The Jewish Annotated New Testament

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Overview


Although major New Testament figures--Jesus and Paul, Peter and James, Jesus' mother Mary and Mary Magdalene--were Jews, living in a culture steeped in Jewish history, beliefs, and practices, there has never been an edition of the New Testament that addresses its Jewish background and the culture from which it grew--until now. In The Jewish Annotated New Testament, eminent experts under the general editorship of Amy-Jill Levine and Marc Z. Brettler put these writings back into the context of their original authors and audiences. And they explain how these writings have affected the relations of Jews and Christians over the past two thousand years.

An international team of scholars introduces and annotates the Gospels, Acts, Letters, and Revelation from Jewish perspectives, in the New Revised Standard Version translation. They show how Jewish practices and writings, particularly the Greek translation of the Hebrew Bible, influenced the New Testament writers. From this perspective, readers gain new insight into the New Testament's meaning and significance. In addition, thirty essays on historical and religious topics--Divine Beings, Jesus in Jewish thought, Parables and Midrash, Mysticism, Jewish Family Life, Messianic Movements, Dead Sea Scrolls, questions of the New Testament and anti-Judaism, and others--bring the Jewish context of the New Testament to the fore, enabling all readers to see these writings both in their original contexts and in the history of interpretation. For readers unfamiliar with Christian language and customs, there are explanations of such matters as the Eucharist, the significance of baptism, and "original sin."

For non-Jewish readers interested in the Jewish roots of Christianity and for Jewish readers who want a New Testament that neither proselytizes for Christianity nor denigrates Judaism, The Jewish Annotated New Testament is an essential volume that places these writings in a context that will enlighten students, professionals, and general readers.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

" An historic volume of extraordinary scholarship that can transform Christian-Jewish relations. . . . A must-read for both clergy and laity. . . . A significant achievement."
--Rabbi A. James Rudin, Senior Interreligious Advisor, The American Jewish Committee

" This exciting collection by leading Jewish scholars not only annotates the New Testament but also brings out its themes, context, and interpretation over the centuries. Essential for libraries of scholars in Christian-Jewish studies, academic institutions offering degrees in theology, and dialogue groups at all levels."--Dr. Eugene J. Fisher, Distinguished Professor of Catholic-Jewish Studies, Saint Leo University; Former Associate Director, Secretariat for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops

" One volume must find its way to seminarians, preachers, and other students of Scripture: The Jewish Annotated New Testament. With insightful essays and page-by-page notes and sidebars on each book, this volume fills a huge gap in the world of biblical interpretation, providing an accessible guide to how this most Jewish document from antiquity is understood by Jewish scholars today."--The Rev. William Brosend, School of Theology, Sewanee, TN and Executive Director, Episcopal Preaching Foundation

"It is an admirable piece of scholarship. It provides a wealth of highly relevant context, enriching the cultural and literary as well as the theological and historical terms in which these writings of first-century Jews should be approached. The contributors are tactful and sophisticated in their treatment of antiquity and respectful of its mysteries. Much contemporary writing on Scripture is faddish or tendentious. This book is a disciplined work of clarification and illumination" -- Marilynne Robinson, Wall Street Journal

"To see the fruits of the ongoing interchange between Jewish and Christian biblical scholars, one need look no further than this volume...this volume shows how the deepening knowledge of late antique Judaism enriches one's view of the New Testament."--CHOICE

"A vivid and thick description of issues, practices, ideas, and events of the Second Temple period, with the Gospels in particular looking more and more like extensions of Jewish life and textuality. The result is a bridge of connection between the cultures, almost to the point of losing sight of the chasms of (mis)understanding that have divided them for centuries." --Common Knowledge

"This unique groundbreaking reference book fills a needed void...A must purchase for any school, synagogue, or university library."--Association fo Jewish Libraries

"This new commentary on the New Testament certainly adds an important voice to modern NT commentary and is essential reading not only for biblical scholars but seminarians and preachers."--Catholic Books Review

"A monument to past achievements in New Testament scholarship and a beacon for future study...The Annotated Jewish New Testament should be either a primary text or required accompanying work in every seminary and upper-division course in New Testament and should leave its mark on all preaching."--America

