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In July 2008 a front-page story in the New York Timesreported on the discovery of an ancient Hebrew tablet, dating from before the birth of Jesus, which predicted a Messiah who would rise from the dead after three days. Commenting on this startling discovery at the time, noted Talmud scholar Daniel Boyarin argued that "some Christians will find it shocking-a challenge to the uniqueness of their theology." In this powerful, groundbreaking work, Boyarin guides us through a rich tapestry of new discoveries and ancient scriptures to make the powerful case that our conventional understandings of Jesus and of the origins of Christianity are wrong. Boyarin's scrupulously illustrated account argues that the coming of the Messiah was fully imagined in the ancient Jewish texts. Jesus, moreover, was embraced by many Jews as this person, and his core teachings were not at all a break from Jewish beliefs and teachings. Jesus and his followers, Boyarin shows, were simply Jewish. What came to be known as Christianity came much later, as religious and political leaders sought to impose a new religious orthodoxy that was not present at the time of Jesus's life. Published in hardcover to nation-wide attention and now available for the first time in paperback, this brilliant work will continue to challenge some of our culture's most cherished assumptions.