Jews reclaim Jesus as one of their own
Some Jewish leaders are encouraging Jews to see Jesus as one of their own.
April 5th, 2012
02:36 PM ET

Jews reclaim Jesus as one of their own

By Richard Allen Greene, CNN

(CNN) - The relationship between Jews and Jesus has traditionally been a complicated one, to say the least.

As his followers' message swept the ancient world, Jews who did not accept Jesus as the Messiah found themselves in the uncomfortable, and sometimes dangerous, position of being blamed for his death.

Mainstream Christian theology's position held that Judaism had been supplanted, the Jewish covenant with the divine no longer valid, because of the incarnation of God as Jesus and his sacrifice on the cross.

Jews, for their part, tended largely to ignore Jesus.

That's changing now.

In the past year, a spate of Jewish authors, from the popular to the rabbinic to the scholarly, have wrestled with what Jews should think about Jesus.

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And overwhelmingly, they are coming up with positive answers, urging their fellow Jews to learn about Jesus, understand him and claim him as one of their own.

"Jesus is a Jew. He spent his life talking to other Jews," said Amy-Jill Levine, co-editor of the recently released "Jewish Annotated New Testament."

"In reading the New Testament, I am often inspired, I am intrigued. I actually find myself becoming a better Jew because I become better informed about my own history," she said.

Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, a media personality who recently launched a bid for a U.S. House seat, argues in his own new book, "Kosher Jesus," that "Jews have much to learn from Jesus - and from Christianity as a whole - without accepting Jesus' divinity. There are many reasons for accepting Jesus as a man of great wisdom, beautiful ethical teachings, and profound Jewish patriotism."

And Benyamin Cohen, an Orthodox Jew who spent a recent year going to church, admitted that he's jealous that Christians have Jesus.

"He's a tangible icon that everybody can latch on to. Judaism doesn't have a superhero like that," said Cohen, the author of the 2009 book "My Jesus Year."


"I'm not advocating for Moses dolls," he said, but he argued that "it's hard to believe in a God you can't see. I'm jealous of Christians in that regard, that they have this physical manifestation of the divine that they can pray to.

"There could be more devout Jews than me who don't need that, but to a young Jew living in the 21st century, I wish we had something more tangible," he said.

The flurry of recent Jewish books on Jesus - including this month's publication of "The Jewish Gospels: The Story of the Jewish Christ" by Daniel Boyarin - is part of a trend of Jews taking pride in Jesus, interfaith expert Edward Kessler said.

"In the 1970s and 1980s, Christian New Testament scholars rediscovered the Jewish Jesus. They reminded all New Testament students that Jesus was Jewish," said Kessler, the director of the Woolf Institute in Cambridge, England, which focuses on relations between Jews, Christians and Muslims.

A generation later, that scholarship has percolated into Jewish thought, he said, welcoming the trend: "It's not a threat to Jews and it's not a threat to Christians."

For Jews in particular, he said, "It's not so threatening as it was even 30 years ago. There is almost a pride that Jesus was a Jew rather than an embarrassment about it."

Boteach agrees, writing in "Kosher Jesus" that "Jews will gain much from re-embracing him as a hero."

"The truth is important," Boteach writes. "A patriot of our people has been lost. Worse still, he's been painted as the father of a long and murderous tradition of anti-Semitism."

Boteach aims to claim, or reclaim, Jesus as a political rebel against Rome and to exonerate the Jews of his death. But Boteach's book has attracted plenty of criticism, for instance for blaming the Apostle Paul for everything he doesn't like about Christianity, such as hailing Jesus as divine and cutting his ties to Judaism.

"Paul never met Jesus, and Jesus certainly never would have sanctioned Paul's actions and embellishments," Boteach argues about the apostle who wrote much of the New Testament. "Jesus ... would have been appalled at how his followers would later define him."

"Jews will never accept his divinity. Nor should they," Boteach writes, in one of many instances of presuming to know what Jesus really thought and meant. "The belief that any man is God is an abomination to Judaism, a position that Jesus himself would maintain."

He cherry-picks the Gospels to to suit his arguments, writes in casual modern idioms (calling Pontius Pilate a "sadistic mass murderer" and comparing him to Hitler), and gets wrong the most basic details of the Passion story, such as the amount of money Judas took to betray Jesus.

Other experts in the field label Boteach's book "sensationalistic," and call him a "popularizer," but Kessler sees "Kosher Jesus" as part of the trend of Judaizing Jesus. Cohen, the "My Jesus Year" author, offered some support for Boteach even as he expressed doubts about the book.

"I understand what Shmuley is trying to get at there," he said, but added: "I don't think anyone has the right to say 'This is the definition of Jesus,' especially a rabbi. He's not ours to claim."

Levine, who teaches New Testament and Jewish studies at Vanderbilt University Divinity School, also framed Jewish efforts to study Jesus in terms of mutual respect.

