Beatrice Bruteau, author of The Easter Mysteries and God's Ecstasy, is co-founder of Schola Contemplationis, an international network community of contemplatives of all traditions. By putting together this worthwhile and salutary anthology of essays by Jewish rabbis, scholars, and laypersons, she has provided a fascinating look at Yeshua, the controversial teacher from Nazareth. As Daniel F. Polish points out, he bears on Jewish life "in ways that Krishna or the Buddha or a pantheon of beings in other traditions do not." Only trouble is, Jesus has been overlaid with an excess of Christian theology, doctrine, and interpretations.
Daniel Matt argues that Jews should reclaim "the impassioned rabbi who died for his vision of Judaism . . . the Galilean Hasid, someone passionately in love with God, drunk on the Divine." This author of God and the Big Bang respects Jesus as an astute Jewish teacher. Michael Lerner agrees with him. Martin Buber called Jesus his "brother"; several authors in this collection refer to him as a "cousin."
Perhaps the most thought-provocative essay in the book is the one by Rami M. Shapiro, who labels Jesus the most famous Jew who ever lived and sees him as God-intoxicated, "an important teacher of a Jewish expression of the perennial philosophy mystics of every faith have taught for thousands of years." He challenges readers to listen to him with an ear for God. Shapiro's interpretation of "Christ-consciousness" moves beyond both conventional Jewish and Christian thinking.