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The kingdom of God: Did Jesus get it wrong?

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  • Andrew Lloyd <a.lloyd2@ntlworld.com>
    In another online location I am currently pursuing a discussion which involves an historical understanding of Jesus favourite term for that which he was
    Message 1 of 17 , Mar 2, 2003
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      In another online location I am currently pursuing a discussion
      which involves an historical understanding of Jesus' favourite term
      for that which he was preaching - the kingdom of God. In that
      discussion the understanding of "kingdom of God" being discussed is
      an eschatological-apocalyptic one (based, in fact, on a putting
      together of Johannes Weiss'*Jesus' Proclamation of the Kingdom of
      God* and Sanders' *The Historical Figure of Jesus*). The substantial
      point made, and which I want to discuss here if I can, is that this
      reading is propagated to the extent that, to ape Paula Fredriksen,
      there was nothing *new* about Jesus' teaching (it was orthodox
      Jewish eschatology) but rather the difference was Jesus' timing:
      Jesus thought that God was going to intervene right now (or within
      the very near future, within his lifetime [e.g. Mark 9:1]). In short
      this reading, which I've just inadequately described, reads a Jesus
      who, in his fundamental premise of timing is WRONG and Jesus'
      mission is based almost entirely on a mistake he makes.

      What historical veracity might there be in this proposal of a
      mistaken eschatological Jesus?

      Andrew Lloyd (PhD Cand.)
      Department of Biblical Studies
      University of Sheffield, UK
    • Loren Rosson
      ... Andrew, In a word, much. As I read the evidence, it is more than likely that Jesus expected to witness divine intervention and the establishment of the
      Message 2 of 17 , Mar 2, 2003
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        Andrew wrote:

        >What historical veracity might there be in this
        >proposal of a mistaken eschatological Jesus?

        Andrew,

        In a word, much. As I read the evidence, it is more
        than likely that Jesus expected to witness divine
        intervention and the establishment of the kingdom of
        God, which would abolish injustices and restore the
        glory of Israel. Those who remove eschatology from the
        HJ equation -- or worse, who like to redefine
        eschatology in such a way that it means almost
        anything (and thus nothing) -- are, in my view,
        profoundly wrong. This doesn't necessarily mean that
        his entire mission was mistaken (though of course it
        could mean that, if one is unable to extract any
        significant "value" from the rest of the data, shades
        of our earlier discussion), but that seems to be a
        subject going beyond the bounds of this list. In any
        case, you are tackling one of the big questions which
        have plagued HJ studies for ages. Don't expect any
        resolution to it on this list! But for what it's
        worth, I'll offer the following:

        A while back some XTalkers (including myself)
        copycatted Ed Sanders by coming up with lists of
        "basic facts" about HJ. My own list resembled the
        following:

        1. Born and raised an artisan in Galilee, with little
        or no ascribed honor.

        2. Became a follower of John the Baptist.

        3. Eventually broke with the Baptist, retaining
        allegiance to, and at the same time revising, his
        vision of the apocalyptic kingdom of God.

        -- Having no ascribed honor, he acquired honor in
        public by:

        4. Exorcising the mad and healing the sick.

        5. Telling powerfully suggestive (and subversive)
        parables.

        6. Besting and outwitting various opponents in
        challenge-and-riposte. (I.e. He was a master of
        insults, counter-challenges, counter-questions,
        rhetoric-rebuttal, and scriptural one-upsmanship.)

        7. As a result of 4-6, he became hailed as
        a prophetic messiah, acquired a following, and
        spearheaded
        his own kingdom movement.

        8. Had many followers, but 12 specially close
        disciples.

        9. Demonstrated in the temple during Passover and was
        arrested shortly after.

        10. Executed by the Romans as would-be "King of the
        Judeans".

        With regard to my (2) and (3), people like Crossan and
        Borg have been fond of asserting that in place of
        fasting Jesus feasted in the here-and-now (Mk
        2:18-22/Mt 9:14-17/Lk 5:33-39), thereby supposedly
        repudiating future eschatology. Perhaps a more
        cautious reading of the evidence would imply that
        Jesus was rejecting fasting **in anticipation of** the
        kingdom's full disclosure in the near future, when
        everyone would feast in the messianic banquet (Mt
        8:11-12/Lk 13:28-29).