"Speaking personally as a Jew, if I want my neighbors to respect Judaism, which means knowing something about Jewish history, scripture and tradition, I owe my Christian neighbors the same courtesy. It's a matter of respect," she said.

She urged Jews to "become familiar with the material and make up their own mind as to how they understand Jesus."

Ironically, she added, Jews can understand their own history more thoroughly through studying the life of Jesus.

"The best source on the period for Jewish history other than (the first-century historian) Josephus is the New Testament," she said.

"It's one of those ironies of history that the only Pharisee writing in the Second Temple period from whom we have records is Paul of Tarsus," she said. " 'The Jewish Annotated New Testament' is designed in part to help Jews recover their own history."

But she also wants Christians to use it to understand Judaism more deeply, she said. While many Christian leaders acknowledge that Jesus was a Jew, she said, not many know much about what that means.

"Many Christian ministers and educators have no training in what early Judaism was like," she said. "Not to take seriously first-century Judaism seems to dismiss part of the message of the New Testament."

Cohen, the "My Jesus Year" author, found that Christians were very interested in Judaism during the 52 weeks he spent going from church to church.

"Many Christians look on Judaism as version 1.0 of their own religion. Because of that historical relationship, they're interested in a lot of the theology of Judaism," he said.

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For his part, Cohen learned much that surprised him. "I was shocked when I went to church and heard them give sermons about the Old Testament," he said. "I had no idea Christians read the Old Testament."

"One week, I went to church and the pastor gave exactly the same sermon my rabbi did the night before about Moses and the burning bush, and the pastor did it much better," he continued.

Cohen came away from his Jesus year with a clear understanding of what he believes.

"People ask me all the time if I believe in Jesus. Do I believe he exists? Sure. Do I believe he's your God? Sure, I have no problem with that," he said he tells Christians who ask.

"I understand Christians' love for Jesus and I respect that," he said. "If anything, I learned a lot from them and did become a more engaged Jew, a better Jew, and I appreciate my Judaism more because I hung out with Jesus."

- Newsdesk editor, The CNN Wire

Filed under: Jesus • Judaism

soundoff (2,641 Responses)
  1. Catherine

    This entire conversation is ridiculas. I am a Christian because the bible speaks to my soul. I belive Jesus is God because that is what is spoken to my soul when I read. My Chritianity is part of my soul and no dialog here can change that. That being said I know people who are muslims and jews who will same the same about their holy books and religion. To start debating religion when it is very obvious that the vast majority of people are unbendable in their beliefs is, as I said, ridiculas. I spent years studying quaran when I was marrried to a muslim man, because I wanted to better understand his faith. In all my years of reading I WAS NOT ONCE MOVED AND SPIRTUALY spoken to the way I am when I read the bible. Jesus is God, I am sure of it, but I respect others opinions and no better than to argue religion.

    April 14, 2012 at 12:54 pm |
    • david burns

      And therin lies the problem with religion. "Don't confuse me with the facts. I am going to believe what I believe no matter what the historical or archelogical evidence might offer." "And the truth shall set you free." I want to know the unvarnished truth no matter who it might hurt or offend -even it if might eventually show that there was no historical Jesis. That would still not affect my believe in God or how I treat my fellow man.

      April 14, 2012 at 2:05 pm |
    • Brampt

      Cathrine- it's not about feeling in the soul or emotions, it's about sitting down and reasoning with the scriptures. Don't tell me u make personal decisions based on emotions?? God wants us to reason! Because of the greed to make money from the churches, Thats why there emotions moved by greed make 200 years after Christ the true Christianity dissapear.

      April 14, 2012 at 2:36 pm |
    • md2205

      Religion is not to make us feel good. It is not to be a spiritual "experience". It is what G-d told us to do and our doing it. That is it. If it also speaks to you, fine. But if not, it is up to us to take what G-d said and learn it, and apply it to our lives, and make it speak to us.

      What if killing people "spoke to you"? What if doing adultery "spoke to you"? In this society, we think we can do whatever we want if it "makes us feel good". But this is not true.

      G-d created the world so He could have a world where He is not so obvious and the creations there bring Him into their lives, and do what He wants, so that He can "feel comfortable" in that world. He told us what He wants. He didn't just create everything and leave it alone afterwards. He gave all mankind seven commandments and we are to do them, even if they don't speak to us, even if they don't make us feel good, and even if we don't like it. They are: To believe in One G-d, not to blaspheme Him, not to steal and kidnap, not to do adultery, not to murder, not to eat the limb of a living animal, and to set up effective courts of justice.

      Observing these laws is the only way we will be able to get to a place where people will live peacefully with each other and the world will be a much better place, and G-d will be united with us in this world.

      April 15, 2012 at 3:18 am |
  2. John "Ratty" Arbuckle

    More important than remembering Jesus was Jewish is remembering He was the Son of God.

