David Flusser; Researched Jesus and Judaism
David Flusser, 83, whose pioneering research on Jesus and Christianity’s relationship to Judaism won him international recognition. Born in Vienna and raised in Prague, Flusser emigrated to Israel in 1939. He received his doctorate at Hebrew University, where he taught in the comparative religions department. An expert on early Christianity and Judaism of the Second Temple Period (538 BC to AD 70), Flusser popularized the idea that Jesus never intended to start a new religion but was born and died a faithful Jew. In his 1965 book “Jesus,” Flusser applied methods of literary criticism to the books of Matthew, Mark and Luke to tell the tale of the Christian Messiah. Thirty years later, Flusser rewrote the book to incorporate new data from the Dead Sea Scrolls and years of historical research. His other books included “Judaism and the Origins of Christianity.” In 1980, Flusser, who spoke nine languages fluently and could read 26, received the Israel Prize, the country’s most prestigious honor. In Jerusalem on Sept. 15, his 83rd birthday, after a long battle with heart disease.