Saturday, December 30, 2006
Linda and I went to Borders in Ann Arbor, which is just 30 minutes from our house, on Thursday. I was packing some Christmas gifts - Borders gift cards. I picked up three very good books on Jesus, and started reading them all today!
The first is Amy-Jill Levine's The Misunderstood Jew: The Church and the Scandal of the Jewish Jesus. I showed it to Dan and his fiance Allie today - Allie picked it up and read for a while. Levine is a professor at Vanderbilt and is friends with Ben Witherington, who gives her book very high marks.
A second book I got is Ben Witherington's What Have They Done with Jesus?: Beyond Strange Theories and Bad History--Why We Can Trust the Bible. This book gets high marks from a lot of great New Testament scholars, to include Craig Keener and Craig Blomberg. Witherington identifies the eyewitnesses to Jesus' life and devotes chapters to each of them.
The third book I picked up is Richard Baukham's Jesus and the Eyewitnesses: The Gospels as Eyewitness Testimony. N. T. Wright, Martin Hengel, James Dunn, and John Dominic Crossan all provide laudatory blurbs. As I began reading it I found it very hard to put down. Among other things, it shows flaws in in the Form-Critical method and argues strongly for ancient historiography as "testimony." I have always felt that - appropriate cautions taken - persons immersed in the life of another person or immersed and engaged in a movement provide a witness, a testimony, that "detached observors" cannot. Baukham explains this, both as a historical thing and as a hermeneutical methodological thing. Really cool stuff, and helpful already!