Jesus and the Law

Alan Watson


“These books will not convince everyone, but their vivid and intelligent engagement with the sources, traditions and legal background cannot fail to stimulate new thought and debate about an old but ever-fascinating topic.”
Edinburgh Law Review

“Watson brings his unique knowledge of the law and legal history to bear on an issue that has been central to the study of the New Testament almost since it achieved its present shape.”
—Calum Carmichael, Cornell University

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In Jesus and the Law, Alan Watson measures the success of Jesus’s ministry by explaining his attitude toward, and knowledge of, certain laws and legal customs. Watson argues that Jesus engendered harsh responses from his fellow Jews by his apparently contemptuous or insensitive behavior that stemmed from a lack of knowledge or concern about legal and rabbinic strictures. Informed by Watson’s knowledge of Jewish and Roman law and ancient history, and his skillful relation of Mishnaic and Talmudic materials to the time of Jesus, this book is more than a vivid retelling of the events of the Gospels. Jesus and the Law joins three other works by Watson—The Trial of Jesus, Jesus and the Jews, and Jesus: A Profile—to examine the early dynamism of western religion through refocused attention on biblical texts and other historical sources.

Page count: 182
Trim size: 5.5 x 8.5


List price: $22.95

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Alan Watson, Distinguished Research Professor and Ernest P. Rogers Chair at the University of Georgia School of Law, is regarded as one of the world’s foremost authorities on Roman law, comparative law, legal history, and law and religion.