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The Religion of Jesus the Jew Paperback – November 1, 1993
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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.Read more ›
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.
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.
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I thought I was going to read about Jesus. Instead, the book constantly debunked the apostles.Published 13 months ago by Candis Thayer
Even though this is not a book about Church History as such, still, it makes one wonder about the instigation of Christianity: how did it grow away from Judaism; is it related to... Read morePublished on November 1, 2013 by Herbert J. Newhall
Geza Vermes homes in on the question of what Jesus actually thought and taught about God's Kingdom, and he illuminates the transformation that Jesus tried to make in this idea,... Read morePublished on July 4, 2013 by Willard D. Larkin
It is fascinating to see a book of scholarship by a Jewish scholar that puts Jesus in the context of his timePublished on January 3, 2013 by Albert Potash
The importance of this book, and others like it, is to make the case that Jesus (like his disciples) was a practicing Jew -- one who may have had his own unique take on the Law,... Read morePublished on September 16, 2012 by Michael_in_SC
This is slow going, but if you want to know what Jesus Himself actually said, as opposed to what the Gospel writers said, this is well worth the time. Read morePublished on December 13, 2009 by Elaine O. Chaika
Vermes' "The Religion of Jesus the Jew" reminds us that Jesus was not a Christian but a perfectly good Jew. This from a Rabbinic scholar. Read morePublished on April 11, 2009 by Richard C. Williams