on the historical Jesus

Our tour guide reccomended an excellent book (I read the first few chapters) for those interested in the historical Jesus. The Authentic Gospel of Jesus by Geza Vermes. IMO, Vermes is one of the few people I would bother listening to about the historical Jesus. Why? Funny story. He was born to Jewish parents in Europe in 1924. At the age of 7 (1931) his entire family became Catholic. His parents none the less were murdered in the Shoah however, he was sent to live in a Catholic monastary and was saved. He grew up as a Catholic, entered the priesthood and specialized in theology and ancient semitic languages. In 1953, at the age of 31, he began to translate the Qumran texts (aka Dead Sea Scrolls found in the first caves). In 1957 he left the Church and immersed himself in academia, focusing on Judaism and Christianity fom 100 BCE to about 200 CE. This includes how Judaism changed from the Second Temple based Judaism to Synagogue and Talmudic based Judaism, an amazing transformation as well as how Christianiaty spread from a small sect in the Galil to the pagan worls. His works include;

Scripture and tradition in Judaism: Haggadic studies,

Jesus the Jew: A Historian's Reading of the Gospels,

The Dead Sea Scrolls: Qumran in Perspective,

Jesus and the World of Judaism,

The Essenes According to the Classical Sources,

The Religion of Jesus the Jew,

The Changing Faces of Jesus,

Jesus in his Jewish Context,

The Authentic Gospel of Jesus,

The Passion,

"Who's Who in the Age of Jesus",

Given his extensive background in the Church (from the age of ~12 until 34), his speciality in language used in that time and his extensive use of all sources, I BELIEVE he gives the most accurate idea of what a Jesus-type of character would have been doing and what he would acctually have been saying.

MS

I guess you're all off celebrating Jesus' brit or something.

MS

Thank you for the info.

The Religion of Jesus the Jew, and The Dead Sea Scrolls: Qumran in Perspective, are books I think that are translated to Portuguese.

I´ll look for them at the library.

Well you can send it to me if you wan't I'd love to read it, but I wouldn't love to buy it :)

the rev

will check into this, even though Im very sceptical of a catholic outlook on anything. Does sound pretty interesting though.

thanks for the reference MS

when the job starts paying the bills, Rev, you'll get a copy (but that's a few years off yet).

looks interesting but Im not fond of redaction criticism simply because it has no real underpinning on what they decide to accept and what they dont. the jesus seminar is the popular group doing this. They do some excellent contextual work on the historical jesus but the way they randomly decide what jesus said and didnt say is way too subjective, imo.

I have always like John Dominic Crossan. If you read his life story it really is incredible the spiritual journey he went on. One qoute I like is I could no longer march the beat of a drum my heart did not hear. He left the dominican order, married and became a college professor. I dont agree with everything he says but I find him to be one of the most HONEST sounding , writing Higher Critics out there. Its almost as if he is saddened by the truth yet liberated at the same time.

Its almost as if he is saddened by the truth yet liberated at the same time.

That is exactly how I feel.

"will check into this, even though Im very sceptical of a catholic outlook on anything. Does sound pretty interesting though."

It's not a Catholic outlook, it is a very jewish outlook.

I have become skeptical of the "authentic Jesus" movement in scholarly circles. There's rarely much scholarly about it. Vermes (don't even get me started on Dominic Crossan) goes through the various Gospels and picks out which ones are authentic and which ones are not (this is a big part of the what the Jesus Seminar group does). How do you decide which ones are authentic and which ones are not? Comparative textual analysis, it seems. Generally, if it is in all three of the books it's best and should be considered more real than if it is not. Also, specific to Vermes and his work, if you can't imagine a 1st Century Jew saying them, then they are not likely authentic and must have been stuck in there by a later author. Conclusion? Jesus can only be properly understood within a strictly Jewish context. Surprise!

Under examination, the methods used to determine what is authentic and what is not authentic turns out to be largely arbitrary and the conclusions often little more than wild conjecture. Vermes' book is little different in that respect.

