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Jesus in the Talmud Paperback – 13 Sep 2009

4.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review
ISBN-13: 978-0691143187 ISBN-10: 0691143188 Edition: 1st

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Peter Sch and auml;fer's remarkable volume on Jesus' enigmatic place in Talmudic literature is a work of erudition and depth. It will bring deeper knowledge to students and teachers of Judaism and Christianity.Elie WieselWhen the premiere 'Christian-Hebraist' of our era turns his attention to Jesus in the Talmud, everyone interested in ancient history and modern interreligious dialogue must take notice. Peter Sch and auml;fer carefully sifts through all of the literary evidence from that great monument of late-fifth-century Babylonian Jewish culture with fresh eyes and striking insights. His final chapter, focused on why the Babylonian Talmud could sustain such anti-Christian rhetoric, is a scholarly tour de force.Rabbi Burton L. Visotzky, Jewish Theological SeminaryFrom the opening pages of Jesus in the Talmud the reader senses that something new and important is about to be unfolded. It is, and the unfolding of it is pure Sch and auml;fer: straightforward and plain-speaking, argued densely, yet with great clarity, provocative, but finally persuasive. And yes, exciting too.F. E. Peters, author of 'The Children of Abraham'This is an exceptionally engaging book. Professor Sch and auml;fer has subjected to close scrutiny all the passages relating to Jesus in the Talmudic and other rabbinic literature produced in Palestine and in Babylonia in late antiquity. His aim is to use them to discover the rabbis' attitude to Christianity. While the force of the argument suggests this book should be mainly of interest to students of rabbinic Judaism, I believe that the subject matter will ensure that it has a much wider readership. It sheds light in places on the way the gospel traditions evolved particularly in Palestinian and Syriac-speaking Christianity.Nicholas de Lange, University of CambridgeSch and auml;fer's fine new book should be of interest to a wide audience, and not only to specialists in the field of the historical interaction of Judaism and Christianity in late antiquity (who will be right to devour it). . . . Sch and auml;fer's book tells a fascinating story. . . . His great scholarship now provides Jews and Christians interested in developing a new and better relationship with a way to work through many of the hateful things that we have said about each other in the past, but without pretending that this bad past was not as bad as it really was or that it can simply be forgotten. . . . The sources that Sch and auml;fer adduces are virulent and dangerous, but his analysis of them leaves one unexpectedly full of hope.David NovakNew RepublicIn the talmudic references to Jesus . . . Sch and auml;fer persuasively finds sophisticated 'counternarratives that parody the New Testament stories,' composed by Jews who evinced a precise knowledge of the New Testament. The true accomplishment of Jesus in the Talmud is to show how certain talmudic passages are actually subtle rereadings of the New Testament, 'a literary answer to a literary text.' With considerable skill, Sch and auml;fer weaves these together until they can be seen to form an intricate theological discourse that prefigures the disputations between Jews and Christians in the Middle Ages.Benjamin BalintFirst ThingsMeticulously researched and argued as well as clearly and accessibly written, this most intriguing--albeit radical--book is sure to spark interest, debate, and controversy. An essential purchase for academic religion collections and theological libraries.Library JournalIn book Sch and auml;fer has proven himself not only a formidable scholar of ancient and medieval Jewish texts . . . but also a talented author from whose hands the text flows like the water to which the rabbis likened the Torah.Galit Hasan-RokemJewish Quarterly ReviewPeter Schafer's Jesus in the Talmud reviews well-trodden territory but derives new and important readings from this familiar evidence. Applying contemporary historiographical methods, Schafer offers a convincing explanation of the talmudic texts about Jesus.Ruth LangerStudies in Christian-Jewish RelationsPeter Schafer deserves great merit for having taken up a subject whose reexamination has been overdue for a long time already and that is of major interest to New Testament scholars, Talmudists, and historians of ancient Judaism alike...The great achievement of this book is that it reopens the discussion of texts that are of greatest significance for the study of the relationship of Judaism and Christianity in antiquity and the early Middle Ages. It presents the Jewish intellectual elite in a new light, as active respondents to Christian claims and allegations and forceful combatants in the Christian-Jewish dispute.Catherine HezserReview of Biblical LiteratureSchafer's excellent study shows that, by ridiculing fundamental Christian claims, Babylonian Jewry rejected any notion that the old covenant had been superseded by the new, Judaism had nothing for which to reproach itself: its superiority over Christianity was incontestable.Anthony PhillipsChurch TimesPeter Sch and auml;fer...provides a sophisticated treatment of the subject of Jesus and other figures in the New Testament in Talmudic literature. This subject has a long history, but have never been undertaken with the kind of rigor and sensitivity to contextual factors, including the differences between the evidence available in the Babylonian versus Jerusalem versions...Clear and accessible reading for the non-specialist, this is a careful, scholarly treatment that sets the agenda for future studiesJewish Book WorldOne of the greatest Hebrew scholars, Peter Sch and auml;fer, published a book on a very controversial and difficult subject--Jesus in the Talmud. Jesus in the Talmud is a work of great value. Although the author declares that the book is not a scholarly treatise, but only a kind of extensive essay, the investigation is thorough and all its theses are excellently and fully argued.Maciej TomalPalamedesPeter Sch and auml;fer's Jesus in the Talmud is already being picked up by anti-Semitic Web sites as proof that Judaism harbors blasphemous beliefs about Jesus. Yet, it is an important book by a meticulous scholar, the head of Princeton's Judaic studies program. It is also a truthful book and should be received in a spirit of truthfulness.David KlinghofferHadassah MagazineSch and auml;fer bases his clearly written and exquisitely informed work on a collection of the fragmented texts about Jesus from the heart of the rabbinic period, a cluster of passages he assembles from material scattered throughout the Jerusalem and Babylonian Talmuds and contemporaneous rabbinic literature. The simple gathering of these newly translated texts in one place makes the book an excellent English-language resource for researchers and laypersons alike.Stephen Hazan ArnoffHaaretzThis remarkable monograph is required reading for anyone interested in the reception of the NT in rabbinic literature.M. J. GellerJournal for the Study of the Old TestamentThis is a very interesting book, and the author's arguments are both logical and unique.W. PretoriusStudia Historiae Ecclesiasticae