        I see more than enough which indicates that Jesus
        retained apocalyptic expectations -- praying for the
        kingdom to come, prophesying the temple's destruction,
        and the passage you mention (Mk 9:1/Mt 16:28/Lk 9:27:
        "There are some standing here who will not taste death
        until they see the kingdom of God") are some obvious
        ones. The various attempts to explain away Mk 9:1/Mt
        16:28/Lk 9:27 as either (a) a creation of the early
        church (thus, for example, Meier in A Marginal Jew Vol
        II, pp 341-348) or (b) not really saying what it means
        nor meaning what it says (thus, for example, Chilton
        in Pure Kingdom, pp 62-65) are to me unconvincing. I
        single out Meier and Chilton not because they make
        such poor arguments, but rather because they make the
        best arguments.

        Chilton's is a fascinating one which shows his fluency
        in Semitic usages and grammar. As a preliminary, he
        argues that the phrase, "those who will not taste
        death" in Judaism refers simply to people who never
        die (like Enoch and Elijah); he then advances the
        claim that "x will not happen until y" is a form of
        speech implying that both parts of the statement are
        valid. He compares Jesus' statement in Mk 9:1/Mt
        16:28/Lk 9:27 to God's in Gen 28:15: "I will not
        depart from you until I have done that of which I have
        spoken." Just as God is really saying, "I will never
        leave you **and** I will do what I have promised", so
        Jesus is saying, "Immortals never die **and** the
        future coming of the kingdom is as certain as their
        immortality" (see Pure Kingdom, pp 64-65). But it's
        hardly clear that the phrase "those who will not taste
        death" always refers to immortals, as Chilton claims;
        and I find the parallel with Gen 28:15 to be rather
        slippery if ingenious. But it does illustrate the
        lengths to which people will go in order to avoid the
        embarassing conclusion that Jesus may have been
        mistaken about the apocalyptic timetable. Meier
        rightly anticipates the objection to his own argument
        about Mk 9:1/Mt 16:28/Lk 9:27 being a creation of the
        early church: "How convenient! This way Jesus was not
        mistaken about the time of the kingdom's arrival, and
        one avoids all sorts of uncomfortable theological
        questions." (p 347) Chilton's argument is pretty
        convenient too, if you ask me.

        Loren Rosson III
        Nashua NH
        rossoiii@...


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      • Bob Schacht
        ... Andrew, Isn t this pretty close to what Ed Sanders argues in The Historical Figure of Jesus? ... Probably depends on how you evaluate Sanders evidence.
        Message 3 of 17 , Mar 2, 2003
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          At 01:50 PM 3/2/2003 +0000, Andrew Lloyd wrote:
          >In another online location I am currently pursuing a discussion
          >which involves an historical understanding of Jesus' favourite term
          >for that which he was preaching - the kingdom of God. ... In short
          >this reading, which I've just inadequately described, reads a Jesus
          >who, in his fundamental premise of timing is WRONG and Jesus'
          >mission is based almost entirely on a mistake he makes.

          Andrew,
          Isn't this pretty close to what Ed Sanders argues in The Historical Figure
          of Jesus?


          >What historical veracity might there be in this proposal of a mistaken
          >eschatological Jesus?

          Probably depends on how you evaluate Sanders' evidence.
          Bob


          >Andrew Lloyd (PhD Cand.)




