James Crossley's blog Contact: jgcrossley10 - AT - yahoo - DOT - co - DOT - uk

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

More things missed

Firstly, just to repeat, I never got married and went to the wedding of someone else but thanks for the congratulations anyway! An important moral about checking posts is in all this somewhere.

There has been a few listings recently. I'm not going to give a top ten or anything because I would just change my mind immediately but... As for the Jesus books (I think started by Michael Bird) the top two for me by far are Sanders and Vermes. Vermes gave us Jesus the Jew. This changed the face of Jesus studies in the long run and to this day, despite all the lip service paid to the Jewishness of Jesus, Vermes' Jesus still needs to be re-read because I think he's got the general picture spot on, even if some details may be disputed. Sanders too changed the face of Jesus studies, esp. when combined with Vermes. Again a very Jewish Jesus. There are problems, esp. his downplaying of conflict, but the eschatological Jesus, the stress on Jesus' Jewishness, and his overtly historical agenda all contribute to making groundbreaking work. Only Meier really comes close to these two. A lot of the other work seems to me to be wrestling with (avoiding?) the ramifications of Vermes and Sanders.

A small word for Crossan too. While I think his picture is completely wrong, his insistence on interdisciplinary approaches has often been ignored. I suspect that once his Cynic-esque social reformer Jesus and his use of primary sources are demolished then many scholars think everything else falls without properly engaging with his interdisciplnary approach. Hopefully one day the emphasis on social sciences will be seen as Crossan's legacy.

Now the biblical books started off by Loren Rosson. Very interesting to see Jim West not include any of the synoptics but more interesting to see (given Jim's theological preferences) no mention of Galatians and the inclusion of James.

If it was my top ten of favourites, I would (like Loren) probably go for Ecclesiastes. Some of the aggressive prophets like Amos would come high, not to mention the NT equivalents like James. Job is impressive but I really don't like the ending which seems to just give up on the extensive critique of the previous chapters. But this was Loren's wording: If we could save only ten of its sixty-six books from extinction, what would they be? So technically this doesn't have to be favourites. In this case I would go for Leviticus which as it turns out happens to be one of my favourites too. The details of purity law have become a bit of a favourite of mine over the past few years. Leviticus inspired the intricate system of rabbinic purity laws. Without Leviticus it would be very difficult to understand where the already difficult rabbinic system came from. With it we can see a highly logical and sophisticated system.


Blogger J. B. Hood said...


Great point on Crossan. I've heard some folks who disagree with Wright say the same thing about the good bishop's work--the methodology really does offer something to work with--not Meyer's critical realism, but the emphasis on worldview and the way that connects to symbols and praxis.

August 10, 2005


Post a Comment

<< Home