From the Dead Letters and Living Words conference at Newman University:
Prof. Steve Moyise encouraged us to re-examine the Jewish Jesus in the paper ‘Reimagining the Jewish Jesus‘ which he presented at the Dead Letters & Living Words conference at Newman on 6th June 2015…
It is difficult to overstate the impact of Geza Vermes’ Jesus the Jew (1973) and E.P. Sanders’ Jesus and Judaism (1985) on New Testament and Historical Jesus studies. Although an awareness of Jesus’ Jewish background had long been a part of our consciousness, it was their work that drove it to our attention. Jesus could no longer be seen as being distinct from his Jewish background. In order to be fully understood, his life, work and teaching needed to be studied within the context of late Second Temple period Judaism.
In a typically entertaining and accessible paper, Moyise took three elements of Jesus’ teaching that are traditionally seen as being distinctively Christian in character and a discontinuity from the Judaism of his time:
- The Son of Man is the Lord of the Sabbath
- Jesus and the Food Laws
- Jesus and the Second Coming
Moyise explored each in the light of their Jewish rather than Christian context, throwing light on how they would probably have been understood by the contemporaries of Jesus and, in doing so, challenging our assumptions and traditional understanding of them.