The Jewish Annotated New Testament
Levine (Amy-Jill) & Brettler (Marc Zvi), Eds.
This Page provides (where held) the Abstract of the above Book and those of all the Papers contained in it.
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BOOK ABSTRACT:

Amazon Product Description

  1. Although major New Testament figures – Jesus and Paul, Peter and James, Jesus' mother Mary and Mary Magdalene – were Jews, living in a culture steeped in Jewish history, beliefs, and practices, there has never been an edition of the New Testament that addresses its Jewish background and the culture from which it grew – until now.
  2. In The Jewish Annotated New Testament, eminent experts under the general editorship of Amy-Jill Levine and Marc Z. Brettler put these writings back into the context of their original authors and audiences. And they explain how these writings have affected the relations of Jews and Christians over the past two thousand years.
  3. An international team of scholars introduces and annotates the Gospels, Acts, Letters, and Revelation from Jewish perspectives, in the New Revised Standard Version translation. They show how Jewish practices and writings, particularly the Greek translation of the Hebrew Bible, influenced the New Testament writers. From this perspective, readers gain new insight into the New Testament's meaning and significance.
  4. In addition, thirty essays on historical and religious topics – Divine Beings, Jesus in Jewish thought, Parables and Midrash, Mysticism, Jewish Family Life, Messianic Movements, Dead Sea Scrolls, questions of the New Testament and anti-Judaism, and others – bring the Jewish context of the New Testament to the fore, enabling all readers to see these writings both in their original contexts and in the history of interpretation.
  5. For readers unfamiliar with Christian language and customs, there are explanations of such matters as the Eucharist, the significance of baptism, and "original sin." For non-Jewish readers interested in the Jewish roots of Christianity and for Jewish readers who want a New Testament that neither proselytizes for Christianity nor denigrates Judaism, The Jewish Annotated New Testament is an essential volume that places these writings in a context that will enlighten students, professionals, and general readers.
  6. Amy-Jill Levine is University Professor of New Testament and Jewish Studies, E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Professor of New Testament Studies, and Professor of Jewish Studies at the Divinity School, College of Arts and Science, Graduate Department of Religion, and Program in Jewish Studies at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, TN
  7. Marc Z. Brettler is Dora Golding Professor of Biblical Studies at Brandeis University.

Amazon Customer Review 1
  1. There are already a great many books by Jewish and Christian writers about the relationship between Judaism and Christianity in the first century, and anyone familiar with the subject will find much that is familiar in this book: to them it will hardly be "a new view of the Jewish contexts in which the New Testament and the community of Jesus followers arose", as the blurb has it. It is, however, a very useful reference book. Its purpose is to show what the teaching of the early church had in common with the Judaism from which it was born, where it diverged, and where New Testament texts became - in intention or in interpretation - the cause of Christian hatred of the Jews. But it particularly aims to make both Christians and Jews especially aware of what Jesus and Paul had in common with the Judaism of their time.
  2. The annotations are to the text of the New Revised Standard Version of 1989, and they are extremely detailed - explaining the meaning of words; giving historical background; relating sentences in the New Testament to other sentences in the New Testament and/or to sentences in the Hebrew Bible ("Old Testament"), and much else besides: by no means all of them concern themselves with Jewish perspectives.
  3. In addition there is an introduction to each New Testament book; there are useful maps and tables; and 63 boxes in which some topics are dealt with in summary (there is, for example, one on the treatment of the Pharisees in Luke's Gospel, another on the role of the High Priest. Ten of these boxes explain aspects of the Book of Revelations.)
  4. There are also 32 longer essays (87 pages of double columns and, like the annotations and the boxes, in rather small print), mostly on Jewish ideas and institutions (for example on Synagogues) or on Jewish ideas before, during, and, for a century or two, after the time of Jesus (for example on the Afterlife1 and Resurrection or on Jesus in the Rabbinic tradition). Some of these essays - the one on Paul and Judaism or the one about Jewish Christians - are contributions to ongoing discussions rather than undisputed interpretations. The penultimate essay gives an account of modern Jewish writers (from the early 19th century onwards) who have seen Jesus as a good Jew though, oddly, there is nothing on Christian theologians who had done the same. Many of these Jewish scholars believe that it was Paul and not Jesus who was the true founder of Christianity and who regard him as a Jewish heretic; but the last essay shows that there are now even some Jewish scholars who are sympathetic to Paul as a Jew.