Library Journal
In this first ever annotation by Jewish scholars and theologians of the New Testament, editors Levine (New Testament & Jewish studies, Vanderbilt Univ.) and Brettler (biblical studies, Brandeis Univ.) remark, "there is much in the New Testament that we find both beautiful and meaningful." Intended for scholarly and lay readers, Jewish as well as Christian, the volume aims to present the Revised Standard Version from a Jewish perspective and provide historical and literary context. Moreover, these annotations are meant to offer a thoughtful corrective to false notions regarding what the New Testament does—and does not—say about Jews, Judaism, and Jewish practices. Equally valuable are the 30 additional topical essays, such as Jewish responses to the New Testament, history and literature of the New Testament, mysticism, and Jesus in the rabbinic tradition. VERDICT Further enriched by maps, diagrams, and embedded conceptual discussions on topics like parables, law in Jewish practice, and the Pharisees, this very readable work provides much needed historical and literary background to the Jewish roots of Christianity. Highly recommended for New Testament history and literature students.—Sandra Collins, Byzantine Catholic Seminary Lib., Pittsburgh
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195297706
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
  • Publication date: 11/15/2011
  • Pages: 700
  • Sales rank: 90,143
  • Product dimensions: 6.40 (w) x 9.50 (h) x 1.30 (d)

Meet the Author

Amy-Jill Levine is University Professor of New Testament and Jewish Studies, E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Professor of New Testament Studies, and Professor of Jewish Studies at the Divinity School, College of Arts and Science, Graduate Department of Religion, and Program in Jewish Studies at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, TN.

Marc Z. Brettler is Dora Golding Professor of Biblical Studies at Brandeis University.

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Table of Contents

The full text of the New Testament (in the New Revised Standard Version translation), each book introduced and annotated, plus a full selection of essays on historical and religious topics (e.g. the historical background of the Greco-Roman world in the years leading up to New Testament times).

Contributors

Alan J. Avery-Peck - 2 Corinthians
Herbert Basser - James
Daniel Boyarin - Logos, A Jewish Word: John's Prologue as Midrash
Marc Zvi Brettler - Editor; The New Testament between the Hebrew Bible (Tanakh) and Rabbinic Literature
Jonathan Brumberg-Kraus - 3 John
Shaye J. D. Cohen - Galatians; Judaism and Jewishness; Josephus
Michael Cook - Philippians
Pamela Eisenbaum - Hebrews
Michael Fagenblat - Who Is my Neighbor? The Concept of Neighbor in Jewish and Christian Ethics
Charlotte Elisheva Fonrobert - Judaizers, Jewish Christians, and Others
David Frankfurter - Revelation
David Friedenreich - Food and Table Fellowship
Julie Galambush - 2 John
Aaron M. Gale - Matthew
Joshua D. Garroway - Jews and Judeans: The Meanings of Ioudaios
Barbara Geller - Philemon
Gary Gilbert - Acts
Martin Goodman - Jewish History, 331 BCE - 135 CE
Leonard Greenspoon - The Septuagint
Michael R. Greenwald - 2 Peter; The Canon of the New Testament
Adam Gregerman - 2 Thessalonians
Maxine Grossman - Ephesians; The Dead Sea Scrolls
Susannah Heschel - Jesus in Modern Jewish Thought
Martha Himmelfarb - Afterlife and Resurrection
Tal Ilan - 2 Timothy
Andrew Jacobs - Jude
Jonathan Klawans - The Law
Naomi Koltun-Fromm - 1 Timothy
Jennifer Koosed - Titus
Ross S. Kraemer - Jewish Family Life in the First Century CE
Shira Lander - 1 Corinthians
Daniel R. Langton - Paul in Jewish Thought
Rebecca Lesses - Divine Beings
David Levenson - Messianic Movements

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 10 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 10 Customer Reviews
  • Posted May 14, 2012

    I just want to focus on one problem that this book is symptomat

    I just want to focus on one problem that this book is symptomatic of.

    The best parts of ancient Jewish culture are missing from it: the love of storytelling, shared memories of the recent past, and the fight for constitutional government, justice, and peace. Pharisaic/rabbinic culture accomplished some great things that Jesus fully participated in, including oral Torah. The editors give us almost none of it.

