Religion of Jesus the Jew
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This book completes a trilogy which started in 1973 with Jesus the Jew and continued ten years later with the appearance of Jesus and the World of Judaism, by a leading Jewish expert on the history and literature of Jesus' time whose name is especially associated with work on the Dead Sea Scrolls.
Like its predecessors, it is one man's reading of the Synoptic Gospels of Mark, Matthew and Luke. It does not offer a survey of scholarly views or a discussion of competing theories but focusses on the New Testament material and what can be understood from it.
It is primarily addressed to readers whose expertise lies outside the Bible, the New Testament and theology, namely those interested in ancient religions, history and culture, and especially in Judaism, though of course biblical scholars and theologians will find much that is fascinating in it. Christians ignorant or unconcerned about the historical reality behind their faith may, however, find many of its pages, and above all the final chapter, disturbing.
For Professor Vermes argues that Jesus, enthusiastic herald of the imminent Kingdom of God, could not have entertained the idea of founding and setting into motion an organized society intended to endure for. ages to come. He died in despair, with his heart broken, for having done the wrong thing in the wrong place at the wrong time.
The genuine message of Jesus confronts Christianity with its greatest challenge and at the same time constitutes a powerful appeal to those outside the fold of organized religion.
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