News Release

Vanderbilt Divinity professor discusses "Jesus and Judaism: The connection still matters"

Amy-Jill Levine, university professor of New Testament and Jewish Studies at Vanderbilt Divinity School, will discuss the role Judaism plays in understanding Jesus on Thursday, March 29 at 7:30 p.m. in the Student Center Building on the McNichols Campus. Levine is also affiliated professor at the Centre for the Study of Jewish-Christian Relations, Cambridge UK.

She holds a B.A. from Smith College and a M.A. and Ph.D. from Duke University, where she has honorary doctorates from the University of Richmond, the Episcopal Theological Seminary of the Southwest, the University of South Carolina-Upstate, Drury University, and Christian Theological Seminary.

Levine has described an early childhood flashback about how Christianity might have stayed just a fascination, but for an unfortunate episode in second grade: “When I was seven years old, one girl said to me on the school bus, ‘You killed our Lord.’ I couldn’t fathom how this religion that was so beautiful was saying such a dreadful thing.” This began her adventure to learn more about religion, which carried her all the way through graduate school.

A self-described “Yankee Jewish feminist who teaches in a predominantly Christian divinity school in the buckle of the Bible Belt,” Levine combines historical-critical rigor, literary-critical sensitivity and a frequent dash of humor with a commitment to eliminating anti-Jewish, sexist and homophobic theologies.

Her books include The Misunderstood Jew: The Church and the Scandal of the Jewish Jesus (HarperOne), The Meaning of the Bible: What the Jewish Scriptures and the Christian Old Testament Can Teach Us, co-authored with Douglas Knight (HarperOne), the edited collection Historical Jesus in Context (Princeton), and the fourteen-volume edited series Feminist Companions to the New Testament and Early Christian Writings (Continuum). With Marc Brettler, she also edited the Jewish Annotated New Testament (Oxford). Nearly all Bibles are edited by and for Christians. The Christian Bible comprises the Old and New Testaments, so editors offer a Christian perspective on both books; Levine made her volume for anybody who is interested in a Bible more focused from a Jewish foundation.

The Vanderbilt professor has been awarded grants from the Mellon Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities and the American Council of Learned Societies. She has held office in the Society of Biblical Literature, the Catholic Biblical Association and the Association for Jewish Studies. She is presently the New Testament book review editor for the Catholic Biblical Quarterly.

Release date: March 22,2012

# # #

The University of Detroit Mercy is Michigan's largest private Catholic University, offering approximately 100 majors and programs in 60 academic fields. Sponsored by the Society of Jesus (the Jesuits) and the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas, the University has three campuses located in downtown and northwest Detroit.

For the 11th consecutive year, UDM was ranked among the top tier of Midwestern master's universities in U.S.News & World Report's "America's Best Colleges" – 2012 edition.