Best Amy-Jill Levine books

Short Stories by Jesus: The Enigmatic Parables of a Controversial Rabbi

Amy-Jill Levine

Best price for this book: $ 8.16

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The renowned biblical scholar, author of The Misunderstood Jew, and general editor for The Jewish Annotated New Testament interweaves history and spiritual analysis to explore Jesus’ most popular teaching parables, exposing their misinterpretations and making them lively and relevant for modern readers.

Jesus was a skilled storyteller and perceptive teacher who used parables from everyday life to effectively convey his message and meaning. Life in first-century Palestine was very different from our world today, and many traditional interpretations of Jesus’ stories ignore this disparity and have often allowed anti-Semitism and misogyny to color their perspectives.

In this wise, entertaining, and educational book, Amy-Jill Levine offers a fresh, timely reinterpretation of Jesus’ narratives. In Short Stories by Jesus, she analyzes these “problems with parables,” taking readers back in time to understand how their original Jewish audience understood them. Levine reveals the parables’ connections to first-century economic and agricultural life, social customs and morality, Jewish scriptures and Roman culture. With this revitalized understanding, she interprets these moving stories for the contemporary reader, showing how the parables are not just about Jesus, but are also about us—and when read rightly, still challenge and provoke us two thousand years later.

The Jewish Annotated New Testament

Best price for this book: $ 28.72

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First published in 2011, The Jewish Annotated New Testament was a groundbreaking work, bringing the New Testament's Jewish background to the attention of students, clergy, and general readers. In this new edition, eighty Jewish scholars bring together unparalleled scholarship to shed new light on the text. This thoroughly revised and greatly expanded second edition brings even more helpful information and new insights to the study of the New Testament.

· Introductions to each New Testament book, containing guidance for reading and specific information about how the book relates to the Judaism of the period, have been revised and augmented, and in some cases newly written.

· Annotations on the text--some revised, some new to this edition--provide verse-by-verse commentary.

· The thirty essays from the first edition are thoroughly updated, and there are twenty-four new essays, on topics such as "Mary in Jewish Tradition," "Christology," and "Messianic Judaism."

· For Christian readers The Jewish Annotated New Testament offers a window into the first-century world of Judaism from which the New Testament springs. There are explanations of Jewish concepts such as food laws and rabbinic argumentation. It also provides a much-needed corrective to many centuries of Christian misunderstandings of the Jewish religion.

· For Jewish readers, this volume provides the chance to encounter the New Testament--a text of vast importance in Western European and American culture--with no religious agenda and with guidance from Jewish experts in theology, history, and Jewish and Christian thought. It also explains Christian practices, such as the Eucharist.

The Jewish Annotated New Testament, Second Edition is an essential volume that places the New Testament writings in a context that will enlighten readers of any faith or none.

The Misunderstood Jew: The Church and the Scandal of the Jewish Jesus

Amy-Jill Levine

Best price for this book: $ 8.33

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In the The Misunderstood Jew, scholar Amy-Jill Levine helps Christians and Jews understand the "Jewishness" of Jesus so that their appreciation of him deepens and a greater interfaith dialogue can take place. Levine's humor and informed truth-telling provokes honest conversation and debate about how Christians and Jews should understand Jesus, the New Testament, and each other.

Who Counts?: 100 Sheep, 10 Coins, and 2 Sons

Amy-Jill Levine

Best price for this book: $ 12.17

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One sheep makes a difference. Without her something is missing. Now my flock is complete.

Oh, no! The man is missing his sheep! The woman is missing her coin! The father is missing his son! Can you help them find what they are looking for?

Who Counts? is a creative retelling of three popular parables: the lost sheep, the lost coin, and the prodigal son. As young readers count to help the characters find what s missing, Who Counts? teaches that every one of us counts in God s eyes and that everyone should feel counted.

The stories are beautifully illustrated with modern-day characters and a diversity of ethnicities so that all children will be able to see themselves in the stories.

Who Counts? is featured on the Junior Library Guild Fall 2017 list.

The Meaning of the Bible: What the Jewish Scriptures and Christian Old Testament Can Teach Us

Douglas A. Knight

Best price for this book: $ 10

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In The Meaning of the Bible: What the Jewish Scriptures and Christian Old Testament Can Teach Us, preeminent biblical scholars Douglas A. Knight and Amy-Jill Levine deliver a broad and engaging introduction to the Old Testament—also known as the Tanakh or Hebrew Bible—offering a wealth of compelling historical background and context for the sacred literature that is at the heart of Judaism and Christianity. John Shelby Spong, author of Re-Claiming the Bible for a Non-Religious World writes, "Levine and Knight have combined to write a book on the Bible that is as academically brilliant as it is marvelously entertaining. By placing our scriptures into their original Jewish context they have opened up startling and profound new insights. This is a terrific book."

The Jewish Annotated New Testament

Best price for this book: $ 23.85

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Although major New Testament figures--Jesus and Paul, Peter and James, Jesus' mother Mary and Mary Magdalene--were Jews, living in a culture steeped in Jewish history, beliefs, and practices, there has never been an edition of the New Testament that addresses its Jewish background and the culture from which it grew--until now. In The Jewish Annotated New Testament, eminent experts under the general editorship of Amy-Jill Levine and Marc Z. Brettler put these writings back into the context of their original authors and audiences. And they explain how these writings have affected the relations of Jews and Christians over the past two thousand years.

