Religious Studies Lecture – Jesus and Judaism

On Thursday, April 12 Dr. Amy-Jill Levine, professor of Jewish Studies at Vanderbilt University, visited Albion College to give the annual Yinger Family Lecture.

The Yinger Family Lecture is an annual lecture given that cycles between four topics, religion, drama and English literature, history and sociology. This year, the topic was religion. The lecture was titled, “Jesus and Judaism: The Connection Matters.”

Dr. Jocelyn McWhirter, associate professor of Religious Studies at Albion College, was able to have Levine to come to campus.

“She’s an editor of a journal I write book reviews for,” McWhirter said. “I had some professional contact with Amy-Jill Levine.”

McWhirter also explained how the subject is important to the connection between Judaism and Christianity.

“I think having her here on Jesus and Judaism that is, Jesus’s Jewish background and how Judaism influenced the teachings of Jesus, and therefore Christianity, is for her to say something about Christianity that needs to be emphasized, and that she can emphasize in a way that’s extremely effective,” McWhirter said.

McWhirter also added, that due to Levine being Jewish and a female, she adds something different to the table.

“Here’s a Jewish woman in a discipline of New Testament studies that is dominated by Christian men, so her perspective allow her to see things most people in my discipline just don’t get.”

During the lecture, Levine heavily emphasized the connection between Judaism and Christianity.

“We worship the same god, pray the same prayers, believe in the 10 commandments,” Levine said. “Jesus is important to both.”

She ended with an allegory of how Jesus lets a Jewish person into Heaven. A Christian sees this from afar and is confused, asking Jesus how a Jewish person who didn’t go through the Sacraments can enter Heaven. Jesus responds by telling him that it is he himself who is the final decider of who enters Heaven, and it doesn’t matter what you do, as long as he approves of it.

“I thought it was interesting,” said Zach Neithercut, Flint sophomore.  “You can definitely tell that she’s researched a lot, knows what she’s talking about, her arguments are very valid.”

Photo by Wikimedia Commons.


About Joshua Van Laan 39 Articles
Josh Van Laan is currently a sociology major from Clinton Township.

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