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The Historical Jesus in Context


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Table of Contents

Princeton Readings in Religions v Contributors ix Introduction by Amy-Jill Levine 1 Chapter 1: Archaeological Contributions to the Study of Jesus and the Gospels by Jonathan L. Reed 40 Chapter 2: Josephus on John the Baptist and Other Jewish Prophets of Deliverance by Craig A. Evans 55 Chapter 3: Abba and Father: Imperial Theology in the Contexts of Jesus and the Gospels by Mary Rose D'Angelo 64 Chapter 4: Miraculous Conceptions and Births in Mediterranean Antiquity by Charles H. Talbert 79 Chapter 5: First and Second Enoch: A Cry against Oppression and the Promise of Deliverance by George W. E. Nickelsburg 87 Chapter 6: Jesus and the Dead Sea Scrolls by Peter Flint 110 Chapter 7: The Chreia by David B. Gowler 132 Chapter 8: The Galilean Charismatic and Rabbinic Piety: The Holy Man in the Talmudic Literature by Alan J. Avery-Peck 149 Chapter 9: Miracle Stories: The God Asclepius, the Pythagorean Philosophers, and the Roman Rulers by Wendy Cotter, C.S.J. 166 Chapter 10: The Mithras Liturgy by Marvin Meyer 179 Chapter 11: Apuleius of Madauros by Ian H. Henderson 193 Chapter 12: The Parable in the Hebrew Bible and Rabbinic Literature by Gary G. Porton 206 Chapter 13: The Aesop Tradition by Lawrence M. Wills 222 Chapter 14: Targum, Jesus, and the Gospels by Bruce Chilton 238 Chapter 15: The Psalms of Solomon by Joseph L. Trafton 256 Chapter 16: Moral and Ritual Purity by Jonathan Klawans 266 Chapter 17: Gospel and Talmud by Herbert W. Basser 285 Chapter 18: Philo of Alexandria by Gregory E. Sterling 296 Chapter 19: The Law of Roman Divorce in the Time of Christ by Thomas A. J. McGinn 309 Chapter 20: Associations in the Ancient World by John S. Kloppenborg 323 Chapter 21: Anointing Traditions by Teresa J. Hornsby 339 Chapter 22: The Passover Haggadah by Calum Carmichael 343 Chapter 23: Joseph and Aseneth: Food as an Identity Marker by Randall D. Chesnutt 357 Chapter 24: The Pliny and Trajan Correspondence by Bradley M. Peper and Mark DelCogliano 366 Chapter 25: Imitations of Greek Epic in the Gospels by Dennis R. MacDonald 372 Chapter 26: Narratives of Noble Death by Robert Doran 385 Chapter 27: Isaiah 53:1-12 (Septuagint) by Ben Witherington III 400 Chapter 28: Thallus on the Crucifixion by Dale C. Allison Jr. 405 Maps 407 Glossary 409 Index of Ancient Works 417 Index of Ancient Persons 435

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An impressive volume. Levine, Allison, and Crossan have assembled a group of experts who, by generously citing and carefully analyzing primary sources, contextualize Jesus in the Jewish and wider Greco-Roman world of his time. The essays cast a wide net and collect a rich assortment of information for students of the historical Jesus and the Gospels. -- James C. Vanderkam, University of Notre Dame, author of "The Dead Sea Scrolls" Textbooks are increasingly difficult to find for an introductory class on Jesus of Nazareth. The Historical Jesus in Context provides an anthology of important primary texts that are set in context so that they illuminate what Jesus and his world was like. The selections are judicious, the authors prominent, and the potential for students illuminating. -- Scot McKnight, author of "The Jesus Creed" This is a source book to help all obtain their own conclusions, by emphasizing that Jesus' own message must be grounded in the original historical context. The task is not only imperative but also demanded morally. No other book does this so well. It is amazingly well done and well written. -- James Charlesworth, Princeton Theological Seminary This is a great collection and would certainly be of interest to scholars and laypersons interested in the quest for the historical Jesus. The selection of scholars is top notch, and the notes and commentary for each source are strong. -- Kathleen Corley, University of Wisconsin, Oshkosh

About the Author

Amy-Jill Levine is E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Professor of New Testament Studies at the Divinity School and Graduate Department of Religion of Vanderbilt University. Dale C. Allison Jr. is Errett M. Grable Professor of New Testament Exegesis and Early Christianity at the Pittsburgh Theological Seminary. John Dominic Crossan is Professor Emeritus of Religious Studies at DePaul University.


"The essays illuminate the social, religious, and cultural background of Jesus and the Gospels in striking ways. The book has gathered together the work of leading scholars without regard for any party line."--Paul Cavill, Church Times "A very useful introduction to the historical background of Jesus and the Gospels...A valuable resource for historical Jesus studies."--Michael Bird, Journal for the Study of the New Testament "It is a major research tool and an education in its own right. Highly recommended."--Robert M. Price, Religious Studies Review "In general, this is a volume especially useful as a resource for teaching about Jesus in his historical context."--Bruce Longenecker, Theological Book Review "This collection of essays is a very useful introduction to the historical background of Jesus and the Gospels. The translation of a number of primary texts in one volume makes it a valuable resource for historical Jesus studies."--Michael Bird, Journal for the Study of the New Testament "The heart of the matter is in the ancient texts themselves--let the reader understand! For this reason, the student of Christian origins and/or the historical Jesus will find this book eminently worthwhile. There is, as far as I know, no other book on the market that brings the primary textual backgrounds on Jesus together in one place."--Nicholas Perrin, Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society "An excellent addition to any library--whether scholarly, pastoral, or devotional--this is an illuminating volume with easy to follow, concise essays that deal with a variety of subjects or aspects of the world in which Jesus lived and the gospels written. Excellent for scholars, students, those charge with pastoral responsibilities or the interested reading public, The Historical Jesus in Context provides background and insights that illumine the gospel record in delightfully unexpected ways."--Stephen Morris, European Legacy

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