Difficult Words of Jesus in their World – Amy-Jill Levine
Episode: In this episode Jewish scholar Amy-Jill Levine engages some of Jesus’ words that his followers then and now have found difficult. Jesus instructs disciples to hate members of their own families (Luke 14:26), to act as if they were slaves (Matthew 20:27), and to sell their belongings and give to the poor (Luke 18:22). He restricts his mission (Matthew 10:6); he speaks of damnation (Matthew 8:12); he calls Jews the devil’s children (John 8:44). How did these words sound in their own time, and how might that impact our interpretation of difficult texts? In this episode Biblical World host Lynn Cohick engages these questions with Amy-Jill Levine and her new book The Difficult Words of Jesus: A Beginner’s Guide to His Most Perplexing Teachings (Abingdon, 2021).
Guest: Amy-Jill Levine is University Professor of New Testament and Jewish Studies, Mary Jane Werthan Professor of Jewish Studies, and Professor of New Testament Studies at Vanderbilt Divinity School, Graduate Department of Religion, and Department of Jewish Studies; she is also Affiliated Professor, Woolf Institute, Centre for the Study of Jewish-Christian Relations, Cambridge UK. Holding a B.A. from Smith College, M.A. and Ph.D. from Duke University, and honorary doctorates from the University of Richmond, the Episcopal Theological Seminary of the Southwest, the University of South Carolina-Upstate, Drury University, Christian Theological Seminary, and Franklin College, Professor Levine has been awarded grants from the Mellon Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the American Council of Learned Societies. She has held office in the Society of Biblical Literature, the Catholic Biblical Association, and the Association for Jewish Studies. She served as Alexander Robertson Fellow (University of Glasgow), and the Catholic Biblical Association Scholar to the Philippines. She has given over 500 lectures on the Bible, Christian-Jewish relations, and Religion, Gender, and Sexuality across the globe.
Her books include The Misunderstood Jew: The Church and the Scandal of the Jewish Jesus (Publisher’s Weekly Best Books of 2007; audio books); Short Stories by Jesus: The Enigmatic Parables of a Controversial Rabbi (Catholic Book Club; translations: Spanish, Italian; audio books); The Meaning of the Bible: What the Jewish Scriptures and the Christian Old Testament Can Teach Us (with Douglas Knight; translation: Chinese); The New Testament, Methods and Meanings (with Warren Carter); and The Gospel of Luke (with Ben Witherington III — the first full-length biblical commentary co-authored by a Jew and an Evangelical). Her most recent book is The Bible With and Without Jesus, co-authored with Marc Z. Brettler. With Marc Brettler, she co-edited The Jewish Annotated New Testament; she is also the editor of the 13-volume Feminist Companions to the New Testament and Early Christian Writings, and The Historical Jesus in Context (Princeton Readings in Religion; translation: Japanese). Presently she is editing several volumes in the Wisdom Commentary series, and she is the New Testament editor of the new Oxford Biblical Commentary Series. With Joseph Sievers, she is co-editing a collection of essays on the Pharisees. (from the Vanderbilt website)
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