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The Jewish Jesus

Revelation, Reflection, Reclamation

edited by Zev Garber

Publication Year: 2011

There is a general understanding within religious and academic circles that the incarnate Christ of Christian belief lived and died a faithful Jew. This volume addresses Jesus in the context of Judaism. By emphasizing his Jewishness, the authors challenge today’s Jews to reclaim the Nazarene as a proto-rebel rabbi and invite Christians to discover or rediscover the Church’s Jewish heritage. The essays in this volume cover historical, literary, liturgical, philosophical, religious, theological, and contemporary issues related to the Jewish Jesus. Several of them were originally presented at a three-day symposium on “Jesus in the Context of Judaism and the Challenge to the Church,” hosted by the Samuel Rosenthal Center for Judaic Studies at Case Western Reserve University in 2009. In the context of pluralism, in the temper of growing interreligious dialogue, and in the spirit of reconciliation, encountering Jesus as living history for Christians and Jews is both necessary and proper. This book will be of particular interest to scholars of the New Testament and Early Church who are seeking new ways of understanding Jesus in his religious and cultural milieu, as well Jewish and Christian theologians and thinkers who are concerned with contemporary Jewish and Christian relationships.

Published by: Purdue University Press

Series: Shofar Supplements in Jewish Studies

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To the courageous and devoted essayists of this tome. Jews, who practice the faith of Jesus, and Christians, who believe by faith in Jesus. By the authority of Torah and Testament, they merge as one in proclaiming the Jewish Jesus and restoring his pivotal role in the history of Second Temple Judaism and beyond. The rest is ...

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pp. 1-10

Though many articles, reviews, and books are not of one opinion on the life and time of Jesus, there is a general understanding in the dogma of the church and in the quests of the academy that the incarnate Christ of Christian belief lived and died a faithful Jew,1 and what this says to contemporary Jews and Christians is the focus of this volume depicting Jesus in the context of Judaism and its impact ...

Section 1. Reflections on the Jewish Jesus

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pp. 11

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The Jewish Jesus: A Partisan’s Imagination

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pp. 13-19

My own approach to finding the historical Jesus in the text of the New Testament may appear to some as extreme. It seems to me that Mark, the earliest Gospel version on the life of Jesus compiled shortly after the destruction of the Second Jewish Temple by the Romans in 70 CE, contains authentic traces of the historical Jesus shrouded in repeated motifs of secrecy which are intended to obscure ...

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The Kabbalah of Rabbi Jesus

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pp. 20-35

Why speak of Kabbalah, and then link that to Jesus? The “Kabbalah,” as that term in commonly used, refers to a movement of Jewish mysticism from the twelfth century through the Renaissance (in its initial flowering).1 Its focus was on the mystical union with God, in a way analogous to the paths advocated by Christian mystics such as Julian of Norwich and Johannes Eckhart. Its character included ...

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The Amazing Mr. Jesus

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pp. 36-46

I was initially surprised by the focus of this volume, not that it was unimportant but that it was a subject treated so thoroughly already.

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Jesus the “Material Jew”

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pp. 47-64

To speak today of “Jesus the Jew” is commonplace. Jesus, son of Joseph and Mary, residents of Nazareth, was born a Jew, lived as a Jew and died as one. But what kind of Jew was he? During the course of the years, scholarship has helped us understand much about his life and his basic teachings and not a small amount of work has been done on the Jewish context of his life and teachings. However, ...

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Jesus Stories, Jewish Liturgy, and Some Evolving Theologies until circa 200 CE:Stimuli and Reactions

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pp. 65-92

People tell stories, stories about friends, enemies, heroes, and whatnot. Stories play social roles. They can connect people or separate them. Well-told stories can compel people to think about their implications. In societies not given to abstract thinking, stories convey implicit philosophies, theologies, and world-views. They are also the embryonic source of explicit philosophies, theologies, ...

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Avon Gilyon (Document of Sin, b. Shabb.116a) or Euvanggeleon (Good News)

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pp. 93-105

The questions I want to explore are complex. 1) Was Jesus a good Jewish boy with some constructive critiques of the status quo—so that today he would be just another blogger in the ilk of vosizneias.com? Was he executed by Rome for his anti-Rome sentiments? In short he was not anything like a “Christian”? Or, 2) was he a rebel trying to destroy the foundations of old Jewish life so he could ...

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Psalm 22 in Pesiqta Rabbati: The Suffering of the Jewish Messiah and Jesus

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pp. 106-128

Psalm 22 is cited in several critical New Testament passages; by comparison, Psalm 22 is rarely cited in rabbinic literature. In particular, Psalm 22 is used as an expression of personal suffering by the New Testament writers in the crucifixion scenes that recount the suffering of Jesus. In rabbinic literature, Psalm 22 is also cited as relating to the afflictions of a Jewish Messiah. The major rabbinic ...

Section 2. Responding to the Jewish Jesus

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pp. 129

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What Was at Stake in the Parting of the Ways between Judaism and Christianity?

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pp. 131-158

In this chapter, I will explore the question of what was at stake culturally, religiously, and psychologically in the parting of the ways between Judaism and early Christianity. Since the issues involved are multifaceted, I have chosen to focus primarily on religious sacrifice. I believe that this issue exhibits simultaneously elements of both continuity and discontinuity between the two traditions. ...