Amazon Customer Review 2
  1. In their claim that this is the first time that Jewish scholars have notated and written essays on the complete New Testament, the editors of The Jewish Annotated New Testament appear to be distancing themselves from Messianic Jews or Jewish Christians and ignoring the written commentaries and works by them (with the exception of a mention of David Stern's Complete Jewish Bible as "a Messianic-Jewish translation of both testaments", found in the essay on "Translation of the Bible"), this is non-the-less a ground-breaking publication by acclaimed Jewish scholars.
  2. The editors Amy-Jill Levine and Marc Avi Brettler bring together essays and commentaries by Daniel Boyarin, Shaye J D Cohen, Pamela Esenbaum, Susannah Heschel, Daniel Schwartz, David Stern (the midrash scholar, not the translator of the Complete Jewish Bible), Geza Vermes, Leonard Greenspoon, Mark Nanos and approximately 40 other respected Jewish experts in areas related to the NT gives a non-Hebrew, Jewish perspective on Jesus.
  3. Amy-Jill Levine's "Bearing False Witness: Common Errors Made about Early Judaism” is a good starting place to the JANT.
  4. With regard to the Virgin Birth, Aaron Gale suggests that Matthew 1:18-25 constitutes a midrash – a legend similar to the one recounting the birth of Moses.
  5. Lawrence Wills, commenting on Mark's profession that Jesus fulfilled Messianic prophecies, states: "This observation has called into question whether these details actually occurred ... Readers should decide for themselves whether actual incidents were interpreted through a scriptural lens or were suggested to the writer from the use of favourite biblical texts." Confusing and unimpressive to say the least!
  6. Shira Lander's comment on 1 Corinthians 15:28 concerning Paul and the Trinity is equally unhelpful. She states: "This passage illustrates Paul's understanding that Christ [the Messiah] is not God, even though Christ incarnates God's wisdom and power...imparts the Holy Spirit...and is the conduit for all existence...Ultimately, Christ belongs to God."
  7. Shaye J D Cohen's Torah negative approach to Paul's letter to the Galatians will be frowned upon by Messianic readers.
  8. Martin Goodman's "Jewish History, 331 BCE--134CE" helps readers keep track of the various Herods of the Gospels and Acts, and the historical backdrop of the entire NT period providing very useful material.
  9. David B Levenson's "Messianic Movements" replaces the commonly-repeated trope that all Jews of the Second-Temple period believed in a political conqueror Messiah.
  10. Mark Nanos gives a useful verse by verse commentary on Romans and includes invaluable notes on which words in the translation are present or absent from the original Greek (affecting interpretation), as well as longer notes explaining pivotal aspects of Paul's argument on oft-missed nuances of his language.
  11. This is not a work to shy away from but should be embraced by Christians and Jews and indeed anyone interested in New Testament Studies. There is much to challenge and edify in this work and I warmly recommend it to any serious student of the New Testament. The Jewish Annotated New Testament convincingly reveals the growing and welcome interest among Jews concerning Jesus.

