Since I'm in Nashville this weekend (enroute to Kentucky to speak at Grace Church, Paducah tomorrow), it seems appropriate to mention Amy-Jill Levine's new book (released Nov 28th) on Jesus as noted in the Tennessean in an article by Michael E. Williams.
Levine takes on some major misconceptions about Jesus and Judaism held by Christians of all kinds, he notes. From her experience she knows that these impressions can be springboards to deeper conversation and insight.
"Jesus of Nazareth," she writes, "dressed like a Jew, prayed like a Jew, (and most likely in Aramaic) instructed other Jews on how best to live according to the commandments given by God to Moses, taught like a Jew, argued like a Jew with other Jews, and died like thousands of other Jews on a Roman cross."
"The Misunderstood Jew" serves as Levine's attempt to foster conversation between Christians and Jews around the person of Jesus. Grounded in solid scholarship, yet accessible to the general reader, this book is an invaluable resource for pastors, teachers and adult church school classes.
Levine guides readers of the New Testament to see the diversity and complexity of the Jewish community at the time of Jesus. She outlines some of the groups, beliefs and divisions present in the Judaism of Jesus' day, and she helps us understand why some Jews saw Jesus as the Messiah, while others did not.
I'm off to find a copy in a Nashville bookstore :)