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The Jewish Gospels

Daniel Boyarin

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In July 2008 a front-page story in the New York Times reported on the discovery of an ancient Hebrew tablet, dating from before the birth of Jesus, which predicted a Messiah who would rise from the dead after three days. Commenting on this startling discovery at the time, noted Talmud scholar Daniel Boyarin argued that “some Christians will find it shocking—a challenge to the uniqueness of their theology.”

Guiding us through a rich tapestry of new discoveries and ancient scriptures, The Jewish Gospels makes the powerful case that our conventional understandings of Jesus and of the origins of Christianity are wrong. In Boyarin’s scrupulously illustrated account, the coming of the Messiah was fully imagined in the ancient Jewish texts. Jesus, moreover, was embraced by many Jews as this person, and his core teachings were not at all a break from Jewish beliefs and teachings. Jesus and his followers, Boyarin shows, were simply Jewish. What came to be known as Christianity came much later, as religious and political leaders sought to impose a new religious orthodoxy that was not present at the time of Jesus’s life.

In the vein of Elaine Pagels’s The Gnostic Gospels, here is a brilliant new work that will break open some of our culture’s most cherished assumptions.

Publishers Weekly Review

Mar 19, 2012 – This little book claims to pack a big punch, yet Boyarin (A Radical Jew), professor of Talmudic studies and rhetoric at University of California, Berkeley, may not surprise as many readers as he (or his publisher) hoped he would. The author explains that his goal is to counter a popular assumption: that Jesus brought about a radical change in the theological imagination to include ideas alien and abhorrent to Judaism. Such assumptions indeed exist; but within mainstream biblical scholarship, the Jewishness of Jesus is no longer a source of contention. General readers will appreciate Boyarin’s discussion of passages from Daniel and early Jewish Enoch showing how they anticipate ideas of the Messiah that Jesus represents in the gospels. And Boyarin’s rereading of Mark for its kosher-keeping Jesus is compelling in the best midrashic ways. That the New Testament isn’t simply “a misappropriation of the Old” is also a welcome corrective. The best part of the book, though, is the foreword by Pulitzer Prize–winning writer Jack Miles.
The Jewish Gospels
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  • $11.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Bible Studies
  • Published: Mar 20, 2012
  • Publisher: New Press, The
  • Seller: The Perseus Books Group, LLC
  • Print Length: 224 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 1.3.1 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

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