Contents
  1. The Editors’ Preface – xi
  2. Acknowledgements – xv
  3. To the Reader – xvii
  4. Alphabetical Listing of the Books of the New Testament – xix
  5. Abbreviations – xxi
The New Testament
  1. Matthew – Introduction and Annotations by Aaron M. Gale – 1
  2. Mark – Introduction and Annotations by Lawrence M. Wills – 55
  3. Luke – Introduction and Annotations by Amy-Jill Levine – 96
  4. John – Introduction and Annotations by Adele Reinhartz – 152
  5. Acts of the Apostles – Introduction and Annotations by Gary Gilbert – 197
  6. Romans – Introduction and Annotations by Mark D. Nanos – 253
  7. 1 Corinthians – Introduction and Annotations by Shira Lander – 287
  8. 2 Corinthians – Introduction and Annotations by Alan Avery-Peck – 315
  9. Galatians – Introduction and Annotations by Shaye J. D. Cohen – 332
  10. Ephesians – Introduction and Annotations by Maxine Grossman – 345
  11. Philippians – Introduction and Annotations by Michael Cook – 354
  12. Colossians – Introduction and Annotations by Peter Zaas – 36
  13. 1 Thessalonians – Introduction and Annotations by David Fox Sandmel – 372
  14. 2 Thessalonians – Introduction and Annotations by Adam Gregerman – 378
  15. 1 Timothy – Introduction and Annotations by Naomi Koltun-Fromm – 383
  16. 2 Timothy – Introduction and Annotations by Tal Ilan – 391
  17. Titus – Introduction and Annotations by Jennifer L. Koosed – 397
  18. Philemon – Introduction and Annotations by Barbara Geller – 402
  19. Hebrews – Introduction and Annotations by Pamela Eisenbaum – 406
  20. James – Introduction and Annotations by Herbert Basser – 427
  21. 1 Peter – Introduction and Annotations by Claudia Setzer – 436
  22. 2 Peter – Introduction and Annotations by Michael R. Greenwald – 443
  23. 1 John – Introduction and Annotations by Michele Murray – 448
  24. 2 John – Introduction and Annotations by Julie Galambush – 456
  25. 3 John – Introduction and Annotations by Jonathan Brumberg-Kraus – 458
  26. Jude – Introduction and Annotations by Andrew S. Jacobs – 460
  27. Revelation – Introduction and Annotations by David Frankfurter – 463
Maps, Charts, Sidebar Essays, and Diagrams
  1. The Virgin Birth – 4
  2. Righteousness – 7
  3. The Geography of the Gospel of Matthew – 8
  4. The Beatitudes – 10
  5. Peter in Matthew's Gospel – 31
  6. Paying Taxes – 40
  7. Pharisees and Judas – 41
  8. Eschatological Elements in Matthew – 44
  9. The Geography of the Gospel of Mark – 60
  10. Impurity and Healing – 63
  11. Pharisees and Tax Collectors – 64
  12. Parables and Kingdom – 68
  13. Scripture Fulfilments – 89
  14. Jesus' Synagogue Sermon – 107
  15. The Geography of the Gospel of Luke – 108
  16. Pharisees in Luke – 110
  17. Parable of the Good Samaritan – 123
  18. Parable of the Prodigal Son – 133
  19. Parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector – 138
  20. The Geography of the Gospel of John – 162
  21. The Native Lands of Pentecost Pilgrims – 201
  22. Jews and the Death of Jesus – 204
  23. Gamaliel – 209
  24. Stephen's Speech – 211
  25. Sites of Early Christian Missionary Activities – 215
  26. First Missionary Journey of Paul – 224
  27. Second Missionary Journey of Paul – 228
  28. Third Missionary Journey of Paul – 235
  29. Paul and the Jews – 243
  30. Paul's Journey to Rome – 250
  31. Faith – 255
  32. Diatribe – 257
  33. Law – 258
  34. Circumcision and "Works of Law" – 259
  35. Circumcision of the Heart – 260
  36. God is One for All Humanity – 260
  37. The Source of Authority in Interpretation – 274
  38. Grafting the Olive Branch – 276
  39. Restoration of Israel – 278
  40. Food that is "Profane" – 283
  41. Paul and the Trinity – 293