    April 14, 2012 at 8:33 am |
  3. Brampt

    Bill n pata- the evangelicals are trying to focus on the Jews, most likly because they found a big pot of gold, there real God Jesus, the money Jesus. Meanwhile they keep there followers entertained in church with singing to Jesus and crying, screaming speaking in "thongs" , selling bibles, book, "pseudochristian music",there pastors suck every coin out of there pockets at the same time to get toghether with the wealthy Jews that dominate the world economy...!!

    April 13, 2012 at 9:38 pm |
  4. Ivanka


    April 13, 2012 at 9:06 pm |
    • Brampt

      Ivanka- you gave me a good idea...I'm gonna start composing songs with Jesus in it, can u some how give me any contact for me to start selling cd with "Christian" music in your church? I actually need to increase my income... Can u tell ur pastor to introduce me to some wealthy Jew and sell cd in Israel?? Drop a line please 🙂

      April 13, 2012 at 9:44 pm |
  5. Whatever

    It's ridiculous the amount of time spent debating such a simple topic.

    Jesus Christ was obviouly Jewish by race & practiced Judaism. As far as how he is depicted is a matter of creative license – not fact.

    Followers of Jesus Christ whether Jews by race, religion, and people of all nations the follow Jesus Christ and his teachings are called Christians.

    I'm very religious or spiritual but, it's not that hard to get a grasp on seriously.

    April 13, 2012 at 1:26 pm |
  6. Edithann

    Why wasn't my comment posted?

    April 13, 2012 at 9:20 am |
    • Helpful Hints

      Edithann - probably too late... but maybe you will be stopping back for an explanation:

      Bad letter combinations / words to avoid if you want to get past the CNN automatic filter:
      Many, if not most, are buried within other words, so use your imagination.
      You can use dashes, spaces, or other characters to modify the "offending" letter combinations.
      ar-se.....as in ar-senic.
      co-ck.....as in co-ckatiel, co-ckatrice, co-ckleshell, co-ckles, etc.
      co-on.....as in rac-oon, coc-oon, etc.
      cu-m......as in doc-ument, accu-mulate, circu-mnavigate, circu-mstances, cu-mbersome, cuc-umber, etc.
      cu-nt.....as in Scu-nthorpe, a city in the UK famous for having problems with filters...!
      ef-fing...as in ef-fing filter
      ft-w......as in soft-ware, delft-ware, swift-water, drift-wood, etc.
      ho-mo.....as in ho-mo sapiens or ho-mose-xual, ho-mogenous, etc.
      ho-rny....as in tho-rny, etc.
      hu-mp… as in th-ump, th-umper, th-umping
      jacka-ss...yet "ass" is allowed by itself.....
      ja-p......as in j-apanese, ja-pan, j-ape, etc.
      koo-ch....as in koo-chie koo..!
      o-rgy….as in po-rgy, zo-rgy, etc.
      pi-s......as in pi-stol, lapi-s, pi-ssed, therapi-st, etc.
      p-orn… as in p-ornography
      pr-ick....as in pri-ckling, pri-ckles, etc.
      ra-pe.....as in scra-pe, tra-peze, gr-ape, thera-peutic, sara-pe, etc.
      se-x......as in Ess-ex, s-exual, etc.
      sp-ic.....as in desp-icable, hosp-ice, consp-icuous, susp-icious, sp-icule, sp-ice, etc.
      sp-ook… as in sp-ooky, sp-ooked
      ti-t......as in const-itution, att-itude, ent-ities, alt-itude, beat-itude, etc.
      tw-at.....as in wristw-atch, nightw-atchman, etc.
      va-g......as in extrava-gant, va-gina, va-grant, va-gue, sava-ge, etc.
      who-re....as in who're you kidding / don't forget to put in that apostrophe!

      There are more, some of them considered "racist", so do not assume that this list is complete.

      April 13, 2012 at 12:16 pm |
  7. Josh

    Dear Jews- Read the scriptures and hope that God will open your hearts to the truth about the Messiah and the risen savior!

    April 13, 2012 at 8:48 am |
    • jimbo

      Dear Josh – read a science book and hope the writer opens your brain to facts.

      April 13, 2012 at 4:09 pm |
    • Bob

      Why do people confuse the science blog with belief blog?!?!?!?!?!

      April 13, 2012 at 5:02 pm |
    • Clyde

      Read a science book? Which one? They're all different and change every year. I read the Bible AND science books. The Bible doesn't change.

      April 14, 2012 at 7:07 am |
    • Terra

      Thanks for the hot tip Josh, see you in hell!

      April 15, 2012 at 11:48 am |
    • jimbo

      "Read a science book? Which one? They're all different and change every year. I read the Bible AND science books. The Bible doesn't change."

      The irony. You say that like it is a bad thing. What we can learn through science does change over time as new information is gained. Science isn't afraid to change/modify/discredit the oldest of beliefs or tenets. That is, it doesn't ever claim to hold a monopoly on the truth. The bible is rigid, never accepting of new information. Religion fears change, denies progress. There is a reason for the dark ages, a stagnation in the human condition, both scientifically and spiritually. No new info was allowed, the only thing that changed was the wealth in the religious pockets.

