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A Marginal Jew: Rethinking the Historical Jesus, Volume IV: Law and Love (The Anchor Yale Bible Reference Library) (v. 4) Hardcover – May 26, 2009
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About the Author
John P. Meier is William K. Warren Chair Professor of Theology (New Testament), Theology Department, University of Notre Dame. He lives in South Bend, IN.
Top Customer Reviews
The primary assertion made by Meier in this fourth volume is best summarized by the title of the introductory chapter: "The Historical Jesus is the Halakic Jesus" (1). This is present throughout the study, and is captured well in Meier's later assertion: "The historical Jewish Jesus must be seen as a Jesus immersed in the halakic discussions, debates, and actual practice of 1st-century Palestinian Jews" (267). If the historical quest is for the Jewish Jesus, then this contribution will help with much of that discussion.Read more ›
That said, there are some basic questions I have after reading this one through. Meier, on the basis of textual analysis and contrast with extra-biblical source materials, distinguishes between what he concludes is the genuine teaching of the historical Jesus (the prohibition on divorce, the prohibition on oaths, the linking of passages from the OT into the 'first' and 'second' commandments (love God, love neighbor) in Mark, the concise statement 'love your enemies' in Q) and what he concludes are later Christian accretions (the 'love one another' commandment in John, the Golden Rule). He emphasizes that the historical Jesus engaged in Halakic disputes, because that is what other contemporaneous sources did (the Dead Sea Scrolls, which were earlier, and the Mishna, which was later, Philo, Josephus, etc). Oddly then, his principal methodological tool for distinguishing real Jesus materials from later Christian accretions, is that of 'discontinuity,' or the absence of a view presented as Jesus' in other sources. To the extent that Jesus' message was in fact the rather uninspiring view that divorce and the making of oaths are prohibited, to that extent is it not fairly necessary to conclude that Jesus was a 'marginal Jew'?
But by all means, read this book, if only to dispel the simplistic and all-too-common view that Jesus' message was that the Law has been superseded by the new commandment/covenant to love. Both Jesus and Paul need to be firmly set within the context of their fully observant Judaism.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
For those who desire to have a holistic understanding of the New Testament John P. Meier's A Marginal Jew Volume 4 too shoud be taking into consideration.Published 13 months ago by Placido Ibanez
A scholarly look at the Historical Jesus. I find it adds to my understanding of the scriptures.Published 15 months ago by Minerva R. Hodis
This is the fourth (and probably the next to last) in the series A Marginal Jew. It is steps above other "historical Jesus" writings. Read morePublished 23 months ago by cheadleg
I have given five stars to Volumes One, Two and Three because Professor Meier always carefully, clearly and logically leads the reader through the scanty evidence that there is on... Read morePublished on June 12, 2014 by Tracy Cramer Austin, Texas
In his massive, monumental and magisterial study of Jesus and the law,
the eminent John P. Meier declares that "every other book or article on the
historical Jesus... Read more
While this volume of Meier's study of Jesus' life and teachings can be read on its own, I suspect it is a much more comprehensible work in the context of his earlier volumes. Read morePublished on February 5, 2014 by Amazon Customer
This is the fourth volume of Catholic scholar John Meier's seminal work on the historical Jesus. In this volume he tackles Jesus' teaching, in particular on the issues of divorce,... Read morePublished on September 12, 2009 by Steve Jackson
(Me permito escribir en español. Gracias)
A los que hayan seguido los volúmenes anteriores no extrañará encontrarse con este ejemplo de rigor y... Read more
This is an excellent work of scholarship and meditative insight. It is a must read for preachers, priests, ministers, and scripture scholars. Read morePublished on June 20, 2009 by Michael R. Saso