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By Tad Davis on 07-27-17
A courageous and forthright book about a difficult and controversial subject: Jesus and Judaism. She presents a substantial amount of evidence that many of Jesus' most familiar teachings derive from Judaism. But at the same time she is respectful of Christian tradition and beliefs.
We do neither side any good, she suggests, by trying to erase the differences between Judaism and Christianity. To Christians, Jesus is the Messiah, and within Christian tradition there are good reasons for believing that. To Jews, he is not the Messiah, and within Jewish tradition there are good reasons for believing that. She presents the reasons on both sides.
Part of Levine's courage appears in her willingness to take even possible allies to task. All too often, she says, even liberal Christian scholars and presses cast Judaism in the role of an oppressive and rigid system against which Jesus was fighting. (The real oppressors in first-century Palestine were the Romans.)
Donna Postel's narration seems at times to be channeling Amy-Jill Levine. I've heard some of Levine's lectures in the Great Courses series, and I had to remind myself from time to time that this book was being read by someone other than the author.
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