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The Historical Jesus in Context (Princeton Readings in Religions) [Paperback]

By Amy-Jill Levine (Editor), Dale C. Allison (Editor) & John Dominic Crossan (Editor)
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Item description for The Historical Jesus in Context (Princeton Readings in Religions) by Amy-Jill Levine, Dale C. Allison & John Dominic Crossan...

Bringing together a broad range of ancient Christian, Jewish, pagan, and Coptic texts, this landmark collection sheds important light on the historical Jesus and places the narratives in their literary, social, and archaeological context. Twenty-five prominent experts offer new translations and the latest research. 424 pages, softcover. Princeton University.

Publishers Description

"The Historical Jesus in Context" is a landmark collection that places the gospel narratives in their full literary, social, and archaeological context. More than twenty-five internationally recognized experts offer new translations and descriptions of a broad range of texts that shed new light on the Jesus of history, including pagan prayers and private inscriptions, miracle tales and martyrdoms, parables and fables, divorce decrees and imperial propaganda.

The translated materials--from Christian, Coptic, and Jewish as well as Greek, Roman, and Egyptian texts--extend beyond single phrases to encompass the full context, thus allowing readers to locate Jesus in a broader cultural setting than is usually made available. This book demonstrates that only by knowing the world in which Jesus lived and taught can we fully understand him, his message, and the spread of the Gospel.

Gathering in one place material that was previously available only in disparate sources, this formidable book provides innovative insight into matters no less grand than first-century Jewish and Gentile life, the composition of the Gospels, and Jesus himself.

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Item Specifications...

Studio: Princeton University Press
Pages   440
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 0.75" Width: 6" Height: 9.25"
Weight:   1.4 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Nov 5, 2006
Publisher   Princeton University Press
Series  Princeton Readings in Religions  
ISBN  0691009929  
ISBN13  9780691009926  

Availability  0 units.

More About Amy-Jill Levine, Dale C. Allison & John Dominic Crossan

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Amy-Jill Levine is University Professor of New Testament and Jewish Studies, E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Professor of New Testament Studies, and Professor of Jewish Studies at the Divinity School, College of Arts and Science, Graduate Department of Religion, and Program in Jewish Studies at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, TN.
Marc Z. Brettler is Dora Golding Professor of Biblical Studies at Brandeis University.

Amy-Jill Levine was born in 1956 and has an academic affiliation as follows - Vanderbilt University, Tennessee.

Amy-Jill Levine has published or released items in the following series...
  1. Feminist Companion New Test Early Chris Writ
  2. Feminist Companion to the New Testament and Early Christian Writ
  3. Feminist Companion to the New Testament and Early Christian Writ
  4. SkyLight Illuminations

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Authors, A-Z > ( C ) > Crossan, John, Dominic
2Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Jesus > Historical Jesus
3Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Theology > Christology
5Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Religious Studies > History

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Reviews - What do customers think about The Historical Jesus in Context (Princeton Readings in Religions)?

A text now with context  Feb 6, 2007
An awesome book with a wide variety of essays which give the New Testament texts a deeper historical context.
Excellent compilation of sources  Jan 5, 2007
It should first be noted that this book is not "by Amy-Jill Levine." It is introduced by her and jointly edited by Levine, Allison, and Crossan. The 28 contributions that follow combine a valuable assembly of primary sources and comments. The book is well worth buying for the sources, but the comments are not only very uneven in quality but also at times misleading.

For example, Talbert's "Miraculous Conceptions and Births in Mediterranean Antiquity" is a masterpiece of conciseness and logical arrangement.

Witherington's "Isaiah 53:1-12 (Septuagint)" contains parallel translations of the Hebrew Version and LXX and points out some significant differences between the two. He should have stopped there. Somehow the use of "good news" supports Witherington's belief that Jesus was influenced by the Servant Songs. Likewise, a quotation from Isaiah 61:1-2 (which is from Third Isaiah while the songs come from Second Isaiah). Witherington also refers to "another Servant Song found in Isaiah 43:3-4." Has he just found a fifth song which everyone else has missed? (Universally recognized are the four songs in 42:1-4 [or 1-6], 49:1-6, 50:4-9, 52:13-53:12.) I am completely unable to follow his logic, "The historical likelihood that Jesus spoke of shedding his blood in the place of many seems high, not least because Maccabean martyrs had conceptualized their roles like this before Jesus." The contemporary availability of a concept makes it likely that one uses it? Witherington chooses to believe "these later Christian texts are developing further a trend that Jesus himself set in motion." It is just as easy to believe that the later Christian texts themselves set this trend in motion. The second part of Witherington's contribution is long on assertion and weak attempts at proofs but woefully short on proving anything to a reader not already convinced of what he asserts.

The articles which concentrate on rabbinic literature may well illustrate the authors' expertise in that area, but the applications to Jesus are sometimes appaling. One example: Jonathan Klawans' "Moral and Ritual Purity" provides several relevant citations from this literature, but his interpretation of Mark 7:15a is incomprehensible to me. "Many also recognize that the 'not . . . but . . .' formulation, when properly understood, implies not a rejection of what follows the 'not' but the prioritization of what follows the 'but' (cf. Mark 2:17) I looked repeatedly at both Mark 2:17 and Mark 7:15a in the Greek and can make no sense of what he is saying. "Those who are well have no need of a physician but those who are sick" is going to need more than his assertion to turn it into "Those who are well have some need of a physician, but those who are sick have a lot more." Where's the evidence? Likewise, "There is nothing outside the man going into him which can defile him, but the things which come out of the man are the things which defile the man" cannot--without a great deal more evidence--be twisted into "The things going into a man defile him a little, but the things coming out of a man defile him a lot." Yet when Klawans moves away from Jesus to a discussion of purity in the Old Testament, the Rabbinic literature, and Qumran, he provides many helpful insights.

On the other hand, Alan J. Avery-Peck's "The Galilean Charismatic and Rabbinic Piety: The Holy Man in the Talmudic Literature" is a model of explanation of the texts involved without bringing in unwarranted baggage. Would that all contributors emulated him instead of acting as advocates for extraneous positions.

When using this volume, the reader is strongly advised to keep the primary sources primary and the comments secondary. For instance, Joseph L. Trafton tells us that "the psalmist [author of the Psalms of Solomon] does not see the Messiah as a military figure." Yet I read in 17:21-24, "Look, O Lord, and raise up for them their king the son of David . . . That he might humble the rulers of lawlessness, That he might purify Jerusalem from the nations that trample her to destruction, To cast out the lawless from your inheritance, To shatter the pride of the sinners like a potter's vessel, To shatter their whole essence with a rod of iron." Does Trafton see these activities as diplomacy?

My recommendation is to buy the book by all means, use it for its excellent set of primary sources, and ignore the few introductions and comments which are more apologetics than exegesis.

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