Jesus in the Context of Judaism: Quest, Con-Quest, or Conquest?

Editor's Introduction.






Publication: Shofar
Author: Garber, Zev
Date published: April 1, 2010

Though many articles, reviews, and books are not of one opinion on the life and time of Jesus, there is a general understanding in the dogma of the Church and in the Quests of the Academy that the incarnate Christ of Christian belief lived and died a faithful Jew,' and what this says to contemporary Jews and Christians is the focus of this special issue of Shofar.

In the context of our time, Pope John Paul II challenged members of the Pontifical Biblical Commission to help the Christian understand that the Hebrew Scriptures are essential to their faith (1997). That is to say, Catholic mysteries, including annunciation, incarnation, crucifixion, resurrection, and redemption, are derived from the Hebtew biblical Weltanschauung. To speak of Jesus in the context of Judaism is affirmed by the Church's acceptance of the Jewish Hebrew Bible as the Christian Old Testament, and this presents distinctive challenges to the visions of the other. When Jewish and Christian savants interweave the narrative and teaching of Jesus into the cultural and social life of first-centuty Judaism in the Land of Israel under the rule of Caesar, they pinpoint the evolving christology of the Jesus believers, which conflicts with the viewpoints of the Rabbis and jurisdiction of Rome. Second, Christians and Jews committed to reading scripture together are deeply motivated by an academic and reverential disposition toward rabbinic Judaism and the desire to correcr the malign image of Jews and Judaism that emerges from erroneous readings of the Gospel sources. Arguably contra Iudaeos biases happen when historicity (Pharasaic kinship of Jesus, Peter, and Paul) is conflated with apologetic ("Give unto Caesar") and polemic depictions (Jews are a deicidal and misanthropic people), and theological innovation (Christ replaces Torah).

The desideratum is neither extreme skepticism nor full faith acceptance but rather a centralist position, somewhat contrary to an ecclesiastical tradition which teaches that truth is bounded and restricted to New Testament and early Christian kerygma (preaching) and didache (apologetics). Exploring the place of Jesus within Second Temple Judaism means to apply drash (insightful interpretation) to peshat (plain meaning of the text). Why so? Because Jesus the historical being, that is to say, the Jesus before the oral and written traditions, is transformed and transfigured into a nattative character that appears in the canonized New Testament. The Jesus in narratology is a fluid figure of creative, idyllic, and dogmatic imagination, whose realness cannot be fixed in any given episode, teaching, or telling.

Thus, on reading the Gospel of John's account of Jesus before the Sanhédrin, the trial before Pilate, and the sentence of death, one may project that the Evangelist's Jewish opponents are the reason for the virtual negativity of the Ioudaioi towards Jesus in his teaching and trial. Also, the cry of the mob, "His blood be upon us and on our children" (Matt 27:25) is neither an acceptance of guilt nor perpetual pedigree of damnation for the death of Jesus but can be seen as an expression of innocence that says if we are not innocent of this man's blood then may the curse be fulfilled (see Acts 18:6 and b.Sanh. 37a).

Jewish-Christian Encounter

The ground rule for Christian-Jewish scriptural reading and discussion is simple but complex. Let the Christian proclaim core Christian dogma (Easter faith) and dicta (e.g., Jesus "the living bread that came down from heaven" [John 6:51] is the savior of Israel) without a hint or utterance of anti-Judaism. Likewise, the Jewish observant needs be aware and sensitive of claims of Christian identity. The objective in the quest for the rediscovery, and possibly reclamation by Jews, of the Jewish Jesus is to penetrate the wall of separation and suspicion of "law and grace" and enable the believer in the Second Testament to appreciate the saga and salvation of Israel experientially in terms of Judaism, that is to say, in accordance with the teaching of Moses and the exegesis of the Sages of Israel. Reciprocally, the follower of theTorah way learns the how and why of the Christian relationship to the Sinai covenant as presented in the Christian spirit of scriptural inspiration and tradition, a strong sign that centuries-old "teaching of contempt" is not doable for Christians and Jews in dialogue, where a shared biblical tradition is the surest sign that the stumbling blocks of religious intolerance can be overcome. Take lex talionis, for example.

