A few months ago, I wrote a post that, while explicitly refraining from endorsing R. Shmuley Boteach’s Kosher Jesus, can still be construed as doing so (link). After reading the book, I regretted even possibly giving that impression and wrote this review to rectify the matter. This was published in the latest issue of Jewish Action (link):
In the food industry, kosherization is a method to purge a vessel of non-kosher absorption. It is achieved through the use of boiling water or intense heat, depending on the manner of non-kosher use. In attempting to kosherize the Christian Gospels, Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, an author and media personality, wields inflammatory literary and historical tools to remove Christianity from its own history.
After diving in to rescue Jews from missionaries by ferociously beating back Christianity, Rabbi Boteach needlessly diverges from traditional Jewish theology. While this book has already been denounced by a number of rabbis from Rabbi Boteach’s Lubavitch sect, these condemnations—not book bans, but disavowals of the book’s content—are worthy of a broader demographic.
Kosher Jesus is a passionate but confused book. Following the idiosyncratic approach of English scholar Hyam Maccoby, Rabbi Boteach argues that the basic claims of Christian theology are founded on early Christian historical revisionism that Jesus the Jew would have found offensive. In Rabbi Boteach’s reading, Jesus preached a messianic gospel in the Jewish sense—freedom from external rule, self-governance in a sovereign Jewish country. He opposed religious hypocrisy and encouraged devotion to Torah observance. A learned Jew, he would have condemned any attempt to identify God with a human being or divide Him into a Trinity. Despite his predictions of an imminent political redemption and spiritual renewal, Jesus was captured and brutally executed by the Romans as a rebel leader…
Read the rest here: link