      April 16, 2012 at 11:30 am |
  8. Earthling

    What a bunch of deluded people. Try a dose of reality for a change, you'll find it to be a lot more relevant than ancient fairy tales.

    April 13, 2012 at 5:44 am |
    • ElmerGantry

      So true and sad that many people let stupidstïtion rule their life.

      April 13, 2012 at 6:42 am |
    • roccojohnson

      I used to be arrogant too, making ignorant and insulting statements about a subject I'd never thoroughly investigated for myself. It's easy to dismiss Judaism/Christianity as silly when the only people you've listened to on the subject are people who agree with you. Were you to do some honest investigation you might likely come away holding the same views as you do now, but at least you'd be better informed, and perhaps you'd also learn to be polite and respectful of those who hold beliefs other than your own.

      April 13, 2012 at 10:22 am |
  9. neil smith

    You can't recognize Jesus as being a great and ethical leader minus divinity otherwise he would be a charlatan, liar and / or crazy. Regardless, Jews opening themselves to learn more about Jesus is a welcome trend.

    April 13, 2012 at 2:00 am |
    • Open your eyes

      and your point is?

      April 13, 2012 at 8:41 am |
    • neil smith

      I posted twice because the stupid mobile platform didn't show my comment the first time.

      April 13, 2012 at 11:41 am |
    • Austin

      Brampt, Jesus did claim to be God, several times in fact. Some examples of Jesus speaking such:

      John 10:30 "I and the Father are one."
      John 10:38 "But if I do it, even though you do not believe me, believe the miracles, that you may know and understand that the Father is in me, and I in the Father."
      John 8:58 "“I tell you the truth, before Abraham was born, I am!” (I am was a name God used for himself in the old testament)

      There are more references like these throughout the gospels. I don't think you've actually read the bible in depth, because you would have seen these passages where Jesus clearly said he was God. I encourage you to look more closely at it, especially the 4 gospels. Jesus is God, and he had the miracles to back up his claims.

      April 13, 2012 at 2:38 pm |
    • Brampt

      Austin- those txt don't prove me nothing, look up John 17:20,21... First ur gonna see that Jesus was praying to someone, his father , and said regarding his disciple:"... May they be one as u father and me are in union with each other, that they also be in union with us..." so this means that the disciples Jesus and the father were God? About John 10:31, Before on Vers 30 he says the Father has GIVEN me..., then after 31 the Jews were accusing him of making himself a god... But he asked them on Vers 36:" u blaspheme because I call myself the SON OF GOD?" what do u think about all this?

      April 13, 2012 at 3:05 pm |
    • Brampt

      Nomen- he claims to be Yahweh? Just because he uses the: I AM? give me a brake... Those txts dont prove nothing: exemple John 8:58 were he uses the expression I AM, in diferent translations: "From before Abraham was, I have been." The New Testament, by G. R. Noyes.; "I existed before Abraham was born!" The Bible—An American Translation, by J. M. P. Smith and E. J. Goodspeed.; "Before Abraham was born, I was already the one that I am." Das Neue Testament, by Jörg Zink.; "I was alive before Abraham was born!" The Simple English Bible.; "Before Abraham came into existence, I have been." New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures.
      This was the same txt that a fellow told me before... That I am doest mean nothing. If I called u and said, eh Austin I am here... Would u presume I'm God?

      April 13, 2012 at 3:13 pm |
    • Brampt

      What u think about when Jesus got baptized a voice came from heaven saying:" this is my son..."? What u think about the following txt... Act 7:55, 1 Corith 15:24-29, Phil 2:4-9? Ya Austin I think the one not reading thing with the proper depth is u!!!

      April 13, 2012 at 3:17 pm |
    • Brampt

      Oh and Austin I'm still waiting for a replay... Or are u trying to read the gospels again. U as for the other ones I talked with are not catholic but u guys are still kissing the pope, since ur beliefs are based from the church that Constantine formed... All the same but no saints. Goooooddd!!!

      April 13, 2012 at 4:24 pm |
  10. neil smith

    I hate to sound smarmy or point out the obvious, but you can't recognize Jesus as a great and ethical champion without recognizing the divinity, otherwise Jesus would be a charlatan and a liar claiming to be God or at the very least a crazy man. Without His divinity, every redeemable aspect of Jesus falls away.

    April 13, 2012 at 1:57 am |
    • Earthling

      Which is as it should be.

