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Jesus in the Talmud

Jesus in the Talmud Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

"Peter Schfer's remarkable volume on Jesus' enigmatic place in Talmudic literature is a work of erudition and depth. It will bring deeper knowledge to students and teachers of Judaism and Christianity."--Elie Wiesel

"When the premiere 'Christian-Hebraist' of our era turns his attention to Jesus in the Talmud, everyone interested in ancient history and modern interreligious dialogue must take notice. Peter Schfer carefully sifts through all of the literary evidence from that great monument of late-fifth-century Babylonian Jewish culture with fresh eyes and striking insights. His final chapter, focused on why the Babylonian Talmud could sustain such anti-Christian rhetoric, is a scholarly tour de force."--Rabbi Burton L. Visotzky, Jewish Theological Seminary

"From the opening pages of Jesus in the Talmud the reader senses that something new and important is about to be unfolded. It is, and the unfolding of it is pure Schfer: straightforward and plain-speaking, argued densely, yet with great clarity, provocative, but finally persuasive. And yes, exciting too."--F. E. Peters, author of The Children of Abraham

"This is an exceptionally engaging book. Professor Schfer has subjected to close scrutiny all the passages relating to Jesus in the Talmudic and other rabbinic literature produced in Palestine and in Babylonia in late antiquity. His aim is to use them to discover the rabbis' attitude to Christianity. While the force of the argument suggests this book should be mainly of interest to students of rabbinic Judaism, I believe that the subject matter will ensure that it has a much wider readership. It sheds light in places on the way the gospel traditions evolved particularly in Palestinian and Syriac-speaking Christianity."--Nicholas de Lange, University of Cambridge

Synopsis:

Scattered throughout the Talmud, the founding document of rabbinic Judaism in late antiquity, can be found quite a few references to Jesus--and they're not flattering. In this lucid, richly detailed, and accessible book, Peter Schäfer examines how the rabbis of the Talmud read, understood, and used the New Testament Jesus narrative to assert, ultimately, Judaism's superiority over Christianity.

The Talmudic stories make fun of Jesus' birth from a virgin, fervently contest his claim to be the Messiah and Son of God, and maintain that he was rightfully executed as a blasphemer and idolater. They subvert the Christian idea of Jesus' resurrection and insist he got the punishment he deserved in hell--and that a similar fate awaits his followers.

Schäfer contends that these stories betray a remarkable familiarity with the Gospels--especially Matthew and John--and represent a deliberate and sophisticated anti-Christian polemic that parodies the New Testament narratives. He carefully distinguishes between Babylonian and Palestinian sources, arguing that the rabbis' proud and self-confident countermessage to that of the evangelists was possible only in the unique historical setting of Persian Babylonia, in a Jewish community that lived in relative freedom. The same could not be said of Roman and Byzantine Palestine, where the Christians aggressively consolidated their political power and the Jews therefore suffered.

A departure from past scholarship, which has played down the stories as unreliable distortions of the historical Jesus, Jesus in the Talmud posits a much more deliberate agenda behind these narratives.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix

Abbreviations xiii

Introduction 1

Chapter 1: Jesus' Family 15

Chapter 2: The Son/Disciple Who Turned out Badly 25

Chapter 3: The Frivolous Disciple 34

Chapter 4: The Torah Teacher 41

Chapter 5: Healing in the Name of Jesus 52

Chapter 6: Jesus' Execution 63

Chapter 7: Jesus' Disciples 75

Chapter 8: Jesus' Punishment in Hell 82

Chapter 9: Jesus in the Talmud 95

Appendix: Bavli Manuscripts and Censorship 131

Notes 145

Bibliography 191

Index 203

Product Details

ISBN:
9780691129266
Publisher:
Princeton University Press
Location:
Princeton
Author:
Schafer, Peter
Author:
Schfer, Peter
Subject:
Jesus christ
Subject:
Rabbinical literature
Subject:
Judaism - Talmud
Subject:
Talmud
Subject:
Religion
Subject:
Jewish studies
Subject:
Jesus Christ - Jewish interpretations
Subject:
Rabbinical literature -- History and criticism.
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Publication Date:
April 2007
Binding:
Hardback
Grade Level:
College/higher education:
Language:
English
Illustrations:
1 halftone.
Pages:
232
Dimensions:
9 x 6 in

Related Subjects


Religion » Christianity » Christology
Religion » Judaism » Talmud

Jesus in the Talmud
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Product details 232 pages Princeton University Press - English 9780691129266 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by ,

Scattered throughout the Talmud, the founding document of rabbinic Judaism in late antiquity, can be found quite a few references to Jesus--and they're not flattering. In this lucid, richly detailed, and accessible book, Peter Schäfer examines how the rabbis of the Talmud read, understood, and used the New Testament Jesus narrative to assert, ultimately, Judaism's superiority over Christianity.

The Talmudic stories make fun of Jesus' birth from a virgin, fervently contest his claim to be the Messiah and Son of God, and maintain that he was rightfully executed as a blasphemer and idolater. They subvert the Christian idea of Jesus' resurrection and insist he got the punishment he deserved in hell--and that a similar fate awaits his followers.

Schäfer contends that these stories betray a remarkable familiarity with the Gospels--especially Matthew and John--and represent a deliberate and sophisticated anti-Christian polemic that parodies the New Testament narratives. He carefully distinguishes between Babylonian and Palestinian sources, arguing that the rabbis' proud and self-confident countermessage to that of the evangelists was possible only in the unique historical setting of Persian Babylonia, in a Jewish community that lived in relative freedom. The same could not be said of Roman and Byzantine Palestine, where the Christians aggressively consolidated their political power and the Jews therefore suffered.

A departure from past scholarship, which has played down the stories as unreliable distortions of the historical Jesus, Jesus in the Talmud posits a much more deliberate agenda behind these narratives.

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