The Misunderstood Jew: The Church and the Scandal of the Jewish Jesus

The Misunderstood Jew The Church and the Scandal of the Jewish Jesus Country Western singer Kinky Friedman often performs a song entitled They Ain t Making Jews Like Jesus Any and New Testament professor Amy Jill Levine would agree In fact her career is dedicated to

Country Western singer Kinky Friedman often performs a song entitled They Ain t Making Jews Like Jesus Any, and New Testament professor Amy Jill Levine would agree In fact, her career is dedicated to helping Christians and Jews understand the Jewishness of Jesus, thereby deepening the understanding of him, and facilitating greater interfaith dialogue In this book,Country Western singer Kinky Friedman often performs a song entitled They Ain t Making Jews Like Jesus Any, and New Testament professor Amy Jill Levine would agree In fact, her career is dedicated to helping Christians and Jews understand the Jewishness of Jesus, thereby deepening the understanding of him, and facilitating greater interfaith dialogue In this book, she shows how liberal Christians misunderstand Judaism, misunderstand the New Testament, and thus yank Jesus out of his Jewish context and wind up promoting hatred of Jews Only with the deeper understanding this top Jewish, Southern born New Testament scholar provides can we hope to respect each other s beliefs, as well as enrich our own.Through a extremely busy teaching and speaking schedule, Levine has honed her message at synagogues, Catholic conferences, Jewish Community Centers, denominational meetings, in the classroom and in her highly successful Teaching Company audios and videos Levine is brilliant, charming, funny and forceful, and uses these traits to give a completely fresh perspective on Jesus and the New Testament In addition to offering new insights with great skill, she has the remarkable ability to be tough, pointing out how even liberal Christians can be unwittingly anti Semitic in their understanding of what Jesus stood for.Her truth telling here will provoke honest dialogue on how Christians and Jews should understand Jesus and our New Testament heritage.

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    Published :2018-03-06T19:50:07+00:00

One thought on “The Misunderstood Jew: The Church and the Scandal of the Jewish Jesus

  1. Nick

    This is a difficult book for me to rate and review. On the one hand, it was well written and thought provoking. Levine gave me much food for thought here. She makes many valid criticisms of Christian interpretation of Scripture throughout history, as well as the way that Christians have treated Jews. I was truly shocked to read about how some passages of the New Testament have been used to degrade or even persecute Jewish people. Yes, Jesus was a Jew and the disciples were too. She points out th [...]

  2. Dennis Fischman

    Amy-Jill Levine is an Orthodox Jewish woman who teaches New Testament Studies at a Christian college. She is well positioned to speak to people in both religious camps. I was not surprised to hear that Jesus and his followers were Jews all their lives, nor that a lot of the anti-Jewish thinking and writing crept into Christianity at the point where it attempted to win over gentile followers throughout the Roman empire. I was also familiar with the idea that the Gospels are historical documents, [...]

  3. Lee Harmon

    What started out as a light-hearted look at the Jewish Jesus quickly turned somber. This is a serious look at the pain that anti-Semitic interpretations of the Bible have caused and continue to cause. Levine, a Jew, has an excellent grasp of New Testament studies, so this is more than a rant against Christian prejudice. It's a serious look at the real Jesus, his Jewishness, and Christianity's emergence within first-century Judaism. A provocative quote from the book: "I find Jesus reflects back t [...]

  4. David

    Reading the Bible as a lifelong Christian means it is easy to accept certain things about the story rather uncritically. While we recognize that Jesus was Jewish, we tend to contrast Jesus with most other Jews of his day. We also tend to assume a straight line from the Old Testament Law to the Jews of Jesus’ day to the Jews of our day. What we do not realize is that there was a lot of development of what it meant to be Jewish in both of those periods.Amy Jill-Levine has done Christians everywh [...]

  5. Bruno

    Outstanding. Levine takes few prisoners in this witty, acerbic,and pointed defense of the Jewishness of Jesus of Nazareth. In my opinion, her eloquent (yet vicious) take on the WCC was worth the price of the book. As a facilitator in a Protestant Bible study group, I constantly badger our folks to remember that we Christians stole this Jew - He did not come to earth to form a new religion but to justify and fulfill Judaism. The church fathers of the first and second century drove home the wedges [...]