Three times the Pentateuch mentions the legislation of lex taitones (the law of retaliation, of an'eye for an eye" (Exod 21:23-25; Lev 24:19-20; Deut 19:18-21). Though the law of "measure for measure" existed in the Ancient Near East, there is little evidence that the Torah meant that this legislation should be fulfilled literally except in the case of willful murder. "Life for life" is taken literally in cases of homicidal intention, and fair compensation is appropriate when physical injuries are not fatal. Equitable monetary compensation is deemed appropriate by the Oral Torah in the case of a pregnant woman whose unborn child's life is lost and when animal life is forfeited. Indeed, the Written Torah casts aside all doubts regarding the intent of the biblical lex talionis injunction: "And he that kills a beast shall make it good; and he that kills a man shall be put to death" (Lev 24:21).

Rejecting the literal application of lex talionis puts an end to the meanspirited charge that Judaism is "strict justice." Similarly, the words of Jesus on the Torah ("For truly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the law until all is accomplished" [Matt 5:18]) beckon interpretation. Christian citing Matt 5:38-39a ("You have heard that it was said, an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.' But I say to you, Do not resist one who is evil") to teach that "Jesus cancels the law of revenge and replaces it with the law of love" is wrong on two accounts: 1) syntactically, the Greek text of Matt 5:39 reads and not but, thereby removing the onus of change; and 2) scripturally, the text in context (see Matt 5:21-26, 27-30, Jesus on murder and adultery) instructs not cancellation but affirmation of the commandments. Thus Jesus like the Sages focuses on the significance of the Teaching and its cautionary warning about wrong doing in "thoughts, words, and deeds."

Nonetheless there are significant differences on retaliation between Jesus and the Rabbis. In Matt 5:38-39, Jesus addresses 'ayin tachat ayin ("eye for eye") in terms of personal revenge and related implementations, but the Rabbis' understanding is mamon tachat ayin ("value of an eye"), and this is seen as remedial justice for the guilty and concern for the injured. Also, a Christian interpretation of the scripture, "You shall love your neighbor as yourself" (Lev 19:18) preceded by the prohibition, "You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge," (Lev 19:18) is the foundation of the Golden Rule: "In everything do to others as you would have them do to you; fot this is the law and the prophets" (Matt 7:12; cf. too Luke 6:31). However, the Jewish position is somewhat different. In text, "love your neighbor" (Lev 19:18) is followed by "You shall keep my statutes/chuqqotai (revelatory laws without applicable reason)" (Lev 19:19). In the rabbinic tradition, the covenantal partnership at Sinai represents the modus operandi to apply the love commandment albeit taught in negative terms, "Whatever is hateful to you do it not to another."2

Participants in Jewish-Christian scriptural dialogue aim to show the interdependence of Jewish and Christian biblical traditions and do so by truncating cultural, historical, psychological, religious, and theological differences between them. Some may see this and the absence of sustained critical discussion of texts and historical issues as major weaknesses, but I do not. There is something refreshing in connecting sentences to sentences, parts to whole, book to books. Spiritually informative, evocative in hermeneutics, less interested in critical scholarship that parses Jewish and Christian Scriptures into strands and schools and more concerned in Torah and Gospels that instructs in moral values and fellowship. Scriptural dialogue is a religiously correct lesson for two sibling- religions whose God is the Author of All.

Testimony of Jesus3

There is a line of basic continuity between the beliefs and attitudes of Jesus and the Pharisees, between the reasons which led Jesus into conflict with the religious establishment of his day, and those which led his followers into conflict with the Synagogue.

