In late antiquity, as Christianity emerged from Judaism, it was not only the new religion that was being influenced by the old. The rise and revolutionary challenge of Christianity also had a profound influence on rabbinic Judaism, which was itself just emerging and trying to shape its own identity. In The Jewish Jesus, Peter Schäfer reveals the crucial ways in which various Jewish heresies, including Christianity, affected the development of rabbinic Judaism. The result is a demonstration of the deep mutual influence between the sister religions, one that calls into question hard and fast distinctions between orthodoxy and heresy, and even Judaism and Christianity, during the first centuries CE.
"This volume combines several provocative theses. Schafer suggests that arguments in the Talmud against ostensibly heretical teachings are aimed not only at opponents of the rabbis but also at circles among the ancient rabbis themselves that found such teachings attractive. . . . The author is a highly respected scholar of ancient Judaism, and the present book continues lines of thought that appeared in his earlier writings, including Jesus in the Talmud. This volume's presentation is erudite yet accessible. The arguments against scholars with other views are especially robust and forthright."--Choice
"[Readers] will enjoy the rabbinic interpretations, debates and stories as well as Schafer's lucid and penetrating explications. They will come away with a more lively appreciation of the intertwining of the Jewish tree and the Christian branches."--Hilmar M. Pabel, Tablet
"Watching Peter Schäfer explicate Jewish and Christian texts is like watching a great restorer work on a fresco damaged by time, wind, and water. Blurred outlines come into focus, dull colors become brilliant, and suddenly a forgotten story of exchange between the two religions comes back to dramatic life. This is great scholarship, applied to a subject so complex and difficult that nothing less could do it justice."--Anthony T. Grafton, Princeton University
File created: 4/17/2014