An unusual study Jewish study Bible
Update 10/27/11 : See also this post.
Update 10/25/11: This book is now available. See first impressions here.
In 2004, Oxford University Press published The Jewish Study Bible – a mainstream study Bible with an extensive commentary and supplements of the NJPS translation of the Hebrew Bible.
Now Oxford University Press is publishing a “sequel” of sorts. Marc Brettler (Brandeis), who co-edited The Jewish Study Bible, has teamed-up with Amy-Jill Levine (Vanderbilt) to publish The Jewish Annotated New Testament.
As of the time of this posting, I have not yet seen a copy of this volume. Here is the description at the Oxford University Press website:
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. 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.
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. 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. 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.
- First New Testament annotated by Jewish scholars
- Brings out Jewish background of early Christianity, New Testament writers
- Explains Jewish concepts (e.g., food laws, rabbinic argumentation) for non-Jews, Christian concepts (e.g., Eucharist) for Jews
- Helpful for non-Jewish readers interested in the Jewish roots of Christianity
700 pages; 20 Line Drawings; 6-1/8 x 9 1/4; ISBN13: 978-0-19-529770-6ISBN10: 0-19-529770-9
About the Author(s)
Amy-Jill Levine is E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Professor of New Testament Studies at the Vanderbilt Divinity School.
Marc Z. Brettler is Dora Golding Professor of Biblical Studies at Brandeis University.
This edition follows closely on the heels of Willis Barnstone’s The Restored New Testament, which is also a fundamentally Jewish look at the text of the New Testament.
Who is this Jewish Annotated New Testament written for, one wonders? Will it have a largely Jewish set of contributors, like The Jewish Study Bible? (If it were written for an academic audience, arguably it should simply have a set of qualified contributors, without regard to personal belief.) Is it designed to introduce a largely non-Jewish audience to particular views from Jewish scholarship (analogous to the way that The African Bible Commentary was designed to introduce non-Africans to some aspects of African theological thought)? Is it designed primarily to introduce a Christian text to a largely Jewish audience (thus “for readers unfamiliar with Christian language and customs, there are explanations of such matters as the Eucharist, the significance of baptism, and ‘original sin.’ “)?
It certainly seems to be a worthwhile exercise to explicate Jewish foundational thought as illustrated in the New Testament, but that seems to be something that most academic treatments of the New Testament attempt. Why is the study of Judaism in the New Testament fundamentally a Jewish (rather than a non-denominational academic) effort?
Playing off the words of the old cliché, I wonder if this new volume will be “good for the Jews”?