  6. Lauren

    The book has several liabilities: chapters are too long; at times, it feels Levine belabors her point, which, in turn, betrays her bias; unequivocally, the book is inaccurately named (the book is much less about Jesus and much more about the early church; it argues for the Christian to cease anti-Jewish rhetoric and sloppy scholarship about the New Testament and rather contextualizes the same within its proper Jewish setting).In reading several reviews from other GoodReads members, I agree with [...]

  7. Lisa

    Honestly, I gave up before I finished. I thought it was interesting at first, but then felt like it was more of an article stretched out into a book.

  8. John Martindale

    It was interesting hearing a Jewish perspective on Jesus, Levine argued that in order to prop up Christianity and to make Jesus look more progressive and inclusive, many have contrasted Christianity with the ever "regressive" and "exclusive" Judaism, and have (though often quite unintentionally) thus denigrated the Jews in the process and have embraced, what seems to some Jews, very antisemitic interpretations. Levine thinks much of the contrast between "enlightened" Christianity and "oppressive [...]

  9. Jim

    Jesus was a Jew. This is the main theme of Amy-Jill Levine's book. This is important to remember when we are surrounded by pictures and religious icons suggesting he is white, fair-haired, and blue-eyed. The back of the book suggests that Levine "helps Christians and Jews understand the 'Jewishness' of Jesus so that their appreciation of him deepens and a greater interfaith dialogue can take place." But rather than placing Jesus in His Jewish context to get a better understanding of His life and [...]

  10. Geoff Glenister

    I'm a little torn as to how to rate this. There was some really excellent, invaluable insight here, and I think that it would do the world a lot of good if every Christian minister would read this book and take it very seriously.However, I have a few critiques.First of all - the title. The title gave me the impression that the book was going to be mostly a Jewish look at Jesus (or, how to understand Jesus through a Jewish lense, since Jesus was Jewish). And there is some of that in this book - b [...]

  11. Eric Vanden Eykel

    This is an outstanding work of scholarship written by an outstanding scholar. It is lively, accessible, and recommended highly.

  12. Fred Kohn

    I always look forward to reading a book by a Jesus scholar, especially one that can bring a fresh perspective from outside the Christian tradition. Unfortunately, while illuminating, this book wasn't particularly edifying. It basically consisted of a long rant against Christians, who apparently, just can't help from misunderstanding Jesus and in the process promote anti-Jewishness at every turn. Nor is this misunderstanding confined to the poor schlubs in the pews but is promoted by Christian sc [...]

  13. Josh

    Levine presents an impressive thesis, but it sadly falls apart during the latter half of the book. Nevertheless, it presents questions regarding the Jewishness of Jesus that cause one to wonder just how much of the New Testament ignores or tries to cover up that fact. Having read many portions of the Old Testament in the original Hebrew, I felt like I had a little bit of a background to approach Levine's text, but found myself blown away and amazed at the connections and parallels that Levine dr [...]

  14. Kipahni

    Well written and informative. Levine doesn't want all Christians to forsake Christ,likewise she doesn't want all Jews to accept Jesus. What she wants is a dialogue and understand that what the church sometimes says (even though it doesn't mean it) comes off as anti-sematic. She also puts Jesus back in his historical context and explains how the jewish sect becomes a seprate gentile relgion.

  15. Jblangworthy

    Some might consider Ami-Jill Levine to be opinionated. In any case her message that many common Christian practices promote Anti-Judaism is one that most of us need to hear. I will recommend this for my Sunday School class.

  16. Gordon

    A very important book that every preacher and Sunday School teacher should read! Why? I will supplement my review later.

  17. Andrea Levin

    I love this book! I feel as though it is necessary for me to explain what it is about my background that predisposes me to love it. I was born into an interfaith family in central New Hampshire that is comprised of devout Evangelical Baptists and minimally-observant Reform Jews. Because I was a child of the 70s, my parents decided to raise us in both traditions. The Christian family was much more zealous in their role in this project than the Jewish side was. I grew up knowing that I was Jewish, [...]

  18. Bruce Campbell

    The idea of Antisemitism in the New Testament (especially the Gospel of John) was nothing new to me. However, Ms. Levine takes it to a whole new level. She finds the anti-Jewish thoughts and ideas everywhere. All in all, this a very good book and opens the reader's eye to a new way of looking at scripture. Highly recommend.

