By Jacob Neusner
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Additional resources for A Rabbi Talks with Jesus
That is to say, conduct yourself in such a way that you will avoid even the things that cause you to sin, not only sin itself. By seeking reconciliation, I make a fence against wanting to kill; by chastity in thought, against adultery in deed; by not swearing, against not swearing falsely. Here is a message well worth hearing, one that makes plausible the somewhat odd contrast between what I have heard and what I now hear. But that is 40 NOT TO D E S T R O Y VS YOU HAVE HEARD a good device to win my attention, and it has, and I am impressed - and moved.
I think we owe him a serious hearing, and that means a fresh and interested encounter, not merely genuflection and obedience, on the one side, or a casual nod, on the other. So I state very simply: I can see myself meeting this man and, with courtesy, arguing with him. It is my form of respect, the only compliment I crave from others, the only serious tribute I pay to the people I take seriously - and therefore respect and even love. I can see myself not only meeting and arguing with him, taking up specific things he says and challenging him on the basis of our shared Torah, the Scriptures that Christians would later on adopt as the "Old Testament," but I can imagine myself also saying, "Friend, you go your way, I'll go mine.
Then we hand on the task to those who come after us. It is what it means to be one in eternal Israel. 17 2 A Practicing Jew in Dialogue with Jesus And he went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and preaching the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every infirmity among the people ... And great crowds followed him from Galilee and the Decapolis and Jerusalem and Judea and from beyond the Jordan. Seeing the crowds, he went up on the mountain, and when he sat down his disciples came to him.