About Amy-Jill Levine

Amy-Jill Levine

Amy-Jill Levine is University Professor of New Testament and Jewish Studies, Mary Jane Werthan Professor of Jewish Studies, and Professor of New Testament Studies at Vanderbilt Divinity School, Graduate Department of Religion, and Department of Jewish Studies; she is also Affiliated Professor, Woolf Institute, Centre for the Study of Jewish-Christian Relations, Cambridge UK.

Holding a B.A. from Smith College, M.A. and Ph.D. from Duke University, and honorary doctorates from the University of Richmond, the Episcopal Theological Seminary of the Southwest, the University of South Carolina-Upstate, Drury University, Christian Theological Seminary, and Franklin College, Professor Levine 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 served as Alexander Robertson Fellow (University of Glasgow), and the Catholic Biblical Association Scholar to the Philippines. She has given over 500 lectures on the Bible, Christian-Jewish relations, and Religion, Gender, and Sexuality across the globe.

Her books include The Misunderstood Jew: The Church and the Scandal of the Jewish Jesus (Publisher’s Weekly Best Books of 2007; audio books); Short Stories by Jesus: The Enigmatic Parables of a Controversial Rabbi (Catholic Book Club; translations: Spanish, Italian; audio books); The Meaning of the Bible: What the Jewish Scriptures and the Christian Old Testament Can Teach Us (with Douglas Knight; translation: Chinese); The New Testament, Methods and Meanings (with Warren Carter); and The Gospel of Luke (with Ben Witherington III (the first full-length biblical commentary co-authored by a Jew and an Evangelical). Her upcoming book, The Bible With and Without Jesus, co-authored with Marc Z. Brettler, available in October on Audible and Amazon.

Her children’s books (with Sandy Sasso) include Who Counts? 100 Sheep, 10 Coins and 2 Sons (2017 Junior Library Guild List; translations: Spanish, Korean); The Marvelous Mustard Seed (2018 Junior Library Guild List; translation: Norwegian); Who Is My Neighbor? and A Very Big Problem and the forthcoming boardbook, 100 Sheep: A Counting Parable.

With Marc Brettler, she co-edited The Jewish Annotated New Testament; she is also the editor of the 13-volume Feminist Companions to the New Testament and Early Christian Writings, and The Historical Jesus in Context (Princeton Readings in Religion; translation: Japanese). Presently she is editing several volumes in the Wisdom Commentary series, and she is the New Testament editor of the new Oxford Biblical Commentary Series. With Joseph Sievers, she is co-editing a collection of essays on the Pharisees.

Her adult education volumes and videos include the Teaching Company Great Lectures: "Introduction to the Old Testament," "Great Figures of the Old Testament," and "Great Figures of the New Testament"; Abingdon adult education: Short Stories by Jesus Study Guide; Entering the Passion of Jesus: A Beginner’s Guide to Holy Week; Light of the World: A Beginner’s Guide to Advent; and most recently, Sermon on the Mount: A Beginner’s Guide to the Kingdom of Heaven; and The Kingdom of Heaven: 40 Devotionals.

In Spring 2019 she was the first Jew to teach New Testament at Rome’s Pontifical Biblical Institute.


Presenter at

Bible & Archaeology Fest XXIII, October 24 – 25, 2020
The Bible With and Without Jesus with Marc Brettler

Comparing Jewish and Christian interpretations of such famous passages as the creation stories, the book Jonah, Isaiah’s comments about a special child and a suffering servant, and Psalm 22, and seeing how all these texts made sense in their own historical context, we reveal what we can learn from the original contexts, why Jews and Christians interpret the same texts differently, and how in reading together we both learn from each other and see more clearly the beauty and power of Scripture. 


Bible & Archaeology Fest XX, November 17 – 19, 2017 (Q&A panelist)

Bible & Archaeology Fest XVIII, November 20 – 22, 2015
Lost Sheep, Lost Coin, Lost Son, and Lost Meaning: Jesus’ Parables in Jewish Context

Jesus the Jew told the Parables of the Lost Sheep, the Lost Coin, and the Lost Son(s) to fellow Jews; Luke the Evangelist adapted these accounts for (gentile) followers of Jesus. What might the parables have suggested to Jesus’ original audience? How has Luke added to their meaning? How have anti-Jewish interpretations developed? How might the original provocation of the parables still speak to readers today?

Bible & Archaeology Fest XIV, November 18 – 20, 2011
Ancient History vs. Modern Stereotype: Reconsidering Jesus in his Jewish Context

What are the major incorrect descriptions of early Judaism that appear in Christian Biblical interpretation, why did they develop, and how does our better knowledge of Jewish history correct them? What are the major incorrect descriptions of Christian history that surface in modern Jewish contexts, why did they develop, and how does our better knowledge, again of Jewish history, correct them?

Seminar at Sea, January 23 – 30, 2011
Jesus, Judaism and Jewish-Christian Relations: Ancient Misunderstandings and Modern Consequences

Women in an Ancient Jewish World: Separating Fact from Fiction
In looking to Jesus as a champion of women’s rights, Christian commentators occasionally portray his Jewish context and the status of women in his world as comparable to – if not worse than—conditions under the Taliban. How did this incorrect view of women’s roles in early Judaism develop and what were Jewish women’s lives really like at the time of Jesus? What were the roles of the women who followed Jesus?

Wrathful God vs. Loving God: A Theological Puzzle Resolved
The “Old Testament Deity of Wrath” versus the “New Testament Deity of Love” is a false, but popular, theological claim. How did it develop, how might it be corrected, and how might a better understanding of first-century Jewish theology improve Jewish-Christian relations today?

Jesus, Torah Law and Entry into Heaven: Misconceptions Laid to Rest
In many Christian settings, the Law (Torah) is seen as a burden, and Judaism is seen as a religion that states one must follow the Law in order to earn one’s way into heaven. Jesus is then seen as coming to end the burden of the Law. Both views are false. How does a more accurate understanding of first-century Jewish practices and beliefs both correct unfortunate stereotypes and serve to inspire both Jews and Christians today?

Christianity’s Take on the Jerusalem Temple: What History Really Tells Us
Recent studies of Jesus depict the Jerusalem Temple as the site of all evil: Over-taxation, Roman collaboration, elitism, Pharisaic legalism and peasant exploitation. How and why is the Temple used as a negative symbol of Jewish tradition in Christianity, and what corrections to this picture does history offer?

Jews and Gentiles in Antiquity: How Did They Get Along?
The view of Jesus and the Church as universalistic, multicultural and open to all versus that of the synagogue as xenophobic, ethnocentric and restricted remains a popular – and false – stereotype. What were the various early Jewish views of the Gentiles, what was Jesus’ relationship to Gentiles, and how do these views relate to the questions of “chosen people” and “salvation”?

Who Killed Jesus? Re-examining the Evidence
Jesus of Nazareth, convicted of sedition, died on a Roman cross. How then did the Jews, rather than the Romans, become known as “Christ-killers”? What accounted for the increasing vilification of the Jews in the New Testament, and what can be done to insure that these stories do not promote anti-Judaism today?


Selected Articles by Amy-Jill Levine