Monday, November 11, 2019

Review: The Remnant of Israel: The Theology, History, and Philosophy of the Messianic Jewish Community

The Remnant of Israel: The Theology, History, and Philosophy of the Messianic Jewish Community The Remnant of Israel: The Theology, History, and Philosophy of the Messianic Jewish Community by Arnold G. Fruchtenbaum
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

An interesting book, but deeply flawed. Some flaws are more relevant than others. My guts & personal theological preferences would have me give only three stars, but for the questions it raised it gets four, even when I disagree with the answers.

The major flaw is that it pressuposes dispensationalism. It would be a oh-so-much better book if it dealt with different escathologies and covenantalisms. Specially fruitful would be explorations of new covenantalism, progressist covenantalism and Baptist 1689 federalism.

A minor irk is its use of Jewish forms of New testament names, such as Messiah instead of Christ. But that is understandable given both the Hebrew origins of the Greek names, and the propensity of Jews to use Hebrew names for religious concepts.

Another irk is the amount of text about legalism, which is relevant perhaps to US fundamentalism but feels like a surpassed issue already.

Perhaps it would need a third edition.

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Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Review: The Man in the High Castle

The Man in the High Castle The Man in the High Castle by Philip K. Dick
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Very interesting alternate history, with a few oddities:

First, the victory of the Axis seems to hinge upon Roosevelt having died before the New Deal could recover the United States — but it seems today that the New deal delayed recovery instead of aiding it. Also, upon the whole Pacific fleet being destroyed in Pearl harbour, which is a near impossibility. Russia seems to have collapsed in 1941, which seems more credible. But all these are trifles.

Second, all religion seems to be centered on the I Ching. Even with Jews and reputedly Protestants. This seems a major flaw, specially as there is so much superstition and even extase around.

Third, in 1962 Nazis are both carrying out an African genocide and colonizing Mars. Both too soon after the war. And the Japanese crimes of war are altogether ignored, to the point of idealizing the Pacific coprosperity sphere.

Fourth, the language is very strange, sounds to me ungrammatical. For example, articles and pronouns are often absent. Not sure if it is supposed to reflect an evolution of language under Japanese influence or whatever, but again it would have been too soon.

Fifth, the ending is altogether obscure. It never becomes clear why after all the German and Japanese would have lost the war in winning it. Perhaps because they will destroy each other, but a bit of clarity would have been welcome, even if under the guise of a sequel.

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