In March 1995, Professor David Flusser shared with me his intent to re-publish the 1968 English translation of his biography of Jesus. Serious problems had occurred in the English translation of the book, which in German had sold almost 100,000 copies. I offered to assist him in correcting these problems for the new book (titled Jesus). When our collaborative work began, however, we soon realized that mere linguistic corrections would be insufficient. New historical and archeological data had become available during the previous thirty years. Consequently, Flusser’s own thoughts had developed. What was needed was significant re-writing of the book.
Whereas the previous work marked the beginnings of Flusser’s investigation into the historical Jesus, this work presents the fruit of almost fifty years of research by Israel’s foremost authority on Second Temple Judaism and the origins of Christianity. Rarely does one encounter a scholar with such a passion to understand Jesus and his message. Nor are there many who have such a mastery of the classical sources and the ability to use them in such a way that the person and message of Jesus find fresh and simple clarity.
Jesus and Judaism
Flusser’s approach calls for a reconsideration of how we read the literary sources. He brings to bear the wealth of new information concerning the first-century setting in the light of the Dead Sea Scrolls, historical inquiry, and recent archaeological discoveries. What results from his biographical study is a portrait of Jesus which gains additional depth because it is viewed within the context of Jewish thought and life of the first century.