      April 13, 2012 at 5:41 am |
    • Muslim Jew

      umm I think you're missing an important point there bud..Jews and Muslims don't believe that he claimed he was God. The Bible was written hundreds of years after Jesus, there were communities of christians that also didn't claim he was divine, there were early christian writings that also didn't claim he was divine, but hundreds of years after he was around someone (I think a Paul or John) started deciding what christianity, and thats how the bible was born. That Paul or John had no divine authority to do what he did. He picked what sounded good and what he thought was true without ever witnessing it himself. If there's a mistake in the book from the time its written then future generations won't ever know since they didn't witness it either. Proof in a changing bible exists through out its history, if its divine why has it changed? Pick one up from the year 500 and one from the year 1200 and one from the year 2000 and its changed. Sometimes its because of a loss (or addition) in translation, other times its simple errors, other times its intentional because something sounds better to the masses or the individual.

      April 13, 2012 at 10:36 am |
    • neil smith

      You actually believe the gospels were not written by the apostles? It is kind of hard to write something after you are dead I hear. I suppose all those letters from Paul to the church were also written from the grave?

      April 13, 2012 at 11:45 am |
    • Brampt

      Muslim n Neil- Jesus never claimed to be God, nor his apostles gave indication he was God. The profets anounced before that a messiah was coming to free people, that he would come from King David of israel descendent line, how have read the profets has to agree that the messiah was Jesus, all profecys accomplished on him. Psalm 110 is a good profecys related to Jesus that show us his position now, and his not God. His good was Jehovah God the same God Israel worshiped. That idea of he Beeing God came 200 years after Jesus dies, when the roman emperor Constantine, a big business men formed a fake imitation on the true christianity and took beliefs of pagans from his empire adapting it to fake Christianity to make everyone happy and make some business with it. Those teachings include, The trinity, God Father, God Son , God holy ghost and those 3 are one... That's were they started including Jesus as being god. So basically it's a men made belief, not what Jesus or his apostles thought.

      April 13, 2012 at 12:07 pm |
  11. C. Goodman

    Too little, too late. Where have the Rabbinical priesthood been all this time? All they had to do is point to Steven's verbal treatise of Jewish history found in Acts 7 of the Christian Greek Scriptures. That would have been an excellent first start to the rest of the Christian Greek Scriptures and a major springboard into their relationship with all of the Hebrew Scriptures; the two portions being inseparable in identifying who Jesus was/is. They could also have taken their people into Daniel 9:24-27 (the seventy weeks) to calculate when the Messiah would make his appearance. Of course they did none of these things. Though today many Jews are getting accurate knowledge of the Messiah they waited for into the first century (and down til now, though he was identified in the 1st century), and now, doing something about it. It's interesting that after 2000+ years of keeping Jews in the dark that now the Jewish religious leaders are trying to correct their error. Again, too little, too late, at least for those religious leaders!

    April 12, 2012 at 11:18 pm |
  12. Volator

    He came unto His Own, and His Own received Him not. But as many as received Him. To them he gave the power to become the sons of God. -Why would anyone get their religion from CNN? Belief Blog is nothing but an anti-Catholic, Anti Christian hack. Has anyone who writes this blog EVER read 'The Imitation of Christ' ? Do you know what it is? Ever care for an opposing view? Nope, I didn't think so. Uninformed and loving it. IGNORANT.......

    April 12, 2012 at 10:59 pm |
  13. Tim

    It is what Tim Tebow says it is...

    April 12, 2012 at 7:46 pm |
    • atomD21

      All praise to the Tebow! He alone can show us the way! Woe to Denver, they are truly lost...

      April 12, 2012 at 10:32 pm |
  14. Fact

    @ Muneef
    How do you know that Mohammed is the messenger from god? –Because god said so!
    How do you know god said that Mohammed is his prophet? –Because Mohammed said so!

    April 12, 2012 at 6:42 pm |
    • Muneef

      Thank you for this question...I would rather say it is because the Quran said so...The Quran was the Message and been revealed to Muhammed to convey it to his people has made him the Messanger of GOD that whom we are to obey.

      April 12, 2012 at 7:18 pm |
    • Question

      The prophets in the Bible spoke directly to God. Did Mohammed speak directly to Allah?

      April 12, 2012 at 7:37 pm |
    • Muneef

      These few verses answers your question;

      Say, [O Muhammad], "The Pure Spirit has brought it down from your Lord in truth to make firm those who believe and as guidance and good tidings to the Muslims." 16:102
      Say, "I am only a man like you, to whom has been revealed that your god is one God. So whoever would hope for the meeting with his Lord – let him do righteous work and not associate in the worship of his Lord anyone." 18:110
      Say, O [Muhammad], "I am only a man like you to whom it has been revealed that your god is but one God; so take a straight course to Him and seek His forgiveness." And woe to those who associate others with Allah – 41:6
      And it is not for any human being that Allah should speak to him except by revelation or from behind a part-ition or that He sends a messenger to reveal, by His permission, what He wills. Indeed, He is Most High and Wise. 42:51

      And thus We have revealed to you an inspiration of Our command. You did not know what is the Book or [what is] faith, but We have made it a light by which We guide whom We will of Our servants. And indeed, [O Muhammad], you guide to a straight path – 42:52

      April 13, 2012 at 4:06 pm |
    • Question

      Who is the 'we' and 'our' in those statements?

