Revolution in Judaea: Jesus and the Jewish Resistance Paperback – Nov 1981
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Top Customer Reviews
Maccoby locates Jesus as a more-or-less mainstream Pharisee - a term which, to be properly understood, has to shed the pejorative accretions of the Gospels - who held quirky opinions on a few relatively insignificant doctrinal issues. The Pharisees, as explained in this book and in Maccoby's 'Jesus the Pharisee' (2003), were men of religious stature; they were the antithesis of the 'Establishment' Sadducees, who operated a policy of appeasement and accommodation with the Roman occupiers. The Pharisees, on the other hand, were the religious representatives of the mass of the Jewish people, and were as a matter of fact the party of resistance to Rome (the Zealots were Pharisees). Jesus, whose beliefs establish him as a Pharisee, advocated a "half-way-house" approach for expelling the Romans and paving the way for the kingdom of God on earth. He confidently expected God's intercession on behalf of the Jewish people, which would however only be forthcoming as a result of prayer and repentance (the presence of swords at Gethsemane was to be merely symbolic).
Jesus is plausibly portrayed by Maccoby as a somewhat manic, charismatic preacher (Rabbi) who first saw himself as a precursor figure (like John the Baptist). He then assumed the mantle of apocalyptic Prophet, and finally that of messiah, or anointed one, i.e. king of the Jews (not, strangely enough, "lord of the Christians"). In the capacity of king of the Jews he became a conspicuous threat to Rome, which crucified him.
I want to correct some factual errors in the review posted on April 2, 2004. The writer cites "two serious flaws"; here's the first: "1. Prof.Read more ›
Possibly the best written book of its genre, originally produced in 1973 and recently re-issued under the title of "Jesus the Pharisee"
It should be required reading in all Christian seninaries (if you can't rebutt the rebuttal no graduation for you, brother!)
Unfortunately, it suffers from two serious flaws--neither of which is theological in nature but it does corrupt what could have otherwise been accurate history;
1. Prof. Maccoby is slightly off his rocker when it comes to his hatred for Christians: " I do not blame the Germans for the Holocaust, I blame Christendom. "
He has graced (or embarassed) fellow Jewish scholars with his 'Paul the Mythmaker' (Paul was a Gentile only pretending to be Jewish) and 'Judas Iscariot and the Myth of Jewish Evil' (Judas never existed but his name sounds like 'Jews'--so he was added as a symbol of treachery)
Both works are, to be kind, speculative.
Here he is on firmer ground as he draws on Rabbinical arguments which have been around for centuries and wraps them up in a fine literary style. Still, his emotions get the best of him, rather like a prosecuting attorney who lays charges upon charges on the accused and loses the main thread.
For example he points out that in Luke Jesus appointed 72 followers, sent them ahead in pairs to visit places WHICH HE INTENDED TO VISIT HIMSELF.Read more ›
As Maccoby points out, the Disciples did not write the Gospels bearing their names. The Gospels were given disciple names to mislead pre-Guttenberg flocks into believing they were written by actual witnesses to the life of Jesus, which many Christians still tend to believe.
As Maccoby makes clear, intense Roman hostility against Judaism was the environment for the Gospel authors in the period of their writing some generations after Jesus, when the Romans were kicked out of Judea by a revolt led by Bar Kochba. The Romans responded by laying seige to the Holy Land for 7 years, then marching upon a demoralized people, ransacking their temple, and marching in chains what Jews weren't killed thru the streets of Rome in a triumphal parade. Thereafter the practice of Judaism was a capital offense throughout the Roman Empire.
Thus Christianity can be seen as shaped and promoted by Rome as part of their campaign to wipe out Judaism from the Roman Empire, why Christianity is the negation of so many Old Testament principles although claiming to be a fulfillment of their law, and why the Jews are presented as participating in the crucifixion in condemning terms, shouting with one voice, "Crucify Him!" and accepting blood guilt. Maccoby makes his case with clear and concise reasoning based on early historical sources.
Most recent customer reviews
A decent book, with some interesting arguments.
However, if you are open minded, then i would suggest "The Case for Christ", or if you are willing to delve deeply... Read more