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A Marginal Jew: Rethinking the Historical Jesus, Volume 4: Law and Love (The Anchor Yale Bible Reference Library) (v. 4) Hardcover – May 26, 2009


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A Marginal Jew: Rethinking the Historical Jesus, Volume 4: Law and Love (The Anchor Yale Bible Reference Library) (v. 4) + A Marginal Jew: Rethinking the Historical Jesus, Volume III: Companions and Competitors (The Anchor Yale Bible Reference Library) + A Marginal Jew: Rethinking the Historical Jesus, Volume II: Mentor, Message, and Miracles (The Anchor Yale Bible Reference Library)
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Product Details

  • Series: The Anchor Yale Bible Reference Library (Book 4)
  • Hardcover: 752 pages
  • Publisher: Yale University Press (May 26, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0300140967
  • ISBN-13: 978-0300140965
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.7 x 2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #171,184 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

“John Meier is the most distinguished Roman Catholic biographer of Jesus.”—Harold Bloom
(Harold Bloom)

"John Meier demonstrates, through rigorous textual analysis, Jesus' intimate and profound involvement with Halakhah. This work will profoundly affect the ways Judaism and Christianity understand each other and themselves."—Hindy Najman, Director of the Centre for Jewish Studies, University of Toronto
(Hindy Najman)

"This definitive work on Jesus and the law displays mastery of the legal heritage of Judaism in clarifying critical issues. Meier's monumental research illuminates long debated issues and resolves a century of debate."—Jacob Neusner, Institute of Advanced Theology, Bard College

 

(Jacob Neusner)

"As he turns to the complex, disputed subject of Jesus and the law, John Meier moves systematically, comprehensively, and judiciously through the relevant texts and topics, ever faithful to the criteria that have guided his entire project. All readers stand to benefit from his vast accumulation of material pertinent to the halakhic Jesus and Meier's astonishing control of it."—James VanderKam, University of Notre Dame
(James VanderKam)

"The quest for the historical Jesus requires the quest for his historical context, late Second Temple Judaism in the land of Israel. With learning both broad and deep, John Meier constructs this context and uncovers therein a prophet and healer and teacher of the Law—an historical Jesus fully incarnate within the Judaism of his time. This is a masterful study and an enduring contribution to scholarship."—Paula Fredriksen, author of From Jesus to Christ,, and Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews

 

(Paula Fredriksen)

“Monumental . . . staggering erudition and thoroughness.”--Commonweal
(Commonweal)

“Meier’s book contains a wealth of useful information, acute observations, and penetrating argument . . . the breadth and depth of Meier’s scholarship call for high admiration.”--Robert H. Gundry, Books & Culture
(Robert H. Gundry Books & Culture)

"There is plenty to be gained from the scholarly quest for the historical Jesus, and John Meier's Law and Love is a masterful guide."—Jonathan Klawans, Interpretation
(Jonathan Klawans Interpretation: A Journal of Bible and Theology)

"This engaging study will be of interest to scholars, preachers, and all others interested not only in the historical Jesus but also in Second Temple Jerusalem, the NT, rabbinic literature, and the Church Fathers."--Adele Reinhartz, Catholic Biblical Quarterly
(Adele Reinhartz Catholic Biblical Quarterly)

"The fourth volume of John P. Meier's A Marginal Jew is, possibly, the most exciting in this excellent series. Meier breaks new ground for understanding first century Palestinian Judaism."—Russell Morton, Ashland Theological Journal 2010
(Russell Morton Ashland Theological Journal 2010)

"Meier, of course, is a giant in historical Jesus studies. The depth and meticulous nature of his historical research causes him to stand head and shoulders over nearly everyone in the field."—Dennis Ingolfsland, Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society
(Dennis Ingolfsland Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society)

About the Author

John P. Meier is William K. Warren Chair Professor of Theology (New Testament), Theology Department, University of Notre Dame. He lives in South Bend, IN.