  42. Freedom from the Law – 296
  43. Sexual Mores – 298
  44. Headcovering – 305
  45. Eucharist and Passover – 306
  46. Cursing Jesus – 307
  47. Spiritual Gifts – 307
  48. Paul and the Rabbis on Moses' Radiant Face – 320
  49. Places Mentioned in Galatians 1-2 – 334
  50. Christ Hymn – 357
  51. "Beware of the Dogs" – 359
  52. Colossians and Ephesians: Parallels – 365
  53. Diatribe against the Jews – 374
  54. Slavery in the Roman Empire – 404
  55. Perfection through Suffering – 408
  56. The High Priest in Jewish Tradition – 412
  57. Melchizedek – 415
  58. Heroes of the Faith – 421
  59. Implanted Word – 429
  60. Suffering under Persecution – 438
  61. Use of Israel's Scripture – 439
  62. Oral and Written Prophecy – 466
  63. Christ as Manifestation of God – 467
  64. The Letters to the Seven Congregations – 468
  65. So-Called Jews and Their Synagogues of Satan – 469
  66. Revelation 2-3: The Seven Churches – 470
  67. John, A New Ezekiel – 473
  68. The Numerology of Revelation – 475
  69. The Heavenly Temple Cult – 478
  70. Chaos Monsters – 483
  71. Names Inscribed on the Body – 485
  72. Woman and the Symbolism of Pollution – 489
  73. A Holy City without a Holy Temple – 496
Essays
    Introductory Essays
  1. Bearing False Witness: Common Errors Made about Early Judaism (Amy-Jill Levine) – 501
  2. The New Testament between the Hebrew Bible (Tanakh) and Rabbinic Literature (Marc Zvi Brettler) – 504
    History and Society
  3. Jewish History, 331 BCE – 135 CE (Martin Goodman) – 507
  4. Judaism and Jewishness (Shaye J. D. Cohen) – 513
  5. The Law (Jonathan Klawans) – 515
  6. The Synagogue (Lee I. Levine) – 519
  7. Food and Table Fellowship (David M. Freidenreich) – 521
  8. Ioudaios (Joshua D. Garroway) – 524
  9. Jewish Movements of the New Testament Period (Daniel R. Schwartz) – 526
  10. Messianic Movements (David B. Levenson) – 530
  11. Jewish Miracle Workers in the Late Second Temple Period (Geza Vermes) – 536
  12. Jewish Family Life in the First Century CE (Ross S. Kraemer) – 537
  13. The Concept of Neighbour in Jewish and Christian Ethics (Michael Fagenblat) – 540
  14. Divine Beings (Rebecca Lesses) – 544
  15. Logos, a Jewish Word: John's Prologue as Midrash (Daniel Boyarin) – 546
  16. Afterlife2 and Resurrection (Martha Himmelfarb) – 549
  17. Paul and Judaism (Mark D. Nanos) – 551
  18. Judaizers, Jewish Christians, and Others (Charlotte Elisheva Fonrobert) – 554
    Literature
  19. The Canon of the New Testament (Michael R. Greenwald) – 557
  20. Translation of the Bible (Naomi Seidman) – 560
  21. The Septuagint (Leonard Greenspoon) – 562
  22. Midrash and Parables in the New Testament (David Stern) – 565
  23. The Dead Sea Scrolls (Maxine Grossman) – 569
  24. Philo of Alexandria (David Satran) – 572
  25. Josephus (Shaye J. D. Cohen) – 575
    Jewish Responses To The New Testament
  26. Jewish Responses to Believers in Jesus (Claudia Setzer) – 577
  27. Jesus in Rabbinic Tradition (Burton L. Visotzky) – 580
  28. Jesus in Medieval Jewish Tradition (Martin Lockshin) – 581
  29. Jesus in Modern Jewish Thought (Susannah Heschel) – 582
  30. Paul in Jewish Thought (Daniel R. Langton) – 585
Tables, Glossary, Index
  1. Timeline – 588
  2. Chronological Table of Rulers – 590
  3. Some Tannaitic Rabbis – 592
  4. Some Amoraic Rabbis – 593
  5. Calendar – 594
  6. Weights And Measures – 595
  7. Parallel Texts – 596
  8. Chapter / Verse Differences – 598
  9. Canons Of the Hebrew Bible / Old Testament with Additions – 600
  10. Translations Of Ancient Texts – 601
  11. Divisions And Tractates of the Mishnah, Talmud, And Tosefta – 603
  12. Glossary – 604
  13. Index – 619

