Under my post The Jewish Case for Christmas, there was starting to develop a thread of conversation that I didn’t feel comfortable with. One reader cast up a bunch of quotes he found on the Internet about Jesus as portrayed in the Talmud while another reader, a frequent, thoughtful, and most welcome commenter, tried to argue that the Jesus who appears there isn’t the Jesus in the New Testament.
The first reader then came back with more scandalous Internet-gathered material at which point I felt things were getting out of hand and decided not to publish his further comments. The Internet is really a wicked invention — but there’s no escaping it, which is why I blog — allowing so much garbage to float around unedited. Nevertheless, the subject that my two readers had opened up is an interesting one, and one that I have written on before, both in my book Why the Jews Rejected Jesus
and in a little interview I did for Publishers Weekly
with Princeton’s Peter Schaefer. His book Jesus in the Talmud
seems to be the most authoritative word on the topic. My conclusion in a nutshell:
It seems fair to say now…that the Talmud is every bit as offensive to Christians as the Gospels are to Jews.