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Jesus and His Death: Historiography, the Historical Jesus, and Atonement Theory [Hardcover]

By Scot McKnight (Author)
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Item description for Jesus and His Death: Historiography, the Historical Jesus, and Atonement Theory by Scot McKnight...

Recent scholarship on the historical Jesus has rightly focused upon how Jesus understood his own mission. But no scholarly effort to understand the mission of Jesus can rest content without exploring the historical possibility that Jesus envisioned his own death. In this careful and far-reaching study, Scot McKnight contends that Jesus did in fact anticipate his own death, that Jesus understood his death as an atoning sacrifice, and that his death as an atoning sacrifice stood at the heart of Jesus' own mission to protect his own followers from the judgment of God.

From The Book Jacket
This is a brave book. With due awareness of the historical traps and with a mastery of the recent relevant literature, McKnight here asks the crucial question, How did Jesus interpret his own death? His answer, which hearkens back to Albert Schweitzer, does full justice to Jesus' eschatological outlook and makes good sense within a first-century Jewish context. Even those who see things differently-I do not-will enjoy how the detailed and rigorous argument develops and will find themselves learning a great deal. -Dale C. Allison, Jr., Errett M. Grabe Professor of New Testament and Early Christianity, Pittsburgh Theological Seminary Recent books on the historical Jesus illustrate how compelling scholars and general readers alike find the topic of Jesus' death. But these books also illustrate a major problem-some studies depend upon some grand interpretive theory, while others rivet their attention on exegetical details and disregard developmental questions. Widely read, Scot McKnight does both. He moves back and forth with careful transitions between contemporary hermeneutics and the ancient texts. As he does so, he also provides a rich and often entertaining account of the secondary literature. The volume can be read both as an address of its central questions and as a well-informed introduction to New Testament theology. -Bruce Chilton, Bard College Scot McKnight is fully aware that making claims about the historical Jesus is like entering a minefield. But he combines wide-ranging knowledge of and a willingness to interact with the extensive literature to build a careful, brick-by-brick argument. The sheer breadth of issues covered separates this work from what might otherwise have been its competitors. In ways reminiscent of Stephen Neil, McKnight also has written a book that is never dry or dull. -Joel B. Green, Dean and Professor of New Testament, Asbury Theological Seminary

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Item Specifications...

Pages   451
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 9.2" Width: 6.42" Height: 1.4"
Weight:   1.96 lbs.
Binding  Hardcover
Release Date   Aug 8, 2006
Publisher   Baylor University Press
ISBN  1932792295  
ISBN13  9781932792294  

Availability  0 units.

More About Scot McKnight

Scot McKnight Scot McKnightis the Julius R. Mantey Professor of New Testament at Northern Seminary, Lombard, Illinois. His many other books includeThe Jesus Creed: Loving God, Loving Others;A Community Called Atonement; and the NICNT commentary on James. He also writes the award-winningJesus Creedblog at"

Scot McKnight currently resides in Chicago, in the state of Illinois.

Scot McKnight has published or released items in the following series...
  1. Ancient Practices
  2. Biblical Guides
  3. Bringing the Bible to Life
  4. Comentarios Biblicos Con Aplicacion NVI
  5. Guides to New Testament Exegesis
  6. Library of New Testament Studies
  7. Living Theology
  8. Mersion: Emergent Village Resources for Communities of Faith
  9. NIV Application Commentary
  10. Rzim Critical Questions Discussion Guides
  11. Story of God Bible Commentaries
  12. Story of God Bible Commentary
  13. Studying the Historical Jesus

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Product Categories

1Books > Special Features > New & Used Textbooks > Humanities > Religious Studies > Christianity
2Books > Special Features > New & Used Textbooks > Humanities > Religious Studies > History
3Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Christian Living > Faith
4Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Jesus > Historical Jesus
5Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Theology > Christology
7Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Religious Studies > History

Christian Product Categories
Books > Bible Study > New Testament Studies > Jesus Studies

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Reviews - What do customers think about Jesus and His Death: Historiography, the Historical Jesus, and Atonement Theory?

The scholarly documentation of how well Christ actually understood his own mission  Mar 15, 2006
Jesus And His Death: Historiography, The Historical Jesus, And Atonement Theory by Scot McKnight (University of Nottingham) is the scholarly documentation of how well Christ actually understood his own mission. Jesus And His Death risks documenting the potential understanding that Christ had predicted of foreseen his own death, and containing the full commitment that it seems obvious he retained for his faith in God, his own fate and personal mission. An informed and informative read, Jesus And His Own Death is highly recommended to all readers generally, but most especially to students of the New Testament and members of the Christian faith.
The Historical Lamb  Nov 11, 2005
Against a strong North American trend which views the question of Jesus' understanding of his death as misguided, Scot McKnight assumes as likely that Jesus thought he would die prematurely, in the providence of God, and would probably die at the hands of elites who saw his movement as a potential source of rebellion. "It only makes sense," he states, "that one who thought he would die, who on other grounds considered himself a prophet, also tried to make sense of that death". Jewish leaders like this regularly looked to prototypes from the Hebrew Bible in order to make sense of death and destiny.

The book is suspenseful as it works from a more general discussion of how Jesus made sense of his prophetic mission, to the idea that he thought he would die prematurely, to exactly how he made sense of that death. The Old Testament scripts used by Jesus -- the Psalmist's Son of Man, Elijah, Joshua, and Micah, Isaiah's suffering servant, and Daniel's apocalyptic Son of Man -- helped him make sense of his prophetic mission in light of the tribulation period, the opposition he faced, and the expected vindication/resurrection of him and his followers. But none offer a reliable window onto how he saw his death, and the ransom saying of Mk 10:45/Mt 20:28 is doubtfully historical.

Where the author finally locates Jesus' understanding of his death is in the eucharist account. His analysis of the last supper is the best available and alone worth the price of the book. Not since Jeremias has the eucharist been so carefully weighed and considered against the background of Judaic passover. McKnight basically argues that the flesh and blood of the passover lamb was replaced by Jesus' own "body and blood" (in the bread and wine), intended to protect his followers from God's fiery judgment against Jerusalem and its leaders. When Paul says that "Jesus is our paschal lamb" (I Cor 5:7), and when the fourth gospel writer refers to Jesus as "the lamb of God" (Jn 1:29), we are in touch, however obliquely, with the historical Jesus.

McKnight is (initially) very careful about distinguishing passover from both atonement and covenant-ceremony (p 285). Passover sacrifice did not atone/forgive; it protected. Yahweh "passed over" those so protected when he came in judgment. Passover was also not a covenant ceremony; while covenant sacrifice dealt with relationship and commitment, passover was all about deliverance from tyranny and bondage. Exod 12 and 24 are, as the author puts it, "countries and ideas apart". The covenant themes preserved in the eucharist accounts come from later Christian reflection. In the end, however, McKnight undercuts these distinctions by claiming that passover sacrifice is a form of atonement after all (p 339), confusing vicariousness with atonement. But vicarious simply means "for the benefit of others". So accurately speaking, Jesus saw his death as vicarious -- it would protect his followers when God rained judgment down on everyone -- but not atoning.

Aside from my dispute over the concluding terminology, I agree with most of what is presented in this book and highly recommend it. McKnight has seriously redressed a dimension to the historical Jesus which is too often ignored in the academy. Jesus lived on a landscape of eschatology and martyrdom. However foreign that landscape is to us (it certainly is to me), we need to get comfortable with ideas that pertain to it.

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