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.
About the Author
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.
“This is an excellent book. The authors cover a variety of areas, putting Jesus as a person in his historical context and his teachings in their religious context. We see that Jesus’s life was that of a first century C.E. Judean rabbi, and that his teachings were firmly based in the Torah. It was only later writers, from Paul onwards that distorted his teachings and inserted anti-Jewish sentiments and interpretations into his teachings. Jesus can be understood as a rabbi engaging in the Jewish tradition of self-critical exploration to improve the Temple. Many other rabbis in the centuries before and after did the same thing, and during Jesus’s lifetime were in the process of changing Judaism from being Temple based to being synagogue based. Jesus was a part of that development and must be understood in that context. Especially useful was the authors’ use of comparable texts from Christian and Jewish texts. I also found interesting the explanations of certain words especially when multiple meanings are present in the original word but a single specific word is used in translation. That may be because I’m a philophile (I love words). This is a useful book for Jews, Christians and everyone else interested in interfaith understanding, and should reduce the sum total of ignorance in the world just a little bit.” —Rosemarie Cawkwell
“In Jesus: First Century Rabbi, twenty-first century Rabbi David Zaslow makes a thoughtful and challenging contribution to Jewish-Christian dialogue. Not just another book about the Jewishness of Jesus (although it is that); Zaslow gently but insistently points out both convergences between faiths, and remaining areas of discomfort (such as Christians describing the Law being "fulfilled" or as a "prefiguration"). An honest book, but a profoundly hopeful one.” —Raymond Edwards, The Tablet
“This one is a bit more scholarly, but I’m fascinated with the fact that Jesus was Jewish. As mad at they made him at the Temple or the local synagogue, he never abandoned his faith. This book is written by an extremely learned Jewish Rabbi, who makes the argument that we all have a great deal to learn from Jesus. He wants to show readers Jesus in his historical context; including changes that were taking place in the Jewish ways of worship at that time. He also quotes a number of Jewish teachers who were teaching similar things as Jesus in his day. Much food for thought and I appreciated the author’s open-minded approach.” —Traci Rhoades