Item description for Jesus by David Flusser & R. Steven Notley...
324 pp., index, bibliography. Flusser's monumental biographical study of the life of Jesus is the fruit of a life-time of personal research. His philological-historical approach, which applies findings from the Dead Sea Scrolls, historical inquiry, and recent archaeological discoveries, calls for a reconsideration of how we read the literary sources. What results is a compelling portrait of Jesus that gains additional depth because it is viewed within the context of Jewish thought and life in the first century. Both Jewish and Christian readers will be challenged by Flusser's work.
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Studio: Magnes Press
Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 8.8" Width: 6" Height: 1" Weight: 1.05 lbs.
Release Date Jan 1, 2001
Publisher Magnes Press
ISBN 965223978X ISBN13 9789652239785
Flusser's book is one of my favorites of all time. It is a great read. It really digs in deep to the culture and the meaning behing much of Jesus' life and life in the first century. If you like Brad Young, Marvin Wilson, David Bivin or others like them, you will truly like this book.
Book Review Oct 21, 2005
Overall Flusser offered many ideas that I thought were well founded, such as John the Baptist at one time being a part of the Essene community. Other parts I had a tough time agreeing with. When speaking of John the Baptist again, Flusser commented that John never accepted Jesus' eschatological claim because their time tables were different. I see how he can deduce that John might question Jesus' claims because of the Scriptures in Matt. 11:2-6 and Luke 7:18-23, but I do not see anywhere in the Scriptures conclusive evidence to suggest John, never coming to a understanding of Jesus' eschatological stance. Another struggle I had with the book was its strong acceptance of Luke and Matthew, while it seemed to denounce John because it is not historical enough and Mark because of the literary techniques he uses. I am certainly not a scholar who has studied these texts for almost fifty years, but it is my ignorance to want to believe that if John tells us Jesus had a ministry that lasted about three years, then Jesus really had a ministry that lasted about three years. After taking a step back and looking at the angle from which Flusser is coming at, I realize he is not attacking John's message. Some of the really good things that can be learned from this book come from his section on love. What Jesus does and Flusser points out is that our relationship with God has a lot to do with how we treat those around us. As stated by Flusser "In those circles where, the new Jewish sensitivity was then especially well developed, love one's neighbor was regarded as a precondition to reconciliation with God". One would not know by reading through the text how much of an emphasis there was in the first century on humanism and the categories of sinner and righteous. The creation of the categories is what led to the concept of humanism. "Because of the difficulty of knowing how far God's love and mercy extended, many concluded that one ought to show love and mercy toward all, both righteous and wicked. In this they would be imitating God himself" Another section that appealed to me was the chapter on the Law. I've grown up with the thought that Jesus did break Jewish customs. In fact I have even heard it preached that he did. Jesus was coming to do a "new thing" so that gave him right to do whatever he saw fit. This has always bothered me. To me, a statement like that would indicate that God's laws were never any good. It was very relieving to find out that my suspicions were correct. Jesus did in fact keep the Jewish laws; all he broke were the man made customs. When Flusser states that even if you were to have eaten an animal forbidden by Moses this does not make your body ritually impure, seems troublesome. Leviticus 11 goes through all the animals that are clean and unclean. Verse 44 specifically states that you will be made unclean if you eat any creature that moves about on the ground. So with that reference I am curious what source Flusser is using to make that claim. The thoughts he put forth are very radical to "common knowledge". Reading through this book will help shatter stereotypes. One of my personal favorites was the concept of "son of man." To me this phrase was always a reference to Jesus. What else could it mean? Evidently it has three different meanings. It can be used as a reference for the common man, like me and you. A saying used to give credence to this statement is "Am I not also a son of Adam (man)." I know I have not devoted as many years of my life to research as Flusser but it strikes me as odd that every translation I look at has either both "Son" and "Man" capitalized, or just "Son," while Flusser leaves both words lower case. People who put together our translations certainly spent a lot of time with the text. It puzzles me why they would capitalize those words, if they were not meant to be. A second use of the phrase, "son of man," is related to his passion predictions that speak about his suffering and resurrection. Lastly we have the eschatological sayings; the end time predictions of the coming Son of Man. The schematics of the book help in reader comprehension. The book could have been arranged in a different order and had all the same information, but it would not have been as effective. The order in which the chapters appear lend assistance to later chapters, and their development. Each chapter could be looked at as a building block, with each section stacking on top of one another. The first block starts with Jesus' baptism and the last ends with His death. Reading Jesus by David Flusser gave me a better understanding of Jesus ministry by painting a vivid picture of the culture Jesus would have grown up in. It was interesting to learn the prevailing thoughts of the day, and what the current Jewish perspective on issues was. By taking all of these factors into consideration it is much easier to see the human side of Jesus, the historical Jesus. I had always wished there was a way to get a firmer understanding of the Gospels and the message they presented. Flusser has shown me the door of better understanding. I do believe taking the historical context into consideration is very important, but also looking to the theology of the statement where history is not available is just as important. They each help to serve the other in giving us further understanding into these ancient texts we call the Gospels.