In Righteous Memory: Dwight A. Pryor

Remembering Dwight PryorThis past Shabbat, February 5 (1 Adar, 5771), a beloved co-laborer and spiritual mentor, Dwight A. Pryor, of the Center for Judaic-Christian Studies, passed from this world into the next.

Following are some of my thoughts about Mr. Pryor and how he impacted my life.

One of my earliest exposures to the Jewish roots of my faith came from hearing four Christian scholars at one conference (the Jerusalem Conference, hosted by Dr. Moseley) back in 1998. This was an event I was to attend repeatedly in the subsequent years. The scholars who taught those first few years were:

Did you notice anything about that list? All of the men held a doctorate, but Mr. Pryor. All of the men were authors, except for Mr. Pryor. But these things didn’t make Mr. Pryor any less of a scholar, or of any less caliber than any of these other men. In fact, Mr. Pryor received great respect from all who knew him. In many ways, these other scholars owe their achievements in some part to Mr. Pryor. He was a mentor to Dr. Moseley, and helped Dr. Wilson with the publication of his book. He also helped with the publication of the joint effort of Dr. Blizzard and David Bivin, Understanding the Difficult Words of Jesus: New Insights From a Hebrew Perspective.

I always thought of him as a gentle giant (in more ways than one). He was a tall man, but soft spoken and deeply respectful to everyone with whom he came in contact. And although I didn’t know him personally, he held a dear place in my heart since the moment I briefly met him. He was truly an inspiration. One of the things that inspired me most about Mr. Pryor was that he had so many challenges in life, yet he overcame them through the grace of Yeshua. He had many reasons to complain and loath in self-pity (the loss of his first wife nearly 20 years ago to cancer, losing the use of his hands due to severe arthritis, etc.), yet he was continually full of joy, so much so that it was contagious. One could not help but feel inspired after hearing him speak.

Yesterday, Boaz Michael of First Fruits of Zion, posted the following:

In Chasidic thought, it is an auspicious sign when a person dies on a holy day. On Shabbat Rosh Chodesh Adar, 5771, (the new moon of Adar), my spiritual mentor and teacher, Dwight A. Pryor (זצ״ל), passed into the world of truth. He died on a Shabbat, and more than that, he died on the new moon of Adar. According to the Talmud, “Joy increases in Adar.” In this case, joy may have increased in heaven, but those of us still wrapped in this mortal coil lament the loss.

How true of such a great man as Mr. Pryor.

When we first learned about his passing through yesterday’s FFOZ blog post, my wife and I wept. I commented that you know a person has impacted you deeply when you weep at their passing, even though you do not have a personal relationship with them. Mr. Pryor was a luminary in our lifetime and will be greatly missed. The void of his presence will be felt.

May his memory be for a blessing.

Book Review: Meet the Rabbis

Meet the RabbisMeet the Rabbis

by Brad H. Young
Hendrickson Publishers

Many people ask why studying Jewish sources is important. They are extremely important in that they help us to understand our faith in context. Familiarizing oneself with Jewish sources will add dimension to your faith, and help gain a more in-depth understanding of key concepts found within the Biblical narratives, particularly in the Gospels and Epistles. I recommend Brad Young’s newest work as a starting point for those who desire to explore Jewish texts.

Following his other excellent works such as Jesus the Jewish Theologian, Paul the Jewish Theologian, and The Parables, Young puts forth his most recent work, Meet the Rabbis, in an effort to continue educating his readers about the Jewish context of our Scriptures, our Savior and our Faith. Young helps to gently bridge the gap between Christian understanding and the world of rabbinic writings, thought and Scriptural application. He does a great job and engaging the reader through continual cross referencing between the rabbinic texts and the teachings of our Master. This is why MTR is such a great starting point for those new to Jewish texts.

In MTR, he introduces the reader to rabbinic writings in a way that is very engaging, even including the full text of Pirkei Avot, one of the foundational texts for understanding the teachings of Judaism. This is a “don’t miss” book.