Chilton's Rabbi Jesus
- The new BR has a book review of Chilton's Rabbi Jesus by Jonathan Klawans
that bears on a few recent points that have come up on CrossTalk:
* Klawans spends some space discussing Chilton's contention that Jesus
was a mamzer, basically challenging Chilton's analysis.
* Klawans also criticizes Chilton's application of the word "Rabbi" to
Jesus, saying that it is essentially an anachronism
* Chilton's Jesus seems often based on "inferences on inferences."
* Nevertheless, Klawans is pleased with Chilton's effort to make use of
rabbinic evidence to gain a fuller understanding of Jesus' life, and thinks
its a good read.
I might remark that one of my Jewish acquaintances who read Chilton's book
rather liked it.
The highly inferential quality of many depictions of Jesus in the
historical Jesus literature, such as Klawans' comment about Rabbi Jesus,
sometimes reminds me of the cliche about scholarly specialization (or maybe
dissertation research?): You learn more and more about less and less until
pretty soon you know everything about nothing! I must be well on my way to
codgerhood, wondering whether maybe once in a while, an author means what
he writes, and writes what he means. So often these days, we seem to know
better than the author what he really meant.
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