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The Jewish and Greek Jesus

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pp. 159-180

The purpose of this article is to contrast the actual Jewish Jesus with a Hellenized Greek-speaking Eastern Orthodox Jesus as he is perceived, reinterpreted, and reconceived from the writings of the apostles and early Christianity. While little is known about the actual Jewish Jesus, a lot is known about the portrayal of Jesus in early Christian literature. Unique will be the presentation of Jesus as ...

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Jewish Responses to Byzantine Polemics from the Ninth through the Eleventh Centuries

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pp. 181-203

This essay is primarily concerned with the Christian-Jewish “dialogue” in tenth- to eleventh-century Byzantium or, more accurately, with several Jewish responses to Orthodox polemics and propaganda. It will focus mainly on two literary texts that were internal and integral to the memory of Jewish identity and one midrashic text that provides a clear response to some Byzantine ...

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A Meditation on Possible Images of Jewish Jesus in the Pre-Modern Period

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pp. 204-227

Conceptions of Jesus exist in rabbinical legal discourses, polemics, and commentaries of the Middle Ages. They come in the course of discussion among rabbis who experienced or were speaking in the name of those who had experienced various persecutions in the times of the early church. They are imagined in times of stress and confusion when formal trials against the Talmud and other ...

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Typical Jewish Misunderstandings of Christ,Christianity, and Jewish-Christian Relations over the Centuries

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pp. 228-248

I have spent a large portion of my professional life since I finished my course-work at New York University’s Institute of Hebrew Studies in 1971 educating my fellow Christians on the Jewishness of Jesus, of his teachings, and of Christianity down through the ages. My dissertation analyzed the treatment of Jews and Judaism in Catholic religious education materials, a study I was happy to share ...

Section 3. Teaching, Dialogue, Reclamation: Contemporary Views on the Jewish Jesus

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pp. 249

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How Credible Is Jewish Scholarship on Jesus?

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pp. 251-270

I am often asked by Christian scholars why Jews overly accept the Gospels’ basic historical “facts” about Jesus. They ask also in writing—for example, Donald Hagner: “modern Jewish scholars . . . on the whole . . . surprisingly tend to ascribe more reliability to these materials than do many of the more radical non-Jewish critics.”1 Some Jews have agreed—for example, Samuel Sandmel ...

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Taking Thomas to Temple: Introducing Evangelicals to the Jewish Jesus

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pp. 271-292

The Judaism of Jesus of Nazareth provides a challenge to most American Christians of any denominational stripe, as typically this Judaism is not emphasized in religious education or in religious services or sermons. While I currently teach at an evangelical Christian college in the United States, I was raised in the Roman Catholic tradition and can state unequivocally that I did not receive a robust ...

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The Historical Jesus as Jewish Prophet: Its Meaning for the Modern Jewish-Christian Dialogue

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pp. 293-314

Although considering the historical Jesus a Jew is a common, but not universal academic tenet, it is not so perceived by those albeit rather limited segments of the lay public whose anti-Judaism causes them to separate Jesus the Messiah from his Second Temple Jewish background.

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Before Whom Do We Stand?

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pp. 315-332

Before whom do we stand?

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Edith Stein’s Jewish Husband Jesus

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pp. 333-344

Edith Stein (1891-1942), a philosopher, mystic, and Jewish Carmelite nun, had a queer relationship to Jesus in that her personal religious framework was simultaneously Jewish and Roman Catholic. Her relationship to Jesus was unusual and out of line within the context of Carmelite spiritual practice.

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Can We Talk? The Jewish Jesus in a Dialogue between Jews and Christians

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pp. 345-357

In my previous career as a full-time congregational rabbi and part-time academic (what I now tell my students was my “second incarnation,” my first being that of a high school teacher of English literature), I used to have any number of church groups (men’s clubs, ladies guilds, youth groups, etc.) visit and sit in our sanctuary during an afternoon or early evening for an “Everything you always wanted ...

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The New Jewish Reclamation of Jesus in Late Twentieth-Century America: Realigning and Rethinking Jesus the Jew

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pp. 358-382

Jewish writing about Jesus in America that began in the mid-nineteenth century, with a few exceptions, ended after the “Jesus Controversy” in 1925. This controversy erupted in light of a sermon delivered by Rabbi Stephen Wise at Carnegie Hall in Manhattan on the occasion of the 1925 English publication of Joseph Klausner’s Hebrew volume, Jesus of Nazareth: His Life, Times, and Teaching (1922)...

Annotated Bibliography

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pp. 383-393


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pp. 394-400


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pp. 401-405

E-ISBN-13: 9781612491776
E-ISBN-10: 1612491774
Print-ISBN-13: 9781557535795
Print-ISBN-10: 1557535795

Page Count: 528
Publication Year: 2011

Series Title: Shofar Supplements in Jewish Studies

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Subject Headings

  • Jesus Christ -- Jewish interpretations.
  • Judaism -- Relations -- Christianity.
  • Christianity and other religions -- Judaism.
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