1st Edition

Teaching the Historical Jesus
Issues and Exegesis

ISBN 9781138794610
Published December 19, 2014 by Routledge
274 Pages - 3 B/W Illustrations

USD $170.00

Prices & shipping based on shipping country


Book Description

Teaching the Historical Jesus in his Jewish context to students of varied religious backgrounds presents instructors with not only challenges, but also opportunities to sustain interfaith dialogue and foster mutual understanding and respect. This new collection explores these challenges and opportunities, gathering together experiential lessons drawn from teaching Jesus in a wide variety of settings—from the public, secular two- or four-year college, to the Jesuit university, to the Rabbinic school or seminary, to the orthodox, religious Israeli university. A diverse group of Jewish and Christian scholars reflect on their own classroom experiences and explicates crucial issues for teaching Jesus in a way that encourages students at every level to enter into an encounter with the Hebrew Scriptures and the New Testament without paternalism, parochialism, or prejudice. This volume is a valuable resource for instructors and graduate students interested in an interfaith approach in the classroom, and provides practical case studies for scholars working on Jewish-Christian relations.

Table of Contents

Introduction  Section 1: Jesus in Undergraduate Education  1. Teaching Jewish Studies, Hebrew Scriptures and the Historical Jesus in the Context of Jewish Studies at a Two-Year Public College: Rationale, Objectives, Evaluation Zev Garber  2. Untangling Myths and Misconceptions: A Narrative of the Undergraduate Classroom Rochelle L. Millen  3. Jesus "in the Trenches": Pedagogical Challenges Posed by Teaching the Nazarene in the Context of Judaic Studies Ken Hanson  4. Teaching Jesus at the University of Alabama Steven Leonard Jacobs  5 Teaching about Jesus in a Catholic University Richard L. Libowitz  6. Teaching about Jesus and Early Christianity at US Rabbinic Schools Joel Gereboff  7. The Jewish Jesus: An Evaluation after Three Years Herbert W. Basser  8. Dialogue as Integral to Teaching about the Jewish Jesus James F. Moore and Joseph Edelheit  9. Between the Literary and the Historical Jesus: Teaching the Modern Jewish Writers’ Jesus  Neta Stahl Section 2: Some Issues in Teaching Jesus  10. Jesus the Jew: Who Says So? Norman Simms  11. Reflections on a Course: ‘Judaism and Early Christianity: The Parting of the Ways’—When? Where? Why? Leonard Greenspoon  12 Typical Christian Misunderstandings of Jesus and Judaism Eugene J. Fisher  13 Teaching Jesus in a Halakhic Jewish Setting in Israel: Kosher, Treif or Pareve? Joshua Schwartz  14. Jewish Artists and the Perception of the Crucifixion Nathan Harpaz  15. Jesus on Film: Cinema as a Tool in the Discovery of the Jewish Jesus Penny Wheeler  16. Gravitating to Luke's Historical Jesus: Help or Hindrance? Michael J. Cook Section 3: Teaching Views on Jesus  17. Jesus, the Pharisees, and Mediterranean Manliness S. Scott Bartchy  18. Jesus as Sadducee and Pharisee: Teaching the Teacher in the Gospel of Mark Peter Zaas  19. Jesus as a Seditionist: The Intertwining of Politics and Religion in His Teaching and Deeds Fernando Bermejo-Rubio  20. Was Jesus a Pharisee? And Does it Matter? John Pawlikowski

View More



Zev Garber is Emeritus Professor and Chair of Jewish Studies and Philosophy at Los Angeles Valley College. He is the Editor of Shofar and the author of The Jewish Jesus: Revelation, Reflection, Reclamation (2011).

