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Is This Not the Carpenter? (Copenhagen International Seminar) Hardcover – July 1, 2012

ISBN-13: 978-1845539863 ISBN-10: 1845539869

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Routledge (July 1, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1845539869
  • ISBN-13: 978-1845539863
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 6.2 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,069,842 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"Is This Not the Carpenter?" is an important example of what we need more of: serious scholarly examinations and debates on the historicity of Jesus and what methods to use in resolving it. It includes papers that for specialists are required reading on this topic. --Richard Carrier, author of Sense and Goodness without God, Proving History, and Not the Impossible Faith

This well-edited and attractive volume marks an important milestone in the debate concerning mythicism in New Testament scholarship. --Thomas Bolin, St Norbert College, Wisconsin

Overall, this volume contributes to a crucial development, namely moving historical investigation beyond the usual restrictions of the historical critical method, particularly beyond reliance on the theory of oral tradition, and bringing it into new terrain, especially that of literature. --Thomas L. Brodie, Dominican Biblical Institute, Limerick, Ireland

From the Back Cover

'Is This Not The Carpenter?' offers readers the most up to date overview of how the historicity of Jesus is examined in contemporary scholarship. An international range of scholars - with divergent views on the historical Jesus - present a literary re-reading of the New Testament, arguing that the gospel evidence is to be discovered not in oral tradition but in the written literature of the ancient world.

--From the Paperback Edition via Acumen Publishing (Forthcoming, 31 Jul 2013)

More About the Author

Thomas Verenna is a student at Rutgers University and is double-majoring in classical languages and ancient history. He has published numerous essays on the figure of Jesus and the ancient past and has co-edited the collection of essays 'Is This Not the Carpenter?': The Question of the Historicity of the Figure of Jesus (Equinox/Acumen, 2012/2013) with Th. L. Thompson

In addition to these collections, Thomas is also working on a monograph on the intertextuality of the Gospels and working on a new book project about the unreliability of ancient textual sources.

Academia.edu Profile: http://rutgers.academia.edu/ThomasVerenna
CV: http://rutgers.academia.edu/ThomasVerenna/CurriculumVitae

Customer Reviews

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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Hopeless Anglophile on July 19, 2012
Format: Hardcover
The question of whether or not any historical figure lies behind the early Christian literary
portrayals of Jesus of Nazareth has occupied a strange place in the history of New Testament scholarship.
On the one hand, those who argued that Jesus is a fictional creation of the evangelists were long
ostracized from both the academy and the church (two entities with multiple overlapping constituencies).
On the other hand, the question at the root of mythicist project is the same that underlies much of
mainstream New Testament scholarship, namely how much early Christian theological concerns have
influenced the content of the canonical Gospels.

This collection represents the best discussion of this issue now available. Both established and up
and coming scholars from around the world address the mythicist question from a variety of different
perspectives and methodologies. Most importantly, the individual contributions are not uniform in their
conclusions concerning the historicity of Jesus. Some scholars argue for the existence of Jesus of
Nazareth (e.g., Grabbe, Müller), others against (e.g., Noll, Price), and still others opt not to decide (e.g.,
Thompson, Verenna). Two important features to this collection are the group of essays focusing on the
role of the Pauline corpus in the debate over the historicity of Jesus and the critical interaction in several
of the essays with Richard Bauckham's recent large monograph arguing for an eyewitness tradition
behind the canonical Gospels.

Space prohibits a detailed discussion of each essay, and thus a few remarks on some of the more
particularly interesting and provocative contributions will have to suffice.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Aaron Adair on September 16, 2013
Format: Paperback
This volume by Thompson and Verenna should help actually put the discussion of not simply the study of the historical Jesus but the very question of the historicity of Jesus into the scholarly form that it needs. Much of the materials the Internet provides to this question is simply not worth the time of day, and it is even worse with misinformation that has to be unlearned. Not so here with its authors acting professionally and scholastically.

Some of the chapters provide background to the scholarship, such as 19th century debates and how the ways things were argued had much to thank from its cultural background. The last chapter provides a research paradigm to discuss the evolution of Christianity whether or not Jesus existed or did any of the things he was alleged to have done. In between we find some of the discussions about the nature of the evidence concerning the figure of Jesus: the letters of Paul and their relation to a historical figure, the non-Christian witnesses to Jesus, and literary nature of the Gospels. While not all of the arguments will be convincing, the chapters showcase some of the best arguments one is likely to see from either side.

Of course, because of the complexity of the evidence, any one of the discussions in a given chapter could be its own book. But that is why this volume needs to be the start of the discussion. Not only on points of evidence but also of method. The approach to the letters of Paul, for example, can produce very different results concerning a historical Jesus figure. Weighing which approach is the better (rather than just getting the desired result) is going to be a major dialogue, but it does well to start it here.

I provide a fuller review here: [...
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11 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Roo.Bookaroo on August 12, 2012
Format: Hardcover
On a scholarly note, this is the presentation by Publisher Equinox:

The historicity of Jesus is now widely accepted and hardly questioned by most scholars. But this assumption disarms biblical texts of much of their power by privileging an historical interpretation which effectively sweeps aside much theological speculation and allusion. Furthermore, the assumption of historicity gathers further assumptions to it, shaping the interpretation of texts, both denying and adding subtext. Scholars are now faced with an endless array of works on the historical Jesus and few question what has been lost through this wide-spread assumption of historicity. Is This Not the Carpenter? presents a very valuable corrective: a literary rereading of the New Testament.

Introduction: Thomas L. Thompson and Thomas Verenna

Into the Well of Historical Jesus Scholarship

1. Jim West (Quartz Hill School of Theology) - A Very, Very Short Introduction to Minimalism
2. Roland Boer (University of Newcastle) - The German Pestilence: Re-assessing Feuerbach, Strauss and Bauer
3. Lester L. Grabbe (University of Hull) - "Jesus Who is Called Christ": References to Jesus Outside Christian Sources
4. Niels Peter Lemche (University of Copenhagen) - The Grand Inquisitor and Christ: Why the Church Doesn't Want Jesus
5 Emanuel Pfoh (National University of La Plata) - Jesus and the Mythic Mind: An Epistemological Problem

Paul and Early Christianity: Historical and Exegetical Investigations

6 Robert M. Price (Johnnie Colemon Theological Seminary) - Does the Christ Myth Theory Require an Early Date for the Pauline Epistles?
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