Fortress Press

Mind the Gap: How the Jewish Writings between the Old and New Testament Help Us Understand Jesus

Mind the Gap

How the Jewish Writings between the Old and New Testament Help Us Understand Jesus

Matthias Henze (Author)


Interested in a gratis copy?

How do you plan on using your gratis copy? Review requests are for media inquiries. Exam requests are for professors, teachers, and librarians who want to review a book for course adoption.

  • This item is not returnable
  • Ships in 2 or more weeks
  • Quantity discount
    • # of Items Price
    • 1 to 9$39.00
    • 10 or more$29.25

Do you want to understand Jesus of Nazareth, his apostles, and the rise of early Christianity? Reading the Old Testament is not enough, writes Matthias Henze in this slender volume aimed at the student of the Bible. To understand the Jews of the Second Temple period, it’s essential to read what they wrote—and what Jesus and his followers might have read—beyond the Hebrew scriptures. Henze introduces the four-century gap between the Old and New Testaments and some of the writings produced during this period (different Old Testaments, the Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha, the Dead Sea Scrolls); discusses how these texts have been read from the Reformation to the present, emphasizing the importance of the discovery of Qumran; guides the student’s encounter with select texts from each collection; and then introduces key ideas found in specific New Testament texts that simply can’t be understood without these early Jewish “intertestamental” writings—the Messiah, angels and demons, the law, and the resurrection of the dead. Finally, he discusses the role of these writings in the “parting of the ways” between Judaism and Christianity. Mind the Gap broadens curious students’ perspectives on early Judaism and early Christianity and welcomes them to deeper study. 

  • Format Paperback
  • ISBN 9781506406428
  • eBook ISBN 9781506406435
  • Dimensions 5.5 x 8.5
  • Pages 248
  • Publication Date August 15, 2017




Part I: Mind the Gap! Reading between the Old and the New Testament

When Was the Old Testament Written? A Brief Timeline

Ancient Judaism and Its Literatures

Part II: The Jewish Jesus

Jesus, the Messiah of Israel

In a World of Demons and Unclean Spirits

Did Jesus Abolish the Law of Moses?

The Resurrection of the Dead and Life in the Company of Angels



Further Readings 


Interview with James McGrath


Matthias Henze has rendered a great service to nonspecialists

“Over the last 75 years, no area of biblical scholarship has been more exciting than late Second Temple Judaism, what used to be called the ‘intertestamental period.’ The discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls (1947-55) triggered a revival of interest in Pseudepigrapha—Jewish writings from the period around the turn of the era that were preserved by Christians in translation. Together, these bodies of literature shed rich new light on the period in which Jesus lived and Christianity was born. Unfortunately, much of this material remains unknown outside of academia. Matthias Henze has rendered a great service to nonspecialists by writing an eminently accessible ‘beginner’s guide’ to Jewish literature around the turn of the era, highlighting its relevance to early Christianity. This book deserves a very wide readership.” 

John J. Collins | Yale Divinity School

Mind the Gap provides a highly readable introduction to second-Temple Judaism.

Mind the Gap provides a highly readable introduction to second-Temple Judaism. At the same time, it offers a persuasive argument for the importance of second-Temple Jewish literature for understanding Jesus, Paul, and the New Testament. In doing so, it also constitutes an eloquent corrective to the explicit and implicit supersessionism and anti-Judaism that can still be found on the shelves of New Testament scholarship. The ‘gap’ that is ‘minded’ in this book is the centuries-long gap between the Old and New Testaments of the Protestant, a gap that was in fact filled by a broad range of Jewish texts. But the book also addresses an important gap in scholarship: the tendency of many New Testament scholars to situate figures such as Jesus and Paul vis-à-vis biblical Israel rather than the Judaism of their own time and place. The studies of particular topics—messianism, exorcism, resurrection—and the detailed exegeses of particular passages show that neither Jesus nor Paul were engaged in a radical opposition, to Judaism but rather were deeply immersed in Jewish society, Jewish ideas, Jewish beliefs, and Jewish practices.”  

Adele Reinhartz | University of Ottawa

Matthias Henze demonstrates how Israelite religion was transformed in the Greco-Roman period

“With a mastery of the sources in the Hebrew Bible, Apocrypha, Pseudepigrapha, Dead Sea Scrolls, and New Testament and their scholarly treatment, Matthias Henze demonstrates how Israelite religion was transformed in the Greco-Roman period and how the four evangelists depict Jesus of Nazareth as a child of that transformation.” 

George W. E. Nickelsburg | professor emeritus, The University of Iowa

There is no better contemporary introduction to this subject!

“In Mind the Gap, Matthias Henze offers a series of invaluable glimpses into the historical and theological relevance of Second Temple Jewish literature for the Christian interpretation of the New Testament. Written with uncommon clarity that speaks to specialists, lay readers and students alike, the book is written by one of the very few scholars who combines real expertise in both Second Temple Judaism and early Christianity. There is no better contemporary introduction to this subject!” 

Loren T. Stuckenbruck | Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität, Munich, Germany