Two of the basic issues were the role of the Torah and the authority of Jesus. Rabbinic Judaism could never accept the Second Testament Christology since the God-man of the "hypostatic union" is foreign to the Torah's teaching on absolute monotheism. As the promised Messiah,4 Jesus did not meet the conditions which the prophetic-rabbinic tradition associated with the coming of the Messiah. For example, there was no harmony, freedom, peace, and amity in Jerusalem, and enmity and struggle abounded elsewhere in the Land. This lack of peace denied the validity of the Christian claim that Jesus fulfilled the Torah and that in his Second Coming the tranquility of the Messianic Age will be realized. As Rabbi Jesus, he taught the divine authority of the Torah and the prophets,5 and respect for its presenters and preservers,6 but the Gospels claimed that his authority was equally divine and that it stood above the authority of the Torah. The disparity of the Jewish self and the Gentile other in the ancestral faith of Jesus is abolished in the new faith in Jesus: "There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus."7 I see this testimony as a major point of contention between the Jesus way and the way of rabbinic Halakha that ultimately led to the severance of the Jesus party from the Synagogue. And this acquired new intensity after the passing of the Jewish Jesus and the success of Pauline Christianity.

'Ani Hu'/ I Am He: Seeking Unity in Diversity

No matter how composite is the figure of the historical Jesus and how rudimentary the concept of the Christ-event in the Second Testament, there can be no doubt that the Jewish and Gentile believers bestowed divine attributes and power upon Jesus and venerated him above all creatures. Such an attitude towards the person of Jesus as God incarnate led to conflict with the Sages, who revered only Torah-from-Heaven. This is illustrated in the exegetical dissimilarity between Church and Synagogue in how one is to submit to God's righteousness. Reading the nature of God's commandment (Deut 30: 11-14), the Apostle Paul comments that Christ is the subject of "Who will ascend into heaven? . . . Who will descend into the deep?" and confessing "Jesus is Lord ... in your mouth and in your heart"8 is the justified salvation for all. For the Sages, however, salvation is in believing and doing the commandments. "Surely, this commandment that I am commanding you today is not too hard for you ... it is not in heaven,"9 is the raison d'être of Rabbinic Judaism. That is to say, the Torah is not in heaven, it is here and near so that Israel can hear"the blessing and the curse" and do the 613 Commandments10 in order "to choose life"11 and live.

The doctrine of the eternity of the Torah was axiomatic in Second Temple Judaism. It is implicit in verses that speak of individual teachings of Torah in phrases such as the following: "A perpetual statute throughout your generations in all your [lands of] dwellings" (Lev 3:17) and "throughout the ages as a covenant for all rime" (Exod 3:16). Biblical (Proverbs, in which Torah equals wisdom), Apocryphal (the wisdom of Ben Sira), and Aggadic (Genesis Rabbah) traditions speak of the preexistence of Torah in Heaven. Though the Talmud acknowledges the pre-revelatory Heavenly Torah, which the Sages claimed was revealed to Moses at Sinai, it concentrates more on the Torah's eternal humanistic values. Indeed, the rabbinic mind speaks of two strains: revelation ("everything which a scholar will ask in the future is already known to Moses at Sinai"; see BT Menach. 29b) and the power of intellectual reasoning, as suggested in BT Pes. 21b, Ketub. 22a, B.K. 46b, Chul. 114b, Nid. 25a, B. M. 59b, and so forth. And by twinning the two dialectics, it appears, the Sages taught more Torah than received at Sinai.

Volatile are the arguments and disagreements between Petrine and Pauline Christians on issues of faith in Christ with or without observance of the Torah in how to proselytize Gentiles.12 On the other hand, the fallout is decisive and divisive in the disputations between the Church and Synagogue beginning with nascent Christianity, as John 8 seems to suggest. The destruction of Jerusalem and of the Second Temple was sufficient proof for believers in Christ that God has pronounced dire judgment upon His stiff-necked people and that the God of promises dispensed His countenance to those who accepted Jesus as Messiah. Hence, "Christ is the end of the law,"1' in "(whose) flesh the law with its commandments and regulations"14 are abolished. But Torah and its Commandments are the matrix in which rabbinic Judaism was born, and it proved to be the mighty fortress to withstand danger of extinction from without (Rome) and from within (non-Pharisaic philosophies, including Jewish Christianity). Thus, in the rabbinic way, to despise an individual precept of the Torah is tantamount to rejecting the whole Torah; and this explains the measures taken by the Synagogue, e.g., the second-century Birkat ha-Minim (prayer against Jewish sectarians inserted in the Eighteen Benedictions), to preserve its national and religious character in the face of adversity and catastrophe.

