By Jacob Neusner
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Extra info for A Rabbi Talks with Jesus
That position is plausible if we imagine ourselves in Galilee, hearing a master teach his torah, long before he has gone his way into history and eternity. Well, then, is this meeting with Jesus in Galilee not an act of enormous disrespect? How dare I argue with the master at all? The answer is both personal and religious. I have lived a life of learning, and to me, if I didn't take the other's ideas seriously, I would agree facilely and go on my way, or I would condescend, or I would pretend and humor the other.
Matthew's writing also offers, as evidence for why I should accept Jesus as Christ, the teachings that Jesus put forth while here on earth, among us. It is right and proper, therefore, for me to examine some of those teachings and to ask whether they compel me, within eternal Israel, to accept them as part of the Torah. And that is precisely what I propose to do. In doing so, I concede as valid the deeply held convictions of the other that lie beyond 28 A P R A C T I C I N G JEW IN D I A L O G U E WITH JESUS the bounds of an outsider's examination; or I set them aside as not germane to the case to which I am asked to respond: take your choice.
It is a somewhat odd shift; what Jesus does is teach the Torah, and what he teaches also is torah. For his engagement with the Torah of Moses - and Matthew makes clear Jesus is profoundly engaged in Torah-learning - means that things that he will say also form a continuation, expansion, elaboration, and clarification, for instance, of the Torah. He is a teacher of the Torah, so in the framework of the Torah, he teaches the Torah and he himself adds to the Torah: so his is a labor of torah too.
A Rabbi Talks with Jesus by Jacob Neusner