Jesus and Judaism connection still matters, according to Jewish scholar

Amy-Jill Levine will discuss the role Judaism plays in understanding Jesus on March 29 on the campus of University of Detroit-Mercy, in Detroit MI. She is a faculty member of the Vanderbilt University Divinity School, and is an affiliated professor at the Centre for the Study of Jewish-Christian Relations, Cambridge UK.

Professor Levin holds a doctorate from Duke University, and also has honorary doctorates from the University of Richmond, the Episcopal Theological Seminary of the Southwest, the University of South Carolina-Upstate, Drury University, and Christian Theological Seminary.

Levine has described an early childhood flashback about how Christianity might have stayed just a fascination, but for an episode in her early years.  “When I was seven years old, one girl said to me on the school bus, ‘You killed our Lord.’ I couldn’t fathom how this religion that was so beautiful was saying such a dreadful thing.” This began her adventure to learn more about religion, which carried her all the way through graduate school.

A self-described “Yankee Jewish feminist who teaches in a predominantly Christian divinity school in the buckle of the Bible Belt,” according to a release from the Detroit-based Jesuit institution "Levine combines historical-critical rigor, literary-critical sensitivity and a frequent dash of humor with a commitment to eliminating anti-Jewish, sexist and homophobic theologies."


Her books include The Misunderstood Jew: The Church and the Scandal of the Jewish Jesus, The Meaning of the Bible: What the Jewish Scriptures and the Christian Old Testament Can Teach Us, co-authored with Douglas Knight, the edited collection Historical Jesus in Context, and the fourteen-volume edited series Feminist Companions to the New Testament and Early Christian Writings. With Marc Brettler, she also edited the Jewish Annotated New Testament . The statement from the Jesuit university said, "Nearly all Bibles are edited by and for Christians. The Christian Bible comprises the Old and New Testaments, so editors offer a Christian perspective on both books; Levine made her volume for anybody who is interested in a Bible more focused from a Jewish foundation."

The Vanderbilt professor has been awarded grants from the Mellon Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities and the American Council of Learned Societies. She has held office in the Society of Biblical Literature, the Catholic Biblical Association and the Association for Jewish Studies. She is presently the New Testament book review editor for the Catholic Biblical Quarterly.


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