BOOK COMMENT:
  • OUP USA (3 Nov 2011).
  • Second copy given to Pete.
  • Third copy given to Mike.



" Heschel (Susannah) - Jesus in Modern Jewish Thought"

Source: Levine & Brettler - The Jewish Annotated New Testament



"Avery-Peck (Alan) - 2 Corinthians – Introduction and Annotations"

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"Basser (Herbert) - James – Introduction and Annotations"

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"Boyarin (Daniel) - Logos, a Jewish Word: John's Prologue as Midrash"

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"Brettler (Marc Zvi) - The New Testament between the Hebrew Bible (Tanakh) and Rabbinic Literature"

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"Brumberg-Kraus (Jonathan) - 3 John – Introduction and Annotations"

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"Cohen (Shaye J.D.) - Galatians – Introduction and Annotations"

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"Cohen (Shaye J.D.) - Josephus"

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"Cohen (Shaye J.D.) - Judaism and Jewishness"

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"Cook (Michael) - Philippians – Introduction and Annotations"

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"Eisenbaum (Pamela) - Hebrews – Introduction and Annotations"

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"Fagenblat (Michael) - The Concept of Neighbour in Jewish and Christian Ethics"

Source: Levine & Brettler - The Jewish Annotated New Testament



"Fonrobert (Charlotte Elisheva) - Judaizers, Jewish Christians, and Others"

Source: Levine & Brettler - The Jewish Annotated New Testament



"Frankfurter (David) - Revelation – Introduction and Annotations"

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"Freidenreich (David M.) - Food and Table Fellowship"

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"Galambush (Julie) - 2 John – Introduction and Annotations"

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"Gale (Aaron M.) - Matthew – Introduction and Annotations"

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"Garroway (Joshua D.) - Ioudaios"

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"Geller (Barbara) - Philemon – Introduction and Annotations"

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"Gilbert (Gary) - Acts of the Apostles – Introduction and Annotations"

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"Goodman (Martin) - Jewish History, 331 BCE – 135 CE"

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"Greenspoon (Leonard) - The Septuagint"

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"Greenwald (Michael R.) - 2 Peter – Introduction and Annotations"

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"Greenwald (Michael R.) - The Canon of the New Testament"

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"Gregerman (Adam) - 2 Thessalonians – Introduction and Annotations"

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"Grossman (Maxine) - Ephesians – Introduction and Annotations"

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"Grossman (Maxine) - The Dead Sea Scrolls"

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"Himmelfarb (Martha) - Afterlife and Resurrection"

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"Ilan (Tal) - 2 Timothy – Introduction and Annotations"

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"Jacobs (Andrew S.) - Jude – Introduction and Annotations"

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"Klawans (Jonathan) - The Law"

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"Koltun-Fromm (Naomi) - 1 Timothy – Introduction and Annotations"

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"Koosed (Jennifer L.) - Titus – Introduction and Annotations"

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"Kraemer (Ross S.) - Jewish Family Life in the First Century CE"

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"Lander (Shira) - 1 Corinthians – Introduction and Annotations"

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"Langton (Daniel R.) - Paul in Jewish Thought"

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"Lesses (Rebecca) - Divine Beings"

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"Levenson (David B.) - Messianic Movements"

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"Levine (Amy-Jill) - Bearing False Witness: Common Errors Made about Early Judaism"

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"Levine (Amy-Jill) - Luke – Introduction and Annotations"

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"Levine (Amy-Jill) & Brettler (Marc Zvi) - The Jewish Annotated New Testament: Preface"

Source: Levine (Amy-Jill) & Brettler (Marc Z.), Eds. - The Jewish Annotated New Testament