John 8 (indeed, the entire Fourth Gospel) exemplifies disparate views of the Jesus party on the yoke of the Torah (temporary or eternal) and the separation of a specific Jewish Christian community in the late first century from the Jewish society to which its members had belonged and who were now excluded by Synagogue fiat. On the former, consider Jesus' words to the Samaritan woman at the well," [S] alvation is from the Jews. Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and truth,"15 and on the latter, the intensity of conflict between the Jewish Christian community for which John was composed and the reigning religious authority is reflected in the hostile and vindictive language placed in the mouth of Jesus accusing his Jewish detractors of not accepting the truth, plotting to kill him, and being the children of the Devil.16

In the long history of Christianity there exists no more tragic development than the treatment accorded the Jewish people by Christian believers based in part on the anti-Judaism in the Gospel of John. The cornerstone of supet sessionist Christology is the belief that Israel was spurned by divine fiat for first rejecting and then killingjesus. This permitted the apostolic and patristic writets to damn the Jews in the rhetoric of John 8, and more, to assign the worst dire punishment on judgment day. These are not words, just words, but are links in an uninterrupted chain of antisemitic diatribes that contributed to the murder of Jews in the heartland of Christendom and still exist in a number of Christian circles today. How to mend the cycle of pain and the legacy of shame? The key is a midrashic ijpeshat cum drash) interpretation informed by an empathie and emphatic dialogue between siblings, Cht istian and Jew, individually and together.

Let me explain. It is a fact that Church-Synagogue relations turned for the bettet when the Second Vatican Council (1963-1965) issued the document Nostra Aetate ("In Our Times"), the first ever Roman Catholic document repudiating collective Jewish responsibility for the death of Jesus. In the Roman Catholic world, this inspired many dioceses and archdioceses to implement Nostra Aetate and to fid the anti-Jewish bias of Christian teaching. To illustrate, consider the sentiment of the Italian bishops to the Jewish community of Italy (March 1998): "Fot its part, the Catholic Church, beginning with Second Vatican Council - and thanks to the meeting of two men of faith, Jules Isaac and John XXIII, whose memory is a blessing - decisively turned in another direction [from teaching divinely sanctioned punishment of the Jews -ZG], removing every pseudotheological justification for the accusation of deicide and perfidy and also the theory of substitution with its consequent 'teaching of contempt,'17 the foundation for all antisemitism. The Church recognizes with St. Paul that the gifts of God are irrevocable and that even today Israel has a proper mission to fulfill: to witness to the absolute lordship of the Most High, before whom the heart of every person must open."

Few can rival Pope John Paul II s papacy in ridding the Roman Catholic Church of antisemitism. He more than any predecessor condemned "the hatreds, acts of persecution, and displays of antisemitism directed against the Jews by Christians at any time and in any place" (Yad Va-Shem, March 23, 2000). He labeled the hatred of Jews as a sin against God, referred to the Jews as Christianity's "elder brother,"18 with whom God's covenant is irrevocable, and established diplomatic relations with the State of Israel (1994). The Vatican documents We Remember: A Reflection on the Shoah (1998) and Confessions of Sins Against the People of Israel (St. Peter's Basilica, March 12, 2000) are major milestones in the Roman Catholic Church's efforts to reconcile with the Jewish people. And, we might add, main-line Protestant denominations in the World Council of Churches, in different degrees, have done likewise.

I welcome this gesture of professing and confessing spoken in the spirit of teshuvah (repentance) from the largest member-church in the "Body of Christ" and it bodes well for Jews to offer teshuvah (response) in kind. Jews must be true to their Torah, distinct from other sacred scriptures and religions. It is not the role of the Synagogue to judge whether Jesus the Jew metamorphosed into the Christ of faith or that Jesus and the Christ are one and the same individual. Rather Jews must do their homework and cleanse the People Israel of any conceived and/or perceived anti-Christian bias. Jews must see the Roman Catholic Church's altering attitude and action toward them as good omens done in the spirit of humility and contrition. Jews need to be reminded that the Roman Catholic Church views the encounter with Judaism and the Jewish people as an organic part of Christian penance. Indeed, Christianity is a legitimate dialogue partner in tikkun 'olam, endowing the world in peace, understanding and unity.