          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • Steve Dingeldein
          Interesting discussion of Jesus apocalyptic claims. As a relative amateur I d be interested in what you folk have to say about Horsely comment in Jesus and
          Message 4 of 17 , Mar 2, 2003
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            Interesting discussion of Jesus' apocalyptic claims. As a relative amateur
            I'd be interested in what you folk have to say about Horsely comment in
            Jesus and Empire, pp 80-81:

            "Recent liberal interpreters of Jesus are clearly uncomfortable with the
            judgmental side of Jesus' mission . . . . This is a dramatic departure from
            the earlier view made popular mainly by Albert Schweitzer of Jesus as an
            'apocalyptic' prophet who preached the end of the world. To modern Western
            sensitivities, however, the apocalyptic Jesus seems perilously close to
            being a deluded fanatic, since his predicitons of a presumed 'cosmic
            catastrophe' proved false. Some recent American interpreters have avoided
            this embarassing conclusion by rejecting as secondary any of Jesus' sayings
            that might seem 'apocalyptic' in tone or motif. This makes Jesus into an
            utterly unique historical figure - a historical impossibility, of course -
            different from both his Jewish contemporaries before him and hisown
            followers after him.

            Both the earlier picture of Jesus as an apocalyptic preacher and the more
            recent attempt to elimante apocalyptic elements are rooted in the modern
            scholarly construct of 'apocalyptic,' which is highly problematic. It is
            quesitonalbe whether this synthetic modern scholarly construct is applicable
            to any particular Jewish text, including those classified in the genre of
            'apocalypse.' More particularly, once we are more sensitive to metaphoric
            language and hyperbole, it is difficult to find any ancient Judean texts
            taht attest belief 'in the end of the world' or a 'cosmic catastrophe.' We
            need to abandon the modern concept of 'apocalyptic' and take a fresh look at
            the way the earlist Gospel documents portray Jesus' pronouncement of
            judgement."

            Steve Dingeldein
          • Jeffrey B. Gibson
            ... Another serendipitous message -- like Gordon s earlier -- as it gives me a good reason to remind List members that Dick Horsley will be joining us in May
            Message 5 of 17 , Mar 2, 2003
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              Steve Dingeldein wrote:

              > Interesting discussion of Jesus' apocalyptic claims. As a relative
              > amateur
              > I'd be interested in what you folk have to say about Horsely comment
              > in
              > Jesus and Empire, pp 80-81

              Another serendipitous message -- like Gordon's earlier -- as it gives me
              a good reason to remind List members that Dick Horsley will be joining
              us in May to do a Seminar on this very book.

              Yours,

              Jeffrey
              --

              Jeffrey B. Gibson, D.Phil. (Oxon.)

              1500 W. Pratt Blvd. #1
              Chicago, IL 60626

              jgibson000@...



              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
            • Gordon Raynal
              ... Jeffrey, Any invitations out to such as Brandon Scott, Dom or Burton Mack so that list members might have a new opportunity to engage folks who see things
              Message 6 of 17 , Mar 3, 2003
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                >
                >Another serendipitous message -- like Gordon's earlier -- as it gives me
                >a good reason to remind List members that Dick Horsley will be joining
                >us in May to do a Seminar on this very book.

                Jeffrey,

                Any invitations out to such as Brandon Scott, Dom or Burton Mack so that
                list members might have a new opportunity to engage folks who see things a
                tad differently than such as Horsely and Allison? How about an invitation
                to such as Crossan, Mack, Saunders and Allison to have a methodological
                debate?

                Gordon Raynal
                Inman, SC
              • Jeffrey B. Gibson
                ... I have written to Mack previously about doing a seminar and/or participating in one/joining XTalk. He has no interest in doing so. I always let Dom know
                Message 7 of 17 , Mar 3, 2003
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                  Gordon Raynal wrote:

                  >
                  > >
                  > >Another serendipitous message -- like Gordon's earlier -- as it gives
                  > me
                  > >a good reason to remind List members that Dick Horsley will be
                  > joining
                  > >us in May to do a Seminar on this very book.
                  >
                  > Jeffrey,
                  >
                  > Any invitations out to such as Brandon Scott, Dom or Burton Mack so
                  > that
                  > list members might have a new opportunity to engage folks who see
                  > things a
                  > tad differently than such as Horsely and Allison? How about an
                  > invitation
                  > to such as Crossan, Mack, Saunders and Allison to have a
                  > methodological
                  > debate?

