- Hardcover: 2 pages
- Publisher: Anchor Bible; Box edition (February 1, 1994)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0385471777
- ISBN-13: 978-0385471770
- Product Dimensions: 3.2 x 6.5 x 10 inches
- Shipping Weight: 5.8 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 11 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #752,223 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Death of the Messiah: From Gethsemane to the Grave (2 Vol. Boxed Set) Box Edition
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From Publishers Weekly
In a stunning addition to the Anchor Bible Reference Library, Raymond E. Brown, the preeminent scriptural scholar who won great acclaim for his The Birth of the Messiah , now crowns a distinguished career with this much-awaited companion work. The biblical accounts in Matthew, Mark, Luke and John of the death of Jesus comprise, as Brown points out, ``the central narrative in the Christian story''; and the result of Brown's treatment of them here is an unprecedentedly complete but amazingly accessible exegesis of those four Gospels' passion narratives. Combining a lucid synthesis of the vast body of scholarly passion literature with his own insightful explanation of what the evangelists wrote, Brown breaks down the walls of theological density to recapture the full drama and meaning of Jesus' final days from his arrest to his execution and burial. While scholars may be staggered by Brown's exhaustively comprehensive bibliography and assured grasp of its contents, his introductory division of the passion's unfolding into four ``Acts'' and several ``Scenes'' will especially appeal to pastors and devout lay readers. Indeed, rarely has the gap between Christian scholars and the non-academic faithful been bridged more successfully than in this definitive masterpiece.
Copyright 1994 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
From Library Journal
Brown ( The Birth of the Messiah , Doubleday, 1993, among many others) presents a detailed explanation of what the four evangelists "intended and conveyed" with their narratives of the passion and death of Jesus and "translates" the messages for modern readers. He assembles the four Gospel accounts into a unified story but maintains the distinctiveness of each account in the commentary. Brown has succeeded in producing a near oxymoron: a thorough survey of a huge mass of relevant scholarly literature that is accessible to the educated lay reader. Greek is transliterated and translated, procedures and terms are clearly explained, and the entire story is presented as a drama in four acts. While the book can be pleasurably read from start to finish, the organization and the indexes (not seen) make these volumes an easily used reference work. A required purchase for any serious New Testament collection.
- Eugene O. Bowser, Univ. of Northern Colorado, Greeley
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Top customer reviews
Reading through DOTM, I am reminded of how Ronald Nash spoke about Augustine's book "The City of God" and how Augustine said some people might think that he had written too little, to which Nash wanted to know just who those people would be. If anyone said the same about the work of Brown, I'd want to know exactly who those people would be.
If there is one word that could be used to describe this work, it would be exhaustive. Brown will spend pages answering questions about an aspect of the passion narrative that you didn't even know existed. It's hard to think of how a work could be more thorough than the one that Brown has written.
Brown starts with the garden and takes you all the way to the empty tomb and even the story of the guards at the empty tomb. He gives you the scholarly sources at the start that he will be using and then interacts with all the arguments giving an analysis and commenting on whether he thinks a certain portion is historical or not.
Do you want to read about the account of Barabbas? He covers it. Want to know about the darkness at the crucifixion? It's there. Want to know about who the person was who brought Jesus the wine to drink while he was on the cross? It's in there. Want to know what the centurion meant when he said that Jesus was truly God's Son? You'll find that too. Christian readers will be surprised also to find that even the Gospel of Peter is analyzed.
I found some of the most fascinating aspects in the work were not the commentary look at the passion narratives themselves, but rather what happened when he was giving a historical analysis that would be setting the scene prior. The most interesting in my opinion was in looking at the person of Pilate. Pilate often goes down in history as a cruel villain, but perhaps we are misunderstanding him. Brown's work on this topic certainly gave me pause in the way that I had always looked at Pilate.
Another bonus is the appendices at the end that discuss various topics such as the textual transmission of the passion narratives as well as the question of Judas Iscariot and what it was that motivated him in his actions. Brown doesn't always take a side, but he does make sure you know what the sides are.
If there's a downside to this work, it's that Brown's writing can unfortunately be dry at times. After reading page after page on one topic you can kind of want to move on to the next one. Still, it is important if you want to be a dilligent student that you wade through.
Those in the field of NT studies who want to speak about events surrounding the crucifixion of Jesus owe it to themselves to read Brown's work. Whether you agree or disagree, you will at least be more informed.
Brown describes the primary aim of this book as "to explain in detail what the evangelists intended and conveyed to their audiences by their narratives of the passion and death of Jesus," adding, "I do not think of the evangelists themselves as eyewitnesses of the passion; nor do I think that eyewitness memories of Jesus came down to the evangelists without considerable reshaping and development. Yet as we move back from the gospel narratives to Jesus himself, ultimately there were eyewitnesses and eyewitnesses who were in a position to know the broad lines of Jesus' passion." He candidly admits that "I can scarcely reconstruct how a book of mine published twenty years ago was composed. Therefore, I, for one, cannot hope to reconstruct with great exactitude the interrelationships of the Synoptic Gospels."
The book is filled with Brown's insightful comments: e.g., "Scholars have come to realize that one cannot dismiss Jesus' miracles simply on modern rationalist grounds, for the oldest traditions show him as a healer."; "early Christians had a tradition that before he died Jesus struggled in prayer about his fate."
Brown notes that "We are never told the specific Roman crime for which Pilate gave over Jesus to crucifixion (whether or not he believed Jesus was guilty," and that "Jesus cannot be classified simply as a political revolutionary. He was a troublesome religious figure and was treated as such." He suggests that "Something done and/or said by Jesus prognostic of Temple/sanctuary destruction was at least a partial cause of the Sanhedrin's decision that led to his death."
After reviewing various "medical" accounts of the crucifixion, Brown concludes, "In my judgment the major defect of most of the studies I have reported on thus far is that they were written by doctors who did not stick to their trade and let a literalist understanding of the Gospel accounts influence their judgments on the physical cause of the death of Jesus."
However, many of Brown's conclusions are fairly traditional: e.g., "That Jesus was buried is historically certain ... That the burial was done by Joseph of Arimathea is very probable," and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre "has the best claim to have been the burial place hewn out of rock into which a pious Sanhedrist placed the corpse of the crucified Jesus." He rejects, however, the historicity of Matthew's account of the guards at the tomb, and says that "my judgment is that the various attempts to reconcile the chronological discrepancies between the Synoptics and John are implausible, unnecessary, and misleading. The two Gospel traditions have given us irreconcilable chronological notices. Logically, then, neither or only one set of notices can be historical."
This a very challenging, minutely detailed, and quite enlightening review of all aspects of the death of Jesus, and will be ESSENTIAL READING for anyone interested in the life of Jesus, Catholic biblical studies, and studies of the gospels in general.