Our colleagues at CMJ UK publish Olive Press Research papers regularly. We are delighted to share a selection of them with you.
Papers are contributed by CMJ staff (past and present), trustees, representatives, supporters or by interested parties. These papers do not necessarily portray CMJ’s standpoint on a particular issue but may be published on the premise that they allow a pertinent understanding to be added to any particular debate.
Click the links below down download a paper as a PDF. You can peruse other titles at CMJ UK.
Jesus Masked: Anti-Jewish Theologies
How did Jesus’ Jewishness get written out of the Church’s understanding of its Savior over the centuries by errant theologies? One thing is clear: such thinking began early in the Church’s history soon after the original Jesus movement was totally Jewish.
By the time of Jesus, the Mediterranean world had been Hellenised for over three centuries, following Alexander the Great’s conquests. The Old Testament had been translated into Greek, while the New Testament appeared in Greek. But the worldviews of Hebraic and Hellenistic thought patterns had fundamental differences. Simply put, Hebrew thinking is holistic, while Greek thinking is analytical. It was into this Greek thought-world that the Gospels were carried across the Roman Empire of the early Church. In a few centuries, the Eastern portion of the Empire was still speaking Greek, while Western parts had moved on to Latin as the vernacular. In this Hellenised world of the first few centuries of the Church, Jewish/Hebraic truths of the Bible were translated into a Greek mindset along with the Greek language. The result was that the default setting for understanding the Gospel became Greek philosophical thought. This ‘translation failure’ has plagued the Church since its beginning.
By Dr. Theresa Newell, CMJ USA
How Does God Make Himself and His Ways Known?
Some biblical reflections on the Incarnation alongside a brief engagement with the teaching of Maimonides and some aspects of Jewish Kabbalistic Mysticism.
By Rev. Alex Jacob, director of CMJ UK
Bonhoeffer and the Jews
Anti-semitic attacks are up in the UK (and the US). Some of these incidents featured as threats on social media. Others involved physical assaults against Jewish people on the street, or intimidation.
As believers, we must ask: What can a Christian today learn from the life of a brilliant young German theologian who paid the ultimate price for speaking Truth to Power during the darkest days of the 20th century? Errant theologies based on human philosophies, a false sense of patriotism and a commitment to volkisch nationalism resulted in the majority of German Church leaders succumbing to the anti-Semitic rhetoric of the Nazi regime. Where are the parallels in today’s current worldwide rise of anti-Semitism in the midst of a Western culture inundated with secular humanism and materialism?
By Dr. Theresa Newell, board member of CMJ USA
The Pilgrim Fathers
The year 2020 marked the 400th anniversary of the sailing of the Pilgrim Fathers on The Mayflower. Those pioneers were Puritans.
It fascinated me that the Puritans used the Jewish model for family life at a time when Jewish people were not allowed to live in England. This connection came from both the Hebrew scholars and from the Bible becoming accessible to the common man. As people began to see the sweep of Scripture and read the prophecies, they began to understand God’s purposes for Israel, the people and the nation.
They saw prophecies yet to be fulfilled and began to realise that before Jesus returns the gospel must go out into every ethnic group and the Jewish people must return to their land.
This paper endeavours to show the connection between the Puritans and CMJ’s Biblical understanding of God’s purposes for His ancient people.
By Jane Moxon, head of development at CMJ UK
Felix Pratensis and Jacob Ben Chaim ibn Adonijah
Or The Rabbinic Bible, the Reformation, and Israel
Five hundred years ago, in the early 16th century, an interesting chapter in the history of the transmission of the Bible intersects with a remarkable story of the triumph of God’s grace. The work that was done at this time in establishing the text of the Hebrew Scriptures would last for centuries, but the transformation that took place in the lives of those who were involved in this work would last for all eternity. Not only that, but the work primarily of one individual would affect the Reformation, contribute to the translation of the Bible into common language, and eventually lead to the founding of the State of Israel.
By Dr. Jim R. Sibley, board member of CMJ USA
Where was God during the Shoah?
A personal attempt to provide an answer after considering a range of Jewish and Christian responses, and to explore the future of Jewish-Christian relatedness in a post-Shoah world.
This paper is a personal response. However, the experience and context of an author is important and may give additional perspective to their work. I am a Roman Catholic Benedictine nun of Stanbrook Abbey, Wass, in North Yorkshire. I am also the sister of Alex Jacob, the CEO of CMJ UK and the editor of the Olive Press Research Papers. Alex and I have discussed this paper, and many related issues, at length. We rejoice that we share much common ground, but are aware that there are, nevertheless, considerable differences in our theological understanding and approach to mission practice.
We are pleased to publish this paper hoping that, while it does not necessarily portray CMJ’s standpoint, it will allow for pertinent reflection on a key issue to take place.
By Sister Scholastica, Stanbrook Abbey
Yeshua, a Prophet Like Moses
As this comparison suggests, a greater appreciation of the character and role of Moses will lead to a greater appreciation of Yeshua as the promised Messiah. In this paper I will examine some of the similarities and differences between these pivotal characters in the Bible, taking into account some of the rabbinic material associated with Moses.
By Rev. John Atkinson, CMJ South Africa
Isaac & Ishmael: Exploring God's Big Mission Plan
We first meet Isaac and Ishmael within the book of Genesis, in the context of the unfolding revelation. This takes place in Genesis 21. Genesis 21 is understood as a key foundational passage in the Bible, both for Jewish and Christian commentators. The birth of Isaac and the ‘removal/rejection’ of Ishmael have huge ramifications. The ‘shock waves’ from this event are still felt today,
within the complex world of Middle Eastern political, spiritual and religious life.
By Rev. Alex Jacob, CMJ UK
Practical Foundation for a Post-Holocaust Messianic Soteriology
For all of us as Jews, whether messianic or not, the Shoah hangs over us like a dark cloud. Also in our soteriology we cannot entirely come out from under the cloud into the warm sunshine and light of God in his grace and pure beauty. The Shoah lurks behind every aspect of our faith, but it also highlights the glory of God and his covenant and promises as light stands out in contrast to the darkness of night. But post-Auschwitz questions challenge even the basic theological issues of the nature of God, his goodness and grace, his covenant purpose for Israel and through Israel for the world. Inevitably our soteriology is embedded in the wider truth of theology and cannot be kept separate.
By Martin Goldsmith, CMJ UK