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The Jewish Annotated New Testament

4.44  ·  Rating details ·  540 ratings  ·  43 reviews
Although major New Testament figures--Jesus and Paul, Peter and James, Jesus' mother Mary and Mary Magdalene--were Jews, living in a culture steeped in Jewish history, beliefs, and practices, there has never been an edition of the New Testament that addresses its Jewish background and the culture from which it grew--until now. In The Jewish Annotated New Testament, eminent ...more
Hardcover, 637 pages
Published November 15th 2011 by Oxford University Press, USA (first published January 1st 2011)
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Jan Rice
My project was to read the 30 essays at the back of this NRSV translation. I've had the book since shortly after it came out and remember a review that said the essays alone were worth the price of admission, but how many people read the essays or even the chapter introductions in their bibles? Why is that so hard to do? I haven't read the essays in The Jewish Study Bible, either (although I've burned up the footnotes and about worn out those tissue-paper pages in a few short years). Nor have I ...more
Apr 06, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This isn't a book you read once, it's a valuable library addition for Judeo-Christian scholars and preachers. It is probably too little to say it is long overdue to have been written, but then again, our culture has only arrived at accepting female biblical scholarship in very recent years. I look forward to more works done by these authors and others like them. I hope to add my own efforts in fact, one of these days, to the scholarly discourse on women's knowledge and insights about scripture. ...more
John Hanscom
Jan 25, 2012 rated it it was amazing
A great reference sourse, coming at the Christian Scriptures with a Jewish perspective.
Jan 31, 2014 rated it really liked it
NRSV translation with great footnotes. i'm a bit biased, seeing as AJ Levine was my professor in New Testament, but I still stand by the importance of this book. It addresses contemporary concerns with Jesus' Jewish context and debunks the common myths associated with such concerns. The additional essays in the back of the book are a wealth of information for further interpretation and responsible engagement with Jewish history. This translation comes with the agenda laid out in full without any ...more
C. Varn
Aug 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing
The essays and annotations on the Jewish Annotated New Testament are landmark in Judeo-Christian scholarship. You can feel Marc Zvi Brettler's careful hand on this volume as well as Amy-Jill Levine's and her essay in this, "Bearing False Witness--Common Errors Made About Early Judaism", is a good summary of her understanding of early Judaism and its relationship to Christianity. Martin Goodman's entry "Jewish History, 331 BCE-135 CE" is also topnotch. However, while this is a great scholar's NRS ...more
Sep 02, 2012 rated it liked it
As a Jewish person, I was surprised the first time I read the New Testament at just how many of our everyday expressions (wolf in sheep's clothing, the rooster crows, etc..) were derived from it. But this is the version I wish I had read first, because this New Testament explains so much about the parts of Christianity that derive from Judiasm, and about how both religions-and thus much of modern civilization in both the east and west--evolved. Missing: the fluid language of other versions like ...more
♥ Ibrahim ♥
May 25, 2014 rated it it was ok
Shelves: spirituality
It is not as good as I thought. It is just the New Revised Standard Version. Just another NRSV Bible. It has some footnotes that could help a student doing a seminary paper for research, but certainly not for somebody like me who wants to use it for prayer and meditation. Comments are too brief, snipped and often vague. More explanations should have been given in order to learn about Jesus in His own Jewish background. I was not after a book of textual criticism but after a Jewish New Testament, ...more
Jan 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The primary text (a translation of a collection of books that have long been in print) is, at different points, confusing, repetitive and self-contradictory. It seems like some important details have been left out. The original writings really could have used an editor.

