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Excavating Jesus: Beneath the Stones, Behind the Texts Paperback – November 25, 2003
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
It is not, however, free of flaws, and those have caused me to give it only three stars instead of four. One is that the jumping back and forth between archaeology and exegesis is sometimes confusing. Another is that whole paragraphs, whole physical descriptions, entire lines of argument, are sometimes repeated almost word for word. These are problems that superior editing could have and should have dealt with.
Another issue involves not so much a flaw as a caveat, but it does matter. I freely admit to not being a believer; my interest is in the historical Jesus, the real, actual flesh-and-blood person who sought to bring a prophetic message to the ignored and exploited, who died likely thinking himself a failure and convinced, if the Gospels are to be believed at all, that even God had forsaken him - but whose life and death became the basis for one of the world's great religions (and political forces).
In pursuing that interest, I've read several books on the Gospels and the life of Jesus by various authors (including Crossan) and I've noticed they all share one characteristic: Every author has his or her own Jesus, their own particular view of him and of how he himself saw his work and his intent, and they invariably interpret Biblical passages in ways that fit their notions. This is as true of devout believers as it is of dedicated debunkers. The current volume is no exception, and the caveat is thus that the book should be read with open eyes as well as open minds.
Crossan, the best-selling author of several authoritative books on the Historical Jesus including *The Historical Jesus: The Life of a Mediterranean Jewish Peasant* and *The Birth of Christianity*, marries his exhilarating and provocative portrait of Jesus as a counter-cultural itinerant Jewish preacher of a radically just and egalitarian Kingdom of God with the phenomenal advances in biblical archeology and cultural anthropology that have revolutionized those disciplines over the last one hundred years. Reed, author of the highly-praised study *Archaeology and the Galilean Jesus: A Re-examination of the Evidence* and lead archaeologist at the current Sepphoris excavations in the Galilee, provides compelling descriptions of first century material culture that persuasively paint a clear picture of the clash of two kingdoms--the earthly imperial Kingdom of Rome as practiced by the Herods and Caesar with tacit cooperation of leading Jewish elites, and the divine but also earthly Kingdom of God as preached by Jesus and his peasant followers.Read more ›
Jesus was of rural, small-town origins.
Jesus was born into one of the most desolate areas of his homeland. Galilee of that era was the sticks and Nazareth was not a community so much as a commune. It was around twenty buildings housing circa a dozen families, their livestock, their possessions. There was no road leading to it, merely a footpath many miles through the wilderness. There was a communal well, but no public buildings such as a house of worship, law court or marketplace. The people of Galilee spoke in a "rural" accent so thick it was all-but incomprehensible to the more urbane Jews of Jerusalem. Jesus was from such an off-the-beaten-path place it is unlikely many living more than a few miles from it had even heard of Nazareth. In other words, we're talking remote.
Jesus was possibly an illiterate.
Before this sounds impossible, remember, even in a Jewish population that prized education among males, most people at that time and place were probably illiterates. This is not to say Jesus was unintelligent. The quotes and parables attributed to him suggest he was anything but mentally deficient. Jesus would have had a strong background in the oral traditions of his people and like most illiterates, the parts of his brain that dealt with memorization would have been highly stimulated, giving him a keen memory and immediate grasp of verbally-presented facts.
Jesus may have been conceived without sex and born to a virgin.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Really kind of too detailed and surprisingly boring. It seems like it's a manual on how to be a biblical archeologist. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Diggidy Dog 99
I borrowed the hard cover edition and later purchased the Kindle edition. I am disappointed that the latter does not include the illustrations.Published 13 months ago by David W. Ross
This book is neither written for the scholar or the general public. Where these guys pressured by their publishers to get something out? Read morePublished 16 months ago by Book and Music Lover
It is written by a person who knows his subject. I enjoyed reading the book.Published 18 months ago by John E. Banks