An international team of scholars introduces and annotates the Gospels, Acts, Letters, and Revelation from Jewish perspectives, in the New Revised Standard Version translation. They show how Jewish practices and writings, particularly the Greek translation of the Hebrew Bible, influenced the New Testament writers. From this perspective, readers gain new insight into the New Testament's meaning and significance. In addition, thirty essays on historical and religious topics--Divine Beings, Jesus in Jewish thought, Parables and Midrash, Mysticism, Jewish Family Life, Messianic Movements, Dead Sea Scrolls, questions of the New Testament and anti-Judaism, and others--bring the Jewish context of the New Testament to the fore, enabling all readers to see these writings both in their original contexts and in the history of interpretation. For readers unfamiliar with Christian language and customs, there are explanations of such matters as the Eucharist, the significance of baptism, and "original sin."

For non-Jewish readers interested in the Jewish roots of Christianity and for Jewish readers who want a New Testament that neither proselytizes for Christianity nor denigrates Judaism, The Jewish Annotated New Testament is an essential volume that places these writings in a context that will enlighten students, professionals, and general readers.

The New Testament: Methods and Meanings

Warren Carter

Best price for this book: $ 24.17

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In this concise, accessible book, Warren Carter and A.J. Levine introduce three aspects of New Testament study: the world of the text (plots, characters, setting, and themes), the world behind the text (the concerns, circumstances, and experiences of the early Christian communities), and the world in front of the text (the meaning for contemporary readers). As students engage the New Testament, they face a central issue that has confronted all students before them, namely, that these texts have been and are read in diverse and often quite conflicting ways. These multiple readings involve different methods: historical-critical, traditional (history of interpretation), colonial, multicultural, and sociological, with feminist and liberationist implications for the first-century readers as well as the ongoing implications for today's reader. For example, Carter and Levine show how a text can be used by both colonizer and colonized, feminist and anti-feminist, or pro- and anti-Jewish. The authors also show how scholarly work can be both constructive and threatening to the contemporary Church and how polemical texts can be used, whether for religious study, theological reflection, or homiletical practice.

The Historical Jesus in Context (Princeton Readings in Religions)

Best price for this book: $ 32.3

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The Historical Jesus in Context is a landmark collection that places the gospel narratives in their full literary, social, and archaeological context. More than twenty-five internationally recognized experts offer new translations and descriptions of a broad range of texts that shed new light on the Jesus of history, including pagan prayers and private inscriptions, miracle tales and martyrdoms, parables and fables, divorce decrees and imperial propaganda.


The translated materials--from Christian, Coptic, and Jewish as well as Greek, Roman, and Egyptian texts--extend beyond single phrases to encompass the full context, thus allowing readers to locate Jesus in a broader cultural setting than is usually made available. This book demonstrates that only by knowing the world in which Jesus lived and taught can we fully understand him, his message, and the spread of the Gospel.


Gathering in one place material that was previously available only in disparate sources, this formidable book provides innovative insight into matters no less grand than first-century Jewish and Gentile life, the composition of the Gospels, and Jesus himself.

The Gospel of Luke (New Cambridge Bible Commentary)

Amy-Jill Levine

Best price for this book: $ 120

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This volume offers a comprehensive overview of one of the four New Testament gospels and brings a unique approach to the genre of Bible commentary. Featuring distinct Jewish and Christian voices in respectful conversation, Amy-Jill Levine and Ben Witherington methodologically break new ground in exploring why scholars disagree on questions of history (what actually happened, what is authorial invention, how do we address different versions of the same account), literature (what does this story tell us about Jesus and Peter, Mary Magdalene and Judas, among other characters), and theology (what can we say about resurrection and divine justice, or about Jesus as the Messiah). They show how Luke has been used to create both tragedy and hope, as well as to promote sexism, anti-semitism, and religious intolerance, thereby raising important questions regarding ethically responsible interpretation. Their volume will be   essential reading for theologians, clergy, and anyone interested in biblical studies and Jewish/Christian dialogue. 

The Gospel of Luke (New Cambridge Bible Commentary)

Amy-Jill Levine

Best price for this book: $ 39.99

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This volume offers a comprehensive overview of one of the four New Testament gospels and brings a unique approach to the genre of Bible commentary. Featuring distinct Jewish and Christian voices in respectful conversation, Amy-Jill Levine and Ben Witherington methodologically break new ground in exploring why scholars disagree on questions of history (what actually happened, what is authorial invention, how do we address different versions of the same account), literature (what does this story tell us about Jesus and Peter, Mary Magdalene and Judas, among other characters), and theology (what can we say about resurrection and divine justice, or about Jesus as the Messiah). They show how Luke has been used to create both tragedy and hope, as well as to promote sexism, anti-semitism, and religious intolerance, thereby raising important questions regarding ethically responsible interpretation. Their volume will be   essential reading for theologians, clergy, and anyone interested in biblical studies and Jewish/Christian dialogue.