We only regret that Professor Freyne (1935-2013) is no longer with us. We would have liked to celebrate this excellent book with him.
"Many scholars prefer to avoid discussion of Toledot Yeshu, which recalls uncomfortable periods of history when relations between Jews and Christians were antagonistic. Unfortunately, such avoidance of history has disastrous consequences. I would argue that it is the parts of our history that we refuse to look at that pose the most danger to us. Avoidance of historical shortcomings encourages complacency, displacement of responsibility, and lack of sensitivity to others. It is when we confront the difficult parts of our shared history that we can come to terms with why people needed such mockery and why others might employ such rhetoric against them, understanding the historical violence and prejudice that shaped this text. It is only when we confront that part of the human spirit that loves to degrade the other that we can invite in more enlightened responses."
When archeologists and volunteers started digging, they were astonished to find a treasure: A 1st-century synagogue, one of only seven in Israel - and in the entire world.
"This is the first synagogue ever excavated where Jesus walked and preached," says the father, calling it "hugely important" for both Jews and Christians.
Experts say it's highly likely that Jesus would have preached in the recently uncovered synagogue, believed to have first been built in the year 1 as a simple structure which was then upgraded into a more ornate one in the year 40.I always feel skeptical when an article refers to "experts" who are equal parts confident and anonymous. I'm also skeptical when a news source reveals some new discovery around Christmas or Easter. That said, Jesus may well have visited this synagogue. Perhaps Mary was in some way connected to the group that met in this place.
This book includes several examples of remarkably insightful biblical interpretation, particularly when [Chris] Keith examines the distinctive ways in which each Gospel treats Jesus’ relationship to literacy. One outstandingly presented case involves Mark’s “layered portrayal” of Jesus as a synagogue teacher in diverse contexts. Mark contrasts Jesus’ teaching with those of the “scribal-elite teachers,” combining Jesus’ teaching with his powerful deeds: “Where an audience is willing to allow Jesus’ exorcisms and healings to influence their view of his identity, he is accepted as a synagogue teacher,” but where the audience does not link Jesus’ deeds to his teachings, they reject him. Indeed, after the account of Jesus’ difficult visit to the Nazareth synagogue, Mark never again describes Jesus teaching in a synagogue. Thus “Mark portrays Jesus as a compelling teacher whose contemporaries did not expect him to be a synagogue teacher because he was a member of the manual-labor class.” Keith then goes on to show how Matthew and Luke subtly and not so subtly revised Mark’s version of the story to enhance Jesus’ teaching authority (Matthew) and his literacy (Luke).I have now read three of Greg Carey's reviews and have decided that he is the world's finest book reviewer. He is level-headed, generous by default, but honest throughout. Most importantly, he engages the heart of the thesis and assesses the book accordingly. I wish that he would review every book.
Jacobovici’s The Exodus Decoded (2006), produced by James Cameron (Titanic, Avatar), claimed to have located the Ark of the Covenant, among other artifacts. Another Jacobovici documentary, The Lost Tomb of Jesus (2007), asserted that a collection of ancient ossuaries, or bone-boxes, found in Jerusalem once contained the bones of Jesus and various members of his family, including a son and a “Mary” who Jacobovici argued was the Magdalene. Jacobovici’s The Nails of the Cross (2011) claimed to have located Jesus’ crucifixion nails—or at least something close. His The Jesus Discovery (2012) argued that squiggles on yet another Jerusalem ossuary spelled out the story of Jonah and the whale, which early Christians regarded as a prefiguring of Jesus’ resurrection. Jacobovici deemed the first-century ossuary to be the “earliest Christian artifact,” but most New Testament scholars were unable to see much more than decorative lines on the bone-box.I was interviewed for this article, as was Mark Goodacre. Unlike my interview with Maclean's, I'm happy to commend this piece as an apt survey of the current state of affairs. I will point out, however, that none of what I said about Jesus' stances against traditional family values, wealth, or the fiscal collectivism of early Christianity made it into the article. Go figure.
The truly honest answer is that we don't know whether he was married or not. It would have been unusual for someone capable of supporting a wife not to have been married by the age of 30. It has been convincingly argued that Paul was married (though widowed) as it was a requirement for rabbis. However, against this is the question of Jesus' parentage; some scholars argue that he carried a stigma of illegitimacy (in Mark 6:3 he is called “the son of Mary", not Joseph) that would have meant he was an undesirable match.
In Jesus and the Chaos of History, James Crossley looks at the way the earliest traditions about Jesus interacted with a context of social upheaval and the ways in which this historical chaos of the early first century led to a range of ideas which were taken up, modified, ignored, and reinterpreted in the movement that followed. Crossley examines how the earliest Palestinian tradition intersected with social upheaval and historical change and how accidental, purposeful, discontinuous, contradictory, and implicit meanings in the developments of ideas appeared in the movement that followed. He considers the ways seemingly egalitarian and countercultural ideas co-exist with ideas of dominance and power and how human reactions to socio-economic inequalities can end up mimicking dominant power. In this case, the book analyzes how a Galilean "protest" movement laid the foundations for its own brand of imperial rule. This evaluation is carried out in detailed studies on the kingdom of God and "Christology," "sinners" and purity, and gender and revolution.