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Familiar Stranger: An Introduction to Jesus of Nazareth (Bible in Its World) Paperback – March 22, 2004

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

The timing of this book--in the wake of the Ash Wednesday emergence of Mel Gibson's Jesus as a box-office idol--couldn't be better, for it provides an Easter overview, as it were, of the scholarly encounter with a complex Jesus in an even more complex context. Writing for a popular audience, McClymond faithfully summarizes "recent historical research on the life of Jesus"; successfully avoids any dumbing down in his presentation; and, furthermore, in his notes guides the interested to the "piles of books" produced by the scholarly encounter with Jesus. After a "thumbnail portrait" and historical overview, nine chapters are devoted to sources, methods, and issues. The last two chapters turn directly to questions of identity and contemporary conceptions of Jesus. Those inspired by the particular, cinematic vision of Christ's Passion to learn more about the person of Jesus and the passionate responses competing versions of his story continue to evoke may find this book a good first read. Steven Schroeder
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"...accessible and engaging...a concise, straightforward and balanced overview...that should prove helpful to a variety of readers." -- America: The National Catholic Weekly (11 October 2004)

"...provides nonscholars with a scholarly assessment...plus his own well-considered view. Recommended for a wide reading audience." -- Cover Endorsement, Professor Robert Gundry, Westmont College

"An excellent introduction...this balanced, well-informed book is a pleasure to read and...a great textbook. I highly recommend it." -- Cover Endorsement, Professor Craig Evans, Acadia Divinity School
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Product Details

  • Series: Bible in Its World
  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co. (March 22, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0802826806
  • ISBN-13: 978-0802826800
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6.1 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,578,107 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By David Stump on September 11, 2006
Format: Paperback
here is a book that actually strives to fairly lay out what the differing perspectives are from scholars on the subject of the "historical" Jesus.
this is one of the few books on the subject that seems to be trying to report fairly on the subject rather than spin it.
a fantastic book for gaining an informed start on the subject of historical Jesus study.
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful By lexcz1 on July 20, 2006
Format: Paperback
The title of this book is appropriately named as many in our contemporary society claim belief in Jesus, and yet know very little about this "familiar stranger." This book is not merely a repetition of the ever increasing debate about the historical Jesus, it becomes "through mild scholarly language" a way to see Jesus presented as a whole. This book is extremely objective, and yet still presents the facts in a considerate manner. Trust me, this book is a wonderful start for anyone who wants to explore Jesus, but one is not to stop here. I recommend reading "Reinventing Jesus" which further answers tough questions about Jesus and the formation of Christianity.
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3 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Dr. James Gardner VINE VOICE on March 21, 2006
Format: Paperback
This is an extremely edurite text that covers a large amount of material. It some respects it reads like a doctoral dissertation, and that is the book's main strength and its main weakness. For although the author covers the ground thoroughly and his descriptions of other scholars' works are thorough and unbiased (which is certainly welcome in this area), and his documentation is more than adequate, the reader will come away with very little this is new or provocative. It could be argued that "new or provocative" are not necessarily virtues and a strong scholarly book, even if pedestrian, is always welcome. That would be true, except for the extremely high level at which this book is addressed. I doubt that beginning students could even read it, much less gain from it. It's clearly for the advanced scholar, yet without offering much that is new, what is the purpose? The authors tells us in the early pages that he chose not to "dumb down" his approach, and I think it was a bad decision. A dumb-downed version of this book would be an excellent introduction for the beginning student.

Of course the book is not without its errors, especially with regard to Jesus' relationship to his family. McClymond makes the common mistake of accepting Mark 3:21 with its usual translation which is clearly incorrect (i.e., the reference is to his disciples, not to his family who do not show up for 10 more verses). He also believes that Jesus was born in 4 B.C. (I prefer 6), that he lived in Nazareth (which archeologists tell us didn't even exist until mid 1st Century A.D.), that he and his father were carpenters (I prefer the "tecton" translation as master craftsman which helps explain Jesus' education, something a carpenter would not have had), that Jesus died in 30 A.D. (36 is the obvious date), etc.
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