      So Mohammed claims to have received these messages from allah?

      April 13, 2012 at 7:19 pm |
    • Muneef

      GOD the Highness always speaks as We and Our...you might find the Queen of England speaks in the same way and never find her say I or mine...
      The Quranic verses although you may say yes the Prophet did but by revealation of GOD in the Quran...there is even a sura in the Quran in his name sura number (47); 

      And those who believe and do righteous deeds and believe in what has been sent down upon Muhammad – and it is the truth from their Lord – He will remove from them their misdeeds and amend their condition. 47:2

      April 14, 2012 at 3:40 pm |
    • Muneef

      It is called the Majestic Plural or the Plural of Respect;

      April 14, 2012 at 5:27 pm |
  15. md2205

    Why did G-d create the world? A king is someone who is by essence a king, in that it is his very nature to be king, and/or that he acts like a king, in that he rules over people and governs them. A king needs people to rule, or else he is not a king. Well, he might be a king in essence, but not in actuality.

    G-d, being a king in essence, wants to express that essence, but needs a world in which to express it, or else it remains in potential only.

    G-d wants a place that He will feel comfortable in, a place where He can express His essence. This is our world. He has a plan for this place as well, which is an expression of His essence. He wants us to act as He would act, only on our own level. G-d is kind, as He created the world and sustains us in it. He is infinitely kind, and wants us to be kind as well, and so on. He created the world He wants with the rules of how we should act in it to make it the kind of place He wants it to be, and for Him to "feel comfortable" in it, so to speak (allegory). He gave all mankind seven laws to follow to this end. They are: to believe in One United G-d, not to blaspheme Him, not to steal and kidnap, not to murder, not to do adultery, etc., not to eat the limb of a living animal, and to set up effective courts of justice.

    April 12, 2012 at 5:11 pm |
  16. md2205

    to Great Argument:

    Please view my earlier post to your previous comment.

    I am not sure but I think I understand from your comment that parents could have lied to their children who ask if the parents were there at Sinai, and told their children they were at Sinai even if they weren't. A whole generation of parents would have had to lie to their children and say they were at Mt. Sinai and saw something happen that didn't happen. It doesn't make sense. You can't get millions of people to lie to their children about the same thing and not have it be exposed as a lie.

    As for the theory that someone came and made up the "G-d came to the Jews on the mountain and gave them the Torah" story: It would have been stupid for any person who would have made up that "lie" to write 24 times in the Torah that G-d gave the Torah to Moses in front of the entire Jewish nation. (In fact, He told the first two commandments of the Ten Commandments to the Jews Himself, but it was too much of a revelation, of finite physicality trying to absorb infinity, and they couldn't tolerate the revelation. They had to ask that G-d tell Moses and Moses repeat to the Jews what He said.) But if you say what is written is merely a conspiracy, the person writing the story would have been smarter to cover himself and write that G-d gave the Torah to most of the Jews, whoever was there. If he would have been smart enough to write something that could deceive everyone into mass hallucinations that they all decided to lie to their children and to themselves and each one "remember" all of sudden that G-d gave the Torah to them, even if it didn't happen, he would have been smart enough to doctor his lie and not write 24 times all the Jews experienced it. So that argument, that it didn't really happen that G-d gave the Torah to the Jews, but that the parents lied to their children, doesn't hold up. It also says the Jews are a stiff-necked people. Millions of stiff-necked people are the kind who can be collectively brainwashed into believing a history that never happened to them? Especially a history as uncomplimentary as this one? It says they argued with Moses many times and they rebelled against him many times. If someone would have written up a history and then tried to foist it on the people, why would the people want to accept such a mean history? Make a up a nice history, by golly gosh.

    April 12, 2012 at 4:52 pm |
    • isolate

      You might understand Biblical historicity or lack of it a bit better if you put the stories related in Torah/Tanakh into context. An illiterate desert tribe told stories around their campfires at night. They borrowed stories from other tribes. Eventually these became an oral tradition which thousands of years later were collected and written down as fact, becoming the basis for the Hebrew religion we know today. There's no need for any of it to have really happened.

      The Deluge story was exactly that: a great tale, which the Hebrews borrowed from the Sumerians– in many cases word-for-word– a story the Sumerians had borrowed from an even earlier story of Atrahasis, which was probably derived from a story being told around campfires millennia before that.

      It wasn't that Hebrew tribes had to lie to their children about the events at Sinai, it's that the whole story was made up long ago and was gradually assumed to be fact. There's no physical or historical evidence whatsoever that there was an exodus, any more than that there was a deluge. Jericho was abandoned at the time Joshua brought its walls tumbling down, if there were indeed walls at all.

      If you would like the correct perspective put on Biblical history, subscribe to Biblical Archaeology Review. It's a great way to see which parts of Tanakh are historical and which parts are mythical, and who borrowed which stories from whom. I've been a subscriber for decades, and every issue is a treat.