                  I have written to Mack previously about doing a seminar and/or
                  participating in one/joining XTalk. He has no interest in doing so.

                  I always let Dom know about the seminars. His participation is always
                  contingent on time available to him.

                  As to Saunders -- forgive me if I'm being more than usually obtuse, but
                  do you mean Ed Sanders? If so, there's not much hope. He has noted to me
                  privately that he is one of the worst e-mail corespondents on the
                  planet.

                  Look for the announcement on the Allison Seminar, as well as URLs to the
                  material Dale wishes to be the subject matter of the discussion, later
                  today.

                  Yours,

                  Jeffrey
                  --

                  Jeffrey B. Gibson, D.Phil. (Oxon.)

                  1500 W. Pratt Blvd. #1
                  Chicago, IL 60626

                  jgibson000@...



                  [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                • Bob Schacht
                  ... Gordon, You seem to have forgotten that we ve *already* had seminars with Crossan, and I appreciate the invitations to Allison (and Horsley again) for
                  Message 8 of 17 , Mar 3, 2003
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                    At 09:45 AM 3/3/2003 -0500, Gordon Raynal wrote:

                    > >
                    > >Another serendipitous message -- like Gordon's earlier -- as it gives me
                    > >a good reason to remind List members that Dick Horsley will be joining
                    > >us in May to do a Seminar on this very book.
                    >
                    >Jeffrey,
                    >
                    >Any invitations out to such as Brandon Scott, Dom or Burton Mack so that
                    >list members might have a new opportunity to engage folks who see things a
                    >tad differently than such as Horsely and Allison? How about an invitation
                    >to such as Crossan, Mack, Saunders and Allison to have a methodological
                    >debate?
                    >
                    >Gordon Raynal

                    Gordon,
                    You seem to have forgotten that we've *already* had seminars with Crossan,
                    and I appreciate the invitations to Allison (and Horsley again) for
                    balance. I believe the archives of these seminars are still accessible.
                    Your dissing Allison (and Horsley) in advance (in previous posts, and by
                    implication in this one) seems unfair and unscholarly. I can understand why
                    you might want to line up scholars whose views you sympathize with, but
                    please don't diss the others in the meanwhile. Instead, I think we should
                    all be grateful to Jeffrey Gibson for the extra work he has done lining up
                    seminar leaders. Thanks, Jeffrey!

                    Bob
                  • Gordon Raynal
                    Thanks Jeffrey. I know this would be a big deal and they have their commitments. Maybe the HJ Group at SBL might arrange a big methodology forum day. But
                    Message 9 of 17 , Mar 3, 2003
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                      Thanks Jeffrey. I know this would be a big deal and they have their
                      commitments. Maybe the HJ Group at SBL might arrange a big methodology
                      forum day. But maybe the "round and round" will just go on. And yes, sorry
                      about misspelling Ed's name. My typing skills aren't always the best!

                      Gordon
                    • Loren Rosson
                      List members -- I have received a free trial issue of The Journal for the Study of the Historical Jesus, and I must say the artciles therein are impressive. If
                      Message 10 of 17 , Mar 4, 2003
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                        List members --

                        I have received a free trial issue of The Journal for
                        the Study of the Historical Jesus, and I must say the
                        artciles therein are impressive. If the editorial
                        board continues providing this level of quality, I may
                        have to subscribe. It just so happens that Dale
                        Allison kicks off with the first essay, which is
                        titled "The Continuity between John and Jesus". It
                        serves as a fine supplement to the required reading
                        material for the upcoming Allison seminar.

                        The ISSN for this publication is 1476-8690.

                        Loren Rosson III
                        Nashua NH
                        rossoiii@...


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                      • Bob Webb
                        Loren, Thanks for your positive assessment of the Journal. Can I state, however, that, while the editorial board members are starting the journal by each
                        Message 11 of 17 , Mar 4, 2003
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                          Loren,

                          Thanks for your positive assessment of the Journal.

