The Jewish Annotated New Testamentby Amy-Jill Levine
Pub. Date: 11/15/2011
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Although major New Testament figuresJesus and Paul, Peter and James, Jesus' mother Mary and Mary Magdalenewere 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 grewuntil now. In The Jewish Annotated
Although major New Testament figuresJesus and Paul, Peter and James, Jesus' mother Mary and Mary Magdalenewere 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 grewuntil 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 topicsDivine 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 othersbring 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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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).
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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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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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
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.
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).
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.