The Jewishness of Jesus

Several posts related to the Jewishness of Jesus have appeared on blogs I read over the past couple of days.

Anthony Le Donne has the first post in a series asking what it means to say that Jesus was Jewish.

Joseph Hoffmann provides a list of things that the New Testament says about Jesus which are not myths. He also makes a new year’s resolution:

My semi-sincere New Year’s resolution for 2013 is to be nicer to the mythicists, because their conclusions are not their fault. After all, they are simply piecing together the stammering indecision, deconstruction, conspiracy-theories, and half-baked analogies of a hundred years of uncongealed scholarship.

Lawrence Schiffmann shared a video in which he and other scholars discuss the topic:

Watch From Jesus to Christ: Panel Discussion on PBS. See more from Station Promos.

You can watch the entire PBS documentary “From Jesus to Christ” online, including on YouTube.

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  • Good for Hoffman! He has spoken well.

  • Susan Burns

    I quit watching the youtube video when the story line moved to Sepphoris. This city was never mentioned in scripture. To depict the historical Jesus as being familiar with this city is without foundation. If Jesus was born in Nazareth, four miles from Sepphoris, the bigger question is; why is Sepphoris never mentioned?

    • Any modern American illustration must be used cautiously, since there are major differences between even modern Mediterranean societies and those in other parts of the world, to say nothing of the gulf between ancient and modern. That said, in the United States, you will find people for whom places like New York and Chicago are antithetical to what they think American society and values ought to be like, and for whom the focus of their grassroots political and social visions is entirely in other places, even if they themselves were born only a few hours from one of those cities. And when we add this to the fact that, as an adult, we find Jesus living elsewhere, in Capernaum, the lack of mention is not particularly surprising.

      • Susan Burns

        The historians in the youtube video were not cautious about developing a picture of Jesus using Sepphoris as a backdrop for his early years. Any Sepphoris theories regarding Jesus are purely hypothetical and not historical. You are probably correct that Jesus only became important in his adulthood in Capernaum and, therefore, his early years are speculative. But that would mean his hometown may not be historical as well. There are other reasons Nazareth may have become known as his hometown that have more to do with prophesy than history. The same can be said about Bethlehem as his place of birth. Perhaps in 50 years it will be taken for granted that Jesus worked in Sepphoris. But that would be using plausibility the same way the ancients used prophesy. Neither are historical.
        I have migrated to Windows 8 so I have no idea how many times this post may appear on this blog. I hate Windows 8. Thanks for nothing Santa!

  • the_Siliconopolitan

    Looking forward to Hoffman’s book. I liked his work on Marcion.