"Nothing Good Comes from Galilee" (old Jewish quote)
Published by Thriftbooks.com User , 22 years ago
This is a collected set of lectures presented at the Smithsonian Institution in September of 1993. The book has been out for several years, and it's just my bad luck to have recently discovered it; I'm happy though, to live in a time when such information is open to the public, and open almost as soon as it is known.The lecturers proceed through the phases of the life of Jesus-- or rather, chronologically as they would through the life of any person. The lectures deduce from archeological information the politics of the times, and reason to the kind of message Jesus must have delivered in order to attract a following. They are not afraid of the implications of, for example, the fact that Jesus came from Galilee. They dismiss with granite hard logic, the infancy narratives of Luke and Matthew as fiction, and then proceed to deal with the fact that Jesus' origins in Galilee meant certain things, and here in what they are.The gospels are not dealt with as historical documents, but they are dealt with as texts that contain valuable information of the nature of Jesus message, (or at any rate, the public's reception of it) and therefore what made him attractive as a missionary figure. Several of the lecturers peel away layers of the texts to show different historical additions and interpolations. Jesus' eschatological message may not have been part of his original message after all, we learn.This book is full of tightly packed prose, with little "paradigmatic" lecturese to wade through-- it's actually exciting to read. If you have the opportunity, you may read it in one setting.I guess that the lectures must have come from notes, and not transcriptions, because they are chatty to different degrees. Some almost seem to be transcriptions, and some read like book chapters. I found this jarring at first, but as I read more, I found that it helped me distinguish among the lecturers, and that this was helpful.My only reservation is Stephen J. Patterson's "Sources for a Life of Jesus." There is nothing new here. He gives the usual information about the historical question of the primacy of Matthew, the Markan Priority Hypothesis, the Q Hypothesis, the interpolation of Josephus, the Talmud Sanhedrin, etc. Anyone who has read a book on the historical Jesus before can skip this lecture.And anyone with even a cursory interest in the Jesus of history should read this book.
A brilliant summary of recents trends in gospel scholarship
Published by Thriftbooks.com User , 25 years ago
Anyone wishing to get a brief overview of current trends in biblical scholarship as it focusses on the gospel narratives will find this book useful and enjoyable. Warning: fundamentalists will not like this book.
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