Jesus and Crossan (Part II)

This is the second part of a two post-series looking at John D. Crossan’s view of the Historical Jesus as outlined in Jesus: A Revolutionary Biography.

jesus_catacombKey for understanding Crossan’s perspective on the historical Jesus is his understanding of Jesus as a Mediterranean Jewish Peasant.[13] In Crossan’s view, this understanding points to Jesus as a religious, social, ideological, and borderline political revolutionary who defied social norms and practiced “a shared egalitarianism of spiritual (healing) and material (eating) resources.”[14] Connecting Jesus with John the Baptist, and a form of Jewish eschatological thinking, Crossan suggests that perhaps the best approach to understanding and interpreting the historical Jesus would be through the lens of an Ancient Mediterranean Jewish Cynic.[15] For Crossan, such an understanding would explain textual traditions of both calls to poverty, social radicalism, commensality, freedom, kingdom language, and talk of followers as royalty.[16] Only with such an understanding, Crossan argues, can we really understand the methods and message of the truly historical Jesus. Continue reading

Book Review: The Case for the Real Jesus (Strobel)

The Case for the Real JesusIn some respects, The Case for the Real Jesus: Student Edition stands as but one Christian apologetics book among a market full of many. The back cover isn’t full of important Christian ‘celebrities’ and theologians saying how great this book is. There was no flashy marketing campaign when this book hit the shelves. It’s not a hardback tome proclaiming itself to include the answers to every question which might confront the Christian faith. In some ways, this relatively short book (at just fewer than two hundred pages) is pretty easy to overlook. But to ignore the contents of this book would be a major mistake.

In The Case for the Real Jesus: Student Edition, journalist Lee Strobel and Jane Vogel engage six of the most common challenges to Christian claims about the Historical Jesus and offer serious historical information on these claims for readers to consider. Through interviews with six scholars, Strobel tackles questions about the reliability of the Gospel accounts of Jesus, the reliability of New Testament texts, counters to the resurrection, the influence of pagan religions upon stories about Jesus, Jesus’ fulfillment of Jewish prophecy, and what Christians should believe about the historical Jesus in today’s context. By looking at each of these topics seriously, Strobel provides a valuable tool for those seeking to understand and defend their Christian faith. Continue reading

Comparing the Historical Jesus: Resurrection

This is part of our ongoing series comparing the perspectives of J. D. Crossan and N. T. Wright on the Historical Jesus.

ResurrectionWhile thus far in this series Crossan and Wright have differed on their reconstructions of the Historical Jesus, it is the resurrection that truly demonstrates the divergent perspectives of these two scholars.[1] Crossan writes concerning historicity of the canonical resurrection appearance accounts that, “Jesus’ burial by his friends was totally fiction and unhistorical. He was buried, if buried at all, by his enemies, and the necessarily shallow grave would have been easy prey for scavenging animals… Resurrection is but one way, not the only way, of expressing Christian faith…. Apparition… Is one way, not the only way, of expressing Christian experience…. Christian faith experiences the continuation of divine empowerment through Jesus, but that continuation began only after his death and burial.”[2] Crossan understands the Pauline message of the importance of the typological resurrection of Christ[3] as one way that the message of Christianity could be interpreted and preached in the early first century Greco-Roman context, and that such an understanding should not be taken as normative for the entirety of the early Jesus movement.[4] Continue reading