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The Misunderstood Jew: The Church and the Scandal of the Jewish Jesus [Paperback]

By Amy-Jill Levine (Author)
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Item description for The Misunderstood Jew: The Church and the Scandal of the Jewish Jesus by Amy-Jill Levine...

Demonstrates how Christians share a fundamental misunderstanding of Judaism and the New Testament that directly contributes to intolerance and anti-Semitism, in a guide that invites Christian and Jewish readers to develop fuller understandings of Jesus and the gospels.

Publishers Description

In the The Misunderstood Jew, scholar Amy-Jill Levine helps Christians and Jews understand the "Jewishness" of Jesus so that their appreciation of him deepens and a greater interfaith dialogue can take place. Levine's humor and informed truth-telling provokes honest conversation and debate about how Christians and Jews should understand Jesus, the New Testament, and each other.

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Item Specifications...

Studio: HarperOne
Pages   250
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 0.75" Width: 5.5" Height: 8"
Weight:   0.45 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Nov 14, 2014
Publisher   Harper Collins Publishers
ISBN  0061137782  
ISBN13  9780061137785  

Availability  98 units.
Availability accurate as of Oct 20, 2016 05:27.
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More About Amy-Jill Levine

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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.

Amy-Jill Levine was born in 1956 and has an academic affiliation as follows - Vanderbilt University, Tennessee.

Amy-Jill Levine has published or released items in the following series...
  1. Feminist Companion New Test Early Chris Writ
  2. Feminist Companion to the New Testament and Early Christian Writ
  3. Feminist Companion to the New Testament and Early Christian Writ
  4. SkyLight Illuminations

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Christian Living > General
2Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Reference > Criticism & Interpretation > Criticism & Interpretation
3Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Theology > Christology
5Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Judaism > General
6Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Judaism > History of Religion

Christian Product Categories
Books > Church & Ministry > Church Life > Church History

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Reviews - What do customers think about The Misunderstood Jew: The Church and the Scandal of the Jewish Jesus?

Well written and Informative  Sep 4, 2007
Only a few years ago it was heretical to say that Jesus was a Jew, yet in a few short decades Jesus' Jewishness has come to be a given. Or has it? That's the great benefit of Amy Jill Levine's book - it covers a topic you think you know, but explores it from so many different perspectives that you realize you didn't know it at all.

Some of the topics that Levine explores include the bases of the interpretations of anti-semiticism in the New Testament and our false stereotypes of life for the Jews in first century Israel.

If there is anything lacking in Levine's approach it is her acceptance of the gospels as they are, with little exploration of the ways in which they were sculpted by the gospel writers.

This is a well written and well researched treatise on first century Judiasm that will appeal to beginning students and scholars as well.
Jesus without the Schmaltz  Aug 10, 2007
If this review reads as though it has been written by a smitten fan, it is; because this reviewer is delighted at last to find, read and enjoy with undisguised pleasure, a book written by a Jew, who places Jesus firmly within his Jewish environments. And to do it succinctly, with wit and a deep appreciation for both Judaism and Christianity.

Amy-Jill Levine is a "woman of valour" in the world of Christian New Testament scholarship, and her book is a mitzvah for Jews and Christians. She is a modern Orthodox Jew, observant and informed as much about her own faith tradition as she is about the beginnings of the Christian movement. Levine brings to the table a wealth of knowledge about the late Second Temple period, the Jewish mileau surrounding the life of Yeshua/Jesus, and the complex beginnings of the Christian movement. Her razor sharp erudition is applied to the person of Jesus the observant and faithful Torah Jew using mishnaic and later rabbinic texts to give the reader a very comprehensive picture of the world/s in which Jesus lived and moved. Reading the Gospels from a Jewish perspective and with a critical eye to "weeding" out inaccurate (usually Christian) interpolations gives this foundation period in Christian history a wonderfully refreshing and academically satisfying perspective. I found her exegesis of John 4 a typical example of Levine's scholarship; theology - both Jewish and Christian, biblical and post-biblical, early Christian and Rabbinic literary analysis and criticism, historical contexts and implications for dialogue and teaching.

