Jesus and the Law

Overview

In Jesus and the Law Alan Watson measures the success of Jesus' ministry by explaining his attitude toward, and knowledge of, certain laws and legal customs. Watson also assesses the legal implications of his actions and teachings. Watson's conclusions are insightfully contrary to assumptions and sentiments that Jesus' detractors were predisposed to view him unkindly and thus somehow deserved his stinging criticisms. Jesus engendered such harsh responses from his fellow Jews, say Watson, by his apparently ...
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Overview

In Jesus and the Law Alan Watson measures the success of Jesus' ministry by explaining his attitude toward, and knowledge of, certain laws and legal customs. Watson also assesses the legal implications of his actions and teachings. Watson's conclusions are insightfully contrary to assumptions and sentiments that Jesus' detractors were predisposed to view him unkindly and thus somehow deserved his stinging criticisms. Jesus engendered such harsh responses from his fellow Jews, say Watson, by his apparently contemptuous or insensitive behavior that stemmed from a lack of knowledge or concern about legal and rabbinic strictures. Watson draws heavily on Mark as both the most historically plausible of the Gospels and the gospel in which the best evidence of the earliest relevant legal traditions can be found. From his earliest legal transgressions - flouting the rules of hand washing and healing by word and hand on the Sabbath - Jesus, says Watson, showed a continual escalation of hostility to Jewish law. Later presenting himself as beyond the law, Jesus directly confronted the scribes, verbally abused the Pharisees, denied part of the validity of Mosaic law, and violently disrupted Passover observances in the so-called cleansing of the Temple. As his antagonism increased, Jesus used, willfully or otherwise, weak legal arguments and misunderstood the role of the Pharisees as lawmakers. Those wary of Jesus, especially the Pharisees, at first watched him closely, even hopefully, but grew increasingly hostile toward him with each breach of law or custom. The central cause of this hostility, says Watson, was their perception of Jesus' confusion about or ignorance of the law.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780820341538
  • Publisher: University of Georgia Press
  • Publication date: 9/28/2012
  • Pages: 182
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.42 (d)

Table of Contents

Preface
Acknowledgments
Introduction 1
1 Mark 1 8
Excursus: Custom 20
2 Mark 2 26
Excursus: Blasphemy 41
3 Mark 3 and 5 45
Excursus: Disputes with Pharisees 55
4 Mark 7 57
5 Divorce 68
6 The So-called Cleansing of the Temple 74
7 To the Gentiles? 81
8 John 89
9 The Sermon on the Mount 98
10 Jesus and Legal Subtlety 103
11 Conclusions 111
Abbreviations 135
Notes 139
Index of Texts 157
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