Odyssey Of A Modern Jew

A comment thread over at A Texas Chilly (the blog of by blog-buddy Missy) got me thinking about a story that the late Art Katz told in his autobiographical book Ben Israel: Odyssey Of A Modern Jew. I met Art at a meeting in 1977 and read the book back then.

Art considered himself to be an intellectual. He was teaching at UC Berkley when someone gave him a New Testament. He began reading it and became intrigued with Jesus as he read through the gospels. When he got to the eigth chapter of John's gospel he began to read the episode concerning the woman caught in the act of adultery. Here is the story as retold by Wikipedia:
The law said that the woman must be stoned. Yet Jesus had been teaching forgiveness, and earlier in the Book had actually said, "God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved." Jesus was trapped.

... What would I say in Jesus' place? I searched my mind, exhausting my resources of logic and reason and finally conceded there was no answer. Fully expecting the worst, I reopened the book and read on. I found Jesus bending over, poking His finger in the dirt.

... And then came His answer, "Let him who is without sin cast the first stone." I gasped. A sword had been plunged deep into my own being. It was numbing and shocking, yet thrilling, because the answer was so utterly perfect. It defied cerebral examination. It cut across every major issue I had ever anguished upon in my life. Truth. Justice. Righteousness. Integrity. I knew that what I had read transcended human knowledge and comprehension. It had to be divine.
I have had similar moments over the years as I have read the life and teachings of Christ in the Gospels. Like Art I have felt that sword plunge deep into my inner being. Jesus and his teachings are simply timeless.


  1. Oh my its been so many years since I read that book. I had completely forgotten it.
    There is no reasonable answer but what Jesus was able to do and impart.

  2. I haven’t read this book yet, and saw this is included in one of the book collection in a site I recently visited (http://booksforevangelism.org/category/resources/jewish-people/). Read a lot of wonderful comments about the book and wishing to get a hold of it one of these days. God bless you more!

    1. Thanks for stopping by Let! Looks like there are a few of them on Amazon. Happy reading!


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