On the other hand, the annotations and accompanying essays are excellent. They definitely fulfill the volume's promise of placing the primary text in its historical and geographical context, enabling people today--whether Jewish,
Nov 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Important work opening up texts in really fruitful ways. Sometimes the engagement with the NRSV text makes you want a new translation rather than heavy annotation and glossing, but that's a quibble.
Generous range of essays giving a broad spectrum of opinion and context, not only confronting the way the early church and Christendom got things so badly wrong when it came to Christians and Jews, but also not shying away from the NT texts that stand behind this history. A sobering read in 2018; that
Harper Jean
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Eileen Gebbie, Reverential
All Christians need this commentary if we are ever to overcome our anti-Semitism and try to make amends for the violence and harm we have done out of our willful ignorance.
Rob Vanhoff
Oct 10, 2019 rated it did not like it
Save your money.
Each book of the NT (it's the RSV) has running commentary by a contemporary Jewish scholar, with some essays in the back. Seems the only requirement for a commentator was that they were a Jewish scholar of religion or of Jewish studies. Imagine a team of liberal Christian scholars publishing a running commentary on an English translation of the Quran... or on the Soncino English Talmud, for that matter. Full of wrong ideas and horrific anachronisms.
A complete joke.
One of my teac
Jun 15, 2019 marked it as to-read
Shelves: reference
I am reading this as my primary commentary to my study of the New Testament this year. I will finish the Gospels in the next week.
I find this very useful for its explanations of how JEWS would have understood Jesus' teachings, and the context in which he lived.
If you like this, you might also like "A Commentary on the New Testament from the Talmud and Hebraica" by John Lightfoot, published 1658. It is available free online. (I read it at
May 12, 2020 rated it liked it
I've read this annotated edition, as well as one without them. The annotations were okay, nothing too profound for me, but maybe someone who's not at all into Judaism could find them even more interesting.

The book itself... This ain't no Injil, but the story of Jesus is pretty good. The deeds of the apostles are okay. The letters by the early Christians are just trash. If they'd dropped those, this would've been a solid four stars. Hardcore scene fans can't afford to not read this, though.
Jan 17, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The text of the scripture is from the NRSV. Amy - Jill Levine edits this work of Jewish scholars who offer commentary on the text. Most of the commentary is like what can be found in a study Bible with contributions from mainline Bible Scholars. The scholarship is sound but not distinctive enough to merit purchasing this text.
Feb 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The Second Edition was published late last year but I don’t see it on Goodreads. This new edition greatly expands the essays, including several in which Jewish scholars respectfully engage Christian truth-claims, in a manner I haven’t seen done outside of medieval disputations.
Darlene Campos
Jul 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A beautiful source for Jews and Christians

I loved reading this version of the NT because of all research that went into it. I learned so much that I didn't know from Sunday school. This book was recommended by a rabbi and I'm so glad I read it!
Kar Schmidt Holloway
Dec 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: scripture, judaism
What an incredible resource for anyone studying the New Testament!
Apr 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: religion
A quite standard NRSV translation, but, oh, the notes! Notes on culture, language, history. This is going on my shelves!
Tyler Proctor
I mean, I get it, but I'm really not looking for a study Bible whose notes assume that the reader doesn't *actually* believe any of this stuff. ...more
Aug 03, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Well written and informative.

...for the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable. - Saul (Paul) of Tarsus, Letter to the community in Rome

Joshua ben Perachyah said: "Provide for yourself a teacher and get yourself a friend." In Don (Kraus), we have found both.

Matthew's Gospel emphasizes the concepts of obedience and righteousness (as in the term 'tzaddik', a righteous person). For Matthew, obedience to the divine will, often through Jesus' interpretation of the Jewish 'mitzvot' (commandments
Mar 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I learned a TON from this book about the Jewish nature of the NT.
Sep 26, 2016 rated it it was amazing
It's the Bible. Could I give it less than 5 stars? ...more
Eliyahu (Marc)
Jan 16, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: those who think they understand
Recommended to Eliyahu (Marc) by: me
This is such a brilliant work, just the articles in the back are enough. It was a project I wanted to do, but Amy beat me to it and indeed a well done work. Not sure about the version chosen NASV but maybe its better that way. It really puts all New Testament writings in proper Jewish prospective that they are and not mystical. Indeed it is but an impossibility to even attempt to understand the New Testament without a Jewish mindset and a 2000 years ago Jewish mind set.

