This article looks at arguably the most dominant rhetorical move in contemporary historical Jesus scholarship, namely the ‘Jewishness’ of Jesus or a ‘very Jewish’ Jesus, and how this superficially but credibly positive rhetoric subtly maintains the older myth of superiority over against Judaism. This scholarly trend is located in contemporary ideological discourses concerning Israel and Judaism and liberal multiculturalism and is shown to be deeply embedded in scholarly historical practice. Some consideration is also given to the ideological locations of the ‘Judean’ and ‘Jesus the Israelite’ debate.
P. NovickThe Holocaust and Collective Memory (London: Bloomsbury1999); N. Finkelstein The Holocaust Industry: Reflections on the Exploitation of Jewish Suffering (London and New York: Verso 2nd edn 2003).
G. Theissen and D. WinterThe Quest for the Plausible Jesus: The Question of Criteria (Louisville: Westminster John Knox2002) and D. Winter ‘Saving the Quest for Authenticity from the Criterion of Dissimilarity: History and Plausibility’ in C. Keith and A. Le Donne (eds.) Jesus Criteria and the Demise of Authenticity (London: T&T Clark 2012) pp. 115-31.
J.H. Elliott‘Jesus the Israelite was Neither a “Jew” nor a “Christian”: On Correcting Misleading Nomenclature’JSHJ5 (2007) pp. 119-54. For further analysis of this trend see Crossley Jesus in an Age of Neoliberalism pp. 175-84.