A new translation of the Bible, called the Hebrew Heritage Bible Newer Testament by Dr. Brad H. Young – a Hebrew University-trained scholar who taught biblical literature for over thirty years at Oral Roberts University in the United States – is highlighting the Jewish roots of Christianity.
“Rather than employing the standard translation technique of simply selecting the most appropriate English word for the Greek," noted Young, "I asked the question, ‘What is the Hebrew thought and wording underpinning the Greek text?’”
Using this method, his text reconstructs the Hebrew sources, language and mindset behind the early church and its foundational documents.
“Readers will now hear what first century listeners in ancient Israel would have heard because the translation brings to light the Jewish cultural, linguistic and spiritual setting of Jesus as a Jew,” Young said.
“It is no secret that Christian scriptures have been misused over the centuries to incite antisemitism,” claimed Tricia Miller, who holds a PhD in the Hebrew Bible and currently works as a senior research analyst in the Christian department of the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting and Analysis (CAMERA).
“Too often, biblical passages have been taken out of context,” she said. “Influential translations and commentaries sometimes omit the Jewish dimensions of the ancient texts, leaving out the Jewish faith and practices that provided the context for the growth of Christianity in first century Judea and Samaria.”
“In contrast to other translations, this important new version emphasizes the growth of Christianity within the time and place where the faith was born,” Miller said.
Young’s translation is important because the Christian texts that have often been misinterpreted to promote antisemitism and the delegitimization of the State of Israel can now be understood in their accurate historical context.
“Young’s translation undermines the antisemitic misuse of the Christian scriptures,” Miller said. “At a time of rising antisemitism, his translation is an especially significant achievement.”
Miller continued, pointing out that many academics still misuse the term “Palestine” when situating Jesus in the first century. “But, of course, ancient Israel wasn’t called ‘Palestine’ in Jesus’ lifetime,” she said. “The Romans introduced the term when they defeated the Bar Khokhba uprising in the second century, about a hundred years after Jesus’ death.”
Roman colonialists invented the word “Palestine” in order to insult the native Jewish population with the memory of their ancient enemies, the Philistines, Miller claimed.
“Long after Jesus, the Romans replaced the name ‘Judea’ – which obviously not only references the Jews but was also the name used during Jesus’s ministry,” Miller explained.
“Anti-Israel activists are exploiting this late Roman designation to falsely claim that Jesus wasn’t a Jew but rather a ‘Palestinian,’ a designation which would have had no meaning to a first century Jew such as Jesus,” said Miller, noticing that the misapplication of later Roman terminology to Jesus’s time has political repercussions today.
“The Hebrew Heritage Bible is a profound rebuke to those now trying to deny Jesus’s spiritual and cultural origins, in their efforts to undermine Christian support for the State of Israel.”