By Jacob Neusner
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Extra resources for A Rabbi Talks with Jesus
D. 200, which is the first authoritative and canonical writing in Judaism after the Hebrew Scriptures. The Judaism that appeals to the Mishnah recognizes no holy book written between the Hebrew Scriptures or "Old Testament" and that document, and all later holy books begin with either Scripture or the Mishnah. So that is the most important writing in Judaism after the Torah. The tractate in hand sets forth principles of the faith and important rules of conduct. The composition begins with this language: Moses received Torah at Sinai and handed it on to Joshua, Joshua to elders, and elders to prophets.
I do not think a non-Christian can pay to him whom Christians know as Christ a more sincere tribute than a good, solid argument. So much for the how of argument. But why compose such an argument? What makes it urgent at just this time, at the turn of the second millennium? For two thousand years people on either side more or less ignored the other. Judaism took for granted that Christianity never made a difference to the Torah. Christianity represented Judaism in so repulsive a form that, in all honesty, why should any honorable person have wanted to conduct a dialogue with that religion?
His Jesus of the House of David not only performed miracles but died, spent three days in Hell, then rose from the dead and left an empty tomb. Matthew's writing also offers, as evidence for why I should accept Jesus as Christ, the teachings that Jesus put forth while here on earth, among us. It is right and proper, therefore, for me to examine some of those teachings and to ask whether they compel me, within eternal Israel, to accept them as part of the Torah. And that is precisely what I propose to do.
A Rabbi Talks with Jesus by Jacob Neusner