Vox Tablet

Jews for Jesus

Rabbi Shmuley Boteach claims Jesus was a Jew who never meant to create a new religion. He tests his theory on Harvard scholar Noah Feldman.

March 12, 2012
Adi Nes, Christ, 2009.(Courtesy of the artist and Jack Shainman Gallery, New York)

Adi Nes, Christ, 2009.(Courtesy of the artist and Jack Shainman Gallery, New York)

Rabbi Shmuley Boteach made a huge splash with his 1999 book, Kosher Sex. The book, along with works including Kosher Sutra and Kosher Adultery, flouts taboos against discussing physical intimacy, desire, and other basic elements of the human experience. Now he’s at it again, taking on perhaps the biggest taboo of all: Jesus. In Kosher Jesus, Boteach argues that Jesus, a faithful adherent and proponent of Judaism, never intended to create a new religion. That turn of events was a corruption of Jesus’ reputation by his followers, argues Boteach, and getting to a place where Jews and Christians alike recognize his Jewishness can only help achieve greater understanding between peoples of different faiths today.

Boteach joins Vox Tablet, hosted by Tablet’s Bari Weiss, to talk about his new book. With him on the podcast is Noah Feldman, a law professor at Harvard University and a longtime friend of Boteach’s, who has his own ideas about the potentials and limits of Jewish arguments about Jesus. In addition, Boteach solicits Feldman’s opinion on another pressing matter: Should Boteach run for Congress? Boteach has been weighing a candidacy and is expected to announce his final decision this week. (More on that here.) [Running time: 31:24]

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Vox Tablet is Tablet Magazine’s weekly podcast, hosted by Sara Ivry and produced by Julie Subrin. You can listen to individual episodes here or subscribe on iTunes.

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