Review: The Jewish Jesus: How Judaism and Christianity Shaped Each Other

The Jewish Jesus: How Judaism and Christianity Shaped Each OtherThe Jewish Jesus: How Judaism and Christianity Shaped Each Other by Peter Schäfer
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I’m not sure what I was expecting from this book when I originally purchased it. The subject matter is very interesting, and the book is informative, yet there was something a little disappointing about my journey through the text. I’m not sure I can quite put my finger on the source of that disappointment, but it is very clearly there.

As a contribution to the ongoing debate about the relationship between Judaism and early Christianity – and in this particular case the development of Rabbinic Judaism as influenced by early Christianity – this book represents a very profound contribution. I hope that other readers might find it more engaging than I did.

From the back cover:

In late antiquity, as Christianity emerged from Judaism, it was not only the new religion that being influenced by the old. The rise and revolutionary challenge of Christianity also had a profound influence on rabbinic Judaism, which was itself just emerging and trying to shape its own identity. In The Jewish Jesus, Peter Schafer reveals the crucial ways in which various Jewish heresies, including Christianity. affected the development of rabbinic Judaism. The result is a demonstration of the deep mutual influence between the sister religions, one that calls into question hard and fast distinctions between orthodoxy and heresy, and even Judaism and Christianity, during the first centuries CE.

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