The Editors’ Preface (Full Text)
      "... for my family, my kin of the flesh: Israelites they are, and to them are due the sonship, the glory, the covenants, the giving of Torah, the worship, the promises; of them were the patriarchs, and from them is the messiah in the flesh — who is over all, and whom God blessed, forever ... for the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable.
      … Saul (Paul) of Tarsus, Letter to the community in Rome, 9.3-5; 11.29"
  1. It is almost two millennia since the earliest texts incorporated into the New Testament were composed. For the most part, these centuries have seen a painful relationship between Jews and Christians. Although Jewish perceptions of Christians and Christian perceptions of Jews have improved markedly in recent decades, Jews and Christians still misunderstand many of each other's texts and traditions. The landmark publication of this book is a witness to that improvement; ideally, it will serve to increase our knowledge of both our common histories and the reasons why we came to separate.
  2. The word "Jewish" in the title The Jewish Annotated New Testament serves several roles. First, this volume highlights in its annotations and essays aspects of first- and second-century Judaism that enrich the understanding of the New Testament: customs, literature, and interpretations of biblical texts. We believe that it is important for both Jews and non-Jews to understand how close, in many aspects, significant parts of the New Testament are to the Jewish practices and beliefs reflected in the works of the Dead Sea Scrolls, Philo and Josephus, the Pseudepigrapha and Deuterocanonical literature, the Targumim (Aramaic translations of the Bible), and slightly later rabbinic literature, and that the New Testament has, in many passages, Jewish origins. Jesus was a Jew, as was Paul; likely the authors known as Matthew and John were Jews, as were the authors of the Epistle of James and the book Revelation. When they were writing, the "parting of the ways" had not yet occurred. Other authors, such as the individual who composed the Gospel of Luke and the Acts of the Apostles, while probably not Jewish themselves, were profoundly influenced by first- and second-century Jewish thought and by the Jewish translation of Tanakh into Greek, the Septuagint. Thus, understanding the diverse Jewish populations of the early Roman Empire — their habits, their conventions, their religious practices — is as crucial to understanding the New Testament writings as is general familiarity with the Roman world. In turn, familiarity with the New Testament helps Jews to recover some of our own history.
  3. Second, we highlight connections between the New Testament material and later Jewish (especially rabbinic) literature, so readers can track similar as well as distinct ideas across time. For example, in most rabbinic literature, the entire book of Psalms is attributed to David, even though fewer than half of the psalms have a Davidic superscription and several are explicitly attributed to other people, such as Korach. How and when did the rabbis' understanding of all of Psalms as Davidic (b. B. Bat. 14b) develop? Here, Acts 4.25 introduces Psalm 2 — a psalm with no explicit Davidic superscription — by saying "it is you who said by the Holy Spirit through our ancestor David, your servant." The verse offers important evidence that the idea of the Davidic authorship of Psalms already existed in the first or early second century CE, and was not a rabbinic innovation. Similarly, seeing certain ascetic tendencies, interests in resurrection and heaven and hell, views of fallen angels and Satanic evil in some New Testament texts can make readers aware that such ideas existed in early Judaism as well.
  4. Third, the volume addresses problems that Jewish readers in particular may find in reading the New Testament, especially passages that have been used to perpetuate anti-Judaism and the stereotypes that non-Jewish readers sometimes bring to the texts. Therefore, in addition to emphasizing the Jewish background — or better, the Jewish contexts — of the New Testament, we pay special attention to passages that negatively stereotype Jews or groups of Jews, such as the Pharisees or the "Jews" in John's Gospel. Jews have for too long been accused of being "Christ killers" (see 1 Thess 2.14b-16), or regarded as Judases, or seen as the venal descendants of the Temple's "money changers" (Mt 21.12; Mk 11.15; Jn 2.14-15, cf. Lk 16.14). The authors in this volume do not engage in apologetics by claiming that these statements are harmless. In some cases, they contextualize them by showing how they are part of the exaggerated language of debate of the first century, while elsewhere they note that the statements may not have always been understood accurately by later Christian tradition. An excellent example of the latter is reflected in the annotations to Matthew 27.25: "Then the people as a whole answered, ‘His blood be on us and on our children!’" (a verse unique to Matthew's Gospel). The annotation observes that the verse may be referring to the destruction of the Second Temple in 70 CE, and the "children" may be specifically the generation after Jesus who experienced that destruction, and not Jews in perpetuity. Similarly, the notes to Revelation propose that the polemic against the "synagogue of Satan, who say that they are Jews and are not" (Rev 3.9) is not against Jews at all, but is against Gentile followers of Jesus who promote Jewish practices. These annotations cannot undo the harm that such verses have done for two millennia, but they may help both Jews and Christians see that certain pernicious interpretations of the New Testament are not based on the actual texts, as they have been assumed to be. At the very least, the annotations and essays should provide guidance to Christian teachers and preachers, so that when they proclaim the "good news" (the meaning of the Greek term euangelion or "gospel") of Jesus, they will not stain that good news by anti-Jewish stereotypes.
  5. At times, the reader must wrestle with these New Testament texts (and we would argue the same point for the materials in the shared Scriptures — the Tanakh of the Synagogue and the Old Testament of the Church) since they sometimes express ideas that might make us uncomfortable, or worse. The point in studying such texts is not to justify them, but to understand them in their historical contexts and to recognize that the heirs of those texts have different interpretations of them. For example, some New Testament texts appear to promote a supersessionist agenda. Supersessionism (also sometimes called "replacement theology") is the claim, expressed in its starkest form, that by rejecting Jesus and then killing him, the Jews have lost their role as a people in covenant with God, and that the promises made to Abraham now apply only to the followers of Jesus. In other words, this view regards Jews and Judaism as having been superseded by or replaced with Christians and Christianity. This theology is most evident in Hebrews 8.13, which states: "In speaking of 'a new covenant' [Jer 3131-34] he has made the first one obsolete. And what is obsolete and growing old will soon disappear." Study leads to deeper knowledge and therefore understanding of how those of differing beliefs or traditions develop.
