Tuesday, August 09, 2005

More on Jesus

I think I should qualify why those 10 Jesus books cited here are my favourite:

1. N.T. Wright, Jesus and the Victory of God

This book awoke me from my dogmatics slumbers and forced me to read the Gospels historically and to see Jesus as one sent to Israel and not simply biding time until Calvary. For the life of me, I can’t buy into the still-in-exile thing as anything other than a metaphor rather than a meta-narrative.

2. James Dunn, Jesus Remembered

I like Dunn’s take on the remembered Jesus. He offers some good insights although I opine that he fails to see Jesus as setting forth an explicit messianic claim. The section of the ‘Son of Man’ is excellent.

3. John P. Meier, A Marginal Jew

Simply for its scope and breadth this is well worth having (one day!). Meier leaves no stone unturned in his work.

4. Ben F. Meyer, The Aims of Jesus

Meyer’s book got people interested in Jesus and his Jewish context and shows how Jesus’ aims operated in that context. I’m not too sure about the remnant theme Meyer saw in Jesus’ ministry, but a good book nonetheless.

5. Annette Merz & Gerd Theissen, The Historical Jesus *

This is the first book you should read if you’re entering the historical Jesus maze. Theissen and Merz identify the problems and proposed solutions in historical Jesus studies for a variety of topics (e.g. miracles, criteria of authenticity, etc) and even give some excellent solutions themselves.

6. E.P. Sanders, Jesus and Judaism

Sanders strikes for the jugular by starting with Jesus’ view of the temple and paying more attention to Jesus’ action than just his teachings. Situating Jesus in the context of restoration eschatology is on the money. What I find perplexing is that Sanders scarcely can imagine Jesus finding anything wrong with Judaism either with the temple or the Pharisees.

7. Ben Witherington, The Jesus Quest *

This is the second book you should read in HJ studies – gives an excellent overview of research HJ scholarship.

8. Scot McKnight, The Teachings of Jesus in National Context

A small book, but a good companion to Wright. McKnight’s remarks on Jesus and the final judgment are worth the price of the book!

9. Henry Cadbury, The Peril of Modernizing Jesus *

This is the third book you should read before doing HJ study. Cadbury pointed out many of the errors scholars commit in studying Jesus and it is truly staggering how the same errors get repeated and repeated and repeated even in our own day.

10. Markus Bockmuehl, This Jesus

A short sharp book that takes a sober and balanced approach to several critical issues.

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