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The Jewish Gospels: The Story of the Jewish Christ Kindle Edition
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About the Author
"Boyarin proposes that by constructing the categories of religious orthodoxy and heresy,second-century Gentile Christians created the concept of religion which pervades the Western world to this day . . . intensely provocative and innovative."
"A brilliant and momentous book."
—Karen L. King, Harvard Divinity School
"Raises profound questions . . . this provocative book will change the way we think of the Gospels in their Jewish context."
—John J. Collins, Yale Divinity School
"It’s certainly noteworthy when one of the world’s leading Jewish scholars publishes a book about Jesus . . . extremely stimulating."
—Daniel C. Peterson, The Deseret News
"[A] fascinating recasting of the story of Jesus."
—Elliot Wolfson, New York University
- ASIN : B007QXUY6O
- Publisher : The New Press (March 20, 2012)
- Publication date : March 20, 2012
- Language : English
- File size : 2642 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Not Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 166 pages
- Lending : Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #75,154 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
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Chapter One: Daniel 7 as a Jewish Gospel
The first "Jewish Gospel" is Daniel 7, taken as the origin of the Messiah as Son of Man later found in the New Testament. With special emphasis on Mark, Boyarin shows that "Son of God" is just a kingly title, while "Son of Man" is a divine redeemer. It's an inversion of the way we usually take those terms, and Boyarin not only proves his thesis, but uses it to open up the rest of an incredible journey. The first Jewish Gospel is Daniel 7.
Chapter Two:1 Enoch and 4 Ezra as Jewish Gospels
Boyarin shows that the New Testament is not alone in having a divine-human Messiah, and that 1 Enoch and 4 Ezra, two Jewish works, also use the Son of Man concept from Daniel 7 in the same way as the New Testament. We now see three Jewish sources with what is generally known as a high Christology.
Chapter Three: Mark as a Jewish Gospel
Boyarin now goes into great detail on a little known and poorly translated passage in Mark concerning kosher foods. Only two other publications in general use translate the hand washing passage correctly: New Testament Text and Translation Commentary and The Comprehensive New Testament , and Boyarin astutely shows that Jesus was not throwing out Jewish kosher laws, but rather arguing that the Pharisaic rules of cleanness and purity incorrectly compressed two separate concepts into one. It seems a fine point to those not raised Jewish, and the argument is subtle, but Boyarin takes just enough time to help the reader "get it": Mark is also a Jewish Gospel!
Chapter Four: Isaiah 53 as a Jewish Gospel
The conclusion comes from a conundrum. How can a human Messiah come from the clouds? How can a divine being be the Messiah? The grand tour of Boyarin's trek from Daniel 7 (and earlier Canaanite sources), through its children (1 Enoch, 4 Ezra, Mark), finds a pre-existent divine descent and an earthly ascent for a single divine-human redeemer, who is both from above and from below. These two cannot occur without a divine precedent to an earthly man AND ALSO a human precedent to a divine redeemer. This can only involve two comings -- an exaltation and then a redemption. Here Boyarin takes the lid off of a well kept secret that most polemicists and laity don't know: Isaiah 53's suffering servant was almost universally taken as Messianic until a few hundred years ago. But this is only possible if the Messiah:
1) Comes as a man
3) Is exalted
4) Returns in redemption
These standard Christian ideas are all shown to be Jewish.
The Book as a Whole: Boyarin as a Jewish Writer!
That's right -- Boyarin is neither Christian nor Messianic. He's Jewish and fully comfortable in his skin writing about Jewish concepts that are inherent in Judaism itself, with a suffering Messiah described not just in the Jewish Bible but in the Talmud as well. The separation of Judaism and Christianity did not happen because of Jesus, but rather because the church was later filled by so many Gentiles that the two religions deliberately parted ways, even unconsciously conspiring together to reject those who considered themselves as both Jewish and Christian (called by both Jerome and Jews as Minim and Nazarenes).
To Boyarin, Judaism and Christianity are half parent to child, half sibling, and there is no reason to be at war with each other.
The book, then, takes us from Canaanite pre-Judaism, through pre-Rabbinic Judaism, to Rabbinic Judaism and Christianity -- deliberately separate, but originally taken from the same womb. This grand tour of the past, if taken seriously by scholars on both sides, could silence the shouting about unnecessary disagreements and lead them to understand each other's actual differences: namely, they are both looking for a final redemption, and just disagree about who will bring that to pass. In other words, first century Jews didn't reject the IDEA of a suffering divine-human redeemer, but merely didn't see Jesus to be that person.
The Jewish Gospels is a short work, very much to the point, but well researched with compelling arguments to support the author’s thesis. Boyarin wastes no time in establishing his thesis:Jesus did not depart from His Jewish faith, nor did the Gospels present anything that was different from teachings that were current or before His time. In fact his thesis is clear from four words in the title and sub title of his book:Jewish Gospels and Jewish Christ.
Boyarin’s book is not a polemic against Christianity; he reads more like an apologia, elucidating clearly and convincingly the Jewish roots of the Gospels, using Mark as his main reference. He demonstrates with appropriate references to Hebrew Scriptures(primarily Daniel 7)that claims to divinity by the Gospels and Jesus Himself, were consistent with Jewish theology. When Jesus referred to Himself as the “Son of Man”, a divine title, “many Jews believed him”. However, there were others who did not. Additionally, the core beliefs of Christians such as the Trinity and the Incarnation came from ancient Hebrew traditions. It is with these observations Boyarin asserts that Jesus and His followers did not reject Jewish traditions. He presents Jesus as one who was faithful to the Torah and the practices of Judaism. Boyarin analyses Mark 7 at great lengths to demonstrate emphatically that Jesus did keep Kosher. Likewise, His followers in the first century “sought to uphold and not destroy..” Jewish traditions.
I find that Jewish biblical scholars such as Boyarin provide unique and invaluable insights into Holy Scripture. They keep us on track in our interpretations of God’s Word. Their works do serve as a necessary corrective to misunderstandings that have been transmitted down through the centuries. Boyarin does an excellent job in reminding us that the Gospels are and have always been a part of Jewish literature. And so it is important to read and study them in that context.
Boyarin’s book is easy to read. With great patience he develops and explains in simple terms his thesis. He handles the Gospel narrative with integrity. He connects his dots with a minimum of speculation. There is no bashing nor is there speculation about a plot and its script that is completely internalized and followed with tragic consequences. I read this book and came away with a deeper understanding of the documents on which my faith is built. This is a book all Christians must read.