  6. Indeed, for many Jews, including the editors of this volume, study of the New Testament also has made us better, more informed Jews. Familiarity with the New Testament allows readers to see the various options open to Jews in the first century (to follow Jesus, or John the Baptist; to join the community at the Dead Sea or to affiliate with Pharisaic teaching; to align with Rome or with the rebels, and so on), and so have a better sense of why most Jews did not follow Jesus or the movement that developed in his name. At times, we find that many of the passages in the New Testament provide an excellent encapsulation of basic, ongoing Jewish values: of love of God and love of neighbour (Lk 10.25-28, quoting Deut 6.5; Lev 19.18; Josh 22.5; on love of God see Avot de R. Natan 48 [67a]; on the primacy of Lev 19.18, see R. Akiva in y. Ned. 9.4, who notes that "it is a great principle of the Torah"); of tzedakah (righteousness expressed as charity) (Mk 10.21; Mt 25.34-40; see Jer 22.3; Prov 21.3; on its primacy in rabbinic texts, see b. B. Bat. 9a; b. Sukk. 49b); of longing for the kingdom or reign of God (Mt 16.24-26) and the repair of the world (Rev 21.1-4); compare the Aleinu prayer: "To repair the world through the kingdom of heaven." It is very possible for the non-Christian to respect a great deal of the (very Jewish) message of much of the New Testament, without worshiping the messenger.
  7. Many Jews are unfamiliar with, or even afraid of reading, the New Testament. Its content and genres are foreign, and they need notes to guide their reading. Other Jews may think that the New Testament writings are irrelevant to their lives, or that any annotated New Testament is aimed at persuasion, if not conversion. This volume, edited and written by Jewish scholars, should not raise that suspicion. Our intention is not to convert, whether to convert Jews to Christianity, or to convert Christians away from their own churches. Rather, this book is designed to allow all readers to understand what the texts of the New Testament meant within their own social, historical, and religious context; some of the essays then describe the impact that the New Testament has had on Jewish-Christian relations. Moreover, we strongly believe that Jews should understand the Christian Bible — what is called from the Christian perspective the Old Testament and New Testament — because it is Scripture for most English-speaking people: it is difficult for Jews to understand their neighbours, and the broader society of which Jewish citizens are a part, without familiarity with the New Testament. Just as we as Jews wish our neighbours to understand our texts, beliefs, and practices, we should understand the basics of Christianity.
  8. Additional reasons commend Jewish familiarity with these texts. The New Testament is the origin of much of the great literature, art, and music of Western culture. To appreciate fully Bach's masterpieces, it helps to know the texts on which they are based; familiarity with the infancy narratives in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke helps readers to appreciate the magnificent portraits of the Madonna and her child; New Testament literacy provides the necessary background to understand how cultures over time have come to represent Jesus and Judas, Mary Magdalene and Peter. The New Testament is not only a book of religious significance; it is a book of cultural importance as well.
  9. The term "Jewish" in the title has a final, important function: it reflects the sensitivities of the contributors. It is not the case that only Jews have the competence to provide these annotations, many of which assume knowledge of Hebrew, Tanakh, Second Temple, and rabbinic texts. The indebtedness of all the contributors to scholarship of authors from all religious backgrounds is evident throughout. At the same time, the increase in the number of Jews having expertise in this material, allowing us to find sufficient contributors, is testimony to the openness of the study of religious texts, and it also highlights the increasing cooperation of Jewish and Christian scholars in understanding both the differences and similarities between early Christianity and Judaism of that period.
  10. As professional scholars, the authors of the annotations and essays approach the text with the respect that all religious texts deserve. A precise understanding of the Greek in which the New Testament is written, and deep knowledge of the Greek and Roman literary conventions that it employs, are crucial for understanding the New Testament — just as understanding of ancient Near Eastern culture and languages is crucial for understanding the scriptures Jews and Christians share. The annotations not only display a sensitivity to what may be perceived to be Jewish interests, they also provide data about history, nuance of language, and connection to earlier biblical texts that any annotated Bible provides. The annotations do not, and cannot, provide the final word on the meaning of the texts either in antiquity or today: new discoveries and new theoretical models will continue to advance our knowledge. Moreover, in some cases contributors to this volume disagree with each other, and in other cases the editors disagreed with the contributors. This is the nature of biblical studies. We believe that the discussions included in this volume fit the category of disputes for the sake of divine service. As m. Avot 5.20a states
      "Any controversy waged in the service of God shall in the end be of lasting worth, but any that is not shall in the end lead to no permanent result. Which controversy was an example of being waged in the service of God? Such was the controversy of Hillel and Shammai. And which was not for God? Such was the controversy of Korah and all his company."
  11. Such study can also have a much loftier result. The late Krister Stendahl, a Lutheran New Testament scholar, Emeritus Bishop of Stockholm, and former professor and Dean of the Harvard Divinity School, coined the term "holy envy" to express the idea that a religious tradition different from the one we practice may express beautiful and meaningful notions. No religion contains all wisdom expressed perfectly and there is much in the New Testament that we find beautiful and meaningful. For example, Paul's description of love in 1 Corinthian 13.4-7 is deeply compelling:
      Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
  12. Just as we have learned much working on this milestone project together, the first time that Jewish scholars have annotated and written essays on the complete New Testament, we hope and anticipate that all who read the annotations and essays will gain a deeper appreciation of this central religious work. We hope that non-Jewish readers will learn to appreciate that significant sections of the New Testament derive from the heart of Judaism, and that they will be able to understand these texts without importing false notions of the tradition of Jesus and his earliest followers. We further hope that this volume will make the New Testament more welcoming to Jewish readers (many of whom are unfamiliar with its contents), that these new readers may become better acquainted with the traditions of their neighbours, and that perhaps they may even experience "holy envy" in the reading.
    … Amy-Jill Levine
    … Marc Zvi Brettler
    … (28 Sivan 5771 / 30 June 2011)



