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The Death of the Messiah, From Gethsemane to the Grave, Volume 1: A Commentary on the Passion Narratives in the Four Gospels (The Anchor Yale Bible Reference Library) Paperback – December 1, 1998


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Product Details

  • Series: The Anchor Yale Bible Reference Library
  • Paperback: 912 pages
  • Publisher: Yale University Press; 1 edition (December 1, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0300140096
  • ISBN-13: 978-0300140095
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.1 x 1.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #665,252 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Raymond E. Brown, S.S., taught for many years at Saint Mary's Seminary in Baltimore and was Professor of Biblical Studies at the Union Theological Seminary for two decades. He was the author of three books in the Anchor Bible series on the Gospels and Epistles of John and wrote the classic Anchor Bible Reference Library volumes The Birth of the Messiah, The Death of the Messiah, and An Introduction to the New Testament. He died in 1998.

Customer Reviews

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He is well versed in the history of Biblical scholarship dating to Jerome and Augustine.
Thomas J. Burns
You could spend lots of extra time mining extra information out of all the footnotes and bibliographical references that Brown cites.
Dr. Marc Axelrod
I would recommend this work highly to anyone seeking a better understanding of the Passion of Christ.
Jeanine Narayanan

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

43 of 44 people found the following review helpful By Dr. Marc Axelrod VINE VOICE on February 21, 2002
Format: Paperback
It's hard to believe that a guy could write 1500 some pages on 36 hours of a person's life. Yet it makes for fascinating reading, and Father Brown leaves few stones unturned in his penetrating look at the final hours of Jesus' earthly ministry. In volume one, he discusses the relationships between the first three gospels and the gospel of John, and then he proceesed on to a discussion of each gospel's passion narrative. Father Brown's main agenda is to get at the meaning of the biblical text as it stands. This is not to say that Brown shys away from discussing the historicity of a particular passage. Sometimes, he swims against the stream by leaving open the possibility of the historicity of a story (eg. that there really was a Jewish and a Roman trial of Jesus). And occasionally, he sees the passion stories as powerful metaphors rather than something that actually happened (cf John 18, when the crowd falls to the ground when Jesus says 'I am He.") Yet He is also rightfully skeptical about modern attempts to reconstruct what actually happened 1970 years ago. He prefers to let the text of scripture speak for itself.
This book is a huge, academic tome, and as rich and informative as it is, the reader better be prepared to make heavy weather of it. You could spend lots of extra time mining extra information out of all the footnotes and bibliographical references that Brown cites. But I could hardly recommend any other source for people who want to know more about the passion of Christ.
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48 of 51 people found the following review helpful By A. Hogan VINE VOICE on March 6, 2001
Format: Paperback
The late Fr. Raymond Brown,S.S.,of blessed memory, was the greatest scripture scholar this country has produced. Eriudite,brilliant,evenhanded,he searched for the truth,not easy answers. His BIRTH OF THE MESSIAH{which I still have as a $5.95 trade paperback from 1978},set the tsandard of modern american scripture scholarship. In this, the first of 2 volumes{as part of the magnificent ANCHOR BIBLE LIBRARY},Fr. Brown begins his passions study from the moment the Last supper begins. He open each section with a literal translation of the 4 gospels, then gives his commentary. With the massive footnotes,{and Brown's footnotes are more interesting then most studies},literally hundreds of pages of Bibliography,Fr. Brown dissects line by line,the content of each passage. Some of his insights are casually stunning{in all the scriptures there is only one other suicide besides Juds mentioned, that in II Samuel},his belief in the HISTORICAL accuracy of John's gospel,his hundreds of casual asides{the difference in the conjugation of certain verbs,one leaving Jesus passive, the other suggesting a proactive Jesus] These are just minor nuggets. This study will take one a long time to read,to digest. It is NOT an easy read.It is INFINITELY REWARDING. Raymond Browns scholarship far exceeds my ability to praise.Taken together, these two volumes are a testament to the faith and scholarship and brilliance of this man. BRILLIANT!!!!!!!!!!
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27 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Jeanine Narayanan on February 4, 2002
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The late Ray Brown is one of the most highly respected Christian scholars of our time. Although he was Roman Catholic his work is regarded very highly among non-Catholic scholars and he was a passionate but fearlessly clear thinker with a lucid and beautiful writing style.
This work is the culmination of a lifetime of serious study and contemplation of the four canonical Gospels. In it he contrasts and compares in great detail the passion stories as they play out in the three so-called synoptic gospels and the fourth, the Gospel of John.
This two-volume work is certainly not an "easy read" but is indeed rewarding and manageable by any general layperson with the will to perservere in study. For example, unlike some works of no greater scholarly attainment, it does not presuppose a knowledge of ancient languages, and can be read in isolation (with occasional use of a Bible), not sending you round to find background studies to try to make sense of what you are reading. I would recommend this work highly to anyone seeking a better understanding of the Passion of Christ.
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27 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Thomas J. Burns VINE VOICE on December 12, 2004
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Suffice to say that this two-volume work is the definitive English treatment of Biblical scholarship on the Passion Narratives. Prescinding a moment from the sacred matter of the study, one has to be impressed with the author's command of Biblical scholarship in several contemporary languages, not to mention the intricacies of ancient Greek, Latin, and Aramaic. He is well versed in the history of Biblical scholarship dating to Jerome and Augustine. Father Brown knows his academic peers, their methodologies, emphases, and biases. He is blunt in his praises and criticisms of others working the field. This work is a tribute to Father Brown's single-minded devotion to his field.

The first volume of 900 pages treats of the Gethsemanae events through the condemnation of Christ by Pilate. Brown poses the existence of one or possibly a few distinct and original oral Passion accounts. The Last Supper and the Resurrection accounts are both excluded from this study, as the author believes that the meal with the Twelve and the mysterious empty tomb/apparition accounts come from other distinct early Christian sources. The style is considerably more expository than inspirational, though for such a highly technical work the narrative flow is quite adequate. A reader with little time or theological background might do well to read Father Brown's "A Crucified Christ in Holy Week," a 70-page reflection on the author's study of the Passion.

Father Brown's work continues the tradition of "redaction criticism" of the New Testament, perhaps the predominant methodology of the past half-century. Redaction criticism contrasts the four stories of the Christ by Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John to discern a particular philosophy or theology of Christ unique to that author or his community.
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