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Placing himself within the context of the Gospel of Matthew, Neusner imagines himself in a dialogue with Jesus of Nazareth and pays him the supreme Judaic gesture of respect: making a connection with him through an honest debate about the nature of God's One Truth. Neusner explains why the Sermon on the Mount would not have convinced him to follow Jesus and why, by the criterion of the Torah of Moses, he would have continued to follow the teachings of Moses. He explores the reasons Christians believe in Jesus Christ and the Kingdom of Heaven, while Jews continue to believe in the Torah of Moses and a kingdom of priests and holy people on earth. This revised and expanded edition, with a foreword by Donald Akenson, creates a thoughtful and accessible context for discussion of the most fundamental question of why Christians and Jews believe what they believe.
|1||Come, Let Us Reason Together||3|
|2||A Practicing Jew in Dialogue with Jesus||18|
|3||Not to Destroy but to Fulfill vs You Have Heard That It Was Said, But I Say to You||35|
|4||Honor Your Father and Your Mother vs Do Not Think That I have Come to Bring Peace on Earth||53|
|5||Remember the Sabbath Day to Keep It Holy vs Look, Your Disciples Are Doing What Is Not Lawful to Do on the Sabbath||73|
|6||You Shall Be Holy; for I the Lord Your God Am Holy vs If You Would Be Perfect Go, Sell All You Have and Come, Follow Me||89|
|7||You Shall Be Holy vs Holier than Thou||111|
|8||The Road from Capernaum||127|
|9||You Shall Tithe All the Yield of Your Seed vs You Tithe Mint and Dill and Cumin and Have Neglected the Weightier Matters of the Law||134|
|10||How Much Torah, After All?||151|
Posted May 27, 2009
Jacaob Nuesner imaginges himself to be one of the many Jews who came to listen to Matthew's Jesus in the 1st century. His thesis can be summed up in two statements. 1) I went to hear Jesus. Did he take anything away from the Torah? No. Did he add anything? Yes, himself. 2) Why he would not have followed Jesus.
Nuesner does a wonderful job in highlighting various parts of the text where Jesus implies his divinity, that I as a gentile Christian would have missed.
He comes to two conclusions. The first, which he wants to ask a disciple of Jesus, is, does your master mean to say that he is God? To which I want to reply yes, he is God! Unfortunately, Nuesner raises the question, but does not pursue it. The second is that Jesus' teaching, or torah, does not include anything on village or family life, i.e., how one should live in the context of a local community. For him, Jesus' torah is too individualistic. Also for Nuesner the Law of Moses is eternal. From these two things, Jesus' torah is too individualistic and the Law of Moses is eternal, he argues his conclusion that Jesus can not be the Christ and therefore, he would not have followed Jesus.
This is a good beginning to a respectful dialogue between Jews and Christians. But any serious dialogue has to eventually confront the question of the divinity of Jesus. Rabbi Nuesner does a wonderful job in showing how Matthew's Jesus made a claim to divinity, a claim, I would argue, the historical Jesus also made. The next step is for both sides to listen respectfully to each other's answer to the question is Jesus God, why or why not.
Posted December 13, 2009
No text was provided for this review.