We recently had the opportunity to interview Taylor Marshall concerning his new book The Crucified Rabbi. The book is getting rave reviews and the subject matter is extremely interesting. As we approach the holy season of Lent, there is no better time than the present to get a copy of this wonderful new book!
Taylor, can you give our readers/customers some information about your background?
I was not raised in a practicing Christian household. When I was about twelve, a Major League Baseball player gave me his signature with the phrase “Romans 10:9” under his name. I found a Bible and looked up the verse. From that day, I began searching for Christ, reading the Bible and studying theology. I eventually became an Episcopalian priest. In 2006, my wife and I entered into full communion with the Catholic Church. The impetus for our conversion was the need for a magisterium.
Our readers/customers are always interested in the process of writing a book. Can you tell us about the process you went through to write “The Crucified Rabbi?”
In 2007, I delivered twelve lectures at the Catholic Information Center in Washington, DC on Judaism from a Catholic perspective. The themes examined how Jesus fulfills the Messianic prophecies of the Old Testament, how the Messianic kingdom relates to the Church, the papacy, the Blessed Virgin, the priesthood, sacraments, liturgy, vestments, architecture…you name it. Over the weeks, people started collecting the handouts and getting extra copies for friends and family. The lectures were also released as a podcast and thousands of people from all over the world downloaded them. Msgr. William Stetson suggested that I work the material into a book form. The result is the new book: The Crucified Rabbi: Judaism and the Origins of Catholic Christianity.
Tell us about your motivation to write your new book.
When I was an Episcopalian priest doing a hospital visit, I met a Jewish rabbi who informed me that when a fellow Jew is suffering, they often invoke the name of that person’s mother in prayer with the belief that it provokes God’s mercy. This intrigued me, especially as to how it might relate to the Catholic practice of invoking the name of Mary—since she is the mother of the suffering servant Jesus Christ. This breakthrough led to many others. Eventually I was convinced that only Catholicism could truly account for the Jewish heritage of Christ and the Apostles. I renounced my Episcopalian ministry and became Catholic.
Writing the book was probably both a faith experience and an academic one. Can you speak to those two points?
Doing research for this book certainly confirmed for me that Christ and the Catholic Church fulfill the Old Testament prophecies. Christ, Mary, and the Apostles were Jewish—Catholicism preserves the vestiges of its Hebraic origins.
From an academic point of view, the most challenging task was to present the material in a non-threatening way. I was very careful to write a book that would not offend or put off Jews. My goal was to write a book that Catholics could share with their Jewish friends. The Crucified Rabbi makes a compelling argument for Christ, without being triumphalistic.
What main points or ideas would you like readers of your book to come away with?
There are two points that I would like readers to discover in The Crucified Rabbi. First, that Jesus of Nazareth perfectly fulfills the Hebrew Scriptures as the Messiah and King of the Jews. I list over 300 prophecies from the Old Testament and show that Jesus fulfills everyone of them. It’s really quite remarkable. Secondly, The Crucified Rabbi demonstrates that only Catholicism (not Protestantism) can truly account for the Jewish prophecies pertaining to the Messiah’s kingdom on earth.
Why should Catholics be more familiar with the Jewish roots of their faith?
Catholics should know the Jewish roots of their faith because it’s their heritage. Pope Pius XI said that all Catholics are “spiritually Jewish.” Moreover, the Catechism of the Catholic Church says:
A better knowledge of the Jewish people’s faith and religious life as professed and lived even now can help our better understanding of certain aspects of Christian liturgy (Catechism of the Catholic Church, no. 1096)
What might Jewish readers discover in reading your new book?
The Crucified Rabbi is written with both Christians and Jews in mind. Ultimately, I hope that Jewish readers discover that Jesus truly fulfills their faith in the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Becoming Catholic is not conversion to another religion, but the fulfillment of everything taught by Moses and the prophets. Rabbi Israel Eugenio Zolli, the famous Jewish convert to Catholicism, once said:
“I can accept only that Church which was preached to all creatures by my own forefathers, the Twelve Apostles, who, like me, issued from the Synagogue.”
There are a few other books available about the relationship of the ancient Hebrew faith to our Catholic Christian faith today. What distinguishes your new book from those others?
Three things distinguish The Crucified Rabbi from other titles that are available.
First, the book is written in an accessible style. We have received feedback from theologians, laymen, housewives, businessmen, grandmothers, and college students. They were happy to find that the material was neither overly academic nor overly simplistic.
Secondly, this book provides a list of over 300 prophecies that are fulfilled by Jesus of Nazareth. This list alone is a powerful tool for Christian apologetics and I know of no other book that contains anything like it.
Thirdly, The Crucified Rabbi digs beyond convert stories and holocaust accounts. It explores things dear to Catholic Christians, such as how our holy days and traditions relate to those of the Hebrew tradition (for example: “What is Hanukkah and how does it relate to Catholicism?”)
It could be said that readers have perhaps too many choices today. Why should your book be next on someone's reading list?
There are many great books out there. The Crucified Rabbi is one book that accomplishes a number of tasks for readers who are swamped with many interests. It is a one-stop book for those wishing to explore the prophecies about Christ, understand controversial Catholic doctrines (e.g. pope, Mary, divorce, celibacy), and also understand our Jewish heritage as Catholic Christians. If you want to cover all this ground in only 200 pages, then this is the book for you.
We'd like to thank Taylor for his time and we hope that his new book is next on your reading list!
Don't miss the chance to read Taylor Marshall's blog right here. Almost every day, when Taylor is actively posting, you will find something fascinating to read there!
– the staff at Aquinas and More Catholic Goods