Even today if a person fr
Mar 07, 2015 rated it it was ok
The commentary and articles point out what the authors don't agree with; but do not teach the reader anything, just comment and move on. They specifically note all the "anti-jewish" parts of the NT, but do not offer any interpretation on why they have come to believe that or any arguments for or against.The authors insist upon an "anti-jewish" NT, but other scholars out there insist upon a text that confirms and is in correlation with the OT and judaism. So this is open to interpretation, just a ...more
Marty Solomon
Aug 06, 2013 rated it really liked it
This is an excellent resource to have the on the shelf for any student of the Jewish context of the New Testament.

While I was not impressed with the footnotes contained within the biblical text at all, I did find the essays written by a whole panel of scholars to be most a great representation of the scholarly discussion. The essays focus on the discussion from a literary perspective, focusing on what we have in the wide array of written literature from the Jewish world of the second-temple peri
Jon Cooper
Apr 24, 2015 rated it it was amazing
As a general rule, I find study bibles too shallow in their treatment of the bible to be of any use. This is one of the few exceptions. It serves as a vital introduction to the Jewishness of the NT, and all of its characters. To be honest, I think every Christian ought to have a copy, read it through from start to end, and then keep it around for reference. Every single piece of the book is useful: in-text commentary, cross-references with other biblical and extra-biblical sources, especially Je ...more
Jun 21, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Obviously, the New Testament is not a book one normally reads in one sitting. I am reading it in bits and pondering the ideas of Amy-Jill Levine, the prominent New Testament scholar, who examines the N. T. from the perspective of 1st-century Judaism. Levine is an Orthodox Jew who teaches N. T. to priests- and ministers-to-be at Vanderbilt. She is the expert. Her scholarship and her conferences make me ask, "Why doesn't the clergy tell us these things?" Her answer is that they have not studied th ...more
Apr 26, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I got a lot of insights into Christianity from this ebook, since it had contributions from Jewish scholars. There are many essays about Jesus from a Jewish perspective, and it was eye-opening to say the least. When I was in Catholic grade school we were taught a homogenized version of Jesus that largely ignored his Jewish roots. This book showed me how rooted he was in his culture and ethnicity, and it gave a lot of background on the first century world of Judea that he came from. Some of my hid ...more
Dec 12, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: religion
Very good, but the editor and essayists compared the teachings of Jesus and Paul to modern Judaism rather than the diverse Jewish teachings of the first century. Modern Jewish teachings have 2000 years of accumulated wisdom in response to Jesus, Paul, and Christianity. As a result the notes tend to minimize the criticisms of Jesus and Paul against some of the excesses of the religious environment of the first century.

That said, the essays and notes do provide excellent insights for Christians. T
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Amy-Jill Levine is University Professor of New Testament and Jewish Studies and Mary Jane Werthan Professor of Jewish Studies at Vanderbilt Divinity School and Department of Jewish Studies. Her books include The Misunderstood Jew: The Church and the Scandal of the Jewish Jesus; Short Stories by Jesus: The Enigmatic Parables of a Controversial Rabbi; four children's books (with Sandy Sasso); The Go ...more

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“For there are eunuchs who have been so from birth, and there are eunuchs who have been made eunuchs by others, and there are eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven.” 1 likes
“Pistis does not signify mere acknowledgment of a truth claim, or stand, in contrast to works. Rather, like Heb ’emunah, it signifies loyalty and trust, which include appropriate behavior; hence, faithfulness. Where Paul contrasts faithfulness to deeds, he is actually contrasting two different propositions for two different groups (non-Jews or Jews), and thus two different ways of being faithful (by non-Jews, apart from circumcision and thus not under Mosaic covenant obligations because they do not become Jews/Israelites; by Jews, including circumcision and concomitant Mosaic covenant obligations). Paul opposes the idea that the faithfulness of Christ-following Gentiles should be measured by the obligation of faithfulness to proselyte conversion, which he indicates generally by reference to “circumcision” or “works of law.” Later, in the argument of Romans, especially chs 6–8; 11–15, Paul defines the faithful lifestyle expected of Gentiles.” 0 likes
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