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The Pharisees

HARDCOVER; Coming Soon: 12/2/2021
ISBN: 978-0-8028-7929-5
Price: $ 54.99
496 Pages
Trim Size, in inches: 6 x 9
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For centuries, Pharisees have been well known but little understood—due at least in part to their outsized role in the Christian imagination arising from select negative stereotypes based in part on the Gospels. Yet historians see Pharisees as respected teachers and forward-thinking innovators who helped make the Jewish tradition more adaptable to changing circumstances and more egalitarian in practice. Seeking to bridge this gap, the contributors to this volume provide a multidisciplinary appraisal of who the Pharisees actually were, what they believed and taught, and how they have been depicted throughout history. 

The topics explored within this authoritative resource include:

  • the origins of the Pharisees
  • the meaning of the name “Pharisee”
  • Pharisaic leniency, relative to the temple priesthood, in judicial matters
  • Pharisaic concerns for the Jewish laity
  • Pharisaic purity practices and why they became popular
  • the varying depictions of Pharisaic practices and beliefs in the New Testament
  • Jesus’s relationship to the Pharisees
  • the apostle Paul and his situation within the Pharisaic tradition
  • the question of continuity between the Pharisaic tradition and Rabbinic Judaism
  • the reception history of the Pharisees, including among the rabbis, the church fathers, Rashi, Maimonides, Luther, and Calvin
  • the failures of past scholarship to deal justly with the Pharisees
  • the representations, both positive and negative, of the Pharisees in art, film, passion plays, and Christian educational resources
  • how Christian leaders can and should address the Pharisees in sermons and in Bible studies

Following the exploration of these and other topics by a team of internationally renowned scholars, this volume concludes with an address by Pope Francis on correcting the negative stereotypes of Pharisees that have led to antisemitic prejudices and finding resources that “will positively contribute to the relationship between Jews and Christians, in view of an ever more profound and fraternal dialogue.”

Table of Contents

Prelude: Asking the Right Questions
     1. What’s in a Name? Interpreting the Name “Pharisee”
               Craig Morrison
Part One: Historical Reconstruction
     2. In Search of the Origins of the Pharisees
               Vasile Babota
     3. Purity Concerns and Common Judaism in Light of Archaeology
               Eric Meyers
     4. Pharisaic Halakah as Emerging from 4QMMT
               Vered Noam
     5. Josephus’s Pharisees
               Steve Mason
     6. Paul, the Perfectly Righteous Pharisee
               Paula Fredriksen
     7. Pharisees and Sadducees Together in Matthew
               Henry Pattarumadathil
     8. Polemic against the Pharisees in Matthew 23
               Adela Yarbro Collins
     9. Luke/Acts as a Source for the History of the Pharisees
               Hermut Löhr
     10. Pharisees in the Fourth Gospel and One Special Pharisee
               Harold Attridge
     11. The Shared Image of Pharisaic Law between the Gospels and Rabbinic Tradition
               Yair Furstenberg
     12. How Close Were Jesus and the Pharisees?
               Jens Schröter
     13. The Pharisees and the Rabbis: How Much Continuity?
               Günter Stemberger
Part Two: Reception History
     14. “Pharisees” and Early Christian Heresiology
               Matthias Skeb
     15. Pharisaios and Pharisaikos in the Greek Fathers: A Statistical Approach
               Luca Angelelli
     16. The Forgotten Pharisees
               Shaye J. D. Cohen
     17. The Perushim in the Understanding of the Medieval Jewish Sages
               Abraham Skorka
     18. The Pharisees in the Theology of Martin Luther and John Calvin
               Randall Zachman
     19. The Pharisees in Art
               Angela La Delfa
     20. A Brief, Personal History of the Oberammergau Passion Play
               Christian Stückl
     21. The Pharisees on Film
               Adele Reinhartz
     22. The Pharisees in Modern Scholarship
               Susannah Heschel and Deborah Forger
     23. The Pharisees as a Textbook Case: The Presentation of Pharisees in Catholic Religion Textbooks
               Philip Cunningham
Part Three: Looking Toward the Future
     24. Preaching and Teaching the Pharisees
               Amy-Jill Levine
     25. What Future for the Pharisees?
               Massimo Grilli and Joseph Sievers
Address by Pope Francis