Felix Just wrote:
> Thanks, Jeffrey, for providing the e-mail address of Craig Evans, but maybe I
> wasn't clear enough before. What I really wanted was evaluative comments from
> someone who had seen and/or read the two books. The authors/editors would
> obviously speak in their own favor, but in order to decide whether to order two
> fairly expensive volumes ($140 each) for a limited-budget library, I was hoping
> for comments/reactions from someone else.
> So let me repeat part of my initial request, in the hopes that someone else can
> provide some more detailed feedback on one or both of these volumes, which should
> be of direct interest to many of us in HJ studies:
> Earlier, I wrote:
> > Has anyone already seen or do you know anything about two new books
> > edited by B. Chilton and C. Evans, called "Authenticating the Words of
> > Jesus" and "Authenticating the Activities of Jesus" (Brill, 1999)?
> > Any published reviews out yet (it's obviously still early)?
> Thanks in advance!
I went to our marvellous university-library here in Göteborg yesterday
and discovered that one of the books was present on a shelf -
"Authenticating the words of Jesus". I have only read through the volume
(480 pages) pretty hastily so far, but I think a can give a few tentative
comments about my early impressions. The volume contains 17 essays
written by 17 scholars. Among the contributors can be found the two editors,
Bruce Malina, Ben Meyer, Douglas Oakman, Dale Allison and Luke T Johnson.
To give you a feeling of the contents of the articles I will give you some of the
Bruce Chilton: Assessing Progress in the Third quest
Bruce Malina: Criteria for assessing the authentic words of Jesus; some specifications
Douglas Oakman:The Lord's prayer in social perspective
Bruce Chilton: The son of the Man and Jesus
Howard Clark Kee: Jesus: a glutton and a drunkard
William Klassen: The authenticity of the command: Love your enemies:
Wesley Wachob and L T Johnson: Th sayings of Jesus in the letter of James
As can be guessed the quality of the essays vary from the bad to the excellent.
I specially liked the contribution from the finish scholar Tom Holmén who has some
really intelligent things to say about the criterion of Dissimilarity in "Doubts about
Double Dissimilarity: Restructuring the Main Criterion of Jesus of history research".
Bruce Chilton's essay "The Son of Man and Jesus" is full of useful information and
Chilton again makes it increasingly clear that most Son of Man sayings in the gospels
refer to an angelic figure who is synonymous with the Son of Man in Daniel. Unfortunately
Chilton has a tendency in almost all his writings of blending good insights with strange
idiosyncrasies. His final conclusion in the article that the historical Jesus didn't talk about
himself when he talks about THE Son of Man but was referring to a heavenly figure other
than himself is totally unwarranted and based on a bizarre exegesis.
I also liked a few comments Chilton gave in the essay about his experience as a member
of the Jesus Seminar: it only confirms what I have been suspecting all along. This is what
he has to say on page 280-281:
"The only possible argument against accepting the authenticity of the saying (Mark 8:38)
is that Jesus can not have claimed so much authority for himself. A publication of the
Jesus Seminar makes that assumption:
The identification of Jesus with the son of Adam almost certainly excludes the
possibility of tracing this saying back to Jesus...
"In other words, a preconceived view of what Jesus could have said about himself
has determined the judgement of what he did say about himself. Several of us who
have participated in the Jesus Seminar, although e have appreciated the experience,
have criticised our colleagues for voting along what seem to be ideological lines.
Historical judgements should be based upon an analysis of how traditions
concerning Jesus developed, not on global assumptions regarding what he should
have said or could have said."
The Jesus seminar gets more welldeserved critique in Charles Leland Quarles'
"The authenticity of the parable of the warring king; a response to the Jesus Seminar".
He shows the biased, slanted and inconsistently applied methodology of the Seminar
in cases like GThom 98 and Luke 14:31-32.