The second part of the book deals with common misunderstandings and misuses of the Gospels by both well-meaning and less well-meaning people, when it comes to Christians attempting to understand the one they call Saviour/Christ/Messiah. Only through honest study that challenges Christians to look critically at their sacred texts, can a more complete picture of Jesus emerge. And that is often done with some cost, as Levine details over a number of chapters. She does not shy away from wrestling with current issues of Antisemitism, the zealous, but naive, support of some Christians for Palestine at the cost of demonising Israel, and the perennial temptation of painting Jesus as the great liberator from Jewish oppression. With deft and skilled agility, Levine dismantles the myths and replaces them with fact and biblically based exegesis, commentary and plain, old fashioned common sense.

At the end of this slender volume I felt I had been given a valuable tool for working with students, providing both Jews and Christians with a text that could be used in joint study of the most famous Jew to have ever lived. People of faith will not be threatened by Levine's work. On the contrary I found her book only served to enrich my understanding of Jesus placing him firmly within his own people and religious culture. It has certainly made me keen to read more. My only regret is that the book was not longer.
The truth is here  Jul 16, 2007
This books is filled with historical truths that prove that the biggest religion in the world is based in faith and not any truth about history. I hope every Christian would read this so they know where they came from. If everyone read it there would be less anti-semitisim in the world.
Insightful  Jul 8, 2007
This was an excellent book for insights into the thinking of an Orthodox Jewish believer as she reveals her understanding of Judaism and Christianity.

There is no question but that we have "Gentilized" the Church, but careful reading of this book will reveal that the author has imposed the teachings of Judaism on first century Jews. Judaism became the primary teaching after the acceptance of the Talmud e.g., she equates disciples with Gentiles using standards of Judaism.

There were 20 cults in Israel at the time of Jesus according to Judaic Encyclopedia. Judaism won out and was formulated in the Talmud much later, around 500 CE.

Well worth reading as long as one is aware of the differences between Judaism and the ancient Jewish beliefs.
Really boring. There are far more readable books on the subject.  Jun 28, 2007
I find the history of the early onset of Christianity really intriguing. I have read many fascinating books on the subject. This is not one of them. The author uses an academic style focusing on arcane technicalities that only a scholar focused on this exact theme would find interesting. In other words, I don't think this is a book written for the layperson.

The main theme of the book is that Jesus was Jewish. What he taught, how he lived and behaved reflected the Judaic principles of the time. It is Paul, Luke, and Matthew that made great efforts in their writing to contrast Christianity from Judaism by in good part nearly demonizing the Jews.

The best part of the book is the last chapter titled `Quo Vadis?' But, the chapter still leaves a lot to be desired. First, the title is cryptic and disconnected from the content of the chapter. This Latin phrase means `where are you going?' But, the chapter does not go anywhere and does not answer this question. Instead, within this chapter the author makes 26 clarifications to enhance the relationship, tolerance, and understanding between Judaism and Christianity. The majority of those are pretty good. Within one of them, she stresses that the Gospels are narratives that often deviate from historical facts to advance the agenda of the Christian writers. The author deserves credit to advance such a fact. But, some of them reflect a Judaic bias. Her explanation that the sole reason Jesus died was because a man being proclaimed "king" in Roman-occupied Jerusalem was a political liability seems evasive and incomplete. Her explanation of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict appears defensive. Some others reflect the author's erudition and her bent on the Byzantine. She recommends people learn both ancient Greek and Hebrew to study the scriptures in their original version. Again that may be commendable for scholars working on doctoral dissertations on the subject. Otherwise, it is a rather irrelevant recommendation for the rest of us.

If you are interested in studying the onset of early Christianity, I have read several fascinating books that include: Michael Baigent's `The Dead Sea Scrolls Deception' and `The Jesus Papers', Elaine Pagels' `The Gnostic Gospels' is also excellent.

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