"For centuries we Christians have imagined a composite gospel picture of Jesus's life and viewed it through the developing tradition of our own faith. It has usually been the Nazarene through Christian eyes. But what happens when a Jew imagines the Nazarene through Jewish eyes? Schalom Ben-Chorin's 1967 classic gives Jesus his proper context as a first-century Jew and sees him within that Judaism's vibrant and on-going tradition. But his book also carries a deeper challenge in the delicacy of its titular address and the pain of its terminal image. Those who stand with the crucifiers cannot stand with the crucified. Where have we Christians been standing throughout most of those centuries? Who, then, is brother to "the Jew on the cross"?"
—John Dominic Crossan
"[An] elegant translation."
Ben-Chorin's reach is astounding as he moves easily between literature, law, etymology, psychology, and theology to recover "Jesus' picture from the Christian overpainting." A commanding scholar of the historical Jesus who also devoted his life to widening Jewish-Christian dialogue, Ben-Chorin ranges across such events as the wedding at Cana, the Last Supper, and the crucifixion to reveal, in contemporary Christianity, traces of the Jewish codes and customs in which Jesus was immersed. Not only do we see how and why these events also resonate with Jews, but we are brought closer to Christianity in its primitive state: radical, directionless, even pagan.
Early in his book, Ben-Chorin writes, "the belief of Jesus unifies us, but the belief in Jesus divides us." It is the kind of paradox from which arise endless questions or, as Ben-Chorin would have it, endless opportunities for Jews and Christians to come together for meaningful, mutual discovery.
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