Jesus and His Jewish Influences : The Great Courses: Judaism

  • by The Great Courses
  • Narrated by Professor Jodi Magness
  • Series: The Great Courses: Judaism
  • 12 hrs and 10 mins
  • Lecture

Publisher's Summary

Jesus - a Jewish man from first-century Judea - was perhaps the most influential person in world history. His life and beliefs sparked a movement that influenced the course of global civilization, and his teachings gave rise to a faith currently practiced by over two billion people around the world. And yet, as revolutionary and lasting as his ideas are, few of us think to ask: Where did they come from?
It's important to realize that Jesus' actions and teachings didn't emerge from a vacuum. Rather, they were the products of a fascinating dialogue with - and reaction to - the traditions, cultures, and historical developments of ancient Jewish beliefs. In search of a more complete comprehension of Jesus' legacy, this course explores fundamental questions such as: How was early Judaism different from the Rabbinic Judaism practiced today? What kind of world did early Jewish sects envision, and how does Jesus' worldview relate to theirs? How did events like the Babylonian exile and the reign of Herod the Great affect the development of Judaism up to Jesus' time?
Follow an acclaimed archaeologist to unearth the roots of Jesus' actions and teachings within the traditions and beliefs of ancient Judaism. These fascinating 24 lectures approach the subject of Jesus from a historical rather than scriptural perspective - one rooted in ancient texts and archaeological discoveries. This investigation reveals hidden insights into how the tumultuous events of early Jewish history shaped an individual - and a movement - whose legacy endures to this day.


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Very Bias view of the Bible

What would have made Jesus and His Jewish Influences better?

Should have focused more on what the Bible actually teaches. I will compare this book to a movie about the Exodus but instead of attributing the plagues to the power of God they attribute it to natural events and make every attempt to state how scholars found no evidence of such plagues. Basically it is a course that says "believe the professors and throw away belief in the Bible as it is written". There is plenty of evidence that states many of the things that the author says are "debatable"... in this book every good thing is debatable. why listen to this book if everything is debatable... what's the point. I listened to the history of the world audio book.. and only some things were debatable. Author uses every chance they get to state how scholars disagree. I just want to know how the Bible as it is written compares to what the Jews practiced in ancient times and how Jesus understood it. That was what i thought I was getting but instead it is just a big knock on Biblical faith. After listening to this you may wonder if the bible is worth reading at all. To sum it up I see this book as a clever way to remove trust in the Biblical account of things.

You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

Got worse and worse. I have studied the Bible for a long time and never found such obvious nonsense contradictions such as these. Author neglected to use common sense reason when explaining Bible passages and the understanding of the Bible. It's like she threw common sense out of the window and relied only on scholars that obviously do not believe int the Bible.

Any additional comments?

1. The Author states that some authors of the Bible are anti-Northern Israel and pro-Southern Israel. That's ridiculous. The author of the Bible are just pro-Truth as established by God given to Israel mainly through Moses. The Northern tribes rebelled against God or the law, or the books of the then Bible. That's all... the authors of the Bible are very consistent all the way through... They are pro-Bible and no matter if you were from the south or north they spoke against breaking the commandments of God and especially worshiping other gods. The Bible downs David and Solomon and other great men in the Bible... there is no favoritism going on.

2. The Author states that a practice of not intermarrying was established in the time of Nehemiah and Ezra... There was no law forbidding marrying woman of other lands. only woman of other religions. it's very obvious if you read the Bible. any prohibition was early on when they were establishing their country and it was only against the current (7) nations in Canaan land. The Bible makes it clear why... because they will draw your heart from worshiping the true God.
Ezra 10:2 And Shechaniah the son of Jehiel, one of the sons of Elam, answered and said unto Ezra, We have trespassed against our God, and have taken strange wives of the people of the land: yet now there is hope in Israel concerning this thing. 3 Now therefore let us make a covenant with our God to put away all the wives, and such as are born of them, according to the counsel of my lord, and of those that tremble at the commandment of our God; and let it be done according to the law.
Shechaniah is the one who decided to do this and it was because he knew they married strange woman... women that did not worship the God of Israel. But God forbade divorce.

