Jesus: First-Century Rabbi  -     By: David Zaslow, Joseph A. Lieberman
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Jesus: First-Century Rabbi

Paraclete Press / 2013 / Hardcover

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Product Description

Instead of poring again over differences between Judaism and Christianity, Zaslow ferrets out common ground---vicarious atonement, incarnation, mediation, Trinity---revealing how these ideas are actually rooted in classical Judaism. By the editor of the best-selling Hebrew/English prayerbook Serve the Holy One with Joy. 220 pages, hardcover. Paraclete.

Product Information

Format: Hardcover
Number of Pages: 220
Vendor: Paraclete Press
Publication Date: 2013
Dimensions: 9.00 X 6.00 (inches)
ISBN: 1612612962
ISBN-13: 9781612612966
Availability: In Stock

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Publisher's Description

This bold, fresh look at the historical Jesus and the Jewish roots of Christianity challenges both Jews and Christians to re-examine their understanding of Jesus’ commitment to his Jewish faith. Instead of emphasizing the differences between the two religions, this groundbreaking text explains how the concepts of vicarious atonement, mediation, incarnation, and Trinity are actually rooted in classical Judaism. Using the cutting edge of scholarly research, Rabbi Zaslow dispels the myths of disparity between Christianity and Judaism without diluting the unique features of each faith. Jesus: First Century Rabbi is a breath of fresh air for Christians and Jews who want to strengthen and deepen their own faith traditions.

Author Bio

Rabbi David Zaslow, M.S., is the spiritual leader of Havurah Shir Hadash, a synagogue in Ashland, Oregon. He travels the country leading workshops with churches and synagogues on the Jewish roots of Christianity.

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Author/Artist Review

Author: Rabbi David Zaslow
Located in: Ashland, Oregon
Submitted: November 30, 2013

    Tell us a little about yourself.  I am a traditional Jewish rabbi serving a wonderful congregation in Oregon. Just to be clear, I am not what they call a messianic rabbi. I have simply had this calling to help lessen the surface tension between Jews and Christians when they speak about theological issues that separate us. I also travel to lead interfaith workshops for churches and synagogues throughout the country. Most important in my life is my family. I have grown kids, and I have one daughter and granddaughter who live in Virginia.

    What was your motivation behind this project?  Since Vatican II in the 1960’s interfaith events have become commonplace between Protestants, Catholics, Jews, and people of all faiths in the United States. These events often take the shape of sharing beliefs and respectful listening, but rarely rise to the level of joyous, mutual celebration. Why? Religious leaders are good at remembering what they don’t like about each other’s theologies. Add that to the memory of historic violence between various religions and cultures, and it’s easy to understand why religions have limited their ecumenical and interfaith hopes and goals. I wrote this book because, along with many other Jews and Christians, this seems to be the right time to build an authentic bridge of understanding and mutual celebration between our faiths without watering down the unique theological facets of each faith. Because of the advent of travel and technology the world has gotten too small to hide behind old tribal prejudices.

    What do you hope folks will gain from this project?  Without a true picture of the historical Jesus, Christians have deprived themselves from the full picture of their messiah. It is this deprivation that has kept Christians from even wanting to investigate the very teachings, writings, and theological questions that Jesus himself was privy to learning. He was part of his Jewish tradition, not apart from that tradition. He likely studied the writings of sages like Hillel and Shammai that most Christians never even heard of. What is at stake is clearly another millennium of unnecessary separation between Jewish and Christians. And, as my book demonstrates I am not looking for a false, syncretic union between our religions. I believe that just as diversity is healthy in our planetary ecology, so G-d would have Jews be the best Jews they can be, Christians be the best Christians they can be, Muslims be the best Muslims they can be, and so on for people of all religions. We don’t need unity in the sense of losing our identity. Rather, we need to celebrate a unity in purpose – to bring our common sense of ethics and justice into every crevice of our world.

    How were you personally impacted by working on this project?  It’s easy to say that Christianity arose out of Judaism, and that Jesus was Jewish. But the consequences of really believing these two facts are extraordinary. The current relationship between these two great faiths is a best at the level of tolerance. Most Jews have not absorbed how Jewish Jesus really was. We have bought into 2,000 years of European art that has made him out to be anything but a religious Jew. Christians, for their part, have done all they can to de-Judaize this rabbi from Judea, and present his gospel as one that replaces the Mosaic covenant that was already ancient by the first-century. The irony, of course, is that Jesus died protecting and teaching the laws, and wisdom of that very covenant.

    Who are your influences, sources of inspiration or favorite authors / artists?  In the world of Jewish/Christian scholarship I am a huge fan of Amy-Jill Levine, and her books "The Misunderstood Jews" and the book she co-edited "The Jewish Annotated New Testament" are must reads for any serious student of the New Testament. My own rabbi, Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi has been on the cutting edge of interfaith work for more than sixty years now. I am study and admire the important work of Dr. Brad Young

    Anything else you'd like readers / listeners to know:  Regarding Jesus it’s time to step back a bit from our beliefs and be willing to see that the Jesus of history is not the same figure as the Jesus of the Church. This does not mean that the Jews and Christians are incorrect in their unique view of Jesus. There is no "competition" between the historical Jesus and the theological Jesus. Jesus the man was a Torah observant Jew who died as a Jew because the Romans were terrified that he was to become the King of the Jews, and therefore be a political threat to the power of the Empire. His teachings are clearly rooted in the cutting edge Judaism of his day. It seems like the right time for Jews to have a greater understanding of the theological Christ, and for Christians to have a greater understanding of the historical figure whose name in ancient Judea was actually named Joshua.

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