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A Rabbi Talks with Jesus

3.83  ·  Rating Details  ·  113 Ratings  ·  22 Reviews
Placing himself within the context of the Gospel of Matthew, Neusner imagines himself in a dialogue with Jesus of Nazareth and pays him the supreme Judaic gesture of respect: making a connection with him through an honest debate about the nature of God's One Truth. Neusner explains why the Sermon on the Mount would not have convinced him to follow Jesus and why, by the cri ...more
Paperback, 176 pages
Published February 16th 2000 by McGill-Queen's University Press (first published 1993)
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(showing 1-30 of 252)
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Jun 13, 2013 Zachariah rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, religion
Neusner does a good job handling this discourse without being a bully. His purpose is to demonstrate why he, as a Jew, would not follow Jesus.

He says--over and over--how he respects Jesus but could not follow him, and that he doesn't want to harm either Jews or Christians in their faith. He does this by outlining the situation and leaving one variable a variable: Christs divinity. He shows how Christ was in conflict with the Torah and how he was seeking to replace it, which the Jews couldn't acc
Sep 10, 2008 booklady marked it as reference
Recommended to booklady by: Pope Benedict XVI
It arrived today; I wish I didn't have class tonight and so much other reading to do. Should I play hooky? No, not skip class, but read this instead of doing my assigned reading? The author places himself within the Gospel of Matthew, not my favorite evangelist but what matter, Jesus is there.


In Chapter 4 of Jesus of Nazareth PBXVI quotes this book extensively. Read his endorsement:

'More than oth
Feb 10, 2013 John rated it liked it
Rabbi Neusner offers a fascinating take on Jesus from the perspective of a practicing Jew who would have encountered Jesus in the first century. At the outset, Neusner helpfully articulates the need for dialogue, conversation, and disagreement as a means of showing respect to other human beings. Thus, his argument with Jesus should not be taken in a mean-spirited fashion. And indeed, Neusner goes out of his way to offer respectful disagreements with a teacher who he believes clearly has a teachi ...more
Essentially, this books is about how Jesus lies when he said that he came to fulfill the Torah because he clearly encourages his followers to violate its commandments. Given that the book was supposed to offer a dialogue with Jesus from the perspective of one of his contemporary Jews, I found the actual "dialogues" sparse and unsatisfactory. For one thing, the contemporary Jew was always gifted with precognition (one day, rabbis would answer this question with this story...) and Jesus always see ...more
Kristofer Carlson
Jan 17, 2015 Kristofer Carlson rated it it was amazing
Shelves: general-theology
This is a fascinating, illuminating, frustrating, and (for me a) melancholy book. The author, a rabbi, addresses Jesus using the most Jewish of gospels, the book of Matthew. Since Matthew's gospel focuses on Jesus' relationship with the Torah, Rabbi Neusner addresses Jesus on that basis, the Torah being the common ground of both Judaism and Christianity. This is not a contentious book, nor is it any sort of polemic. Instead, it is a respectful examination of the claims of Jesus. Surprisingly, th ...more
Mar 19, 2009 Erika rated it it was amazing
Shelves: religious
recommended by the Pop Benoit XVI
Eric Nelson
Mar 14, 2015 Eric Nelson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-but-unowned
A great work written to Jews and Christians alike stands alongside Cost of Discipleship in terms of its ability to convey the radical nature of Christs message (and person). As this book is written by a faithful and wise Jew who has clearly pondered the words of Christ much more carefully than many Christian pastors, Christians are cautioned when deciding whether or not to read this title. Neusner introduces us to Jesus in his Second Temple Jewish context and will not allow readers to walk away ...more
Aaron Cerda
Feb 16, 2015 Aaron Cerda rated it liked it
I truly enjoyed this book even though I disagree with Neusner's conclusions (as he would have wanted me to).

Pros:I enjoyed the conversational style in which this book was written. For me, the most valuable take-away from this book is the Jewish perspective written by, as the book description says, "the world's preeminent authority on first century Judaism". I have often heard something to the tune of, "a first century Jew would have understood Jesus' words to mean . . . " However, with Neusner,
Emilia P
Oct 05, 2009 Emilia P rated it liked it
Shelves: real-books, churrrch
Jews! Once upon a time on 7th Heaven, the oldest son converted for his girlfriend, and once, on Sex and the City, Charlotte converted for sexy old Harry. How do they do it? What do Christians have in common with Jews? What don't they? How does this actually play out in practice versus how it looks in theological differences?

