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From Jesus to Christ: The Origins of the New Testament Images of Christ, Second Edition Paperback – July 11, 2000
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Fredriksen first lays out the world of the New Testament. A brief introduction on the nature of the documents and the challenges that they present begins her discussion. For those who have done a careful reading of the gospels it is apparent that there are minor as well as significant differences between them. Far from being slight changes to previous copies, they represent different understandings of who Jesus was. In many cases they represent vastly different conceptions of theology, and the future for the followers of the risen Jesus. One must delve deep into the documents with an understanding of their history and transmission in order to gain a clear perspective on this. She has done this precisely and the reader is the one who benefits from her work. Extremely helpful for understanding this is a comprehension of the Hellenistic world that Jesus was born into, the enduring legacy of Alexander's conquests that we ourselves live in the shadow of to this day. History often turns on a dime and vast changes for posterity sometimes depend on the smallest of events: the birth and rise of Alexander of Macedon is one such event.Read more ›
Fridrekson argues that what we perceive as the basic Christian message came about over time through compromise, cultural wars and sheer power politics. The split between Christians and Jews was presetn as soon as Jesus was deemed "God". The idea of a god impregnating a human woman is mythological and was (and is) deemed heretical by Jews. They never thought the Messiah would be divine nor that his rule would include Gentiles. This set the stage for two millenia of Jewish persecution. Indeed, one of the first acts of the Church was to ban the Ebionites, a group of Jewish believer in Jesus who did not consider him divine.
A contradiction in the New Testament is present if one knows the date of origin: The earlier the book, the less that was known of the life of Jesus. The first books (Paul's works) show a remarkable lack of knowledge. Mark (written next) starts at manhood while Luke and Matthew go back to the birth. John, the last written, starts at the Beginning of the Universe. This process became static only when a conference of Christian bishops voted not only on Orthodox theology but on approved Scripture.
This is an important, well-researched work that should demand more attention.
Fredriksen is a responsible scholar. She has a smooth and erudite manner which shows a sharp and attentive grasp of her subject. This book shows a clear and concise understanding of the Greco-Roman world and the Jewish world alike as the background to the New Testament. Her discussions of Paul and the Gospels, while not assauging the reader's questions, provide meaty treatments which repay reading. For readers who have her recent book this is the perfect companion to it. For readers who want a solid exposition of the New Testament world and the way the New Testament writers relate their images of Jesus, this is the perfect book for that too, providing simple, yet never simplistic, readings of the images of Jesus provided by the Gospels and Paul.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
If you'd like to read something from someone who has been manufactured as to be utterly unable to think for herself, then, GET THIS BOOK.Published 15 days ago by andromeda
If you are interested in where Christianity came from - not a theological perspective but an historical one - this is an absolutely excellent place to start. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Robert J. Crawford
Wish the print was a little bigger. Takes concentration to read it, like her Augustine and the Jews. She's a brilliant historian. I love her Jewish perspective and insights. Read morePublished 7 months ago by Hannah
This is the first Paula Fredriksen book I've ever read. The subject matter was interesting. However, this book was not as well written as Bart Ehrman's books. Read morePublished 11 months ago by Jacqueline B. Lucas
I can't fault the content, only the writer's style. Ms Fredriksen could easily have written the same book in half the pages. Far too "wordy"!Published 17 months ago by larry warmack
Very informative and balanced. Full of detail and analysis. My only complaint...the writing is very dense. Each sentence has to be read very slowly... Read morePublished 17 months ago by Amazon Customer
Well researched and consistent with what I have read from other scholars, but Fredriksen is clearly an academic and, unfortunately, writes like one. Read morePublished 18 months ago by Ed