Item description for A Marginal Jew: Rethinking the Historical Jesus, Volume III: Companions and Competitors (The Anchor Yale Bible Reference Library) by John P. Meier...
Overview No man is an island, not even Jesus, as John Meier writes in Companions and Competitors, the third installment of his four-part series, A Marginal Jew: Rethinking the Historical Jesus. The first volume, an overview of Jesus' background, chronology, and early years, was followed by a second that analyzed Jesus' most important messages and deeds. Here, Meier explains his conviction that "No human being is adequately understood if he or she is considered in isolation from other human beings." He leads readers through the concentric circles of companions (including the followers who became his disciples and apostles) and competitors (such as Pharisees, Sadducees, Essenes, Samaritans) that shaped Jesus' life in first-century Palestine. Meier, a priest and New Testament scholar at Notre Dame, writes in the engaging, methodical style of an astringently avuncular professor: chapters are carefully outlined, with straightforward headings such as "Points of Comparison and Contrast," "Caveats on Comparisons," and "The Sheer Oddness of Jesus"). His findings, particularly his explanation of "the essentially Jewish nature" of Jesus' relationships, are a valuable addition to the field of Historical Jesus scholarship.
Publishers Description In this book on the real, historical Jesus, Meier sifts the evidence of 2000 years to portray neither a rural magician nor a figure of obvious power, but a marginal Jew.
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Studio: Yale University Press
Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 9.42" Width: 6.53" Height: 1.75" Weight: 2.45 lbs.
Release Date Sep 18, 2001
Publisher Yale University Press
Series Anchor Yale Bible Reference Library
ISBN 0300140320 ISBN13 9780300140323
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More About John P. Meier
John P. Meier is William K. Warren Professor of Theology (New Testament) at the University of Notre Dame and the author of A Marginal Jew: Rethinking the Historical Jesus. He has also written six other books and over seventy articles. At various times he has been the editor or associate editor of The Catholic Biblical Quarterly, New Testament Studies, and Dead Sea Discoveries.
John P. Meier currently resides in the state of Indiana.
John P. Meier has published or released items in the following series...
Reviews - What do customers think about A Marginal Jew: Rethinking the Historical Jesus, Volume III: Companions and Competitors (The Anchor Yale Bible Reference Library)?
Documented human atmosphere of Jesus Aug 21, 2009
The 3rd volume keeps de methodological rigor of the first two. Accordingly, objective arguments and rational discussion are common place. The author has no problem when a question is not clear enough to emit a judgment of non liquet, not clear. Indeed, the book is not addressed to those seeking faith, but to those seeking historical rigour as much as possible.
Concerning the contents, in the first part Meier addresses Jesus followers in three concentric circles. The first one is the general populace that attended Jesus preaching. No special commitment was on their side, and they were equally supporters and enemies, poor's and riches, men and women, etc. The second strata were those committed to Jesus but without leaving their homes and livelihood. These were the ones offering home to rest to Jesus and their companions in their travels around Galilee (Mary and other women, the host in Jerusalem offering room for the last meal, for instance). These may had been rich people to offer such a huge infrastructure, because hosting Jesus and his wandering companions was not a cheaper thing to do: beds, food, water, clothes and other facilities were required (considering Jesus was totally unconcerned for material maintenance). Finally, the inner circle of followers were the disciples, being the 12 the closest ones. These were explicitly call and chosen by Jesus. According to the Gospels, also women were close disciples of Jesus, although not one of the 12. Certainly, no narrative relating the call of a women is depicted in the Gospels, but despite this narrative in the Gospels show women in the group, so they may be counted as disciples. On the other hand, is difficult to believe that any woman could join the group without the explicit or implicit agreement of Jesus. Still, this strange companion should cause an impact in Galilee: a single man wandering, who wanted the children to stay with him, with both single and married man, some of them living families and obligations behind, mixed with women without a concrete status; entering houses were they stayed the night together, or sleeping in the camps.
The second part is devoted to the competitors: Pharisees, Sadducees, Essenes and Qumran, Samaritans, Escribes, Herodions. I found specially interesting the chapters devoted to Pharisees, were a historical background is depicted. I had the impression they were a kind of satanic sect, but after reading the book I see them with a more objective and documented light. Also, the comparation with the Essenes and Qumran is very clever. Usually, authors stress similarities with Qumran and Jesus, but there also huge and insurmountable dissimilarities. To signal only one: Qumran was a sect with strict observation about who could be accepted, what he had to do to become a full member, what he had to do with his personal wealth... To say nothing of their eschatological expectations: they waited for a final combat between the sons of the light (themselves, obviously), and the sons of the night (the other ones). But Jesus never established and organized protocol to accept disciples: he just call them or left them join the company. Jesus never asked for sharing the money of the disciples, and did not distinguish between a full membership an another kind. Still, Jesus was a wandering prophet seeking to mix with sinners, not an illuminate seeking the fuga mundi, away form the world, in a monastery.
All in all, if you are looking for a documented account of Jesus human atmosphere without dogmatic or systematic deviations, you will feel like home.