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Messianic Jews and their Holiday Practice

History, Analysis and Gentile Christian Interest

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Evert W. Van de Poll

Celebrating Biblical and Jewish holidays is most characteristic of the Messianic Jewish movement, and it arouses much interest among Gentile Christians. This practice arose in the struggle of Hebrew Christians in the 19 th century against «Christian assimilation». From the 1970s onwards, a new generation of Messianic Jews identified strongly with their people’s socio-cultural heritage, including the practice of Sabbath, Pesach and other Jewish holidays. A thorough analysis of calendars, reinterpretations, observances and motives shows that this is a novel, Christian-Judaic practice. Why and how do Gentile Christians adopt it? To return to «Jewish roots»? What does this term stand for? As the author takes up these questions, he shows that this is rather a contextualisation of the Gospel.
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About the author

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Evert Wilhelm Van de Poll is Professor of Religious Science and Missiology at the Evangelical Theological Faculty in Leuven (Belgium), as well as pastor with the Federation of Evangelical Baptist Churches in France (FEEBF), and author of numerous books on subjects related to the mission of the church and Christian involvement in culture and society, e.g. Europe and the Gospel: Past Influences, Current Developments and Mission Challenges (2013). He and his wife live in the southernmost French city of Nîmes.

This publication is a revised and enlarged version of his doctoral dissertation Sacred Times for Chosen People: Development, Analysis and Missiological Significance of Messianic Jewish Holiday Practice, for which he received the Franz Delitsch Preis 2009, awarded by the Israëlinstitut of the Freie Theologische Akademie in Giessen for outstanding contributions to the exegetical, historical or dogmatic research in the area of Israel and Christian theology.

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