    It is not enough to tell us what Judaism was not (not legalistic, not ritualistic, etc.), which this book does very well. You have to tell us what Judaism was in its heart of hearts. The editors and authors do not capture the vibrancy and thrill of creating something new that Pharisees and rabbis explored to the hilt, and their incredible devotion to constitutional government.

    Presumably one of the editors’ goals is to get more Jews interested in the NT. Jews have never taken an interest for reasons that are complicated. Just one: There is no book of NT scholarship from which you will walk away with a strong positive feeling about ancient Jewish culture. This book is no exception. Why should Jews involve themselves in a subject that incorrectly teaches them that ancient Jews were primarily tribal and ritualistic and, for inexplicable reasons, were easily antagonized by a Rabbi Jesus/Joshua? There is some effort here to correct some misconceptions about ancient Judaism, but it is way too little, and the editors never challenge the traditional story of Jesus’ death which promotes these misconceptions.

    At a bare minimum, a book that claims to be a Jewish – never mind Jewish, how about historically accurate – annotated version of the NT should contain: 1) a discussion of the abundant rabbinic parallels to virtually every saying and parable of Jesus; the editors do point out some of this, but miss opportunity after opportunity to explore the richness of Jesus’ Pharisaic way of thinking; e.g., they completely overlook Jesus’ many allusions to chutzpah (an Aramaic word); and 2) the many places in the Gospels where Jesus refers to sayings and deeds of recent Jewish figures, such as Hillel, Honi, and Shimon ben Shetach, because Jesus and his audience shared these memories; this book misses every one.

    An example of one good thing they point out but inadequately: In a few places (2, 14, 130, 137, 505), they note Jesus’ use of the qal va-homer argument, which they explain too briefly. It does not vibrate with any great meaning. We never learn why Jesus and the Pharisees loved this form of argument so much.

    The worst part of the book is this: the editors reinforce the false and stereotyped image of Jewish leaders working with Rome to suppress Jewish troublemakers. They do next to nothing to question the traditional story of Jesus’ death at the instigation of Jewish leaders and the allegation of Judas’ betrayal (based on highly ambiguous evidence). All this is Christian theology, not Jewish history.

    There is no acknowledgment of the evidence in Josephus that demonstrates Jewish leaders would never have helped Rome arrest and prosecute a Jew, or the Gospel evidence that exonerates Jewish leaders. The editors once mention ‘paradidomi’, a very ambiguous word whose primary meaning is certainly not betray, at 1 Cor 11:23 but never tell their readers that the Gospels use the same word or that the evidence against Judas is equivocal. Christian scholars could have written this book. We're 100 years away from a Jewish NT.
    Leon Zitzer

    8 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 3, 2012

    Good Resource for Jewish Jesus Studies

    I am keenly interested in understanding more about the Jewishness of Jesus. This seemed like an excellent resource for that study. I was a little disappointed in the study notes -- not many of them. But the stand-alone articles and sidebars more than make up for the lack of in-text notes.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 27, 2013

    footnotes are a problem

    The footnotes, which are voluminous and are integral to this edition, are all collected together at the end of the eBook. In the paper edition, they are interleaved with the text and are very easy to access. In the eBook edition, they are extremely difficult to access. I gave it two starts nonetheless, because the interesting and useful scholarly essays are present (and easy to access).

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 25, 2013

    A must for theological studies

    This magnificently researched annotation of the New Testament is important to both the Jewish and Christian student of theology. To truly understand the core of the Christian bible one must understand its roots, which comes mostly from the Hebrew Scriptures and writings. The Jewish Annotated New Testament carefully directs the reader to the original source and explains the historicity of events. To its credit, this treatise does not attempt to promote or denounce the theological validity of the written works of the New Testament. It instead, sees readers as intelligent students who can process information on their own. The Christian bible would not exist if the Jewish bible did not exist before it. This book shows how the Gospels are rooted in the words of the Hebrew bible and rabbinic thought of the day. The Annotated New Testament is also a testament to the scholarship of the authors and editors of this imposing, monumental achievement.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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    Posted August 14, 2012

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    Posted June 1, 2013

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    Posted September 26, 2012

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    Posted April 18, 2012

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    Posted January 29, 2012

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    Posted September 27, 2012

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