Admittedly, dialogue at times creates unexpected friction, of a kind found in chronicles and hoary debates, if aggressively done for the purpose of settling a score. Progress, not regress, in Christian-Jewish dialogue is only possible if old canards are exposed and reciprocal teachings of respect are encouraged. So proper dialogue on John 8 neither overlooks the harsh statements against the Jews and explains them in a setting in life of that time, nor allows misguided judgments of mean-spirited hermeneutics to pass by unchallenged, nor allows a conjunctional albeit controversial thought go by untested. The "I am " of John 8:24, is such an example. It reveals an aura of divinity by Jesus because his words, "I am the one I claim to be," can be equated with God's identity to Moses,"I Am that I Am."19 For the Christian divine, this can be interpreted as "I Am" (God) is revealed in"I Am" (Jesus). But the text continues,"He (God) said/Thus shall you say unto the children of Israel: I Am has sent me [Moses] to you."20 This can mean that God as God not God as Jesus is the absolute and sufficient revelation of the divine pathos for the Jewish people.

The significance attached to the Name of God in the above midrashic discussion dispels illusion by illustration. The holiness, sanctity, and power of God's call are heard equally and necessarily differently by Church and Synagogue, one by Christ and the other by Torah. However, the completeness of God's Name, meaning His essence and plan, is hidden in this world forever,21 but in the fullness of time it will be made known: "Therefore my people shall know my Name; therefore, on that day, that Ani Hu (Name of God, the shem ha-mmephorash) is speaking: here am I."22

It is incumbent upon Jew and Christian together in dialogue to bring that day speedily in our lifetime.

Case for Jesus the Jew

In the final paragraph of "Reflections on Jesus," a review essay by Zev Garber and Joshua Kulp on several books dealing with Jesus in the context of his time, the New Testament, and Talmud,23 1 affirmed unashamedly that the modern Jew can identify with the faith and fate of Jesus but not faith in Jesus. I have no clue what Jesus would say, but I proposed to Prof. Peter Haas, Abba Hillel Silver Professor of Jewish Studies, Chair of the Department of Religious Studies, and Director of the Samuel Rosenthal Center for Judaic Studies at Case Western Reserve University, to convene a symposium on rediscovering the Jewish Jesus. So it was presented and so it was received. The three-day symposium on "Jesus in the Context of Judaism and the Challenge to the Church," hosted by the Samuel Rosenthal Center for Judaic Studies and managed brilliantly by Linda Gilmore,24 rook place at Case on May 24-26, 2009. The symposium presentations have metamorphosed into the essays of this issue of Shofar.

Zev Garber's opening plenary address on "Imagining the Jewish Jesus" postulated that the Easter faith without its Jewish historical context is unwieldy, or worse, a proven feeding ground for centuries-old Good Friday sermons that espoused anti-Judaism (replacement theology, conversion of the Jews) and antisemitism ("perfidious Jews and Christ killers"). A critical read of the "Golden Rule," the Last Supper, and the Great Commandment in the context of Jewish exegesis showed how and why. Garber's methodology of reading Torah in the response of na'aseh ve-nishma ("We shall do and we shall hear [reason]"; Exod. 24:7) explained his darshani (interpret me) imperative in his analysis of scriptural readings.

Ziony Zevit opines that the Hebrew Bible presents God in many dichotomous ways: present-absent, visible-invisible, caring about an individual/ Israel-not caring, imminent-transcendent, responsive to prayer/sacrifice-not responsive, dependable-not dependable. Not all of these fit neatly into theological categories such as omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent, or kind, merciful, forgiving, welcoming. After discussing theological points about God in the Persian and Greco-Roman periods, he argues that the claims of Jesus as God would not have seemed unreasonable to those whose religious politics were determined by a particular view of God in the Hebrew Bible and by a unique understanding of the Greco-Roman New Age.

