If you haven’t had an opportunity to learn from Amy-Jill Levine, don’t miss this opportunity!!! I have travelled far and wide to listen to Professor Levine and she has never failed to open the New Testament in ways that have changed my view of Jesus “The Misunderstood Jew”. Her book “short stories by Jesus” is my go-to for insights into the parables of Jesus. This year our congregation has benefited greatly from “The Jewish Annotated New Testament” edited by Amy-Jill Levine and Marc Zvi Brettler. Jewish New Testament scholars are a rare breed and Amy-Jill Levine is powerfully articulate in her approach to the teachings of the Jewish rabbi that we Christians long to follow. Members of Holy Cross: be sure to sign-up for the road trip we will be taking into the city to be a part of this event!!! For those who will be anywhere near Toronto, follow this link for details. In the meantime allow this video to whet your appetite.
Holy Cross’ Adult Education Classes begin an exploration of the Gospel according to Mark using as our guides a commentary by Marcus Borg and a New Testament annotated by Amy-Jill Levine. You can listen to the first class, view the keynote slides, and get a copy of the class handout here
The Gospel reading for this coming Sunday (Pentecost 15A, Proper 20A, Ordinary 25A) offers preachers a splendid opportunity to address economic disparity; an issue which Jesus of Nazareth was passionate about. Back in 2011, I had the privilege of spending a week at Chautauqua when Amy-Jill Levine was the theologian in residence. Each afternoon Amy-Jill addressed the parables of Jesus from her perspective as a New Testament scholar who is also a practicing Jew. The material Amy-Jill covered has found its way into her latest book. Released just this month. “short stories by jesus: The Enigmatic Parables of a Controversial Rabbi” is an extraordinary resource, which I am in the process of gobbling up with the kind of relish that fills me with all sorts of ideas for the work that needs to be done by those of us who profess to follow the teachings of the Rabbi Jesus. For those of you planning to preach on Jesus’ parable about the workers in the vineyard, I recommend purchasing Amy-Jill’s new book (it is available electronically so there’s still time) and carefully reading Chapter 7: “The Laborers in the Vineyard”! Below you will find a link to my notes for an interactive sermon I delivered based upon Amy-Jill’s Chautauqua lecture, “Management and Non-Union Workers”.
For those of you interested in the radical teachings of Jesus, stories about jesus is a must-read! John Shelby Spong insists that Levine’s new book provides “a series of stunning new insights into our religious heritage!” I couldn’t agree more!
As always Dr. Amy-Jill Levine’s consummate scholarship encourages and enables her listeners to seriously and holistically engage biblical texts. Violence against women in all its forms, whether they be physical, sexual, emotional, economical, or psychological types of violence, is a global, national, denominational and domestic problem that has all too often been enabled by interpretations of the bible that fail to take the bible seriously or engage its texts adequately. Please watch, listen, digest, and go forth and do likewise.
As I prepare to preach tomorrow, the prescribed scripture readings have me wondering when and how we shall be able to move beyond the tribal god we created and have worshipped for far too long. Amy-Jill Levine is a Jewish New Testament scholar who continues to help me understand christianity’s jewish past and look toward a time when our various religious tribes can join in a new narrative that empowers us to worship the God our tribal idols belittle by their narrow portrayal of the Creator-of-All-that-IS-and-Ever-Shall-Be.