic arguments, this surveys many of the various scholastic views, choosing to substitute bibliographic lists of important books on the subject for argument-bearing footnotes. As befits a broad-reaching survey, many conclusions are not thoroughly examined and tested, leaving this to the reader. I did feel, however, that at some points, arguments or conclusions were so insubstantial that the author was chasing shadows. Unfortunately, the book teeters off at the end into quite a few disappointing chapters. Overall, however, this is an easy-to-understand, well-organized foundation with many jump-off points to delve into more serious academic study about first century Judaism, Rabbinic Judaism, and the Jewish makeup of Christianity.
Nothing New About It - Its The Old Jewish Perspective Nov 10, 2007
Skarsaune makes propositions faithful to and indicative of the origin of Christianity: Jewish monotheism.
'There was a rather extensive two-way dialogue between the religious authorities in Jerusalem and the Jews in the Disapora. Envoys were sent out from Jerusalem, carrying letters to the Diaspora communities, instructing them on matters of observance, the ritual calendar and doctrines to be avoided. This continued after the fall of the Temple; many of the leading rabbis of the second century A.D. are pictured in the rabbinic texts as traveling widely among the Jews of the Diaspora. Groups of pilgrims from the Diaspora came to the three great pilgrimage festivals in Jerusalem. They came not only to bring their temple tax and the prescribed sacrifices, but also hear the famous teachers of the Law and to bring back from Jerusalem a renewed zeal for their ancestral faith and its observances.' pg 74
'The synagogue, as institution and building, was an invention of the Diaspora Jews. Only later was the synagogue introduced in the Land, first in Galilee, far away from the Temple. In Judea there were for a long time no synagogues; the Temple was too close. Only in Jerusalem itself do we find synagogues at the same time as in Galilee, but they were built by and for Diaspora Jews visiting Jerusalem or residing there.' pg 79
It is a easy book to read and one finds oneself enjoying the trip down 'memory lane' with Skarsaune. I appreciate the back-drop of cultural context and history he set his work off with, for it begins at about 300BC.
This puts us squarely into the Jewish time-situation and helps us understand the times Christ was born into. The storyline develops further and we stay with the Jewish perspective on the Church in her formative years. A solid foundation is then hereby laid for all things Jewish in our Gentile gospel.
An important historical study.
A must read for all Christians or students of Christianity Dec 4, 2006
Everyone knows that Christianity started out as just another Jewish sect. Interesting historical fact, but its implications for modern thinking and practice around Christianity are seldom addressed by the average layeperson (or clergy!). Oskar Skarsaune leads the reader to address this, and whether reading this from an aspiritual historical perspective or from a faith perspective, the reading is highly rewarding. He succeeds in bringing us back to ground zero, so to speak, of the explosion of Christianity upon the ancient near eastern world. What struck me reading this book was not so much the Jewishness of early Christianity, but the Gentileness of modern Christianity and how Christians have drifted away from many Jewish aspects of the faith which would certainly benefit individuals and churches alike by being re-explored afresh. Skarsaune leads one on the start of this journey, and hopefully for many this book will be the first step for many in travelling closer towards the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the God of Christ. The only criticism I have is that the Skarsaune's momentum starts to die out around the last fifth of the book. Nevertheless, even with this the text deserves 5 stars!
Well Done Professor Skarsaune Dec 1, 2006
During most of the last twenty years of the twentieth century, a professor of church history from the Norwegian Lutheran School of Theology (Oslo) made an in-depth analysis of the Jewish roots of Christianity and gradually assembled his findings into a highly readable, fairly comprehensive introductory book on the subject. Professor Oskar Skarsaune's In the Shadow of the Temple (Temple) (Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity Press, 2002) is an outstanding contribution to this important area of historical inquiry. Professor Skarsaune's Temple was meticulously researched and tirelessly annotated, and the results are a first-class, reader-friendly scholarly resource capable of edifying both the Ph.D. and the interested layman.
Temple's 444 pages are divided into three main sections and an eighteen-page epilogue. Each of these four large parts are divided into several chapters, and further subdivided into subsections of chapters, very much like a textbook. Temple's resemblance to a textbook ends there, however, as Skarsaune's tone lacks any trace of the pedant's and is instead almost conversational, much like an experienced enthusiast sharing exciting past discoveries with an audience of relative newcomers. And what a wide-ranging list of discoveries Skarsaune has to share! Many who thought they had an adequate familiarity with earliest Christianity and late Second Temple Judaism will be both humbled and enriched by Temple. This is because throughout Temple Skarsaune skillfully reviews and sheds light on a host of important historical, geographical, political and religious issues and events occurring over the several centuries that immediately precede and follow what was long considered the most important event in recorded history--the advent of Jesus Christ.
This book would make a valuable addition to anyone's library, particularly a Christian's. An outstanding scholarly effort.
Unique Resource for Christianity's Jewish Context Mar 25, 2004
One of the best books on the subject of Jewish Christianity to be found. Please understand that this book is not a revisionist version of historical theology, but rather a faithful nicene interpritation that seeks to demonstrate that Christianity is inherently more Jewish in its flavor than many would care to admit, even though such an interpritation is in direct line with patristic theology and liturgical practice, as the liturgies of the east and west are blends of temple and synagogue worship to greater or lesser degrees.
I would also suggest that Skarasune's "Incarnation: Myth or Fact" would be a great place to start on these questions.
Jean Danielou's "Jewish Theology" is a more technical appraisal of teh same material, with the smae conclusions. I have found it quite useful.