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Review of The Jewish Annotated New Testament — 2 Comments

  1. Thank you for your interesting comments.

    There is also another book which might well be worth having alongside Michael Brown’s book and that is Donald Hagner’s ‘The Jewish Reclamation of Jesus: An Analysis and Critque of Modern Jewish Study of Jesus‘. I found Hagner’s book gives a useful survey of Jewish scholar’s attitudes to Jesus of Nazareth.

    Hagner, writing toward the close of his preface tells us “Although I have tried to be fair and honest, I realise the book will probably frustrate Jewish readers in the same way that many Jewish books on Jesus frustrate me. There is perhaps no way around this. But it does remain important for us to keep listening to each other despite our differences. As an example of the attitude needed, I would like, if I may be permitted, to refer to that great Jewsih scholar the late Samuel Sandmel, who, when I told him of this project a few years ago, although he knew my perspective as an evangelical Christian and that his own writing on Jesus would be criticized, nevertheless encouraged me to complete the work and to publish it.”

    “… There is perhaps no way around this…” is worth noting and paying particular attention – we so often come to a study of Jesus from past convictions. I often wish that were not the case and that we could approach such a study from a purely scientific perspective, willing to change our opinions based on fact alone – but then again there is a whole literature on such a method…

    I look forward to reading ‘The Jewish Annotated New Testament’ as I lack in-depth knowledge of that particular area. Having studied many works on the Historical Jesus for sixty years I am still perplexed – I suppose mostly regarding the sudden and very early view of Jesus as equal to God and am hoping some light may be shed on that aspect from a Jewish viewpoint. Perhaps a return once again to Hurtado’s two books on the question will assist my mmemory.

  2. Thank you for the review. I had been looking for a non messianic edition of the Christian Bible with commentary by reputable Jewish scholars, so this was helpful. I was familiar with Amy Jill Levine, and have always found her even handed and respectful of her subject, though I was not familiar with Marc Zvi Brettler. I purchased and read this edition and found it absorbing, scholarly and fair.

    By the way, my understanding is that in the first century Judaism, when a couple contracted marriage, they lived apart for a year while the husband set up house.. It was the first phase of the marriage, a fully committed arrangement that would have required divorce to dissolve. So, I do not find this book’s translation of Matthew 1:18 quite so puzzling. Perhaps ‘coming together’ in this case would have referred to the second phase of marriage, i.e. cohabitation.

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