The present book is the first attempt made to offer a systematic
and comprehensive exposition of the Messianic idea among the Jews with a special
emphasis on: 1. The doctrinal affirmation of the belief; 2. Messianic exegesis,
i.e. ideas derived from Hebrew Scriptures; 3. Biblical poetry; 4. Polemics with
Christianity; 5. Traditional Jewish doctrine of resurrection.
The book is intended for the modern reader who seeks definite
and authentic knowledge about the Jewish redeemer, his character, the time
of the advent, the reestablishment of the Jewish state (before it actually has
happened), the millennium and resurrection.
The five centuries of scholars and thinkers whose views are
presented range from the eminent gaon, Saadia to Abrabanel, who survived
by several years the expulsion of Jews from Spain in 1492. Saadia, with whom the
geonic era may be said to have closed, articulated in his systematic theology
the religious faith and reflections of the Midrashic school. So too, Abrabanel,
uninfluenced by the rationalism of Maimonides, Crescas, and others, enunciated
the earlier geonic, traditional views. The sages of these five centuries made
that period the heyday of intensive and varied Jewish learning. Judaism today is
sustained largely by the momentum they gave to it.
Their doctrine of the redemption is still the belief of many
Jews today. Furthermore, large portions of Jewish and Christian apologetic
literature hinge on the theory of the Messianic advent, which is the original
point of difference between Jews and Christians, and has been the subject of
acrimonious and unceasing controversy for almost two thousand years. Christian
theologians have written very profusely on the subject, since it involves the
very foundation of their theology. They have ransacked the Bible, Talmud,
Targumim, and Midrash diligently, and have performed pioneer work in collating
all predictive and Messiological passages. Save in rare instances, all these
studies were undertaken with a Christological bias. In comparison, Jewish
Messianic literature has been sparse and purely defensive.
The purpose of this book -- according to its author,-- is to
provide exposition of the standard Messianic Jewish doctrine as set forth by
leading Jewish authorities and to show what changes it underwent over