Kosher Jesus is a project of more than six years research and writing. The book seeks to offer to Jews and Christians the real story of Jesus, a wholly observant, Pharisaic Rabbi who fought Roman paganism and oppression and was killed for it.
While many Christians will be confused by its assertion that Jesus never claimed divinity and not only did not abrogate the Torah but observed every letter of the Law, they will find comfort in my tracing most of Jesus principal teachings back to Jewish sources, this before he was stripped of his Jewishness by later writers who sought to portray him as an enemy of his people. This is especially true of Jesus’ most famous oration, the Sermon on the Mount, which is a reformulation of the Torah he studied and to which he was committed. A small sampling: Jesus: (Matt 5:5) Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. Hebrew Bible: (Psalms 37) The meek shall inherit the earth, and delight themselves in the abundance of peace. Jesus: (Matt 5:8) Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see G-d. Hebrew Bible: (Psalms 24) Who shall ascend the mount of the Lord the pure-hearted. Jesus: (Matt 5:39) But if anyone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. Hebrew Bible: (Lamentations 3:30) Let him offer his cheek to him who smites him…. Jesus: (Matt 6:33) But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things shall be yours as well. Hebrew Bible: (Psalms 37:4) Delight yourself in the Lord, and He shall give you the desires of your heart. Jesus: (Matt 7:7) Ask, and it will be given you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened for you. Hebrew Bible: (Jer 29:13) When you search for me, you will find me; if you seek me with all your heart. Jesus: (Matt 7:23) Then I will declare to them, I never knew you; go away from me, you evildoers. Hebrew Bible: (Psalms 6:9) Depart from me, all you workers of evil…
The book is also for Jews who remain deeply uncomfortable with Jesus because of the Church s long history of anti-Semitism, the deification of Jesus, and the Jewish rejection of any Messiah who has not fulfilled the Messianic prophecies. We Jews will forever reject the divinity of any man, the single most emphatic prohibition of our Bible. And we can never accept the Messiahship of any personality, however noble or well-intended, who died without ushering in the age of physical redemption. But as Christians and Jews now come together to love and support the majestic and humane Jewish state, it s time that Christians rediscover the deep Jewishness and religious Jewish commitment of Jesus, while Jews reexamine a lost son who was murdered by a brutal Roman state who sought to impose Roman culture and rule upon a tiny yet stubborn nation who will never be severed from their eternal covenant with the G-d of Israel.
Kosher Jesus, on the other hand, represents a sort of vernacular translation of the work of the late English scholar Hyam Maccoby. For Maccoby the synoptic gospels’ accounts were thin contrivances through which one can still glimpse the real Jesus, a man who adhered fully to Jewish law and who sought, above all, the deliverance of his people from servitude to the Romans. What Boteach has gleaned from Maccoby’s work he has blended with his own thoughts on Vatican II; the charge of deicide; the Romans (Romans liked war; Jews, however, liked peace); the true meaning of the gospels; America; modern evangelicals; and much, much more. [Source]