James Moore maintains that New Testament Gospels and the post-Easter theology of different Christian fellowships and communities have constructed various frames which shape how Christians (and the churches) read the received narratives about Jesus. What emerges in early Church history are attempts to view Jesus as an abstracted, transcendent figure shaped mainly by the dogmatic statements of the fourth- and fifth-century councils. This history skews the Jewish persona of Jesus and is an impediment to portraying the historical Jesus. Fortunately, there are texts that give us a narrative about a believable Jesus, and these texts do give clues that Jesus, the teacher, was thoroughly in tune with various components of Judaism of his time. Moore's midrashic approach to Torah and Jesus shows why this is so.

Arguably a leading theme in New Testament scholarship is the replacement of the Torah of Sinai with the Hope from Calvary. The New Testament Gospels and Pauline Letters suggest a Gentile triumphalism over the parochial ethnic religion of the Jews. Herb Basser wants to know why documents are so heavily laden with authentic Jewish idioms and concepts if their authence is so predominantly Gentile. Put another way, do the documents at all reflect anything that Jesus did or said, and if so, how much?

Eugene Fisher feels strongly that Jews misunderstand Christian Scriptures, and particularly the complementary, not contradictory, roles played by Paul of Tarsus to the teachings of Jesus of Nazareth. For many Jews, Pauline Christianity (bred in Hellenistic Judaism and spouting pseudo-Messianism, incarnate Son of God theology, etc.) quickly turned against Judaism and by the fourth century began persecutingjews, singling them out for hell on earth. Fisher challenges these notions about Jesus the Christ and Jewish-Christian history.

Michael Cook suggests that if many Christian Gentile scholars who live and breathe the Jesus of faith are agnostic in their historical findings, then what can Jewish scholars, separate in faith, bring to the table without looking foolish, stupid, or condescending? He answers, "gospel dynamics," which is illustrated by four well-known Jesus episodes, namely, the Last Supper, Sanhedrin trial and so-called blasphemy charge, and pairing with Barabbas.

In much of thoughtful Jewish New Testament scholarship, there has been a long tendency to regard Paul of Tarsus as the ultimate apostate. However, plenary speaker Richard L. Rubenstein, author of My Brother Paul sees a profound fraternal relation between the disciples of Paul and rabbinic Israel. Rubenstein explores this and other such issues as the Church and Synagogue, the connection between Judaism and Christianity, and sacrifice in Christianity and Judaism. He explores the complex interrelations of the two faiths and the conflicts between them.

Steve Bowman analyzes Jesus in Byzantium apologetics and polemics from the ninth to the eleventh century. He utilizes overt and covert allusions to Jesus in Sefer Yosippon and contemporary Byzantine midrashim to reflect on Jewish responses to shifting patterns of the discussions over Jesus in the face of the evolving international conditions affecting Jews and Christians ofthat time. David Flusser's treatment of Jesus is discussed within the context of his seminal work on Sefer Yosippon.

The horrific murder of European Jewry in the bosom of Christian Europe has altered forever how Christians and Jews religiously define themselves and relate to the other. Henry Knight's essay is an invitational challenge to Christians and Jews to do post-Shoah theology together. In the face of the murdered millions, including 1.5 million children, and in the presence of the Jew, Jesus, before whom Christians stand in new ways, he sagaciously proposes that the Church and Synagogue face each other and themselves to understand the changing landscape in the relationships between Jews and Christians due in part to silence in Heaven and indifference on Earth. Finally, Steven L.Jacobs ponders what role Jesus the Jew plays for Christians and Jews in their postShoah dialogical hermeneutics. His evaluative response is both positive and problematic to Christians and Jews.25

