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A Marginal Jew: Rethinking the Historical Jesus, Volume II: Mentor, Message, and Miracles (The Anchor Yale Bible Reference Library) Hardcover – Illustrated, November 1, 1994
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- Publisher : Yale University Press; Illustrated edition (November 1, 1994)
- Language : English
- Hardcover : 1134 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0300140339
- ISBN-13 : 978-0300140330
- Item Weight : 3.68 pounds
- Dimensions : 6.51 x 2.19 x 9.29 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #1,106,422 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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Also, I found the book longer than it needed to be. For example, the author made the following admission at least five times in one chapter: He was not going to be able to prove that Jesus' miracles were really miracles, but only that acts were performed by Jesus that were considered miracles by the people that were there. There, I said it once, and I think you probably understand it. I believe this book could have been half as long and conveyed the same information.
But, I don't want to belittle the book either. I think it is a worthwhile pursuit, although I think that, ultimately, God wants us to relate to Him in the Spirit rather than the intellect. For people like me, with intellectual tendencies, learning about the life and times of Jesus really helps our spiritual relationship with Him. But, theology is not my specialty, so I would like to leave this particular book to folks whose specialty is theology.
To that end, Mr. Meier deals sets out answer three big questions in this volume:
1. What was Jesus' relationship to his mentor, John the Baptist?
2. What was Jesus' main message?
3. What can be said about the miracles that Jesus was said to have performed? (A lot!)
Using five criteria for establishing degrees of historical probability (from "not very likely" to "very probable"), he then, like a great detective, without any presuppositions, sifts through all the available data see if there if there are any historical nuggets or kernels remaining.
Though this sounds like it may be very technical and dry, it is not. Mr. Meier's great gift is to make his careful and considered process of thinking (as well as the thoughts of other scholars) transparent at all stages so that you can see for yourself how he arrives at his judicious conclusions. So in spite of the depth of his erudition, he somehow manages to communicate this scholarly process with a lightness of touch and sense of humor that makes this "long and dusty road" as he calls it, a real pleasure to travel.
No, this book is not a narration of his conclusions, but a journey that you take with Mr. Meier as he leads you from, through and to one thought to the next in his effort to construct a picture of the historical (not theological) Jesus based not on what we would like to see, but on what the data reveal.
I look forward to reading Volume Three.
As the Title tells us, this volume deals with Jesus' mentor, his message, and his miracles. The mentor material is outstanding and clearly written. I have learned more from this volume in respect to John the Baptist and his relation to Jesus than I ever thought possible. The second part is equally as rewarding as far as Meier's development of the "message" material. He does a fabulous job of disposing of some of the previous theories as far as Jesus being nothing more than an apocalyptic prophet in the mold of Sanders and Schweitzer. While engaging this material, Meier always manages to stay on course and never veers off into the realm of Christian apologetics. He is masterful in explaining the proper background and how this message would have been viewed in the context of Jesus' world and time. The book concludes with perhaps the most technical yet impressively rewarding part of it. This would be the attempt to diagnose what the "miracles" were that Jesus performed. He maintains the integrity that he set forth in volume 1 and anyone reading this book will now have come to expect from him.
The best thing about these two volumes is the ease from which John Meier writes. His precision and technicality are not washed away with the accessibility of the text. The most intriguing thing about the book is that regardless of what your stance is when you start to read the book; it will be challenged. This is the greatest attribute of the book, clarity of thought and a methodical approach that attempts to remain as objective as one taking on such a task must always attempt to be.
A fantastic read and eventual source for many many years to come.