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Jesus Remembered: Christianity in the Making, Volume 1 Hardcover – July 29, 2003


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Product Details

  • Series: Christianity in the Making (Book 1)
  • Hardcover: 1037 pages
  • Publisher: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co. (July 29, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0802839312
  • ISBN-13: 978-0802839312
  • Product Dimensions: 9.6 x 6.5 x 2.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #248,883 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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I am reading this book for my historical Jesus reading group.
K. R. Taylor
I would rank James Dunn with the best New Testament scholars I have read to include John Meier, Richard Bauckham, E. P. Sanders, and Albert Schweitzer.
S. E. Moore
Yet nowhere was it regarded as highly as for Second Temple Jews.
Jeri Nevermind

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

138 of 172 people found the following review helpful By pnotley@hotmail.com on October 9, 2003
Format: Hardcover
James Dunn's massively documented "Jesus Remembered" is the first of a planned trilogy on the first 120 years of Christianity. He starts off with of his discussion of the Jesus tradition, and what we can know about the historical Jesus. After his discussion of the past two centuries of Jesus research Dunn gets down to his new approach to the question. Much of the study of the historical Jesus has dealt with texts; Mark, Q, Matthew and Luke and their own unique sources. Dunn argues that the differences between these sources cannot simply be viewed as theological redactions. Instead they often relied on oral tradition. Dunn has looked at how oral traditions develop and notices that while stories passed orally often change in details ("performance variations") the essential core of the story often remains unchanged for a long time. Although Dunn says several times that the best we can hope for is what Jesus' followers remembered about him, he often believes that if a tradition fits his oral history paradigm given above it is most likely to have originated with Jesus himself.
So what does Dunn conclude from his approach? First off, Dunn himself is a Christian and on page 879 affirms the resurrection. So it is important to point out how much of Christian belief Dunn has to leave by the wayside. The Gospel of John's narrative is not reliable, nor the claims it makes for his quasi-divine status. There is little to support the infancy narratives. There is little evidence that Jesus supported a mission to the gentiles. Contrary to the gospels, there is no evidence that Jesus saw himself as any kind of messiah. (The term does not even appear in Q.) Nor is there much left of the "Son of Man," except for a few uncertain eschatological allusions.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By S. E. Moore on January 20, 2012
Format: Hardcover
I would rank James Dunn with the best New Testament scholars I have read to include John Meier, Richard Bauckham, E. P. Sanders, and Albert Schweitzer. Dunn is a secular scholar. This is not the kind of fluff you would find in an evangelical bookstore. Yet he challenges the theories of modern liberal Jesus questers who want to transform the historical person of Jesus into a non-apocalyptic moral sage or a political revolutionary.

Dunn rightly claims that the idea of Jesus as a Mediterranean peasant or a wandering cynic philosopher fails to place him within first century Palestinian Judaism. The idea of Jesus as a political revolutionary also lacks merit. The Zealot party and the events leading up to the Jewish War ocurred decades after Jesus was crucified.

Dunn also challenges the theory of a separate "Q" gospel and the so-called "Q" community. The "Q" verses makes no mention of Jesus' resurrection which is an event too critical to have been glossed over by any of his followers. The most likely explanation for these verses is that that Luke's gospel borrowed them from Matthew.

Dunn claims that the historical Jesus is enshrined in the gospels. Even though the gospels were written in light of the resurrection, they are still the only real sources we have in regard to the historical person of Jesus. The traditions preserved in the synoptic gospels reflect a time when the day of judgemnet and the full manifestation of God's Kingdom were expected to occur in the near future. The apocryphal or so called gnostic gospels, including the highly touted Gospel of Thomas, lack this apocalyptic element and were therefore most likely written long after the fervor of Jesus' imminent return died down.
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23 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Dr. Marc Axelrod VINE VOICE on September 1, 2006
Format: Hardcover
James D.G Dunn reminds me of the apostle Paul in that he writes some things that are hard to understand. His books are almost always heavy, weighty, academic tomes.

And even though he has made his mark in recent years in Pauline scholarship, I thought he did a nice job with this study of Jesus' life. He comes through as a moderately conservative scholar. He is doubtful about the historicity of the stories surrounding the Nativity and Birth of Jesus, but he holds that most of the sayings and deeds of Jesus go back to him.

At the end of the book, he affirms his belief in the resurrection of Jesus as well.

This book is not as interesting as Ben Witherington's book "The Christology of Jesus," nor is it as engrossing as Craig Blomberg's "Jesus and the Gospels." But the book is more detailed than either of these and it gives a concentrated look at Jesus from the moderately conservative British camp. Recommended.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Jeri Nevermind VINE VOICE on July 18, 2012
Format: Hardcover
For well over a century, scholars of the New Testament have concentrated on theories about how the New Testament came together. Were all the gospels written a century or later than the events recorded? Did later redactors edit the New Testament to change dogma? Had the collectors of the New Testament ignored other, just as valuable, gospels?

These questions have been argued, and many seem now answered.

The chief question many scholars are now concentrating on is the way that Jesus was remembered and how those memories came to be written.

Moreover, Dunn points out, scholars are now acknowledging "the failure to take seriously the fact that in the initial stages of the traditioning process the tradition must have been oral tradition; and...the failure to investigate the character of the tradition in its oral phase" (p 192).

That failure is now being remedied by a renewed interest in how oral tradition was passed on, not only among early Christians, but for Second Temple Jews. Indeed, oral tradition was regarded as the equal of scripture for the Jews. And it was regarded as binding.

For this reason, Dunn notes the importance of teachers in early Christianity, since teachers "seem to have been the first regularly paid ministry ...(Gal. 6.6; Did.13.2)" (p 176.) Nor can there be any doubt of the importance given to the twelve apostles, and, in particular, Peter, James, and John, who would have known the tradition most deeply.

Teachers, from a father teaching his son, to the importance of the Pharisees and scribes, were an integral part of Second Temple Judaism.
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