"Making Wise the Simple" addresses the need for a Christian appropriation of the first five books of the Bible, the Torah, as crucial for its perception of God and self, and for its life with the neighbor, especially the Jewish neighbor.
Too long restricted to children's storybooks and cinematic extravaganzas, the Torah — comprising the first five books of the Bible — is an underappreciated mother lode of divine instruction, vitally important for Christians and the church. Convinced that both those who take the Torah too literally and those who neglect it are guilty of a naïve simplicity, Johanna van Wijk-Bos presents guidelines to help ordinary Christians recover this treasure in their faith and practice.
Having lived in the Netherlands during the Nazi occupation, van Wijk-Bos recognizes that after the attempted annihilation of the Jews from Christian Europe, it cannot be business as usual for Christianity. In light of the Holocaust, Christians must commit themselves to the restoration of just relations between Christians and Jews. This commitment to address all that fractures human relations undergirds van Wijk-Bos's call for Christians to reengage the Torah.
Making Wise the Simple points out how God's care for and engagement with the whole world in the Torah set the tone for the entire biblical story. The book pays special attention to how our treatment of strangers lies at the heart of the Torah's teaching. Without attempting a purely Jewish reading of the Torah, van Wijk-Bos reclaims the Torah as a vibrant word for the Christian community in covenant with God.
Written in a personal style conversant with current scholarship but sprinkled with anecdotes, this book is for everyone who has a hunger and enthusiasm for what the biblical text may convey, the courage to ask disturbing questions of the text, and an openness to old words that may bring forth new things, perhaps even making one wise.