A Scholarly Look at Jesus and Judaism

Jesus statueThis fall, we are offering the course,”Jesus and Judaism” which provides insight into the Jewish perspective of Jesus. The course is comprised of six lectures with titles such as “Jesus in the Talmud,” “The Jewish Scholarly Quest for Jesus” and “Jesus in Modern Jewish Culture.” The lectures will be led by esteemed scholars, Matthias Henze, Ph.D., April DeConick, Ph.D., Rachel Havrelock, Ph.D., Shira Lander, Ph.D., Melissa Weininger, Ph.D., and Zev Garber, emeritus professor and chair of Jewish studies and philosophy, Los Angeles Valley College and editor of “Shofar: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Jewish Studies.”

The course is also co-sponsored by the Program in Jewish Studies at Rice University where Dr. Henze is the director. He has also taught classes for our Master of Liberal Studies program. We asked him recently about this upcoming course.

Your lecture is titled, “The Judaism of Jesus.” What can students expect to learn in the lecture?

While the course as a whole explores what Jews throughout the centuries have thought and written about Jesus, in this introductory lecture we will ask what we know about Jesus’ Judaism. What do we know about Judaism at the time of Jesus, how does Jesus fit into what we know about the diverse Jewish groups that were around at the time, and why does this matter to us today for our understanding of Jesus and Christian origins? The lecture begins with a brief review of some monographs on Jesus the Jew that have recently come out and that have attracted some significant attention.

Can you tell us more about the Program in Jewish Studies at Rice and the importance of teaching Jewish studies?

The Program in Jewish Studies at Rice University was launched in 2009 and since then has come a long way. Students are now graduating with a Minor in Jewish Studies, we are offering on average 12 courses in Jewish Studies each semester across a range of different departments, and we are providing scholarships for students who want to travel abroad over the summer and work on a project that relates to Jewish Studies. In addition, we have developed a vibrant outreach program. Our aim is to share our resources with the greater Houston community and to offer high-level courses and seminars to all in Houston and beyond who want to learn about Judaism.

Jesus and Judaism” begins October 8, 2012.

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