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Jesus, Criteria, and the Demise of Authenticity Paperback – August 30, 2012

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“Overall, each article is well written and the footnotes leave the reader with plenty of extra reading material to pursue for further research. Each scholar is qualified to speak on these topics. The issues they bring up are very relevant to the topic of Jesus studies. I also found Mark Goodacre's chapter on Multiple Attestation chapter to be helpful.” ―Eric Chabot, THINKAPOLOGETICS.COM

About the Author

Chris Keith is Professor of New Testament and Early Christianity and Director of the Centre for the Social-Scientific Study of the Bible at St. Mary's University College, Twickenham, UK. He is the author of The Pericope Adulterae, the Gospel of John and the Literacy of Jesus, a winner of the 2010 John Templeton Award for Theological Promise, and Jesus' Literacy: Scribal Culture and the Teacher from Galilee. He is also the co-editor of Jesus among Friends and Enemies: A Historical and Literary Introduction to Jesus in the Gospels, and was recently named a 2012 Society of Biblical Literature Regional Scholar.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury T&T Clark; 1 edition (August 30, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0567377237
  • ISBN-13: 978-0567377234
  • Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 0.6 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #960,361 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Chris Keith and Anthony Le Donne have put together a forceful collection of essays in Jesus, Criteria, and the Demise of Authenticity. Honestly, this book has the potential to completely reshape the way historical Jesus studies are executed. The historiographical foundation of the Third Quest has been the criteria of authenticity. If one is to engage the sources seriously, then the criteria, it is said, are the scholarly tools for the job. Yet, as Keith and company show, the criteria cannot deliver what they promise.

The volume begins with an introduction by Le Donne articulating the intentions of the assembled scholars. While they are not monolithic in their evaluation of the criteria, they are unified in a general unrest and dissatisfaction with the way the criteria have been used. Thus, the volume is primarily unified in deconstruction while containing considerable variance in prescription for the future of historical Jesus studies. For example, some contributors think the criteria remain a valuable though limited tool, while others call for wholesale abandon of their use. Yet the thesis remains the same, the traditional use of the criteria is untenable.

The next two chapters are by Chris Keith and Jens Schröter. Keith demonstrates the dependence of the criteria upon form-criticism, arguing persuasively that if form-criticism is dead, then so are the criteria. Schröter in turn considers the historiographical methodology that underlies the criteria. As perhaps one the most sophisticated historiographers currently engaged in the Quest, Schröter's voice is especially significant.
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Format: Paperback
As someone who has a great interest in the Historical Jesus studies, I was excited to get a review copy of the book Jesus, Criteria, and the Demise of Authenticity, by Chris Keith and Anthony Le Donne. The premise of the book is whether what historical Jesus scholars utilize to establish as to what Jesus really said isauthentic. The criteria that are analyzed in this book have been mentioned in John P.Meier's A Marginal Jew.

Here are the criteria that are discussed in this book:

1.Criteria of Multiple Attestation

3.The Criteria of Coherence

4. The Criteria of Dissimilarity

5. The Criteria of "Semitic (Aramaic) Influence on the Greek"

My thoughts on the book:

The overall mood of the book is that the criteria that have been and continued to be used by Jesus scholars need to be "jettisoned." The authors (especially Le Donne) seem to be calling for Jesus scholars to punt to more of a post modern view of history. The attempt to use such criteria are a form of what Le Donne calls "positivist" historiography. Hence, the attempt to "verify" and "objectify" a historical Jesus is a wasted process. In other words, it is time to move on. There is no finding any kind of objective criteria that would ever help us to get to the Historical Jesus.

Each chapter attempts to show the shortcomings of each of these criteria. It is because of this I find the authors to overstate their case. If I was to see this book rewritten, I would like to see the authors say the criteria needs to be modified and not entirely jettisoned.Despite the book's shortcomings, there are some strengths. Overall, each article is well written and the footnotes leave the reader with plenty of extra reading material to pursue for further research.
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Format: Paperback
This is a highly recommended book for those who are interested in historical Jesus studies. The authors take issue with the "Criteria of Authenticity" the backbone of most of historical Jesus research done over the last several decades. The authors represent differing positions, some believe that the criteria should be completely abandoned, while others see some of the criteria as being useful but needing revision. This is not a fundamentalist hit job but a scholarly tome that should be taken seriously, even if one doesn't fully agree with the positions taken.
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