Question 55:

What do the Jews think about Jesus´ birth? If He is seen as a child born outside marriage, then why wasn't Mary stoned to death and thrown out of the Temple together with all her family? Why was this Jesus as an adult held in such high esteem by the Pharisees that he was allowed to teach in the Temple and speak to thousands of people and was called Rabbi and Master by the people? Did he conceal his real identity? Did no one recognize who he was? How can these questions be explained with help of the existing Gospels?


Answer: There are many, and in no way uniform, views and portrayals of Jesus from Nazareth in the rabbinical sources and then a number of younger Jewish depictions, as well. A brief overview is found in the entry on Jesus Christ in “Lexikon religiöser Grundbegriffe: Judentum, Christentum, Islam”, hg. Von Adel Th. Khouy (Graz, Wien, Köln: Styria, 1987), Spalte 528-531. Tendentious portrayals in the rabbinical sources do indeed claim that Jesus was the bastard child of an adulterous woman (tract Kallah 51a) and that forty days before his crucifixion, a town crier officially proclaimed the grounds for his punishment so that he would be exonerated by the statement of an eye witness: "but there was no acquittal for him" (b Sanhedrin 43a). One of many other factual contemporary stories about Jesus' life and teachings written from a Jewish perspective is Pinchas Lapide’s publication, “The Rabbi from Nazareth”, 1974.

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