"Levine (Lee I.) - The Synagogue"

Source: Levine & Brettler - The Jewish Annotated New Testament



"Lockshin (Martin) - Jesus in Medieval Jewish Tradition"

Source: Levine & Brettler - The Jewish Annotated New Testament



"Murray (Michele) - 1 John – Introduction and Annotations"

Source: Levine & Brettler - The Jewish Annotated New Testament



"Nanos (Mark D.) - Paul and Judaism"

Source: Levine & Brettler - The Jewish Annotated New Testament



"Nanos (Mark D.) - Romans – Introduction and Annotations"

Source: Levine & Brettler - The Jewish Annotated New Testament



"Reinhartz (Adele) - John – Introduction and Annotations"

Source: Levine & Brettler - The Jewish Annotated New Testament



"Sandmel (David Fox) - 1 Thessalonians – Introduction and Annotations"

Source: Levine & Brettler - The Jewish Annotated New Testament



"Satran (David) - Philo of Alexandria"

Source: Levine & Brettler - The Jewish Annotated New Testament



"Schwartz (Daniel R.) - Jewish Movements of the New Testament Period"

Source: Levine & Brettler - The Jewish Annotated New Testament



"Seidman (Naomi) - Translation of the Bible"

Source: Levine & Brettler - The Jewish Annotated New Testament



"Setzer (Claudia) - 1 Peter – Introduction and Annotations"

Source: Levine & Brettler - The Jewish Annotated New Testament



"Setzer (Claudia) - Jewish Responses to Believers in Jesus"

Source: Levine & Brettler - The Jewish Annotated New Testament



"Stern (David) - Midrash and Parables in the New Testament"

Source: Levine & Brettler - The Jewish Annotated New Testament



"Vermes (Geza) - Jewish Miracle Workers in the Late Second Temple Period"

Source: Levine & Brettler - The Jewish Annotated New Testament



"Visotzky (Burton L.) - Jesus in Rabbinic Tradition"

Source: Levine & Brettler - The Jewish Annotated New Testament



"Wills (Lawrence M.) - Mark – Introduction and Annotations"

Source: Levine & Brettler - The Jewish Annotated New Testament



"Zaas (Peter) - Colossians – Introduction and Annotations"

Source: Levine & Brettler - The Jewish Annotated New Testament



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  1. Blue: Text by me; © Theo Todman, 2018
  2. Mauve: Text by correspondent(s) or other author(s); © the author(s)



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