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The Religion of Jesus the Jew Paperback – November 1, 1993


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Augsburg Fortress Publishers; 1st Fortress Press ed edition (November 1, 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0800627970
  • ISBN-13: 978-0800627973
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 5 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #204,317 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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81 of 83 people found the following review helpful By The Rev. Dr. Daniel J. G. G. Block on August 22, 2000
Format: Paperback
Albert Schweitzer did not initiate the academic quest for the historical Jesus, nor did he end it. Schweitzer was, however, its most famous proponent. Second only to Schweitzer, Geza Vermes has, justifiably, become the penultimate voice of scholarship in this endeavor. Schweitzer demonstrated the importance of the apocalyptic to the historical Jesus. In his 1973 tour de force, "Jesus The Jew," Vermes emphasized Jesus' existence as a Galilean, Hasidic Jew. In this work, he firmly places Jesus within first century, Palestinian Jewish religious tradition. The result of Schweitzer's and Vermes' combined works is a less romanticized, less theologized, and more believable earthly Jesus. Although this book will disturb those who are comfortable with unquestioned piety, it is an invaluable tool for serious Bible students. It digs below the theology of the early Church to get a better view of the historical Jesus of Nazareth.
Vermes describes Jesus as an observant, first century Jew, whose behavior was very much like that of other observant, first century Jews. He shows us how Jesus' teachings relied upon bibical and charismatic authority. He shows how speaking in proverbs and parables was not a way for Jesus to obscure his message from all but the elect, but was rather a way to illustrate his teachings. He describes Jesus' preaching as closely related to the work of his rabbinical contemporaries. Perhaps most striking of all, he proves that Jesus' address of God as "Abba" was not unique.
Vermes shows that the religion of Jesus, the exorcist, the preacher, and the friend of pariahs was authentically Jewish.
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52 of 55 people found the following review helpful By John S. Ryan on March 28, 2001
Format: Paperback
This fine twenty-years-after sequel to Geza Vermes's _Jesus the Jew_ is actually the third book of a series: the second -- _Jesus and the World of Judaism_ -- is not currently in print as of this writing.

That's too bad, but the present volume is entirely readable on its own terms; in fact, strictly speaking, you don't _have_ to have read _Jesus the Jew_ first either, though it's recommended that you do so.

Here Vermes is continuing his attempt to reclaim Jesus as a faithful Jew and indeed a charismatic Galilean hasid. This volume provides a more in-depth look at Jesus's own teachings and religious practices than did _Jesus the Jew_, and illustrates well that nothing Jesus said or did involved either any departure from Judaism or any attempt to found a new religion separate from Judaism. A fine closing chapter suggests that Christianity might profit by moving closer to the religion _of_ Jesus and abandoning a good deal of the religion _about_ him.

On the minus side, a few of Vermes's conclusions are puzzling and probably wrong. For example, he is the only "Jesus scholar" I know of who rejects the parable of the Good Samaritan as "probably inauthentic." Moreover, in a brief reply to critics who charged that he had provided no account of why Jesus would have been crucified, he argues that Jesus was probably just in the wrong place at the wrong time -- a reply which I find altogether unconvincing and which seems to me to point up some of the weaknesses in Vermes's account.

Nevertheless Vermes has pretty much led the way for modern Jews and Christians alike to recognize Jesus as a Jew of his own time. As I said, I'd recommend reading _Jesus the Jew_ first, but if you like Vermes, come back to this one.
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34 of 36 people found the following review helpful By Professor Emeritus P. Bagnolo VINE VOICE on February 13, 2002
Format: Paperback
Vermes as always is easily understandable and enjoyably readable for anyone with an interest in the bridge between Christianity and Judaism. He is exquisitely accurate in illuminating Jesus' Hasidic, Gallilian, Jewishness. He is even-handed, respectful of Christian ideals, but opens fresh vistas on the Messiah, Prophet and first Christian. Vernes' Jesus is masterfully portrayed in the warm light of his Hebrew nationality and religion and his innovative ideas about God. Vermes lovingly reveals his evidence concerning the religio-historical niche for the man most Christians believe to be God incarnate and who unbiased others believe to be a Prophet who greatly influenced Jews, Muslims, Christians and others for nearly 2000 years. He admits, as do many others that he does not know why Jesus was crucified, but I suspect that it had more to do with Jesus being seen by the Romans as a budding revolutionary rather than a prophet. His attack on the portico, temple businessmen solidified big-business, the church and the Roman state against him. He alone of his group was sent to the cross. That in itself was unusual, a normal Roman purge would have included all of his disciples.
Vermes opens the door to Hebrew acceptance and inclusion of this inspired Jew, who was at the very least, a great prophet.
If you want to know more about Jesus the Jew, his time and place in history as observed by one of his own people, read this thoroughly enjoyable book.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Professor Emeritus P. Bagnolo VINE VOICE on February 13, 2002
Format: Paperback
Vermes as always is easily understandable and enjoyably readable for anyone with an interest in the bridge between Christianity and Judaism. He is exquisitely accurate in illuminating Jesus' Jewishness. He is even-handed, respectful of Christian ideals, but opens fresh vistas on the Messiah, Prophet and first Christian. Vernes' Jesus is masterfully portrayed in the warm light of his Hebrew nationality and religion and his innovative ideas about God. Vermes lovingly reveals his evidence concerning the religio-historical niche for the man most Christians believe to be God incarnate and who unbiased others believe to be a Prophet who greatly influenced Jews, Muslims, Christians and others for nearly 2000 years.
If you want to know more about Jesus the Jew, his time and place in history as observed by his people, then and now, read this thoroughly enjoyable book.
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