      April 13, 2012 at 9:30 pm |
    • md2205

      You can't say one Jew started slaughtering the sheep and eating the unleavened bread, and his neighbor asked him what he is doing. Because he would not be able to tell the neighbor he is doing those things because G-d took all the Jews out of Egypt hundreds of years ago and told the Jews to do these things. That is because they wouldn't have been doing them. And if you say this one Jew could have been the one who convinced the others it happened and they all had forgotten, well, then, why don't we know who it is? He would of course have been considered one of the greatest Jews ever because he taught to the Jews what they had forgotten. But there is no such a person known to exi-st, and the record does record a great many great people; why not him?

      Another way of looking at the fact that other cultures had similar stories to those of the Jews is that in fact the stories are true and were recorded by not only one people. Just because other cultures also had stories doesn't mean the Jewish history is invalid. In fact, the stories that the other cultures have are corroborations of historical events such as the great flood. But not one other culture ever said G-d spoke to every single one of their members at once, as the Torah states.

      Just because there is no archeological evidence of the exodus doesn't mean it didn't take place. Anyone who believes in evolution cannot make this argument because they are the ones who believe in an evolution for which they are waiting to see if they can find intermediate steps. And even if archeologists did find some artifacts in the desert, they would not automatically as-sume it is the corroboration of the exodus, because the Jews had with them Egyptian objects. The archeologists would just say Egyptians were there.

      April 15, 2012 at 3:04 am |
    • md2205

      Just found out that a chariot wheel of the type the Egyptians used at the time of the exodus was found at the bottom of the Red Sea along with human and horse bones. The account is that the Egyptian soldiers in chariots led by horses chased after the Jews leaving and all drowned the Red Sea when the sea returned to its original state after the Jews had successfully crossed through on dry land. There are more than a few miracles here because the sea split and the people were able to walk through successfully to the other side; the soldiers didn't catch up to the Jews even though they were walking with young children, and the Egyptians had the most advanced and quickest chariots of the times; they drowned in the sea when it returned to its usual state, with some being tossed around many times, and some just sinking; and the sea spit out the remains, including the chariots onto its banks so the Jews could see them vanquished after they completed their crossing and wouldn't have to be nervous; and one chariot wheel and human and horse remains still exist in the bottom of the sea so we can know about it.

      My position on not needing to find archeological evidence still stands because people can explain away any evidence at all if they want to; however, since this was found, I did want to bring it to your attention.

      April 16, 2012 at 1:54 am |
  17. Joseph

    You can't have the "Kosher Jesus" as he claims, because at the very core of Jesus' teachings was His divinity. The very reason He was crucified was for blasphemy

    Matthew 26:64-67 "64 Jesus said to him, “You have said so. But I tell you, from now on you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of Power and coming on the clouds of heaven.” 65 Then the high priest tore his robes and said, “He has uttered blasphemy. What further witnesses do we need? You have now heard his blasphemy. 66 What is your judgment?” They answered, “He deserves death.” 67 Then they spit in his face and struck him. And some slapped him,"

    "I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept his claim to be God. That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic — on the level with the man who says he is a poached egg — or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse. You can shut him up for a fool, you can spit at him and kill him as a demon or you can fall at his feet and call him Lord and God, but let us not come with any patronising nonsense about his being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to. ... Now it seems to me obvious that He was neither a lunatic nor a fiend: and consequently, however strange or terrifying or unlikely it may seem, I have to accept the view that He was and is God." C.S. Lewis

    April 12, 2012 at 4:28 pm |
    • Amen

      Indeed! Jesus Christ is God.

      April 12, 2012 at 4:31 pm |
    • Brampt

      Who's is that Lewis guy? He doesn't even support his words with the bible, he just say... Yes Jesus is God... But no bible txt, nothing. Then the weak minds start saying, crying and screaming, agreeing with this mans words with out studying the scriptures! Jesus is NOT God, he is king in heaven but not God! Read acts 7:55, it gives u a more clear understand if that matthew txt.

      April 12, 2012 at 4:49 pm |
    • Tacitus

      BRA-Read the gospels. Jesus is God.

      Do not misquote the Bible.

      April 12, 2012 at 4:56 pm |
    • Brampt

      Tacitus- I read it many times, and I found that Jesus is not god. When he got baptized, what was that voice saying: this is my son? Who did he pray to: when before he was arrested he pray: if it's ur will father remove from me this cup? What about Matt 28:18 when the resurrected Jesus says: all authority has BEEN GIVEN TO ME in heaven...? What about Acts 7:55 what does Steven see? What about 1 Cor 15:24- 29 or PHil 2:5-9? Drop me a line on this question please...

