We only regret that Professor Freyne (1935-2013) is no longer with us. We would have liked to celebrate this excellent book with him.
"Many scholars prefer to avoid discussion of Toledot Yeshu, which recalls uncomfortable periods of history when relations between Jews and Christians were antagonistic. Unfortunately, such avoidance of history has disastrous consequences. I would argue that it is the parts of our history that we refuse to look at that pose the most danger to us. Avoidance of historical shortcomings encourages complacency, displacement of responsibility, and lack of sensitivity to others. It is when we confront the difficult parts of our shared history that we can come to terms with why people needed such mockery and why others might employ such rhetoric against them, understanding the historical violence and prejudice that shaped this text. It is only when we confront that part of the human spirit that loves to degrade the other that we can invite in more enlightened responses."
When archeologists and volunteers started digging, they were astonished to find a treasure: A 1st-century synagogue, one of only seven in Israel - and in the entire world.
"This is the first synagogue ever excavated where Jesus walked and preached," says the father, calling it "hugely important" for both Jews and Christians.
Experts say it's highly likely that Jesus would have preached in the recently uncovered synagogue, believed to have first been built in the year 1 as a simple structure which was then upgraded into a more ornate one in the year 40.I always feel skeptical when an article refers to "experts" who are equal parts confident and anonymous. I'm also skeptical when a news source reveals some new discovery around Christmas or Easter. That said, Jesus may well have visited this synagogue. Perhaps Mary was in some way connected to the group that met in this place.
This book includes several examples of remarkably insightful biblical interpretation, particularly when [Chris] Keith examines the distinctive ways in which each Gospel treats Jesus’ relationship to literacy. One outstandingly presented case involves Mark’s “layered portrayal” of Jesus as a synagogue teacher in diverse contexts. Mark contrasts Jesus’ teaching with those of the “scribal-elite teachers,” combining Jesus’ teaching with his powerful deeds: “Where an audience is willing to allow Jesus’ exorcisms and healings to influence their view of his identity, he is accepted as a synagogue teacher,” but where the audience does not link Jesus’ deeds to his teachings, they reject him. Indeed, after the account of Jesus’ difficult visit to the Nazareth synagogue, Mark never again describes Jesus teaching in a synagogue. Thus “Mark portrays Jesus as a compelling teacher whose contemporaries did not expect him to be a synagogue teacher because he was a member of the manual-labor class.” Keith then goes on to show how Matthew and Luke subtly and not so subtly revised Mark’s version of the story to enhance Jesus’ teaching authority (Matthew) and his literacy (Luke).I have now read three of Greg Carey's reviews and have decided that he is the world's finest book reviewer. He is level-headed, generous by default, but honest throughout. Most importantly, he engages the heart of the thesis and assesses the book accordingly. I wish that he would review every book.