Thursday, December 08, 2005

Jesus in Recent Research

The Historical Jesus in Recent Research
This is arguably the most helpful book for anyone doing post-grad on the historical Jesus - or for anyone who wants to read widely on historical Jesus scholarship. For so many students entering this field the first question is "Where does one begin?" I have a hope that this book will take centre stage in answering that question. McKnight and Dunn have put us in the debt. Just a quick scan through the table of contents and it reveals just how helpful this book is. The write up notes:
The past two or three decades have witnessed significant activity in research on the Jesus of the Gospels and history. In fact, there has been such a plethora of publication on such a wide variety of facets of this issue that it is difficult to keep pace with the rate of publication. In this volume, Dunn and McKnight have collected and provided introductions to a wide cross-section of essays on the topic, ranging from classic essays by the likes of Bultmann, Cadbury, and Schweitzer to the most recent investigations of Horsley, Levine, and Wright. This volume will be a very useful book for courses and seminars on Jesus or the historical Jesus, because it draws together in one place a wide variety of perspectives and approaches to the issues.
I must confess, when it arrived this morning I was overwhelmed and then slightly surprised. There are three chapter entries by Bultmann. I'm not sure that I would of added these in a volume of "recent research". More helpful would have been to have Craig Evans opening chapter in Jesus and His Contemporaries, which I believe should be mandatory reading for every historical Jesus student! I'm grateful for the addition of Barnett's important article The Jewish Sign Prophets but this is not strictly about the historical Jesus, but rather about possible contemporaries, their aims and intentions. A chapter on Table-Fellowship would have added to the section on actions, especially women and table-fellowship from say the work of Corley. But these are slight quibbles that do nothing to harm the value of this book. Notable also was the delightful [?] absence of Crossan and Funk.
The editors appear to have been wise in their selections. Most helpfully and beautifully is the addition of Caird's brilliant lecture: Jesus and the Jewish Nation. This lecture is arguably one of the most important in the field, in my estimation. The section from Lemcio is also most helpful I'm told. They have also included forthcoming chapters from Stuhlmcher on The Messianic Son of Man: Jesus' Claim to Deity as well as Jesus' Rediness to Suffer and His Understanding of His Death. The section from Ben Meyer, a rather neglected historical Jesus scholar was also much appreciated. Overall, a fantastic volume!

Part 1 Classic Voices
  • Introduction (James D. G. Dunn)
  • Albert Schweitzer - The Solution of Thoroughgoing Eschatology
  • Rudolf Bultmann - View-Point and Method
  • Henry J. Cadbury - The Cause and Cure of Modernization
  • Martin Kähler - Against the Life-of-Jesus Movement

Part 2 Methodology
  • Introduction (James D. G. Dunn)
  • Rudolf Bultmann - “I”-Sayings
  • Joachim Jeremias - Characteristics of the Ipsissima Vox
  • Bruce Chilton - Regnum Dei Deus Est
  • John P. Meier - Criteria: How Do We Decide What Comes from Jesus?
  • Eugene E. Lemcio - The Past of Jesus in the Gospels
  • James D. G. Dunn - The Tradition

Part 3 Teachings of Jesus: God, Kingdom, Ethics, Parables, and Old Testament
  • Introduction (James D. G. Dunn)
  • W. G. Kümmel - The Pressing Imminence of the End
  • Joachim Jeremias - `Abba as an Address to God
  • N. T. Wright - Kingdom Redefined: The Announcement
  • E. P. Sanders - Jesus and the First Table of the Jewish Law
  • Dale C. Allison, Jr. - The Allusive Jesus
  • Klyne R. Snodgrass - From Allegorizing to Allegorizing: A History of the Interpretation of the Parables of Jesus

Part 4 Jesus: Who Was He?

  • Introduction (Scot McKnight)
  • G. B. Caird - Jesus and the Jewish Nation
  • Richard A. Horsley - Abandoning the Unhistorical Quest for an Apolitical Jesus
  • Marcus J. Borg - The Spirit-Filled Experience of Jesus
  • P. M. Casey - Son of Man
  • Peter Stuhlmacher - The Messianic Son of Man: Jesus’ Claim to Deity

Part 5 Jesus: Major Events
  • Introduction (Scot McKnight)
  • Gerd Theissen - The Historical Intention of Primitive Christian Miracle Stories
  • E. P. Sanders - Jesus and the Temple
  • C. E. B. Cranfield - The Resurrection of Jesus Christ
  • Peter Stuhlmacher - Jesus’ Readiness to Suffer and His Understanding of His Death
  • Gerd Luedemann - The History and Nature of the Earliest Christian Belief in the Resurrection

Part 6 Jesus and Others
  • Introduction (Scot McKnight)
  • Ben F. Meyer - The Judgment and Salvation of Israel
  • P. W. Barnett - The Jewish Sign Prophets
  • James D. G. Dunn - Pharisees, Sinners, and Jesus
  • P. S. Alexander - Jesus and the Golden Rule
  • Amy-Jill Levine - The Word Becomes Flesh: Jesus, Gender, and Sexuality

Part 7 Conclusion
  • Conclusion (Scot McKnight)
  • Rudolf Bultmann - The Message of Jesus and the Problem of Mythology
  • G. N. Stanton - The Gospel Traditions and Early Christological Reflection
  • John A. T. Robinson - The Last Tabu? The Self-Consciousness of Jesus
  • Robert Morgan - The Historical Jesus and the Theology of the New Testament

This volume is to be commended on almost every level as being probably the most helpful book published this year, on the historical Jesus. Thanks!

1 comment:

Ben Myers said...

Thanks for such an excellent review, Sean. As an outsider who is trying to get a grasp of historical Jesus studies, I will definitely look forward to reading this book.

And of course, the best thing about it is that it includes three chapters by Bultmann! ;-) (Although a selection from Bornkamm might have been nice as well.)