A Marginal Jew: Rethinking the Historical Jesus, Volume 4: by John P. Meier

By John P. Meier

John Meier’s past volumes within the acclaimed sequence A Marginal Jew are based upon the inspiration that whereas good old information regarding Jesus is sort of constrained, humans of other faiths can however arrive at a consensus on primary historic evidence of his existence. during this eagerly expected fourth quantity within the sequence, Meier methods a clean topic—the teachings of the old Jesus bearing on Mosaic legislation and morality—with an identical rigor, thoroughness, accuracy, and insightfulness on exhibit in his past works. After correcting misconceptions approximately Mosaic legislation in Jesus’ time, this quantity addresses the lessons of Jesus on significant criminal subject matters like divorce, oaths, the Sabbath, purity principles, and a number of the love commandments within the Gospels. What emerges from Meier’s examine is a profile of a classy first-century Palestinian Jew who, faraway from trying to abolish the legislations, used to be deeply engaged in debates approximately its observance. simply by means of embracing this portrait of the historic Jesus grappling with questions of the Torah will we keep away from the typical mistake of creating Christian ethical theology less than the guise of learning “Jesus and the Law,” the writer concludes.

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35 As indicated throughout the first three volumes of A Marginal Jew, I hold that John’s Gospel represents a tradition independent of the Synoptics. The treatments of the Passion tradition by C. H. Dodd (Historical Tradition in the Fourth Gospel [Cambridge: Cambridge University, 1963] 21–151) and at much greater length by Raymond E. ; New York: Doubleday, 1994; reprint New Haven: Yale University Press]) offer, in my view, convincing arguments in favor of this position, especially in regard to the Passion tradition.

In sum, my own experience throughout the writing of these four volumes has convinced me that, while methodology and criteria may be tiresome topics, they are vital in keeping the critic from seeing in the data whatever he or she has already decided to see. The rules of the road are never exciting, but they keep us moving in the right direction. More important still, these rules of the road, as well as the whole introduction to Volume Four, are meant to reinforce a basic truth that I have stressed since the start of Volume One.

5) Instead of simply judging individual sayings or deeds of Jesus, the criterion of Jesus’ rejection and execution looks primarily at the larger pattern of Jesus’ ministry and asks what words and deeds fit in with and explain his trial and crucifixion. A Jesus whose words and deeds did not threaten or alienate people, especially powerful people, is not the historical Jesus. In a sense, then, the whole portrait of Jesus that emerges from these four volumes of A Marginal Jew must be evaluated in the light of this criterion.

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