Jesus in the Talmudby Peter Schafer
Pub. Date: 08/24/2009
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Scattered throughout the Talmud, the founding document of rabbinic Judaism in late antiquity, can be found quite a few references to Jesusand they're not flattering. In this lucid, richly detailed, and accessible book, Peter Schäfer examines how the rabbis of the Talmud read, understood, and used the New Testament Jesus narrative to assert, ultimately,… See more details below
Scattered throughout the Talmud, the founding document of rabbinic Judaism in late antiquity, can be found quite a few references to Jesusand they're not flattering. In this lucid, richly detailed, and accessible book, Peter Schäfer examines how the rabbis of the Talmud read, understood, and used the New Testament Jesus narrative to assert, ultimately, Judaism's superiority over Christianity.
The Talmudic stories make fun of Jesus' birth from a virgin, fervently contest his claim to be the Messiah and Son of God, and maintain that he was rightfully executed as a blasphemer and idolater. They subvert the Christian idea of Jesus' resurrection and insist he got the punishment he deserved in helland that a similar fate awaits his followers.
Schäfer contends that these stories betray a remarkable familiarity with the Gospelsespecially Matthew and Johnand represent a deliberate and sophisticated anti-Christian polemic that parodies the New Testament narratives. He carefully distinguishes between Babylonian and Palestinian sources, arguing that the rabbis' proud and self-confident countermessage to that of the evangelists was possible only in the unique historical setting of Persian Babylonia, in a Jewish community that lived in relative freedom. The same could not be said of Roman and Byzantine Palestine, where the Christians aggressively consolidated their political power and the Jews therefore suffered.
A departure from past scholarship, which has played down the stories as unreliable distortions of the historical Jesus, Jesus in the Talmud posits a much more deliberate agenda behind these narratives.
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Table of Contents
Chapter 1: Jesus' Family 15
Chapter 2: The Son/Disciple Who Turned out Badly 25
Chapter 3: The Frivolous Disciple 34
Chapter 4: The Torah Teacher 41
Chapter 5: Healing in the Name of Jesus 52
Chapter 6: Jesus' Execution 63
Chapter 7: Jesus' Disciples 75
Chapter 8: Jesus' Punishment in Hell 82
Chapter 9: Jesus in the Talmud 95
Appendix: Bavli Manuscripts and Censorship 131
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