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The Jewish Gospels by Daniel Boyarin

The Jewish Gospels

by 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.
  BTLib | Nov 19, 2015 |
For Daniel Boyarin, Jesus Christ is fundamentally Jewish, and did not set out to establish a new religion. The thought of Jesus was not a break from current Judaism. Boyarin tries to flip our undestanidng of son of man vs son of God. He argues that 'Son of God' was given to a number of signiificant monarchs, and what was unique for Jesus was to be called Son of Man, a more divine term in Judaism, if not angelic. Enoch, who seems to partake of divinity in apocryphal literature was deemed Son of Man.

Boyarin is not entirely satisfactory in explainng the resurrection, but he does give a considerable alternate view of Christ and his place in Judaism, and is worth reading for that. ( )
  vpfluke | Jul 19, 2014 |
Just when you think you’ve got it all figured out, along comes Daniel Boyarin, a professor of Talmudic Culture and Rhetoric at the University of California.

You think Christianity’s unique contribution to Judaism was the introduction of a god-man? Wrong. Could it be the idea of a suffering savior? Wrong again. Maybe that Jesus rejected Jewish dietary laws and Sabbath restrictions, freeing us from the Law? Hardly; Boyarin paints a very Jewish Jesus in his reading of the Gospels, certainly a Jesus who keeps kosher.

Christianity’s one claim to fame may be the insistence that the Messiah had already arrived, but that’s about the extent of its uniqueness. Otherwise, Christianity is a very Jewish offshoot of a Jewish religion. Boyarin draws from texts like the Book of Daniel and 1st Enoch to explain the title Son of Man (which, it turns out, is a much more exalted title than Son of God) and in turn to expose the expectation of many first-century Jews of just such a divine savior.

This is a fascinating, controversial book presenting a very different look at Jesus as one who defended Torah from wayward Judaic sects (the Pharisees), rather than vice versa. I don’t think the arguments are fully developed yet, but certainly Boyarin introduces “reasonable doubt” against traditional scholarship. Let the arguing begin. ( )
  DubiousDisciple | Sep 5, 2012 |
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Makes the powerful case that the conventional understandings of Jesus and the origins of Christianity are wrong: that Jesus' core teachings were not a break from Jewish beliefs and that Jesus was embraced by many Jews as the Messiah of the ancient Jewish texts.… (more)

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