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Soundings in the Religion of Jesus
Perspectives and Methods In Jewish and Christian Scholarship
Ed. Bruce Chiltern, Anthony le Donne, Jacob Neusner
Publisher:Fortress Press from Alban Books
The foreword to this volume presents the objective of the book: can a consideration of Jesus' Jewishness benefit Jewish-Christian dialogue? This book - a collection of essays from some of the world's most outstanding scholars in their field - applies the well-established search for the historical Jesus to this narrower field of inter-faith relations. It is important if, for most Christians, marginal work. For while the Jewish nature of Jesus helps us to understand him and the impact of Judaism on emergent Christianity, the much more thorny issue of anti-Semitism is always lurking not far beneath the surface.
The book is divided into four parts. The first looks at the Jesus of the New Testament, the second explores early Jewish and gentile perspectives of Jesus, the third considers Jesus research before and after German National Socialism and the final section concludes with a jointly written reflection on the place of Jesus in Jewish-Christian dialogue. Extensive notes, bibliography and indexes accompany the text as is expected of a serious academic work of theology.
Given the history of the two faiths over the past two thousand years and the theological breadth of both faiths today, every step towards mutual respect and understanding is to be warmly welcomed. Theological enquiry cannot avoid difficult questions or topics; indeed addressing historical and current conflict between faiths is an essential part of establishing meaningful dialogue.
This volume is a welcome participant in this process. It won't top bestseller lists, but it does represent a serious contribution to a dialogue most Christians and Jews never embark upon. Perhaps we should.
Reviewer: David Ford (17/03/14)