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Kosher Jesus Hardcover – February 1, 2012

3.6 out of 5 stars 82 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


Shmuley Boteach s answer to Jews For Jesus is to write a book that might well have been entitled Jesus For Jews. Always controversial, Shmuley s new book will stimulate debate among Jews, between Christians and Jews and by all people who care about ultimate issues of faith. Written with Shmuley s usual candor, humor and accessibility, Kosher Jesus is sure to change and open minds. What more can you ask of a book.
Alan Dershowitz, author of Trials of Zion

For years I've been asking my friend Shmuley to write this book. Kosher Jesus is one of his most important, thought-provoking, and stimulating books. I celebrate this book and its potential to provoke dialog and elevate our high ideals of unity and understanding.
Cory A. Booker, Mayor of Newark

Talking openly and honestly about Jesus and how others view him can only bring people together. This book is a must-read for anyone willing to venture slightly out of their comfort zone in their journey toward real understanding and peace.
Glenn Beck, #1 New York Times bestselling author and founder of GBTV.com

It is tragic that two great religions that worship the same God, cherish the same Scriptures and affirm the same moral code have been so antagonistic to each other for so long. May this book help to heal that breach. --Rabbi Harold Kushner, Author of When Bad Things Happen To Good People

Shmuley in his own unique, iconoclastic, and controversial way, hits a home run with his new courageous book, Kosher Jesus. While showing understanding for the negative stereotypes many Jews especially European born have of Jesus, Christians and Christianity, he cuts through those perceptions and urges Jews and Christians to take a fresh look at the person of Jesus and to reclaim him for themselves in a truer, more genuine form. The mostly negative views Jews and Christians have had of one another over the centuries were certainly shaped by the fratricide that marked our relationship. It is high time they be revisited. Undoubtedly, not a few Rabbis will be outraged by this book. But certainly this Rabbi a colleague, friend, admirer, and fan of Shmuley will defend his thesis and many, if not most, of his points and view the opposition as Shmuley s red badge of courage. Given the advances that have been made in Christian-Jewish dialogue since the 1960s it is essential that both communities take another look at this central subject. And this book does just that. Kosher Jesus is essential reading for anyone seeking a truer understanding of who Jesus the Jew from Nazareth really was and the enormous contribution he made to the world. This courageous and thought provoking book is a breath of fresh air and major contribution to Jewish and Christian perceptions of Jesus. I hope it s read widely and changes attitudes in both communities.
Rabbi Yechiel Z. Eckstein, Founder and President, International Fellowship of Christians and Jews

Rabbi Boteach (Kosher Sex: A Recipe for Passion and Intimacy) is one of the more high-profile religious figures in the country and has an admitted knack for self-promotion. His latest book reviews the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth from the perspective of both Jewish understandings and contemporary scholarship and identifies Jesus as a Jewish leader, patriot, and even martyr. Many Christian scholars of the New Testament now would agree with him that Jesus lived and died a Jew and that our reconstruction of him as the founder of a new faith is dubious and posthumous, so no surprises there, but Boteach s name and the skill of his argument should draw readers in. Verdict Don t be misled by the media fizz around his name; Boteach writes with clarity, force, and intelligence, and his Kosher Jesus is an excellent resource for parish libraries, Jewish worship communities, individual seekers, and all interested in the historical Jesus. --Graham Christian, Pelham, MA --Library Journal Xpress Reviews: Nonfiction | First Look at New Books, January 27, 2012

This informed and cogent primer on Jesus of Nazareth, Boteach, rabbi and author of the international bestseller Kosher Sex, takes a brave stab at re-evaluating Jesus through an intensive look at the New Testament and historical documents. In what is sure to be controversial, Boteach asserts that contradictions in the New Testament regarding who bears responsibility for Jesus crucifixion, Jesus feelings toward the Jews as well as issues like Jesus divinity and the question of Judas existence, prove that editors of early texts chose to distort that Jesus was, in fact, a beloved member of the Jewish community who rebelled against Roman brutality, not Jewish law. Boteach reiterates that although he does not believe in Jesus as Messiah, he hopes that a new look at Jesus as a man who lived and died as an observant Jew will help eliminate anti-Semitism, establish good will between the faiths and strengthen Judeo-Christian values. This well-researched analysis will certainly reopen intrafaith and interfaith dialogue. --Publishers Weekly

