When I read the Hebrew Bible, as I do regularly, I do so with a particular lens in mind. That lens is Jesus. That might be expected of me, as I am a Christian. Most of the commentators I read to help me interpret the Hebrew Bible or Tanakh are Christians as well. While they seek to be fair to what Christians historically call the Old Testament, they too have a Christian-informed lens. Of course, if the publisher is a Christian publisher, then it would be expected that these biblical scholars would keep the Christian audience in mind. While all of this is understandable, it would be wise to approach these texts, at least occasionally, in conversation with Jewish interpreters. Such conversations might shed new and different light on the subjects at hand. With that in mind, I offer these thoughts on Rabbi Barry Schwartz’s book The Path of the Prophets: The Ethics-Driven Life.
Rabbi Schwartz, who serves as the director for the The Jewish Publication Society and is the rabbi of Congregation Adas Emuno in Leonia, New Jersey, has written an enjoyable, thought-provoking, and revelatory book. While the intended audience might be Jewish, I can say, as a Christian pastor, this book will speak important truths to Christians as well. This wonderfully written book explores the ethical implications of the spiritual life in conversation with eighteen persons found in the Hebrew Bible. The sub-title of the book would seem to be a play on Rick Warren's best-seller—The Purpose Driven Life—but I think is a much better book. It is theologically rich and spiritually inviting. The point revealed by the subtitle is that we are called as the people of God to live an ethical life in partnership with God.