But God made it plain that he loved people of other nations and Israel was not to forbid true worshipers from coming to the temple to worship at Jerusalem. example: Leviticus 19:34, and Isiah 56:6 Also the sons of the stranger, that join themselves to the LORD, to serve him, and to love the name of the LORD, to be his servants, every one that keepeth the sabbath from polluting it, and taketh hold of my covenant;
David's great grandfather married a foreigner, Moses married a foreigner, Israel became a nation focused on it's bloodline and prejudiced against other nations as a result but that is not what the Bible teaches. and that is what Jesus points out.

3. The author is very confused about the story of The Good Samaritan. It is obvious the story is about the Jews prejudice against other nations and especially the Samaritans. The Levite and the priests were not following any type of Old Testament law when they decided not to help the wounded man. How can you be a worshiper of a God full of mercy and kindness as stated over and over again in the Old Testament and not desire to help a wounded man. Being that the ones that ignored a wounded man was a priest and a Levite means they did know or should have known the God they worshiped. Jesus was clearly making a point of what the Jewish religion had become and not what it actually was. If you read the Bible you would know the teachers of Israel taught their own customs and traditions and not the actual Bible. As is still common today. Jesus made the point that the teachers would rather help a wounded animal but not a person on the Sabbath day.
The author of this book states that they did not know if the man was dead or not... first off that would be just stupid. Either way you would have to go see if the man is dead... you do not have to touch him if he is dead. According to the passage Jesus made the point that they seen a half dead man. Plus how could the Samaritan know he was alive and not the other two. So the author of this book seems to have done too much so called scholarly learning from the elites of the world who don't have a good handle on common sense.

4. The author seems not to know if the Bible teaches the worship of one God or not. It is obvious that whenever the Jews in any geographical area or time worshiped false gods the Bible forbade it. Just because the people of Israel worshiped other gods including so called worshiping the God of Israel at the same time does not make it a standard or a precedent as an OK way to worship nor acceptable by the followers of the Bible. They were just stating what actually happened in Israel.

The Bible is more authentic because it does not hold back the mistakes of the people, the priests, nor the kings of Israel. Why the authors of this book cannot see that is mind boggling.

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- Brian Wallace

Christianity's cradle explored in early Judaism

When you hear the title of the course "Jesus and His Jewish Influences" you might think, "Another course on Jesus!" Prof Jodi Magness, Kenan Distinguished Professor for Teaching Excellence in Early Judaism, UNC at Chapel Hill, surprises with a course that is actually more about first century Judaism - of which early Christianity was a part - than about Jesus.

In 24 half an hour lectures she introduces the listener to the Jewish world in which Jesus lived in. Early on you will come to understand the importance and significance of mountains to Jews, whereafter you will be introduced to a concise historical overview of second temple period Judaism. At the end of each lecture she will link it to Jesus.

Some of the more interesting lectures to me, was that of Alexander the Great's Impact on the Jews (lecture 7), especially the parallels she drew between Alexander and Jesus. In Lecture 11 she challenges the general view that Jesus came from the lineage of David, arguing forcably that as a Galilean his forebears probably was forcefully converted to Judaism, similarly as what happened to Herod the Great's parents. In lectures to follow she discusses the various Jewish sects from which Jesus could have come. She looks at the arguments for and against these origins for Jesus. I found lecture 18 about Pontius Pilate also very interesting, as she properly de-romantised him and places him in a convincing historical context.

At long last The Great Courses guides are also available in PDF format for download after you have purchased the title. I found that the guide was a good refresher after listening to the lectures. It helps you remember and revise the contents. For each lecture it contains questions about the contents and reading suggestions. The bibliography has an added explantion to each book quoted or used in the lecture series. I though the guide was not only very helpful, it brings a new dimention to the way I listened to the lectures. Furthermore it is informative as a stand-alone book also.

I can highly recommend this lecture series, as a window on the time around Jesus. It is just as important to understand Jesus' time as his words. Enjoy this listen!

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- Jacobus "When I drive, I read... uhm listen. I like SciFi, Fantasy, some Detective and Espionage novels and Religion. Now and then I will also listen to something else."

Book Details

  • Release Date: 12-11-2015
  • Publisher: The Great Courses