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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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Evert W. van de Poll teaches Religious studies and Missiology at the Evangelical Theological Faculty in Leuven (Belgium). He is a pastor working in the Federation of Evangelical Baptist Churches in France. His recent research has resulted in the publication of Europe and the Gospel: past influences, current developments and mission challenges. All the while, he has taken and still takes a special interest in the Jewish Christian relations, especially in the movement of Jesus-believing Jews of which he is a keen observer.

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