- Series: New Testament Library
- Hardcover: 272 pages
- Publisher: SCM-Canterbury Press Ltd; First Edition edition (January 1967)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0334013801
- ISBN-13: 978-0334013808
- Package Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.8 x 1 inches
- Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 1 customer review
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,265,765 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Rediscovering the Teaching of Jesus (New Testament Library) Hardcover – January, 1967
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272p hardback with blue dustjacket, first edition, very good, from a Cambridge college library, never used
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He wrote in the Preface of this 1976 book, "This book was first published in 1967, and it was an attempt to meet a distinct need in life of Jesus research... The absolute prerequisites of serious life of Jesus research became an ability to write a history of the synoptic tradition and the development of criteria for authenticity for the earliest forms of the material that could be reached... The result was this book, an attempt to address particularly the problem of METHOD in life of Jesus research in light of the impact of form criticism and of, on the other, Joachim Jeremias [e.g., The Prayers of Jesus]."
He states, "Thus we reach the fundamental criterion for anthenticity upon which all reconstructions of the teaching of Jesus must be built, which we propose to call 'the criterion of dissimilarity.' ... we may formulate it as follows: the earliest form of a saying we can reach may be regarded as authentic if it can be shown to be dissimilar to characteristic emphases both of ancient Judaism and of the early Church..." (Pg. 39) Later, he adds, "we are proposing... to use material estabished as authentic by the one sure criterion as a touchstone by means of which to judge material which itself would resist the application of that criterion, material which could not be established as dissimilar to emphases of Judaism or the early Church." (Pg. 45)
He suggests, "The central feature of the message of Jesus is, then, the challenge of the forgiveness of sins and the offer of the possibility of a new kind of relationship with God and with one's fellow man. This was symbolized bya a table-fellowship which celebrated the present joy and anticipated the future consummation... [that] survived the crucifixon and provided the focal point for the community life of the earliest Christians, and was the most direct link between that community life and the pre-Easter fellowship of Jesus and his disciples." (Pg. 107) He says, "The teaching of Jesus is spectacularly devoid of specific commandments." (Pg. 147) He argues, "almost all the elements in the teaching which give a definite FORM to the future expectation in the teaching of Jesus fail the test of authenticity... sayings which express an imminent expectation fail to stand up to serious investigation." (Pg. 203)
He concludes, "the New Testament as a whole implies that Christian faith is necessarily faith in the Christ of the Church's proclamation, in which ... historical knowledge may play a part, but as proclamation, not historical knowledge... we must use such historical knowledge of Jesus as we possess to test the validity of the claim of any given form of the Church's proclamation to be CHRISTIAN proclamation... we must apply historical knowledge of the teaching of Jesus directly to the situation of the believer in any age, always providing... that we can solve the practical problems involved in crossing the barrier of two millennia... necessary to do this." (Pg. 247-248)
This book, though nearly forty years old, is still of significant interest to modern persons studying the teaching of Jesus.