Judaism And Jesus Christ46:47

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With guest host John Harwood.

A conversation with a Jewish scholar and former Catholic priest turned writer about why Jesus’ Jewish roots matter.

An image of "Christ and the Disciples at Emmaus" by Caravaggio. (WikiCommons)
An image of "Christ and the Disciples at Emmaus" by Caravaggio. (WikiCommons)

James Carroll is a former Catholic priest. Amy-Jill Levine is a Jewish scholar of the New Testament. Both have authored intriguing new books that agree on one key point:  that the Jewishness of Jesus in underappreciated in our time. That has consequences for inter-faith  relations, as well as our understanding of Jesus’ life. We’ll talk with Amy-Jill Levine about new ways to grasp the parables in the Bible, and with James Carroll about Jesus as both fully human and divine. This hour, On Point: seeing Jesus clearly in our secular age.
-- John Harwood


James Carroll, scholar in residence at Suffolk University. Author of the new book "Christ Actually: The Song of God for the Secular Age." Also author of "Constantine's Sword," "Toward a New Catholic Church" and "Jerusalem, Jerusalem," among others. Columnist at the Boston Globe.

Amy-Jill Levine, professor of the New Testament and Jewish Studies at Vanderbilt University's Divinity School. Author of "Short Stories by Jesus: The Enigmatic Parables of a Controversial Rabbi." Also author of "The Misunderstood Jew."

From The Reading List


CNN: Four Teachings From Jesus That Everybody Gets Wrong — "Jesus’ parables – short stories with moral lessons – were likewise designed to afflict, to draw us in but leave us uncomfortable. These teachings can be read as being about divine love and salvation, sure. But, their first listeners – first century Jews in Galilee and Judea – heard much more challenging messages.Only when we hear the parables as Jesus’ own audience did can we fully experience their power and find ourselves surprised and challenged today."

Boston Globe: Jesus, the consummate storyteller — "The parables of Jesus are recounted in all four Gospels, and some are so well known we use them as cultural shorthand—the Good Samaritan, the Prodigal Son. Though they’re often treated almost as children’s stories, Levine suggests they’re nothing of the sort. Levine, who teaches at Vanderbilt University and wrote the 2007 bestseller 'The Misunderstood Jew,' offers new translations of the parables in her new book, recovering the sense of provocation and challenge they would have presented to their first-century audiences."

New Yorker: Who Am I To Judge? -- "Who am I to judge?” With those five words, spoken in late July in reply to a reporter’s question about the status of gay priests in the Church, Pope Francis stepped away from the disapproving tone, the explicit moralizing typical of Popes and bishops. This gesture of openness, which startled the Catholic world, would prove not to be an isolated event. In a series of interviews and speeches in the first few months after his election, in March, the Pope unilaterally declared a kind of truce in the culture wars that have divided the Vatican and much of the world."

Read An Excerpt of "Christ Actually" By James Carroll

Read An Excerpt Of "Short Stories By Jesus" By Amy-Jill Levine

This program aired on November 12, 2014.