Allow me to recommend a book as a Top Read of 2007 even if only three people in Australia have read it. 😉 The Reluctant Parting by Julie Galambush (Harper Collins 2006) is one of the clearer and more authoritative accounts of the context and origins of the New Testament that I have read. It does not venture too much into the speculative and fanciful, as some in this area do. Galambush has good judgement as an historian. An even greater blessing is that she is readable!
Julie Galambush brings a rare background to the often delicate topic of Jewish-Christian relations and her special interest in the first-century split between the two faiths. She was an American Baptist Churches minister and a teacher at Lutheran St. Olaf College in Minnesota. Now a convert to Reform Judaism who belongs to a synagogue in Falls Church, Va., she teaches Bible at the College of William and Mary. — Marc Klein.
Christians have to face the origins of their faith with honesty. This book makes an important contribution to the case against literalism and fundamentalism. May such exercises flourish in all the Abrahamic traditions and may the quest for certainty be seen as the trap and abomination that it is by all in those faith communities.