Religious beliefs and practices are often couched in religious creeds and outlooks which for many traditionalist Jews and Christians are rooted in the Bible, seen as monolithic and complete. Decades of academic biblical scholarship, however, show that the biblical canon is a product of historical, political, and social forces, in addition to contempt from the Cross at Calvary, by positioning the New Testament Jesus in the context of the Judaism of Erets Israel in first century. Viewing Jesus, as I do, as a pharisaic proto-rabbi nationalist closely aligned with the anti-Roman zealot insurrection challenges and distresses Jewish practitioners and Christian believers alike. Equally controversial is whether the continuity of the historical Jesus with the Christ of faith is found only in cultic belief or grounded in historical data. Is seeking the historical Jesus a quest (legitimate) or a con-quest (not possible)? Short view? It represents a gentle Jewish conquest of Gentile supersessionism brought about, in part, by the contemporary Church's inherent need to reconcile with its apostolic origin. The long view? Go forth, study, argue- and always with respect.

1 For a selection of books dealing with the Jewishness of Jesus, see Solomon Zeitlin, Who Crucified Jesus? (New York, Bloch Publication Co., 1964); Harvey Falk, Jesus the Pharisee: A New Look at the Jewishness of Jesus (New York: Paulist Press, 1985); John Dominic Crossan, TIx Historical Jesus: TIk Life of a Mediterranean Jewish Peasant (San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco, 1991); Trude Weiss- Rosmarin, Judaism and Christianity: The Differences (Middle Village, New York: Jonathan David Publishers, 1997); Geza Vermes, The Changing Faces of Jesus (New York: Penguin Books, 2000); Paula Fredriksen, From Jesus to Christ: The Origins of the New Testament Image of Jesus, 2"J ed. (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2000); James Carroll, Constantine's Sword (Boston/New York: Houghton Mifflin, 2001); Schalom Ben-Chorin, Brother Jesus: TIk Nazarene Tlmugk Jewish Eyes, trans, and ed. by J. S. Klein and M. Reinhart (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 2001); Amy-Jill Levine, The Misunderstood Jew: The Church and the Scandal of the Jewish Jesus (San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco, 2006); Philip SigaL, The Halakhah of Jesus of Nazareth according to the Gospel of Matthew (Atlanta/Leiden: Society of Biblical Literature/ Brill, 2007); David Flusser, The Sage from Galilee: Rediscoveringjesus' Genius (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2007); Oskar Skarsaune and Hvalvik Reidar, eds., Jewish Believers in Jesus (Peabody, Mass.: Hendrickson, 2007); Matthew Hoffman, From Rebel to Rabbi: Reclaiming Jesus and the Making of Modern Jewish Culture (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2007); Michael J. Cook, Modern Jews Engage the New Testament: Enhancing Jewish Well-Being in a Christian Environment (Woodstock, Vermont: Jewish Lights, 2008); John P. Meier, A Marginal Jew: Rethinking the Historical Jesus: Vol. 4: Law and Love (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2009); and Herbert Basser, The Mind Behind the Gospels: A Commentary to Matthew 1-14 (Boston: Academic Studies Press, 2009).

2 The negative version of the Golden Rule suggests the frailty of subjective thinking, i.e., "what is good for me, is good for you." The non-rational narure of chuqqotai supports this point of view.

3 My view on the historical Jesus is spelled out in Zev Garber, ed., Mel Glissons Passion: The Film, the Controversy, and Its Implications (West Lafayette, IN: Purdue University Press, 2006), pp. 63-69.

4 Cf., among others, Matt. 26:62-64; Mark 14:60-62; Luke 22:60-70.

5 Cf. Matt 5:17-20.

6 Matt 23: 1-3a

7 Gal 3:28. Also, 1 Cor 12:13; Col 3:11.

8 Rom 10:6 commenting on Deut 30:13-14

9 Deut 30:11-12a

10 The Talmud states: "61 3 Commandments were revealed to Moses at Sinai, 365 being prohibitions equal in number to the solar days, and 248 being mandates corresponding in number to the limbs of the human body" (Mak. 23b). Another source sees the 365 prohibitions corresponding to the supposedly 365 veins in the body thereby drawing a connection between the performance of Commandments and the life of a person ("choose life"). The standard classification and enumeration of the TaRYaG Mitzvot (613 Commandments) follows the order of Maimonides (1135-1205) in his Sefer ha-Mitzvot ("Book of Commandments," originally written in Arabic and translated several times into Hebrew).

