Monday, January 23, 2012

Kosher Jesus?!

With today's mail I received my pre ordered copy of Kosher Jesus by Rabbi Shuley Boteach.

I hope to read it this week and it will be the topic of my Twitter Topics class this Shabbat at 4:00pm.

According to the book jacket:
Kosher Jesus sets the stage for Jews and Christians to bridge their differences and come together for the first time through the personality of Jesus himself - the hero, martyr, and teacher that they both share.
I have read a number of reviews on the book, mostly negative, but I am going to reserve my opinion until I have read it myself. 

So far all I have read is the "praise for Kosher Jesus" found on the first page and I already have a comment.

He has an endorsement from Dr. Michael Brown, the president of Fire School Ministry and author of Answering Jewish Objections to Jesus:
While finding myself in profound disagreement with point after point in this book, most particularly Shmuley's reconstruction of the New Testament and his passionate rejection of Jesus as our Mesiah, I am thrilled to see an Orthodox Rabbi embracing Jesus as a fellow Rabbi, not to mention as an important figure in Jewish history.  In fact, this book might be described as, "America's must famous Rabbi meets the most famous Rabbi of all time."
A note about Dr. Brown.  On his website he refers to himself as the foremost Jewish Messianic apologist.
Shmuley Boteach boasts that he is a close friend with Dr Brown and the two of them engaged in live polemic debates.  Among the audios that Dr. Brown has for sale is the debate with Shmuley Boteach.  Apparently he feels that the debate is a good way to bring people to Christianity.  That does not say much for Rabbi Shmuley's performance.  While I have not heard any of his debates, I can say that I almost became an atheist after his debate with Christopher Hitchens.

Two points about Dr. Brown's endorsement:

1. I have read Rabbi Shuley's defense of his book in the media.  He claims that it is a scholarly work on New Testament sources.  But Dr. Brown seems to say clearly that Rabbi Shmuley's understanding is inaccurate.  If  Dr. Brown wrote a commentary on the Torah and Rabbi Shmuley rejected it, I would take Rabbi Shmuley's word for it.  But regarding an understanding of the New Testament, I would sooner turn to a practicing and devout Christian scholar then to a Rabbi.  I believe Dr. Brown's "endorsement" is not positive in this regard.

2. The criticism that Rabbi Shmuley has been facing is that his book will mislead Jews into adopting Christianity.  Rabbi Shmuley has vigorously opposed this notion, saying that it will do the opposite.  It will educate Jews so they will not fall prey to missionaries.  But an actual missionary seems to like the book.  I think that should say it all.

I can;t wait to read it myself and form my own opinion.  I hope to see you at my class this Shabbat at Beth Israel at 4:00pm when we discuss it.


  1. I am curious to know if you posted your opinion of the book since reading it?

    Thank you,

    - Simcha