From the Back Cover

"Peter Schäfer's remarkable volume on Jesus' enigmatic place in Talmudic literature is a work of erudition and depth. It will bring deeper knowledge to students and teachers of Judaism and Christianity."--Elie Wiesel

"When the premiere 'Christian-Hebraist' of our era turns his attention to Jesus in the Talmud, everyone interested in ancient history and modern interreligious dialogue must take notice. Peter Schäfer carefully sifts through all of the literary evidence from that great monument of late-fifth-century Babylonian Jewish culture with fresh eyes and striking insights. His final chapter, focused on why the Babylonian Talmud could sustain such anti-Christian rhetoric, is a scholarly tour de force."--Rabbi Burton L. Visotzky, Jewish Theological Seminary

"From the opening pages of Jesus in the Talmud the reader senses that something new and important is about to be unfolded. It is, and the unfolding of it is pure Schäfer: straightforward and plain-speaking, argued densely, yet with great clarity, provocative, but finally persuasive. And yes, exciting too."--F. E. Peters, author of The Children of Abraham

"This is an exceptionally engaging book. Professor Schäfer has subjected to close scrutiny all the passages relating to Jesus in the Talmudic and other rabbinic literature produced in Palestine and in Babylonia in late antiquity. His aim is to use them to discover the rabbis' attitude to Christianity. While the force of the argument suggests this book should be mainly of interest to students of rabbinic Judaism, I believe that the subject matter will ensure that it has a much wider readership. It sheds light in places on the way the gospel traditions evolved particularly in Palestinian and Syriac-speaking Christianity."--Nicholas de Lange, University of Cambridge


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