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Jesus of Nazareth Paperback – May 5, 1995
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Original Language: German
Top Customer Reviews
An introductory student of the life of the historical Jesus may find this book valuable. More advanced students should probably look elsewhere.
However, in 1956 Bornkamm wrote this influential book, which begins by stating, "No one is any longer in a position to write a life of Jesus," not least because the gospel writers display "an incontestable loyalty and adherence to the word of Jesus, and at the same time an astonishing degree of freedom as to the original wording." Nevertheless, Bornkamm maintained that there was a layer of historical recollection that underlay the gospel accounts, which "do speak of history as occurrence and event."
Bornkamm believed that there were certain events in the life of Jesus that were incontestably historical; for example, "The fact that Jesus let himself be baptised by John belongs to the data of his life which cannot be doubted." Also, that "Jesus had to reckon with the possibility of his own violent end, we have no reason to doubt." He is even willing to credit some historical truth to the gospel stories about Jesus' death, since "nothing would be more wrong than to deny that there is any historical truth in the story in the gospels about Jesus' suffering and death, simply because the church's faith was specially concerned with this piece of tradition.Read more ›
the call of the Gospels for trust,love,and dependence on grace,but at the same
time keeps readers aware of the inevitable encroachment of post-Easter
Bornkamm resolves(p.135)for example,the apparent tension between the
admonition against verbosity in prayer(Matt 6:7)and the inculcation to pray
incessantly(Luke 18:7),the latter of which finds support in both the Old
Testament(Isa 62:6-7)and in Paul(Rom 12:12),by attributing both to Jesus'
emphasis on the need for "unswerving trust".And indeed the New Testament
indicates that Christian prayers are heard because of pious fear(Heb 5:7)
rather than "many words".
In the famous dominical command to:"Render unto Caesar that which is
of Caesar,and render unto God that which is of God"(Mark 12:17),Bornkamm
invokes(p.123/n207)an interpretation which appears to go back to the second
century Christian father Tertullian:Caesar's image is on his coins,so give
Caesar his coins;but you are made in God's image(Gen 1:27),so give yourself
This interpretation makes good sense in light of the warnings given by
Mark's Jesus about how hard it is for those who have money to enter the
Kingdom of God(10:23),and on the impossibility of serving both God and
wealth(Matt 6:24):(Luke 16:13),even if by the middle of the second century
the church was using Mark 12:17 and it's parallels to encourage obedience
to the State(Justin Martyr "Apology" 1.17).
But Bornkamm's Jesus(p.121-2)sees behind the people's complaints about
taxation.Read more ›