Religion: What Sort of Jew Was Jesus?

A rabbi offers a provocative theory on Christianity's origins

Many Jews and Christians trace 2,000 years of anti-Jewish persecution directly back to certain pronouncements of Jesus. In Matthew 23:37, for example, Jesus exclaims, "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, killing the prophets and stoning those who are sent to you . . . Behold, your house is forsaken and desolate." While dialogue aiming at better understanding has taken place between the two religions, some Jews and Christians have felt frustrated that New Testament passages have been used to support anti-Semitism.

Orthodox Rabbi Harvey Falk of Brooklyn believes that much interreligious tension need never have existed at all. His current book, Jesus the Pharisee:...

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