Unlike most New Testament experts, Vanderbilt Divinity School professor Amy-Jill Levine is Jewish.
Her lessons are sprinkled with Yiddish phrases, and she attends an Orthodox Jewish synagogue in Nashville. That’s given her a unique perspective on Judaism and Christianity — two religions that have diverged from the same source, took different interpretations of similar texts and collided repeatedly throughout history.
“We are magnificent creatures in all our diversity,” she says. “I want those differences to be celebrated, and I want people to have the ability of saying, ‘That’s not my tradition, but I see where you get it, and I see the beauty in it.’ ”
Emily Siner interviewed Amy-Jill Levine in front of a live audience at Nashville Public Radio. Support our podcasts by donating at
wpln.org/give and noting that you listen to Movers & Thinkers.
Amy-Jill Levine is is a self-described Yankee Jewish feminist who teaches New Testament in Nashville, the “buckle of the Bible Belt.” Her books include
The Misunderstood Jew: The Church and the Scandal of the Jewish Jesus and
Short Stories by Jesus: The Enigmatic Parables of a Controversial Rabbi. She also co-edited the Jewish Annotated New Testament. She holds degrees from Smith College and Duke University, as well as honorary doctorates from the University of Richmond, the Episcopal Theological Seminary of the Southwest, University of South Carolina-Upstate, Drury University, Christian Theological Seminary and Franklin College. She’s currently a professor of New Testament and Jewish Studies at Vanderbilt University.