We'll no doubt see much discussion of this forthcoming book: Jesus in the Talmud. From Publishers' Weekly:
Will Peter Schaefer's new book, Jesus in the Talmud (Mar.), be controversial? "I'm afraid so," Schaefer told RBL. "That's why I'm nervous."
His editor at Princeton University Press, Brigitta van Rheinberg, laughed but agreed: "You think, oh, whoa, this is not going to go over well in certain circles."
Schaefer, who heads up Princeton's Judaic studies program, has collected and analyzed all the passages in the Talmud that apparently refer to the founder of Christianity, texts that were previously censored from Talmud editions for centuries. In his book he argues—against other scholars—that the scandalous passages indeed refer not to some other figure of ancient times but to the famous Jesus of Nazareth.
What exactly is so scandalous? How about Jesus punished in Hell for eternity by being made to sit in a cauldron of boiling excrement? That image appears in early manuscripts of the Babylonian Talmud, as does a brief account of Jesus' trial and execution—not by the Romans but by the Jewish high court, the Sanhedrin. The Jewish community, to the extent Jews were even aware of these excised texts, has been content to let them remain obscure and unknown.
Schaefer, a distinguished German-born Christian scholar who describes classical rabbinic literature as "my first love," has now definitively let the cat out of the bag. This undermines a widespread assumption that, of Judaism's and Christianity's respective sacred texts, only the Christian Gospels go out of their way to assail the rival faith, whereas Judaism's classical texts refrain from similar attacks.
It seems fair to say now, however, that the Talmud is every bit as offensive to Christians as the Gospels are to Jews.
These questions are likely to come in for more attention with the publication next month of Peter Schafer’s Jesus in the Talmud (Princeton University Press). Schafer is head of Judaic studies at Princeton, and his book studies references to Jesus in both the Palestinian and Babylonian versions of the Talmud (around 500 A.D.), some of which have been excised from subsequent editions over the centuries. There is, for instance, the assertion that Jesus is being punished in hell for all eternity by being forced to sit in a cauldron of boiling excrement. More to the point of the present discussion, a text of the Babylonian Talmud offers a brief account of the trial and crucifixion of Jesus by the Jewish Sanhedrin and not by the Romans. Schafer’s book aims to serve the cause of historical truth and, while some worry about its potential for complicating Jewish-Christian relations, we should not be surprised that, in the relationship between these two communities, polemics have not been entirely one-sided. Nor should we draw an easy moral equivalence between polemicists. After the destruction of Temple Judaism by the Romans in 70 A.D., the contest between the two traditions of Judaism–Rabbinical Judaism and the Church–had, by the fourth century, overwhelmingly turned to the advantage of those who believed Jesus is the fulfillment of Israel’s messianic promise.
Might it be that "right-wing" Catholic apologists are not wrong in pointing out how the Talmud is hostile to Christianity? There probably are real and genuine anti-Semites who use the Talmud to justify their hatred of Jews. Nonetheless, PC-ness should not blind us to what the texts of the Talmud might actually say. The publication of the book will undoubtedly bring about a new round of controversy.