Monthly Archives: February 2017

Some readers wonder if I am inconsistent in what I am saying about Paul (in the “Rereading Paul” series). On the one hand, I have said that Romans 2:6-11 is not what Paul believes. He does not believe in judgment by desert (“you get what you deserve”). Romans 2:6-11 says God will reward goodness with…

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It’s Jewish book of the month time (we call it J-BOM)! For those of you who have been enjoying the February selection, Chaim Potok’s The Chosen, thank you for participating. The March J-BOM is the Jonathan Sacks Haggada by Koren publishing. Get it from Koren here or from amazon here. My choice for March is…

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Two voices speak in Romans 1-4, not just Paul’s. You might recognize in these chapters a kind of Greek writing style known as “diatribe.” This means something different in the context of Greek literature than in modern usage, where a diatribe is a harangue against a person or idea. A Greek-style diatribe is something else,…

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Chaim Potok wrote a short history of the Jews called Wanderings. That depth of knowledge must be why he is able to make history shine in The Chosen. He reveals an unfamiliar world, helping us understand the backstory that illuminates the lives of Reuven Malter and Danny Saunders. We can see it. We can understand…

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“The sidewalks of Williamsburg were cracked squares of cement, the streets paved with asphalt that softened in the stifling summers and broke apart into potholes in the bitter winters.” With descriptive powers of a superb poet, Chaim Potok reveals a whole world to us, a microcosm of Jewish life in the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn.…

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Though it’s been years since I read Chaim Potok’s The Chosen, the theme I remember it most for is freedom, specifically freedom of the mind. Reuven’s father already has been practicing intellectual freedom and his Modern Orthodox stance on Judaism looks frighteningly like abandonment of the faith to some people. Danny is a person trapped…

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