Where are we at after 50 years of this sort of textual analysis? Not very far. Jesus is viewed and argued as a dozen different things by hundreds of different scholars. He was an eschatological prophet, he was a preacher of social change, he was an itinerant cynic philosopher, an apocolyptic prophet, he was a sage, we was a wisdom teacher, he was a marginal Jew, he was a talking head, a simple Jewish peasant, an educated jewish-hellenistic member of the upper middle class artisans-- and, of course, a literary figure that never really existed at all.

I should confess that I have read more Crossan, Marcus Borg, and Burton Mack and very little Vermes, so my ire is probably misdirected on this thread.

It's odd, I actually decided to look a bit more deeply into christianity after reading several of Crossan's works. I later came to view him in particular, and many of the other historical Jesus scholars as a class, being at best poor scholars, at worst cynical manipulators of the public and the media for the professional and monetary profit.

I tend to try and use my common sense and a great deal of skepticism when reading these tyoes of books. If it seems to make sense, keep it; if not, ignore it. Arbitrary and subjective, I admit, but after all, if that method is good enough for scholars reading the gospel, it should be good enough for me reading scholars.

good post pnuema

"Arbitrary and subjective, I admit, but after all, if that method is good enough for scholars reading the gospel, it should be good enough for me reading scholars."

Awesome

I agree with pneuma. I think what I like about crossan and alot of the jesus seminar is not really that part of it, but the historical context they work with. Crossan has a new book out about paul and rome. very interesting. The thing about these guys is like pneuma said, its so subjective what they do but they really lay asided any doctrinal or liturgical sanctity and get at the context. thats more than alot of scholars with faith attatchments do and it leaves some of their stuff wanting. putting jesus in a social context is much more exciting than what they do trying to decipher 'what jesus really said'

college professors have to write books to make more than 40k a year anyway ! lol. Like I said I cant buy into alot of his premises but certain areas they go into are avoided by others on doctrinal security issues I think.

The Jesus Seminars?!..man I havent heard that name in a while...don't tell me people are still going for that?..There are some things I respect about them...their research...but they mostly come from a point calling themselves "liberal Christians" they want to believe there was a Jesus...but don't want to believe He actually was divine.

"The Jesus Seminars?!..man I havent heard that name in a while...don't tell me people are still going for that?.."

Dude, these guys are in all the newspapers; when CNN or the Discovery Channel or the History Channel does a special, these guys are always prominently featured.

Zealot, I perhaps came of a bit too strongly, but they do irritate me. There have been definite advancements in archeology and our understanding of that time period. But what we have learned doesn't seem to be enough-- and so these scholars extrapolate on these discoveries to a point that it becomes almost satire. But they take themselves seriously. People read this stuff and think, "well, he's a professor at Yale, it must be true". I did.

There have been reports that what the Jesus Seminar did to decide which verses should be counted as authentic or not is simply vote. If a majority of thier little crew didn't think it was authentic, then it was tossed out.

I also agree with your point on profs needing to publish. I have a cousin who's writing a book (she's a history prof) on the blessings and goodness of the life of minorites under the Ottomans, sort of the Golden Age of Andalusia nonsense moves east. When I brought up that, as far as I knew, Armenians, Greeks and even Arabs would have something to say about her thesis, she just kept talking about how "new" it was. It was unploughed ground. Wether or not is was right within the broader scope of history didn't seem to matter much. She needs to publish.

Dude, these guys are in all the newspapers; when CNN or the Discovery Channel or the History Channel does a special, these guys are always prominently featured.

ah...well there ya go then...getting history and science info from Discovery or THC is like going into McDonalds and ordering Prime Rib

and just so you know..I have read The JS...just I don't think their the cats meow...other Biblical scholars like Gary Habbermas and  Bruze Metzger(fellow at Yale)...are just as skilled in their research...yet they also can see that Jesus was very much divine...and did the things the gospels credit Him as doing

I tried to read Crossan's "The Historical Jesus", and it was so dry I couldnt make it halfway through. He does a lot of good research though, and cites many ancient sources.