                          Can I state, however, that, while the editorial board members are starting
                          the journal by each contributing a substantive new essay, the journal will
                          only be sustained by its readers and other life-of-Jesus scholars submitting
                          high-quality, cutting-edge essays.

                          So, those of you out there who are contributing scholars, I'm waiting to
                          hear from you!

                          Bob.

                          Robert L. Webb
                          Webb.Bob@...


                          > -----Original Message-----
                          > From: Loren Rosson [mailto:rossoiii@...]
                          > Sent: March 4, 2003 10:22 AM
                          > To: crosstalk2@yahoogroups.com
                          > Subject: [XTalk] Journal for the Study of the Historical Jesus
                          >
                          >
                          > List members --
                          >
                          > I have received a free trial issue of The Journal for
                          > the Study of the Historical Jesus, and I must say the
                          > artciles therein are impressive. If the editorial
                          > board continues providing this level of quality, I may
                          > have to subscribe. It just so happens that Dale
                          > Allison kicks off with the first essay, which is
                          > titled "The Continuity between John and Jesus". It
                          > serves as a fine supplement to the required reading
                          > material for the upcoming Allison seminar.
                          >
                          > The ISSN for this publication is 1476-8690.
                          >
                          > Loren Rosson III
                          > Nashua NH
                          > rossoiii@...
                          >
                          >
                          > __________________________________________________
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                        • Mark Goodacre
                          Bob -- will electronic access be available soon for the journal? JSNT and other Continuum journals are available electronically and it s a shame to see that
                          Message 12 of 17 , Mar 4, 2003
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                            Bob -- will electronic access be available soon for the journal?
                            JSNT and other Continuum journals are available electronically and
                            it's a shame to see that the Journal for the Study of the Historical
                            Jesus does not yet have this.

                            Thanks
                            Mark
                            -----------------------------
                            Dr Mark Goodacre mailto:M.S.Goodacre@...
                            Dept of Theology tel: +44 121 414 7512
                            University of Birmingham fax: +44 121 414 4381
                            Birmingham B15 2TT UK

                            http://www.theology.bham.ac.uk/goodacre
                            http://NTGateway.com
                          • Bob Webb
                            Mark, Let me find out for you; I ll be back. Bob. Robert L. Webb Webb.Bob@sympatico.ca ... http://www.theology.bham.ac.uk/goodacre http://NTGateway.com ...
                            Message 13 of 17 , Mar 4, 2003
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                              Mark,

                              Let me find out for you; I'll be back.

                              Bob.

                              Robert L. Webb
                              Webb.Bob@...


                              > -----Original Message-----
                              > From: Mark Goodacre [mailto:M.S.Goodacre@...]
                              > Sent: March 4, 2003 1:07 PM
                              > To: crosstalk2@yahoogroups.com
                              > Subject: RE: [XTalk] Journal for the Study of the Historical Jesus
                              >
                              >
                              > Bob -- will electronic access be available soon for the journal?
                              > JSNT and other Continuum journals are available electronically and
                              > it's a shame to see that the Journal for the Study of the Historical
                              > Jesus does not yet have this.
                              >
                              > Thanks
                              > Mark
                              > -----------------------------
                              > Dr Mark Goodacre mailto:M.S.Goodacre@...
                              > Dept of Theology tel: +44 121 414 7512
                              > University of Birmingham fax: +44 121 414 4381
                              > Birmingham B15 2TT UK
                              >
                              http://www.theology.bham.ac.uk/goodacre
                              http://NTGateway.com


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                            • Andrew Lloyd <a.lloyd2@ntlworld.com>
                              Some of us are already subscribers Loren! I d also like to take the chance to recommend this journal. Every single article in the first issue is valuable and a
                              Message 14 of 17 , Mar 4, 2003
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                                Some of us are already subscribers Loren! I'd also like to take the
                                chance to recommend this journal. Every single article in the first
                                issue is valuable and a "cutting edge" (to use Bob's term) summary
                                of various matters of current interest in the historical Jesus
                                debate. Long may it continue at this high standard.

