8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Distinguishing the forest from the trees....,
This review is from: Message and the Kingdom (Paperback)
Horsley's book here reads more like a narrative social history. There aren't footnotes and citations, no minutia to contend with, which for an academic guy, is pretty good.
The thing that I liked most about the book was that he pointed out what are apparent tensions within the text of the New Testament -- not in a bitter way like some liberal scholars (cough, cough, "Bart Ehrman," cough, cough) who lost their faith and are now angry that they feel duped -- but in a way that was tactful and thoughtful.
Was Paul, the hero and main interpreter of Jesus of Nazareth (by the inclusion of so much of his writing into the New Testament, including that which probably isn't his but a disciple of his) really rejected by the Jerusalem community? It kind of sounds that way in Horsley's story. If Galatians (which is considered authentically Paul)is written in 48/9 C.E. and Paul's mission to the Gentiles hasn't really been clarified to the Jerusalem council, then some of Paul's letters in Corinthians and the subsequent attack on "Judaizers" makes sense. The Jerusalem community wasn't buying what Paul was selling -- pagans may become God-fearers (sons of Noah abiding by Noachide laws see Acts 15) but if they want in they should go all the way and convert. They are welcome to sojourn, but that doesn't make the gentiles converts. Paul disputes this -- Torah observance isn't necessary. James says he's wrong. Israel is defined by its relationship to Torah that was given by God -- and affirmed by Jesus. Paul's basis for his gospel? Personal revelation. That is where it gets sketchy.
Overall a good read and thought provoking. I'd recommend it, though it probably isn't for some younger undergrads.