  19. David

    Levine offers some very blunt and candid reflections on Christian misuse of the Jesus tradition and the New Testament. There are some especially pointed critiques of progress-liberal and liberation readings of Jesus. Chapter five in particular I found very useful, and it will certainly inform how I approach the NT and preach from it.

  20. Kent

    Paraphrasing from Professor Levine's book, while speaking to a large group of Catholic seminarians she asked how many of them had met a Jewish person. Only a few of the young men raised their hands. She then turned around, and pointed to the large crucifix hanging behind her and told them there's a Jewish man right there.Amy-Jill Levine is a Jewish scholar that currently teaches at Vanderbilt University Divinity School. Her book, from 2006, reminds us that in the 1st century CE Jesus was a Jewis [...]

  21. Stephen

    Amy-Jill Levine is a Jew for Jesus. No, not that kind of Jew -- she's happily Orthodox, thank you very much. But she grew up with Christian friends and developed an interest in Christian culture to the point that as a child, her Barbie and Ken dolls took celebrated Eucharist with one another -- and as an adult, she teaches on the New Testament at a largely Protestant divinity school. As someone who cherishes both religious traditions, she writes to help Christians and Jews understand one another [...]

  22. Dustin

    I have studied religion in one way or another all of my thinking life, back into Sunday School days through college, Seminary and then in a "secular" manner at the University and on my own. I somehow missed Levine's major work at all points so I corrected that this year with a quick read. It's a rather good book and it situates Jesus squarely in his Jewish context without advocating or attacking Synagogue or Church from a theological perspective. The most striking part for me were the instances [...]

  23. Mike Blyth

    Excellent book for helping Christians understand how some misunderstandings about Jesus and church origins come across as anti-Jewish (not antisemitic, as the author makes the distinction). This happens largely when 1st century Judaism is portrayed negatively in order to provide a foil for Jesus. One example Levine gives is the treatment of women, which according to her was not nearly as negative as described in the standard narrative of Jesus who liberated women who were oppressed and marginali [...]

  24. Kathleen Basi

    In this book, Amy-Jill Levine talks about Christianity and Judaism and the pitfalls that can come when we try to interpret languages from millennia ago and cultures from millennia ago.Levine's perspective--that of a well-educated Jewish woman--has a lot of value to Christians. She's really, really generous in spirit in the way she gives credit to the people, the customs, and the intent of both Jewish and Christian traditions. Basically this is a book to help modern Christians understand how the [...]

  25. Adam

    Levine's book is a misguided comparison of a Christian perspective of Jews and a Jewish perspective of Jesus. She takes a stab at explaining anti-Jewish perspectives of New Testament writings. Her theological perspective unfortunately skews her interpretation of New Testament scriptures. While attempting to say that the New Testament writings (especially Paul) say there is no difference between Jew or gentile and obviously overlooking the scriptures that say God shows no partiality, she then tal [...]

  26. Barbara

    A totally worthwhile book to read for anyone interested in the Jewishness of Jesus, of the New Testament, of the very early Christians, and even of the Old Testament/Tanakh. In the first half of the book, Dr. Levine's thorough survey of anti-Judaism in Christian thought, I recognized familiar example after familiar example of ways Christians commonly discount or erase the Jewishness of the New Testament people, events, and writers, and/or dismiss the Jewish perspective and understanding. I am th [...]

  27. Annemarie

    Wow. I never realized how much my liberal Christian theology/philosophy is still amiss in regard to ensuring that we see Jesus in the context of his own Jewish upbringing and tradition. I enjoy Amy Jill Levine so much. She is a compelling story teller and has a disarming sense of humor while still remaining focused on the point at hand. It intrigues me that she is an orthodox Jew and a New Testament scholar. I especially appreciate the way she explains OT events from a Jewish perspective. As a c [...]

  28. Dana Kraft

    I struggled to get through the first 75 pages or so but I really warmed up to it after that. I learned a lot and gained some new perspectives on my faith. That easily makes this a winner for me. A few of my lessons learned and favorite quotes are:- much of the what might be called Judaism today was based on interpretation and traditions that developed well after the time of Christ; plus the Jewish faith at the time of Jesus was anything but homogenous.- Jesus was speaking to Jews within Judaism [...]

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