Major New Testament figures—Jesus, Paul, Peter and James, Jesus’ mother Mary, and Mary Magdalene—were Jews, living in a culture steeped in Jewish history, beliefs, and practices. As a result, to better understand both Jesus and early Christianity, we must fully understand their Jewish background and the culture from which they arose.
Marc Brettler is the Bernice and Morton Lerner Professor in Judaic Studies at Duke University, after having retired from his alma mater Brandeis University. Brettler is actively involved in many aspects of Jewish communal life and has served on the board of Boston’s Leventhal-Sidman Jewish Community Center and Gann Academy—the New Jewish High School. He has published and lectured widely on metaphor and the Bible, the nature of biblical historical texts, and gender issues and the Bible, which includes being co-editor of the Jewish Study Bible and the Jewish Annotated New Testament and co-author of the Bible and the Believer: How to Read the Bible Critically and Religiously.