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The Apocalyptic Jesus: A Debate Paperback – October 1, 2001

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 168 pages
  • Publisher: Polebridge Press (October 1, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0944344895
  • ISBN-13: 978-0944344897
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.4 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #998,704 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


a valuable contribution to the debate about Jesus, an excellent catalyst for conversations related to the ongoing learning of adults. -- Adela Yarbro Collins, Buckingham Professor of New Testament Criticism and Interpretation, Yale Divinity School

About the Author

Dale C. Allison is Errett M. Grable Professor of New Testament Exegesis and Early Christianity at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary. Marcus J. Borg is Hundere Distinguished Professor of Religion and Culture at Oregon State University. John Dominic Crossan is Professor Emeritus of Biblical Studies, DePaul University in Chicago. Robert J. Miller is Associate Professor of Religion at Juniata, College in Huntingdon, Pennsylvania. Stephen J. Patterson is Professor of New Testament at Eden Theological Seminary in St. Louis.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

25 of 29 people found the following review helpful By J. Storey on November 13, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a fine scholarly debate over a very hot (read: controversial) topic in New Testament research. In this debate Dale Allison, well-known advocate of the standard Synoptic view of Jesus being a millennial prophetic figure, takes on three well-known opponents proposing a non-apocalyptic Jesus. Allison deserves credit at least for tackling a wrestling tag-team of formidable Jesus Seminar (hereafter "JS") scholars, and to this reviewer at least, easily holds his own in the debate, and even then some. This perhaps may be because his thesis, when all is said and done, seems to make more sense of the actual 1st-century Jewish milieu of Jesus than the sometimes idiosyncratic exegesis of his opponents. In fact, it seems fair to say the effort to separate Jesus away from his Synoptic apocalyptic environment seems to be a particular theological agenda of the Jesus Seminar- an agenda for which the group has come to be known by, for better or worse.

Readers unfamiliar with the debate will be wise to note several lynchpin assumptions that underlie the "JS" conclusion that Jesus wasn't, fundamentally, a prophet with an apocalyptic message of the kind you read about in the Synoptics. For many members of the Jesus Seminar, in fact, the Synoptic apocalyptic Jesus should be replaced with a completely different caricature, that of a wandering radical Hellenistic cynic whose "real" message seemingly consisted of egalitarian wisdom sayings (sounding suspiciously like modern counter-status-quo sentiments) and zen-like one-liners; never mind any consideration of Jesus' persona resembling a prototypical Jewish charismatic prophet, or any talk of a millennial kingdom around the corner...
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Steven H Propp TOP 100 REVIEWER on June 19, 2013
Format: Paperback
This 2001 book contains essays, and responses to essays, by Dale Allison [Jesus of Nazareth: Millenarian Prophet], Marcus Borg [Jesus: A New Vision], John Dominic Crossan [The Historical Jesus: The Life of a Mediterranean Jewish Peasant], and Stephen Patterson [The Search for Jesus: Modern Scholarship Looks at the Gospels]. Allison is the lone defender of the "apocalyptic Jesus" position.

Editor Robert J. Miller [The Jesus Seminar and Its Critics] wrote in his Introduction, "This book is an extended exchange between Allison on the one hand and Borg, Crossan, and Patterson on the other. The book aims to facilitate this exchange in such a way that the participants go beyond simply staking out and defending opposing positions. In this book they have the opportunity to respond to one another, to assess the debate, to engage in self-criticism, and to explore the broader implications of each position." (Pg. 11)

Borg argues, "I think Jesus did preach repentance... Rather, my argument is the more specific claim: the MOTIVE for Jesus' preaching of repentance was NOT because time was short. To put it positively: Jesus did preach repentance, but not because he thought the end was near." (Pg.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Andrew Dowling on August 16, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book showcases a very brief debate between historical Jesus Scholars of the Jesus Seminar who say that Jesus's "milieu" was one of imminent apocalypticsm, and Dale Allsion who supports the traditional Schweitzer view of Jesus being an apocalyptic prophet. Each scholar is given the chance to outline their main points, and then the opportunity for rebuttals and conclusionary statements.

Pros: The scholars here are all top notch and know their stuff. It is a very easy read, although some background knowledge in historical Jesus studies will be very useful before diving into this book, as each section is short and they cover a lot of academic/scholarly arguments quickly.

Cons: It would have been nice if the book didn't pit 3 against 1, and if Allison had someone like Brown also giving his take. But at the same time, Allison is probably the most respected pro-apocalyptic Jesus scholar around today, so they chose their opponent well.

The debate: I agree with the reviewer above who says Crossan is the weak link here. It's a shame because in his public lectures and interviews Crossan puts forth his points succinctly and even adds dashes of Irish wit. But it seems to mostly depart in his writings and his verbosity really gets out of control. These short excerpts show that at its worst; it's almost as if he started jotting down ideas and then never went back and read what he wrote to see if it made sense.
But Allison, Borg, and Patterson are clear and make good arguments. Patterson especially really shines and if I were to judge a 'winner' in the debate it would probably be him.
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