Featured Author Profiles

Author - Zev  Garber

Zev Garber

Emeritus Professor of Jewish Studies, Los Angeles Valley College
Valley Glen, CA, USA

Learn more about Zev Garber »


'By collecting the experiences and insights of veteran professors and convincing these colleagues to share their frustrations as well as their guidance, Garber has compiled a volume that will be quite useful to those who seek to foster authentic dialogue about Jesus across religious, communal, and institutional difference.' -Jennifer Knust, Review of Biblical Literature

'Zev Garber’s collection of mostly superb essays reflects both the uniqueness and commonalities of classroom experiences among those of us involved in teaching the literature and/or social history of early Judaism and early Christianity in any number of academic settings...It offers a wealth of practical theories, reflections, and strategies focusing on ways that accurately situate the historical (i.e., Jewish) Jesus into those shared early Jewish and early Christian literary and social worlds.' -Nicolae Roddy, Review of Biblical Literature

'Zev Garber has assembled a wide range of scholars whose experience and writing will help readers who have the opportunity and privilege to teach about the historical Jesus in many settings. Indeed, the joy and satisfaction found in the testimonies of those who teach the historical Jesus was another theme found among many of the contributors.' -Michael McGarry, Studies in Christian-Jewish Relations

'This collection provides a very valuable resource for anyone who teaches courses on the historical Jesus as well as those who are interested in furthering their own understanding about Jesus’ Jewish identity and context. The book will be helpful not only for those who teach in a range of different institutions and at different levels, but also for those who teach adult education courses in churches, synagogues or in the general community.' -Adele Reinhartz, University of Ottawa, Canada

'This fine collection of essays brought together by Zev Garber faces a double challenge. On the one hand, historical judgments about "the historical Jesus" are to some extent inescapably subjective. On the other hand the historical and pedagogical questions are situated in a long vexed history of misunderstanding between Jews and Christians. In the face of these challenges, these essays concerned with teaching the historical Jesus in Jewish contexts are most welcome. While there is some most apologetic advocacy voiced in these essays, they are marked by candor, by contextual specificity, and by a generous sensibility about the difficult subject they address. This collection will be of immense value for developing a wise pedagogy. Beyond that, this is a serious contribution to the on-going work of understanding and communication between Jews and Christians. It is the only book I know that takes on this difficult and important task of pedagogy.' -Walter Brueggemann, Columbia Theological Seminary, USA

"Teaching the Historical Jesus is an essential tool for classroom instruction. Zev Garber, a highly respected Jewish studies scholar, has taken on the challenge of bringing together a diverse group of scholars to write about the historical Jesus, a very difficult and controversial topic in the undergraduate curriculum. Respectable scholars, who teach in diverse environments, share their classroom experiences and encourage dialogues as well as critical thinking strategies. The authors do not shy away from addressing Christian misunderstandings, the so-called proselytizing (Christian) group "Jews for Jesus" as well as Jesus in film and art. The book is a significant contribution to Zev Garber's field of expertise in studying Jesus in his Jewish context, and has the potential to reach not only scholars in New Testament studies but also undergraduate students as well as a general audience. Editing a book for these diverse audiences is no easy feat, and stands as testimony to Professor Garber’s skill as a knowledgeable and successful editor."-Rivka Ulmer, Professor of Jewish Studies, Bucknell University, USA

"Teaching the Historical Jesus is a bold and admirable attempt to offer diverse yet superb essays on a highly relevant theme. Scholars of religion as well as proponents of interfaith dialogue will particularly welcome this pioneering and fascinating volume. Zev Garber should be commended for an outstanding achievement." -Yaakov Ariel, Professor of Religious Studies, University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, USA

"In the anthology’s final article, "Was Jesus a Pharisee? And Does it Matter," John Pawlikowski opines that heuristic teaching opens minds, excites learners, and responds to student interests and abilities. Speaking as a teacher of Bible as literature, all of the authors in this collection participate in this tradition, making the essays themselves practical, informative, and inspiring sources for introducing the historical Jesus into religious studies and literary classrooms." -Roberta Sabbath, English Department, University of Nevada, USA.