Hyam Maccoby. But Maccoby’s is not simply a hermeneutic of suspicion. Maccoby concludes that Paul cannot have been a Pharisee, that his claims are. Best Condition. Acceptable. $ Add to Cart. The Day God Laughed: Sayings, Fables & Entertainments of the Jewish Sages. Hyam Maccoby. from: $ Hyam Maccoby [The Mythmaker] was mostly right: 1. Paul was not Maccoby was also right about something else, which I shall go into in greater depth later on.

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Traditional Christianity also posits Judas Iscariot as maccby arch-villain, but Maccoby viewed him as a caricatured concoction, symbolising the eternal guilt that Jews supposedly bore for killing Christ. The central thesis of another work, The Mythmaker: Paul And The Invention Of Christianitywas that St Paul, not Jesus, created Christianity, being an adventurer who undermined the disciples who had actually known the living Jesus.

It was Paul, said Maccoby, who turned Jesus into God and transformed the early Jewish Christian sect into a Gnostic mystery cult imbued with “Hellenistic schizophrenia”. In Paul And HellenismMaccoby wrote that a politically savvy Paul deliberately recast the gospels to exculpate Rome from the charge of deicide.


Then, “by stigmatising the Jews as the rejecters of Jesus, [Paul] planted the seeds to anti-semitism in the Christian tradition”. Maccoby made ancient history and theology come alive. He wrote and lectured on rabbinical literature and Jewish humour, and loved to draw parallels between cultures.

Hyman Maccoby, a critique

Maccoby argued that the Christian veneration of the crucifixion marked its regression to primitive human sacrifice. Witness his description of the communion, the symbolic eating of Christ’s flesh and blood: Some rabbis were equally distressed to see the Torah apparently reduced to a series of myths, shorn of divine authorship, and Maccoby certainly refused to gloss over the schisms that divide the sister faiths.

Yet it would be crass to call Maccoby an anti-Christian firebrand.

His play, The Disputationcommissioned by Channel 4 and expanded for the London stage, showed James, King Of Aragon, insisting that the learned rabbi, Nachmanides, have his say. Maccoby was born in Sunderland, the son of a mathematics tutor, who taught him biblical Hebrew and talmudic Aramaic from the age of four. He may have inherited his rhetorical prowess from his grandfather, who had arrived in Britain in having been the maggid or itinerant religious preacher of Kamenets, his home village in Poland.


Maccoby was educated at Bede grammar school, and read classics, and then English, at Balliol College, Oxford.

Obituary: Hyam Maccoby | World news | The Guardian

From andhe served hyma the Royal Signals, based at the decoding centre at Bletchley Park. He was then, for some 20 years, an Maccovy master at Chiswick school, west London. A stream of books followed, including The Day God Laughed: His numerous television appearances included one on Howard Jacobson’s audacious documentary, Sorry, Judas He is survived by his wife Cynthia, two daughters and a son.

Colleagues and friends cherished his prodigious scholarship and kindness. In his book Revolution In Judea: For him, Jesus lived, preached and died wholly within the Jewish tradition – a view that discomfited many Jews and Christians.