Jesus provided his disciples teachings for how to follow Torah, God’s word; he told them parables to help them discern questions of ethics and of human nature; he offered them beatitudes for comfort and encouragement. But sometimes Jesus spoke words that followers then and now have found difficult. He instructs disciples to hate members of their own families (Luke 14:26), to act as if they were slaves (Matthew 20:27), and to sell their belongings and give to the poor (Luke 18:22). He restricts his mission (Matthew 10:6); he speaks of damnation (Matthew 8:12); he calls Jews the devil’s children (John 8:44).
In The Difficult Words of Jesus, Amy-Jill Levine shows how these difficult teachings would have sounded to the people who first heard them, how have they been understood over time, and how we might interpret them in the context of the Gospel of love and reconciliation.
Additional components for a six-week study include a DVD featuring Dr. Levine and a comprehensive Leader Guide.
About the Author
Amy-Jill Levine is University Professor of New Testament and Jewish Studies and Mary Jane Werthan Professor of Jewish Studies at Vanderbilt Divinity School and College of Arts and Sciences. An internationally renowned scholar and teacher, she is the author of numerous books including The Misunderstood Jew: The Church and the Scandal of the Jewish Jesus and The Meaning of the Bible: What the Jewish Bible and the Christian Old Testament Can Teach Us. She is also the co-editor of the Jewish Annotated New Testament. Professor Levine, who has done over 300 programs for churches, clergy groups, and seminaries, has been awarded grants from the Mellon Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the American Council of Learned Societies. Institutions granting her honorary degrees include Christian Theological Seminary and the Episcopal Seminary of the Southwest.