This book almost got to the heart of these matters. It was a conversation between the word of the Torah and the words of Jesus' lower-case torah in the Gospel of Matthew (the
Jan 08, 2008 Tiffany rated it really liked it
Jacob Neusner explains why he has chosen not to follow Jesus, based on statements that Jesus made, as recorded in the book of Matthew. My understanding of his overall conclusion is that Jesus speaks of salvation and the coming of the Kingdom of Heaven (Jesus' torah), but Neusner believes that God commands Israel to obey in the "here and now" (through the Torah from Mt Sinai and Moses), and that they are to be holy in the conduct their daily lives. Neusner is not convinced by Jesus' claims and co ...more
May 21, 2012 Robert rated it really liked it
This is a compelling and challenging book. Neusner can tell a good story and teach a great lesson. He argues that Jesus and Judaism ultimate say different things when it comes to God and life. According to Rabbi Neusner Jesus preaches salvation in the future while the Torah teaches sanctification in the here and now. Therefore an effective argument regarding God and life cannot be had. I don't agree with Neusner in much of this book when he speaks to Jesus but he does say much about Jesus that I ...more
Sep 27, 2014 Sue rated it really liked it
An unusual & thoughtful book. Neusner imagines he was living in the Galilee around the time of Jesus & could actually engage Jesus in discussion, as he argues which parts of Jesus' teachings he, as an observant Jew, could & could not accept.
Sep 07, 2008 Angela rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2008
A thoughtful if sometimes difficult to read explanation for why the author, a highly respected Orthodox rabbi, would have rejected Jesus' message. His rejection rests on several key reasons: Jesus addresses the personal "I" while the Torah addresses the Israelite "we"; Jesus instructs his followers to be perfect rather than the Torah's injunction to be holy; and Jesus focuses on being clean and sin-free in preparation for the imminent Kingdom of God, while Torah teaches people to sanctify their ...more
Aug 10, 2011 Colin rated it liked it
as a near-convert to orthodox judaism who decided instead to be confirmed a catholic, I can't stand this book. I read it for a literature of religion class and feel that neusner misses the key arguments that describe why Jews reject Jesus, or the key purpose intended in Jesus' very pointed political statements on things like family and the Sabbath. He doesn't understand the essence of either religion beyond the social level to the spiritual. Furthermore, some of his arguments make false accusati ...more
Oct 14, 2011 Keith rated it really liked it
Here's a great book for those who want to understand Orthodox Judaism and it's response to Jesus. Rabbi Neusner interacts with the Jesus of the Gospel as though he were encountering Jesus in the 1st century. He gives an Orthodox reason for why Jews shouldn't follow him. Essentially, to follow Jesus is to reject the One True God and His Torah. Both Orthodox Jew and Christian will be able to appreciate this.

Jan Rice
Jul 24, 2011 Jan Rice rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: religion, theology
Sheds light on what is Judaism other than not Christianity, or other than a foil for Christian apologists. Not a polemic! See the Pope's response in his 2007 book Jesus of Nazareth. And listen to an NPR radio interview, also from 2007, in which Neusner replies:
Michael Preston
Apr 16, 2008 Michael Preston rated it liked it
Neushner explains why he has chosen not to follow Jesus based on passages in Matthew. He deals with Jesus opinion of the Torah and produces his opinion that Jesus was against the Torah. This is a great book for Disscussion. Kind of confusing if you are not up to speed with Some Jewish beliefs, but this is a great book for a discussion group.
Arthur Sumual
Aug 14, 2008 Arthur Sumual rated it really liked it
very challenging yet this is exactly the type of book that I've been looking for: something about Jesus and His teachings from the perspective of a Jewish person.
Jun 26, 2013 Robert rated it it was ok
Shelves: judaica
Not one of Neusner's best efforts. He reads the Jewish scriptures too closely, and does not credit the fundamental premise of the Gospel
Marianne Ogden
Nov 11, 2007 Marianne Ogden rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I like to challenge my own assumptions and beliefs. This was good for that.
Patrick Donohue
Sep 13, 2012 Patrick Donohue rated it it was amazing
Wrote this on net that he could write book on one week, wow!
Apr 13, 2007 Paul rated it really liked it
A great (though cursory) view of the Jewish take on who Jesus is.
Brooke marked it as to-read
Apr 30, 2016
Andrew Ketel
Andrew Ketel rated it it was amazing
Apr 20, 2016
Alan Kennon
Alan Kennon rated it it was amazing
Apr 17, 2016
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Apr 02, 2016
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Mar 08, 2016
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Michael Leavitt marked it as to-read
Mar 06, 2016
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Born in Hartford, Connecticut, Neusner was educated at Harvard University, the Jewish Theological Seminary of America (where he received rabbinic ordination), the University of Oxford, and Columbia University.

Neusner is often celebrated as one of the most published authors in history (he has written or edited more than 950 books.)Since 1994, he has taught at Bard College. He has also taught at Col
More about Jacob Neusner...

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