                                Andrew Lloyd (PhD Cand.)
                                Department of Biblical Studies
                                University of Sheffield, UK
                              • Steve Dingeldein
                                Here is the link for the journal http://www.continuumjournals.com/journals/index.asp?jref=31 Steve Dingeldein ... From: Loren Rosson To:
                                Message 15 of 17 , Mar 4, 2003
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                                  Here is the link for the journal

                                  http://www.continuumjournals.com/journals/index.asp?jref=31

                                  Steve Dingeldein

                                  ----- Original Message -----
                                  From: "Loren Rosson" <rossoiii@...>
                                  To: <crosstalk2@yahoogroups.com>
                                  Sent: Tuesday, March 04, 2003 10:22 AM
                                  Subject: [XTalk] Journal for the Study of the Historical Jesus


                                  > List members --
                                  >
                                  > I have received a free trial issue of The Journal for
                                  > the Study of the Historical Jesus, and I must say the
                                  > artciles therein are impressive. If the editorial
                                  > board continues providing this level of quality, I may
                                  > have to subscribe. It just so happens that Dale
                                  > Allison kicks off with the first essay, which is
                                  > titled "The Continuity between John and Jesus". It
                                  > serves as a fine supplement to the required reading
                                  > material for the upcoming Allison seminar.
                                  >
                                  > The ISSN for this publication is 1476-8690.
                                  >
                                  > Loren Rosson III
                                  > Nashua NH
                                  > rossoiii@...
                                  >
                                  >
                                  > __________________________________________________
                                  > Do you Yahoo!?
                                  > Yahoo! Tax Center - forms, calculators, tips, more
                                  > http://taxes.yahoo.com/
                                  >
                                  > The XTalk Home Page is http://ntgateway.com/xtalk/
                                  >
                                  > To subscribe to Xtalk, send an e-mail to:
                                  crosstalk2-subscribe@yahoogroups.com
                                  >
                                  > To unsubscribe, send an e-mail to: crosstalk2-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com
                                  >
                                  > List managers may be contacted directly at:
                                  crosstalk2-owners@yahoogroups.com
                                  >
                                  >
                                  >
                                  > Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
                                  >
                                  >
                                  >
                                • Bob Webb
                                  Mark, I have checked with the powers that be and the answer that I ve received is that the annual costs are more than £2300. Thus it will not be until at
                                  Message 16 of 17 , Mar 5, 2003
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                                    Mark,

                                    I have checked with "the powers that be" and the answer that I've received
                                    is that the annual costs are more than £2300. Thus it will not be until at
                                    least volume 3 that this would happen, and it would depend upon
                                    subscriptions.

                                    But I agree. I certainly support such a development.

                                    Bob.

                                    Robert L. Webb
                                    Webb.Bob@...


                                    > Bob -- will electronic access be available soon for the journal?
                                    > JSNT and other Continuum journals are available electronically and
                                    > it's a shame to see that the Journal for the Study of the Historical
                                    > Jesus does not yet have this.
                                    >
                                    > Thanks
                                    > Mark
                                  • Loren Rosson
                                    List -- A blockbuster of sorts is on the way. I just read a blurb for The Brother of Jesus: The Dramatic Story & Significance of the First Arhcaeological Link
                                    Message 17 of 17 , Mar 5, 2003
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                                      List --

                                      A blockbuster of sorts is on the way. I just read a
                                      blurb for The Brother of Jesus: The Dramatic Story &
                                      Significance of the First Arhcaeological Link to Jesus
                                      and his Family, by Hershel Shanks and Ben Witherington
                                      (ISBN 0-06-055660-9) in the March 3 issue of
                                      Publisher's Weekly. The review describes the work as
                                      "a well-argued and truly fascinating study of the
                                      ossuary and its importance...particularly interesting
                                      is the book's discussion of what the ossuary does for
                                      Jewish Christian relations" [since James encouraged
                                      Christians to retain aspects of their Jewish
                                      heritage]. Shanks and Witherington should make
                                      interesting bed-fellows.

                                      Loren Rosson III
                                      Nashua NH
                                      rossoiii@...


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