11 Deut 30:19

12 Galatians, for example, which I discussed in my paper, "How Believable Is the Allegory of Hagar and Sarah (Gal 41)," given at the annual meeting of the National Association of Professors of Hebrew (NAPH), meeting in conjunction with the annual meeting of AAR-SBL, in Nashville, Tennessee, 18-21 November 2000.

13 Rom 10:4a.

14 Eph2:15

15 John 4:22b-23.

16 John 8:31-59.

17 Term associated with Jules Isaac (1877-1963), French Jewish authority on antisemitism, who in an authence with Pope John XXIII in 1960, persuaded the Holy Father to consider the errors of the Church's teachings on the Jews. Isaac's writings on l'enseignement du mépris played a key role in the declaration of Nostre Aetate.

18 Phrase introduced by Pope John XXIII.

19 Exod 3:14.

20 Exod 3:14.

21 In the unvocalized Hebrew of the Torah, "this is my Name I'lm" can be read not as "forever" but "to be hidden." See Exod 3:15b.

22 Isa 52:6.

23 Shofar, Vol. 27, No. 2 (Winter 2009), pp. 128-137.

24 Linda Gilmore's official title at Case is Manager of Interdisciplinary Programs and Centers, but I call her,"my Catholic angel." My admiration for Linda's managerial expertise was solidified in the Spring 2005 semester when I taught at Case as the invited Rosenthal Fellow. Additionally, her Christian caring and concern that every "dot and tittle" (see Matt 5:17) of my Orthoprax Je wish ways be met is remembered with appreciation and respect.

25 For a sampling of different approaches and results in recent attempts at Jewish-Christian dialogue inspired by scriptural and holocaustal concern, see Paula Fredriksen and Adele Reinhartz, eds. Jesus, Judaism, and Christian Anti-Judaism: Reading tlje New Testament after the Holocaust (Louisville, KY: Westminister John Knox Press, 2002); James F. Moore (with Z. Garber, S.Jacobs, and H. Knight), ed., Post-Shoah Dialogues: Re-Thinking Our Texts Together (Lanham, MD: University Press of America, 2004); and Alan L. Berger and David Patterson (with D. P. Gushee, J. T. Pawlikowski, and J. K. Roth), eds., Jewish Christian Dialogue: Drawing Honey from the Rock (St. Paul, MN: Paragon House, 2008).

Author affiliation:

Zev Garber

Los Angeles Valley College

Author affiliation:

Zev Garber is Emeritus Professor and Chair of Jewish Studies and Philosophy at Los Angeles Valley College and has served as Visiting Professor of Religious Studies at University of California at Riverside, as Visiting Rosenthal Professor of Judaic Studies at Case Western Reserve University, and as President of the National Association of Professors of Hebrew. He is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of two academic series, Studies in Shoah (UPA) and Shofar Supplements in Jewish Studies (Purdue University Ptess), and setves as Co-Editor of Shofar. His publications include Methodology in the Academic Teaching of Judaism; Methodology in the Academic Teaching of the Holocaust; Teaching Hebrew Language and Literature at the College Level; Shoah: The Paradigmatic Genocide; Perspectives on Zionism; Peace, In Deed: Essays in Honor of Harry James Cargas (with Richard Libowitz); Academic Approaches to Teaching Jewish Studies; Post-Shoah Dialogues: Rethinking Our Texts Together (with Steven Jacobs, Henry Knight, and James Moore); Double Takes: Thinking and Rethinking Issues of Modern Judaism in Ancient Contexts (with Bruce Zuckerman); Mel Gibson's Passion; The Film, the Controversy, and Its Implications; and The Impact of the Holocaust in America: The Jewish Role in American Life (2009). Finally, Maven in Blue Jeans: A Festschrift in Honor of Zev Garber was published by Purdue University Press in 2009.

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