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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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I look forward eagerly to his fifth volume.
John F. Gorski
Of course, to be fair, Mr. Meier is only writing The definitive collection of books on the historical Jesus for our time, and maybe the next generation as well.
Tracy Cramer
This is an excellent work of scholarship and meditative insight.
Michael R. Saso

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

23 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Patrick C. Mowery on June 21, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is the 4th of a projected 5-volume series investigating who Jesus was and how he was perceived as he walked this earth some 2000 years ago. This volume provides an exhaustive evaluation of what is known currently about the Mosaic Law and Judaism in the 1st centure of the Christian era, and how well Jesus followed that law. Like the previous volumes, Fr. Meier provides exhaustive scholarship. The footnotes are as long and fact-filled as the main text. Thus, reading is not for the beginner or faint-of-heart. But for those of us who are avid students of christology, it is an invaluable source of material for understanding the historic Jesus, and the relevance of this understanding to modern problems facing us. The 5th (and last??) volume is eagerly awaited.
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43 of 49 people found the following review helpful By Michael Thompson on June 3, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
John P. Meier is a well known and respected biblical scholar and authority on Jesus. He has contributed many significant articles and essays on historical Jesus research, with is magnum opus coming in his multi-volume series, 'A Marginal Jew.' Now we have the fourth contribution to the series, subtitled: 'Law and Love,' for it is an examination of Jesus' relationship to the Mosaic Law (with his final summary of it being the command to love). One should be quick to note the depth and breadth of this work, exploring many facets of background and context in which to place a first-century Jewish Jesus. In the first volume (A Marginal Jew: Rethinking the Historical Jesus, Volume I: The Roots of the Problem and the Person (The Anchor Yale Bible Reference Library)) Meier establishes his methodology and intended goals for the project, and he has stuck to them throughout subsequent volumes well. But this will certainly leave many looking for more (by way of conclusion and application), which may lead to undue lack of appreciation for his contribution. But on this Meier makes a compelling point in saying, ". . . relevance is the enemy of history" (75).

The primary assertion made by Meier in this fourth volume is best summarized by the title of the introductory chapter: "The Historical Jesus is the Halakic Jesus" (1). This is present throughout the study, and is captured well in Meier's later assertion: "The historical Jewish Jesus must be seen as a Jesus immersed in the halakic discussions, debates, and actual practice of 1st-century Palestinian Jews" (267). If the historical quest is for the Jewish Jesus, then this contribution will help with much of that discussion.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By William A. Sommers on March 13, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
John Meier, after an absence of five or six years, is now back with Volume IV of A MARGINAL JEW. He is in full form: the writing is clear, personal and yet scholarly and thorough. He has also brought back his extraordinary penchant for foot notes...some extend so long as to be sufficient for a few stand-along books by themselves. But he never drops the ball, never misses a piece of information and never preaches!!! I have read the first 3 volumes - along with footnotes - and I am curled up evenings now with Volume IV following his remarkable - almost unbelievable - scholarship. This is not a book for the quick reader, rushing to have everything explained and trying to apply then to now. Nor is it a book that makes conclusions that can then be applied to today's living as a guide to life. But it is a book that wrestles with the great difficulties in writing about what happened during Christ's actual ministry, piecing together all the possible references and through his scholarship and a good writing style makes the very best effort to give you a view of what was happening on these issues at the time of Christ and how Christ fits in based on the New Testament script which in most cases were a generation old went they were written and put together. It is a marvelous deep read based on reliable scholarship. What is more, he is now working on the close up - volume V!!!! Can't wait!!!!

Bill Sommers
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Tom Manteuffel on September 26, 2010
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John Meier has done it again. Coupling exhaustive textual analysis with broad knowledge of extra-Biblical contemporaneous sources, he shines important new light on the relationship of Jesus to the halakah or Jewish law of his day. This is important to understanding the materials within which Jesus engaged in arguments with scribes, Pharisees, elders and others. This is a work of originality, and thus worth the five stars.
That said, there are some basic questions I have after reading this one through. Meier, on the basis of textual analysis and contrast with extra-biblical source materials, distinguishes between what he concludes is the genuine teaching of the historical Jesus (the prohibition on divorce, the prohibition on oaths, the linking of passages from the OT into the 'first' and 'second' commandments (love God, love neighbor) in Mark, the concise statement 'love your enemies' in Q) and what he concludes are later Christian accretions (the 'love one another' commandment in John, the Golden Rule). He emphasizes that the historical Jesus engaged in Halakic disputes, because that is what other contemporaneous sources did (the Dead Sea Scrolls, which were earlier, and the Mishna, which was later, Philo, Josephus, etc). Oddly then, his principal methodological tool for distinguishing real Jesus materials from later Christian accretions, is that of 'discontinuity,' or the absence of a view presented as Jesus' in other sources. To the extent that Jesus' message was in fact the rather uninspiring view that divorce and the making of oaths are prohibited, to that extent is it not fairly necessary to conclude that Jesus was a 'marginal Jew'?
But by all means, read this book, if only to dispel the simplistic and all-too-common view that Jesus' message was that the Law has been superseded by the new commandment/covenant to love. Both Jesus and Paul need to be firmly set within the context of their fully observant Judaism.
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