About the Author

Shmuley Boteach is one of the worlds leading relationship experts and values and spirituality exponents. He is the author of twenty-six books, which have been translated into eighteen languages, and his columns, TV, and radio appearances are regular staples in media all over the world. Rabbi Shmuley has debated and discussed Jesus and Christianity with leading Christian scholars for more than twenty years, and his columns on Judaism and Christianity have appeared in the Wall St. Journal, Jerusalem Post, Huffington Post, Washington Post, London Times, Guardian, and many other leading publications. Rabbi Shmuley was labeled a cultural phenomenon and the most famous rabbi in America by Newsweek magazine, and is regularly listed as one of the ten most influential rabbis in the United States. Rabbi Shmuley lives in Englewood, NJ, with his Australian wife Debbie. They have nine children. Follow him on Twitter @RabbiShmuley.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 300 pages
  • Publisher: Gefen Publishing House; First Edition (US) First Printing edition (February 1, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9652295787
  • ISBN-13: 978-9652295781
  • Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 0.9 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (82 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #479,165 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By James Pyles on February 19, 2012
Format: Hardcover
In order to make his points regarding the Jewish identity of Jesus credible, Rabbi Boteach had to deconstruct every single major tenet of the Christian church. Jesus was a man and not God incarnate. He thought he was the Messiah (which is not a crime in Judaism) but obviously he wasn't since he died rather than successfully establishing Israel's self-rule. He was not born of a virgin, he did not speak against the Law, he lead a lifestyle that was completely Jewish and totally consistent with the Law of the Jews, and he didn't want to have anything to do with the non-Jewish peoples. He hated Rome and he loved his people and wanted to free them from their cruel oppressors. Period.

While I agree there is much to learn by rediscovering the Jewish Jesus, I'm not sure what Rabbi Boteach wants his Christian readers to do about it. If a Christian were to read all of this and take every word at face value, questioning nothing, he'd have to conclude that his Christian faith is a sham. He'd have to conclude that everything he had been taught by the church about Jesus and faith and salvation was at best, an elaborate fantasy, and at worst, the most heinous of lies.

I really don't think most Christians will be taking this part of the book to such extremes. Yes, they may be confused. Yes, they may certainly feel offended. But since Rabbi Boteach says it is not his intent to confuse or offend his Christian readers, how does he expect them to reconcile their faith with his book short of tossing it into the trash can?

If Rabbi Boteach really believes that it's possible the content of the New Testament was divinely inspired, as he states at one point in his book, I can understand why a good many Orthodox Jewish Rabbis are upset with him right now.
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Format: Hardcover
"Kosher Jesus" - A Book Review
In his new, highly controversial book, Kosher Jesus, Shmuley Boteach sets the stage by describing the strong overtures of Christian love towards Israel and the Jewish people. Boteach views this development as a positive step in the Jewish - Christian relationship; however, Boteach points out, there is still a sticking point between Jews and Christians, and that is Jesus. [1]

Boteach's book presents a solution [2] that he believes will allow both Jews and Christians to overcome the barrier that stands between them. [3] Boteach proposes that instead of Jesus being the issue that divides us[4], we should allow him to serve as a bridge that unites us in the common interest of promoting Judeo - Christian values.[5]

Setting the bar in his introduction, Boteach boldly claims to know the "authentic story" of Jesus of Nazareth[6]. Virtually all historians and scholars agree that when trying to reconstruct the life of the "Historical Jesus" one is crippled by the lack of surviving evidence outside of the Gospels (records which Boteach himself disqualifies.)[7] This leads the reader to wonder how Boteach is going to make his case convincing.

Basing himself on the works of Hyam Maccoby, Boteach insists that although the Gospels cannot be accepted as authentic or reliable, they have nevertheless retained traces of a Jewish Jesus who did not teach against the observance of the Torah[8] and who never claimed to be God. Boteach sees Jesus as a patriot who fought against the occupying Romans; a struggle which cost him his life.
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Format: Hardcover
Whilst I honor the integrity and courage of Schmuley Boteach, an Orthodox Rabbi, in putting Jesus of Nazareth, the most influential Jew of all time, on the Jewish agenda, I have real problems with the content of this work.
Kosher Jesus is being presented as a landmark book of brilliant and original content.. The trouble with brilliant ideas is that they are not always original, and original ideas are not always brilliant. Kosher Jesus is neither brilliant nor original. At times its author readily admits his debt to the scholarship of Hyam Maccoby. Nevertheless, its provenance in terms of contemporary academia is much older. S.F.G Brandon in his groundbreaking studies Jesus and the Zealots: A Study of the Political Factor in Primitive Christianity and The Trial of Jesus of Nazareth was the first to argue that Jesus was a patriotic Jewish revolutionary and Pharisee, who was executed by the Romans after a disastrous coup d'etat in the Temple. Rabbi Boteach makes no reference to Brandon's work yet it was he who laid out that Jesus saw his Messianic candidature in terms of a revolt, with himself as a politico-military redeemer who had no delusions of deity. But Paul, a Roman "stooge", reinvented Jesus as divine and won over the primitive church to his position following the numbing disillusion of defeat and the delay of the parousia. According to Brandon, Paul subverted Jesus from being a loyal Jewish rabbi and patriot, into becoming a mythical figure of divinity.
However, this theory is deeply flawed. Even if we accept that the Gospel writers redacted, one generation would not be long enough for the genesis of completely ahistorical legend.
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