ABOUT THE BOOK
You have perhaps read his name in the Bible and associated him with the Apostle Paul, who studied at the feet of this great Rabbi's. But what else do you know about Gamaliel?
Have you ever wondered what it might have been like to be in Bethlehem when Jesus was born? Gamaliel was there! He, like Joseph and Mary, was a descendant of David.
Would you like to have been present in King Herod’s palace when the wise men from the Orient arrived, asking about a newborn prince? Gamaliel was there! He was too important to overlook, and Mishna, Pesahim 88, states that he was an "advisor to the king."
Imagine listening to the twelve-year-old Jesus in the temple, asking intelligent questions that confounded the scribes and doctors of Jewish law! It would be difficult to imagine Gamaliel not being present, since he was the most prominent Rabbi, and this incident occurred immediately following the Passover.
There were many heated debates about the person and work of Jesus in special sessions of the Sanhedrin. Only select Pharisees, Saducees and High Priests were permitted to attend these meetings, but Gamaliel was nasi (President) of this august body of Jewish leaders.
Try to picture yourself in Jerusalem during that fateful passion week; being on hand when the high priests paid Judas thirty pieces of silver to betray his master and again when he returned to throw the blood money back into the temple. Imagine witnessing the crucifixion, the great darkness and earthquake; examining the rent veil in the temple and hearing excited soldiers report strange happenings at the tomb. Gamaliel experienced much of this first hand, and he was very well informed.
Can you imagine Gamaliel teaching that intelligent youth named Saul of Tarsus who later became known as the Apostle Paul?
Rabban Gamaliel tells the story of the most significant Jewish figure who lived during the earthly sojourn of Jesus Christ. He enjoyed the highest repute as a teacher of Mosaic law, and it is time Christians get to know him better.
This book belongs in the library of every Bible student!
The book, Rabban Gamaliel, has two major parts. The first part is a broad biographical sketch of Gamaliel. The second part includes lessons and applications for readers to ponder. Finally, there are three appendixes.
PART I: BIOGRAPHICAL BACKGROUND
The Babylonian Talmud names Gamaliel as the third person of a five-generation dynasty of nasi. Gamaliel's Grandfather, Hillel, and Gamaliel himself are mentioned frequently in Jewish history books and considered by devout Jews to be among the greatest Hebrew scholars of all time. Gamaliel’s recognition was so great that the Mishna states, ”Since Gamaliel the Elder died, reverence for the law has ceased and purity and moderation are vanished.”
The book describes Gamaliel's position with the Pharisees, his involvement in events mentioned in Scriptures, and dealings with Jesus of Nazareth and the disciples. Although Gamaliel was well
acquainted with Saul of Tarsus, readers may be surprised to discover that Gamaliel probably had little knowledge of his former student's activities following his conversion on the road to Damascus.
PART II: LESSONS AND APPLICATIONS FOR CHRISTIANS TODAY
Many of the difficulties Gamaliel faced 2000 years ago are still stumbling blocks for Christians today. The book deals with questions of authority, tradition and the struggle to maintain proper relationships without compromising truth. Two chapters have to do with the Easter story and other chapter titles are, Unity and Division, Pacifism and Violence, Adultery, Divorce, Truth and Tolerance, The Sermon on the Mount, Grace and Truth.
THREE APPENDIXES RELATED TO CHRISTMAS:
The first appendix is a twenty-question Christmas Quiz which many pastors and theology professors have flunked! When the author first sent this quiz to friends and acquaintances a decade ago, it was forwarded many times and went around the world!
A second appendix is the true story behind the most
widespread and popular piece of music ever written, Silent Night.
The author of this book lived 38 years in Austria and did intensive research before writing this history.
The third appendix is a fascinating study of the Idumeans or Edomites. Herod the Great and his family were among the last living survivors of this historic, biblical people group.
Last update: April 15, 2014