A Rabbi Talks with Jesus / Edition 1

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Overview

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.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In a highly challenging, contentious exegesis that is almost certain to provoke interfaith dialogue, an eminent scholar of Judaism explains why, if he had lived in Israel in the first century, he would have refused to join Jesus and his circle of disciples. Neusner, whose books include Jews and Christians and (with Andrew M. Greeley) The Bible and Us , argues that the Jesus of the Gospel of St. Matthew called into question the primacy of the family and violated the sanctity of the Sabbath. Casting himself as a local rabbi in biblical times, Neusner engages in an imaginary dialogue with Jesus, a Jew who explicitly claimed that he came to fulfill the Torah, not to destroy it. To Neusner, Jesus's message, summed up as ``leave home, follow me,'' shortchanged the priorities of home, family, community and the social order that the Torah had commanded Israel to bring into being. Neusner's earnest polemic will compel both Jews and Christians to look more deeply at the sources of their faith. (Feb.)
Library Journal
Here Neusner, a distinguished theologian and author of more than 400 books on Judaism, conducts an imaginary dialog with Jesus (as portrayed in the Gospel according to Matthew): ``In this book I explain in a very straightforward and unapologetic way why, if I had been in the Land of Israel in the first century, I would not have joined the circle of Jesus' disciples.'' Although the dialog is somewhat one-sided at times, understandably enough, a number of doctrinally valid and insightful points arise, and Neusner effectively sheds light on the question, ``Why, while Christians believe in Jesus Christ and the good news of his rule in the Kingdom of Heaven, Jews believe in the Torah of Moses and form on earth and in their own flesh God's kingdom of priests and holy people?'' A lively and intriguing work that should interest, enlighten, and challenge thoughtful readers of both faiths. Highly recommended.-- Marcia Welsh, Guilford Free Lib., Ct.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780773520462
  • Publisher: McGill-Queens University Press
  • Publication date: 2/28/2000
  • Edition description: REVISED
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 161
  • Sales rank: 492,738
  • Product dimensions: 5.57 (w) x 8.25 (h) x 0.51 (d)

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Foreword
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
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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Posted May 27, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Excellent for Jewish Christian Dialogue

    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.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 13, 2009

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