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Jesus Through Jewish Eyes: Rabbis and Scholars Engage an Ancient Brother in a New Conversation Paperback – August 6, 2001
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Top Customer Reviews
This book is largely a book of perspectives. While many of the authors have excellent scholarly credentials (I'm one of the few that don't) as should be clear from the title, the purpose of this book is to present the subject from a particular perspective, namely the perspective of Jews.
As with many investigative endeavors, your preconceived notions can frequently influence your conclusions. While I like to think that my perspective is fairly objective, I am sure that who I am as a person has influenced my conclusions about Jesus. When it comes to rather fuzzy topics such as the historical Jesus, you can be sure that we generally find the Jesus that suits our needs or perspectives.
So, don't buy this book thinking you are going to find definitive answers to the question, "Who was Jesus?" However, if you are like me and like hearing different perspectives on a subject then I think you will find the book interesting. Yes, some authors repeat the same theories that have been around for some time. Yes, all authors are subject to their own biases. But who isn't? I still enjoyed reading the many essays of my co-authors just as I enjoyed reading works by those with radically different perspectives than my own.
Another writer sees Jesus as not greater than Moses and the Prophets, but as being a failed messiah, one who desired to bring in the messianic age, but couldn't. This same writer also suggests that Jesus may be considered as a figure who helped to prepare the way for the world to worship the one true God, and who helped to pave the way for the coming of the Davidic Messiah.
Others see him as a Jewish sage who needs to be reclaimed and restudied by Jews in order to understand the Christian mindset, and yes, to a certain degree, their own Judaism.
One writer even suggests that the issue of Jesus' messiahship remains unresolved.
There is also a great essay by Lance Flitter, where he shares that he never thought much about Jesus until he started dating a Christian woman. He comes to the conclusion that whatever else one may say about the historical Jesus, one thing that comes through clearly is that Jesus was Jewish and that one of His priorities was teaching equality amongst God's people.
Some of the writers are adament that Jesus is not the Messiah, but for the most part, I was very impressed with the openness in these essays. Get this book.
The fact that the different contributors often have conflicting views of Jesus is a real plus since, as a number of them point out, it is impossible to clearly see Jesus through the haze of 2,000 years, particularly given the lack of written accounts during his life and the agendas that most writers brought to the task once it was undertaken. The contributors' different viewpoints help one to synthesize a more complete picture and, in my case, added some interesting new possibilities that I hadn't considered before.
One of the things that struck me about this book, and which I feel is sorely needed in the world, is the obvious respect that two, often opposed groups demonstrate for each other. The Preface makes it clear that Maryknoll (the publisher) highly values the views of these Jewish scholars and they, in turn, show tremendous respect for Christian beliefs.
Viewed from the perspective of my youth of fifty years ago this book is a miracle. In that pre-Vatican II environment, I and many of my friends were routinely beaten up as Christ killers. We returned the compliment by holding a highly derisive view of Christianity and Jesus. The idea that Catholics and Jews could show this level of respect, even admiration, for each other's religions was unthinkable. Thank you Maryknoll, Beatrice Bruteau (the editor), and all the contributors. While the lion has not yet lain down with the lamb, I feel I have witnessed the beating of some swords of my youth into the ploughshares of today. May tomorrow's harvest be bountiful.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
To understand the world in which Jesus lived and how his life reflected his Jewishness.....to understand Jesus prior the emergence of Christianity as a religion, this book, by far,... Read morePublished on August 28, 2013 by popchop
Editor Beatrice Bruteau is a Catholic, with an abiding interest in Vedanta, Teilhard de Chardin, and "spiritual evolution. Read morePublished on June 9, 2010 by Steven H Propp