In late antiquity, as Christianity emerged from Judaism, it was not only the new religion that was being influenced by the old. The rise and revolutionary challenge of Christianity also had a profound influence on rabbinic Judaism, which was itself just emerging and, like Christianity, trying to shape its own identity. In The Jewish Jesus, Peter Schafer reveals the crucial ways in which various Jewish heresies, including Christianity, affected the development of rabbinic Judaism. He even shows that some of the ideas that the rabbis appropriated from Christianity were actually reappropriated Jewish ideas. The result is a demonstration of the deep mutual influence between the sister religions, one that calls into question hard and fast distinctions between orthodoxy and heresy, and even Judaism and Christianity, during the first centuries CE.
Peter Schafer is the Ronald O. Perelman Professor of Jewish Studies and professor of religion at Princeton University, where he directs the Program in Judaic Studies. His books include The Origins of Jewish Mysticism and Jesus in the Talmud (both Princeton). He received a Distinguished Achievement Award from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation in 2007.
List of Figures ix Acknowledgments xi Abbreviations xiii Introduction 1 Chapter 1. Different Names of God 21 Offerings 22 Creation 24 R. Simlai's Collection of Dangerous Bible Verses 27 The Bavli Collection 37 R. Simlai and Christianity 42 Chapter 2. The Young and the Old God 55 Chapter 3. God and David 68 Aqiva in the Bavli 70 The David Apocalypse 85 David in Dura Europos 94 Chapter 4. God and Metatron 103 Rav Idith and the Heretics 104 Metatron the Great Scribe 115 The Celestial High Priest 116 The Prince of the World 123 The Instructor of Schoolchildren in Heaven 125 Two Powers in Heaven 127 Akatriel 131 Metatron in Babylonia 138 Metatron and Christianity 141 Chapter 5. Has God a Father, a Son, or a Brother? 150 Chapter 6. The Angels 160 When Were the Angels Created? 160 God's Consultation with the Angels 165 Angels and Revelation 179 Veneration of Angels 188 Chapter 7. Adam 197 Chapter 8. The Birth of the Messiah, or Why Did Baby Messiah Disappear? 214 The Arab 220 Elijah 222 The Messiah 223 The Mother of the Messiah 227 Christianity 228 Chapter 9. The Suffering Messiah Ephraim 236 Pisqa 34 238 Pisqa 36 242 Pisqa 37 261 Christianity 264 Notes 273 Bibliography 329 Index 343