Download A Rabbi Talks with Jesus by Jacob Neusner PDF

By Jacob Neusner

Placing himself in the context of the Gospel of Matthew, Neusner imagines himself in a discussion with Jesus of Nazareth and will pay him the very best Judaic gesture of admire: creating a reference to him via a decent debate in regards to the nature of God's One fact. Neusner explains why the Sermon at the Mount do not need confident him to stick with Jesus and why, by way of the criterion of the Torah of Moses, he may have persisted to keep on with the lessons of Moses. He explores the explanations Christians think in Jesus Christ and the dominion of Heaven, whereas Jews proceed to think within the Torah of Moses and a country of clergymen and holy humans on the earth. This revised and improved version, with a foreword by way of Donald Akenson, creates a considerate and obtainable context for dialogue of the main primary query of why Christians and Jews think what they believe.

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I think we owe him a serious hearing, and that means a fresh and interested encounter, not merely genuflection and obedience, on the one side, or a casual nod, on the other. So I state very simply: I can see myself meeting this man and, with courtesy, arguing with him. It is my form of respect, the only compliment I crave from others, the only serious tribute I pay to the people I take seriously - and therefore respect and even love. I can see myself not only meeting and arguing with him, taking up specific things he says and challenging him on the basis of our shared Torah, the Scriptures that Christians would later on adopt as the "Old Testament," but I can imagine myself also saying, "Friend, you go your way, I'll go mine.

But that is our task, too, if we are to have a serious argument about important truths. And it is time, I think, for some specific teachings of Matthew's Jesus to receive sustained and serious attention as not platitudes and truisms but contentious and vigorous propositions, demanding assent attained through argument. For, as you read the stories Matthew tells, you cannot avoid the simple fact that Jesus was a man who said things he thought new and important, and who claimed that his teachings formed the correct way to carry out and to fulfill the Torah, the teachings that God had given to Moses at Mount Sinai.

Several generations of Jewish apologists have fulsomely praised this "Galilean miracle worker," placing him in the tradition of Elijah and the Hasidic rabbis of the eighteenth century and afterward. Other generations have praised Jesus as a great rabbi. These evasions of the Christian claim to truth will serve no more. Christianity does not believe in a Galilean miracle worker, nor does Christianity worship a rabbi. For my part, I will not evade. I will not concede. I will not praise with excessive, irrelevant compliments someone else's God: it is demeaning and dishonest.

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