Scattered throughout the Talmud, the founding document of rabbinic Judaism in late antiquity, can be found quite a few references to Jesus–and they’re not flattering. In this lucid, richly detailed, and accessible book, Peter Schafer examines how the rabbis of the Talmud read, understood, and used the New Testament Jesus narrative to assert, ultimately, Judaism’s superiority over Christianity.
The Talmudic stories make fun of Jesus’ birth from a virgin, fervently contest his claim to be the Messiah and Son of God, and maintain that he was rightfully executed as a blasphemer and idolater. They subvert the Christian idea of Jesus’ resurrection and insist he got the punishment he deserved in hell–and that a similar fate awaits his followers.
Schafer contends that these stories betray a remarkable familiarity with the Gospels–especially Matthew and John–and represent a deliberate and sophisticated anti-Christian polemic that parodies the New Testament narratives. He carefully distinguishes between Babylonian and Palestinian sources, arguing that the rabbis’ proud and self-confident counter message to that of the evangelists was possible only in the unique historical setting of Persian Babylonia, in a Jewish community that lived in relative freedom. The same could not be said of Roman and Byzantine Palestine, where the Christians aggressively consolidated their political power and the Jews therefore suffered.
A departure from past scholarship, which has played down the stories as unreliable distortions of the historical Jesus, Jesus in the Talmud posits a much more deliberate agenda behind these narratives.
Make sure to leave me your email so that I can update you when I add new material to the site (you can do that in the right upper corner) and, email a link to this blog to your friends and family that may also be interested in the Jewish background of all things connected to the Jewish and Christian histories.
Join the conversation (7 comments)
ahhhh another attempt by the kenites to cover some of their all to familar tracks. but i give the qayin credit, they have beyond fooled the goyim in every manner and technique. so to the elites kenites of the world, i commend you on a job well done but i pose the question of yohannan the baptist. a question i too myself thought about in deep contemplation. ”How can you escape?”… im pretty sure Helel has sold some false answer
The Talmud explored in this book is the Babylonian or Jerusalem?
“He carefully distinguishes between Babylonian and Palestinian sources, arguing that the rabbis’ proud and self-confident counter message to that of the evangelists was possible only in the unique historical setting of Persian Babylonia, in a Jewish community that lived in relative freedom. The same could not be said of Roman and Byzantine Palestine, where the Christians aggressively consolidated their political power and the Jews therefore suffered.” (from book description).
This means that while both Jerusalem/Palestinian Talmud is looked at the book considers the Babylonian Talmud (largely).
By the way, while there are indeed two Talmuds, in all practicality the Bavli (Babylonian Talmud) is considered THE TALMUD.
Excuse me, I did not know if the book is available for download here on the blog? If yes, how do I?
No, its not available for download, but its available through any book store, especially online stores.
Have read this book as a Kindle. Interesting read, although the author does seem to gloat at bit at the Talmud’s negative comments.
What he is saying in the book is very interesting and of course brave. But at the same time, when you are Jewish, you are able to just say what you think about the subject and not be open to the charges of antisemitism in yours scholarship. Truthfulness is the key, I think. Thanks for your comment.