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The Historical Jesus: The Life of a Mediterranean Jewish Peasant Paperback – February 26, 1993
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Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Top Customer Reviews
Especially noteworthy is his approach to the documentary evidence of Jesus' words and deeds. He draws upon 200+ years of New Testament exegesis and Christian Biblical studies to create "An Inventory of the Jesus Tradition by Chronological Stratification and Independent Attestation." I was probably more excited by this Appendix than by most of the book. The first stratum (30-60 C.E.) contains: several Pauline epistles; non-canonical gospels and fragments, including the Gospel of Thomas, and the Gospel of the Hebrews; and finally sources now embedded in the canonical Gospels, including the Sayings Gospel Q, the Miracles Collection and the Cross Gospel. The Gospel of Mark, which I had always considered one of the oldest sources, falls into the second stratum (60-80 C.E.), and Matthew, Luke, and John fall in the third stratum (80-120 C.E.) (along with many other documents/fragments in these strata).Read more ›
The first is that reader for whom the New Testament (NT) is the be all and end all on Jesus and his message. This person will see any confusion in the sources of the NT as being purely a problem of their own lack of understanding; if the texts say something that is internally inconsistant, it must be that only God or his elect are able to understand and lesser individuals are to accept on belief alone even if it doesn't make sense. For this person, the book will only serve to anger you. That will raise your blood pressure, and you don't need that. I would advise you not to read the book for your own health and safety.
The second type of reader is that for whom the story of Jesus as you learned it in Sunday school is your primary religious referent, and you rarely ever delve much into the actual NT. In short, you believe because you like the story as presented to you and the precepts it teaches as you were taught them, and you don't care if it's true or not. My advice for this reader is that you don't really need to read the book, but if you do, it won't upset you in the slightest. You might actually enjoy learning some new things you didn't know before about the history of the period.
The final category of reader is one who is passionately fond of history and enjoys a good textual criticism done by people who know how to do it well: ie.Read more ›
First of all, the cover misdescribes the book as "the first comprehensive determination of who Jesus was, what he did, what he said." But Jesus is barely mentioned until page 227. Before that, in Chapter 8, for example, the author embarks on a long essay on magic and Elijah that is hundreds of years removed from Jesus. In 500 pages the author says practically nothing about who Jesus "was, what he did, and what he said." This is a book about Mediterranean society of the first century of the Christian era rather than Jesus. Parts are interesting and enlightening which is why Crossan gets three stars from me; parts are relevant; parts are incomprehensible.
Second, is the issue of an index -- or lack thereof. Crossan has eighteen pages at the end of the book in appendices filled with mysterious numbers and references that bear no relationship whatsoever to a conventional index. Crossan reveals at page 421 that, in his opinion, Jesus was a "Jewish peasant cynic." Well, that's interesting, please explain. What's his definition of a cynic and how does he arrive at that conclusion? Perhaps it was divine inspiration because there's no index to lead you back to additional information. Thumbing through the book I finally found on page 74, a brief, incomplete, and confusing description of cynicism. That's all folks. You'd think that if an author was going to conclude that Jesus was a cynic, he'd give us a bit more background on the subject. OK, maybe I can figure out what a cynic is. but what's a peasant cynic? And what in the world is a "Jewish peasant cynic?Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A masterful presentation that is so vast in scope that it will become a reference for the rest of my life.Published 29 days ago by Filhorne
There are a lot of interesting comments from previous readers re the scholarly style. I think that it was really written for the small cadre of scholars in the "historical... Read morePublished 29 days ago by Robert J. Wilkins
This is a scholarly work, not meant for the casual reader. Having said that, I do find it fascinating to delve more deeply into the complicated 2nd person of the Trinity.Published 1 month ago by VIRGINIA A. KENDALL
Very thorough and detailed. I could have used this book to go much more deeply into the subject than I did; I just read it through without checking the many references. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Pam&Larry Wilt
A fantastic book that deals with actual history and the stories that helped shape our current understanding of the historical and the theological JesusPublished 1 month ago by Phil White
It can be a rather turgid read at times, but just when you are ready to put it down for that reason, something interesting pops up. Read morePublished 3 months ago by DrLo
This book belongs in the fiction area. JDC does what he can to lead people astray, but it all comes to naught. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Grace T.
This is a book for those who do not want to learn about the Jesus who lived in history. It is a book for those that want to discount nearly all that has been written about that... Read morePublished 3 months ago by A Reader