      April 12, 2012 at 5:21 pm |
    • dmjk

      Sorry to Correct you. Jesus is not God. He is the son of God. There is a holy Trinity which consists of God- the father, Jesus Christ- the son and the Holy Spirit- the comforter."For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son,
      that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life John 3:16 (Today’s NIV). Remember Mary? She gave birth to Jesus... remember the whole " laid him in a mainger...." ok. Many scriptures point to him praying to the Lord while on the cross, in the wilderness etc. So how could he be God and then question/ pray to himself- retorical question, please no smart behind comments.

      April 13, 2012 at 3:28 pm |
  18. Brad

    As a Christian, I am fully aware that the Jewish covenant with Jehovah is most certainly still valid...God simply chose to spend the last 2000 years working through the Church rather than through the Jews, just as He had spent the previous time working through the Jews. The Bible is very clear that the final week of Daniel's prophecy regarding the conclusion of that covenant is valid, if only on hold. There will be a rapture of the Church and God will once again turn His attention exclusvely toward the Jews...His chosen people.

    The sign that Jews are beginning to once again consider Jesus and how His existence impacts their relationship to God is just another sign that the Church Age is coming to a close. Time to get out the book of Revelations and start figuring out why you don't want to be left on earth after the Church Age concludes.

    April 12, 2012 at 1:01 pm |
    • Bob

      Very true, what you have written is a very good and spot on analysis.

      April 12, 2012 at 2:10 pm |
    • Brampt

      Brad- it not true that God covenant with Israel is valid. Jesus formed with his apostols a New convenant, witch Israel as a nation is not included. Read Matt 23:37-39. The fact that Jesus predicted the destruction of salmons temple is a big proof as well, by the Romans back in 70CE. The temple was a representacion of God center of worship, but the temple was never built again, and what was Salmons temple is a Muslim mosque today! The New covenant is more extensive Jehovah is reuniting people of all nation... Not only Jews. Even though of course that includes good hearted Jews... Toghether with people of all nations. Jews dont even use Gods name any more.. And violate constantly the law. Jehovah punished them sometimes to have alliances with other nations, with should a lak of trust in god, he considered that as spiritual adultery... Well now a days Israel does the same as before, instead of trusting win god the form alliances with USA, ONU etc...

      April 12, 2012 at 2:59 pm |
    • bill

      Brad, you sound like the 80 year old evangelicals on tv who are getting worried Jesus really won't return in their lifetime. Does everyone that sent them money get a refund if Jesus doesn't return before they die?

      April 13, 2012 at 9:36 am |
    • Chut Pata

      LOL. Even "jews" (meaning practicing jews) do not believe that Jewish people are in covenant with God as a race. They are in covenant with God as long as they practice what Torah says. As for jew-ISH people, majority of them do not even believe in God, how can they be in convent of something they do not believe in?

      April 13, 2012 at 9:36 am |
    • bill

      Well said chut! Don't you like how the evangelicals think that they can tell the Jews what they should believe because they miss-interpret the old testimant just as bad as the new.

      I understand that supporting the evangelicals helps Israel get funding from congress, but honestly isn't it time for Israel to tell them they are crazy.

      April 13, 2012 at 9:52 am |
    • Brampt

      Bill n pata- the evangelicals are trying to focus on the Jews, most likly because they found a big pot of gold, there real God Jesus, the money Jesus. Meanwhile they keep there followers entertained in church with singing to Jesus and crying, screaming speaking on "thongs" there pastors suck every coin out of there pockets at the same time to get toghether with the wealthy Jews that dominate the world economy...!!

      April 13, 2012 at 9:34 pm |
  19. Vincenzo Giovanni Ruello

    I am the film scientist from Australia who has discovered the alive photographic image of Jesus Christ moments before crucifiction. This discovery using angular filming on a close up of the Veronica Veil held at St Peters on the 13th April 2011 is incredible and the major media has not picked it up. The face looks like the Turin Shroud face its the same man

    April 12, 2012 at 12:59 pm |
    • Brampt

      Vincenzo- for all respect for your, I'm afraid the Jesus u got on picture is no really Jesus... The bible uses the Greek work stauros to express the object of his death... Stauros= straight pole...with no T on it. The suppose idea of a cross came from guess who? Mr big business men Constantine to attract to his new religion the pagans of his empire. The egipcians century's before use the T cross as a symbol of pagan worship!! And it was use by other nations as to represent the fertility god... U can imagine what is that T right?!! So that Jesus u have must of took pic of must been draw by someone during or after Constantine time not that Beeing Jesus of course...

      April 12, 2012 at 3:52 pm |
    • NutGrinder

      I went to your link, and i have one problem.... if you really are what you claim to be, a "film scientist" and you believe in the science of your camera/film.... why do you not have a problem with the line that reads "Without carbon dating we can now see it is the same man as the face....".... hmmmm? Have truths, pulling at straws. Ignorant fools!

      April 12, 2012 at 5:48 pm |
    • joe

      What is a "film scientist"? Is that a degree you get from oral Roberts university?

      April 13, 2012 at 10:00 am |
  20. SlaveWorld

    Imagine No Religion

    April 12, 2012 at 12:49 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.