The Jesus Quest: The Third Search for the Jew of Nazareth

Overview

Voted one of Christianity Today's 1996 Books of the Year!

In recent years Jesus' time, place and social setting have received renewed scholarly attention. New research on the Dead Sea Scrolls and other Jewish and Hellenistic texts has resulted in a surge of new images of Jesus and new ideas about his ministry. Dubbed the Third Quest for the historical Jesus, this recent effort is a transformation of the first quest, memorialized and chronicled by Albert Schweitzer, and the ...

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Overview

Voted one of Christianity Today's 1996 Books of the Year!

In recent years Jesus' time, place and social setting have received renewed scholarly attention. New research on the Dead Sea Scrolls and other Jewish and Hellenistic texts has resulted in a surge of new images of Jesus and new ideas about his ministry. Dubbed the Third Quest for the historical Jesus, this recent effort is a transformation of the first quest, memorialized and chronicled by Albert Schweitzer, and the second quest, carried out in the 1950s and 1960s in the wake of extreme Bultmannian skepticism.

The controversial works of John Dominic Crossan, Marcus Borg and Burton Mack, and the results of the Jesus Seminar have been thrust upon the public by publicists and media as the voices of learned consensus. Meanwhile, at the center of the scholarly investigation of Jesus, a less celebrated but certainly no less informed majority rejects many of the methods and conclusions of those who have captured the limelight.

In The Jesus Quest Ben Witherington, a participant in the Quest, offers the first comprehensive determination and assessment of what scholars are really saying about Jesus. In addition to the views of Crossan, Borg and Mack, he presents and interacts with the work of important scholars such as Geza Vermes, E. P. Sanders, Gerd Theissen, Richard Horsley, John P. Meier, N. T. Wright and Elisabeth Schssler Fiorenza, as well as outlining his own understanding of Jesus as sage. Here is an indispensable survey and assessment of the most significant religious scholarly debate of the 1990s.

Now with a lengthy new postscript, the new paperback edition of this widely praised book updates you on the continuing saga of the Third Quest for the historical Jesus.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Over the past 10 years or so, biblical critics have poked and prodded the canonical Gospels in an attempt to resurrect the historical Jesus for the late 20th century. Witherington (Jesus, the Sage, etc.) explores the stunning variety of portraits of the Nazarene drawn by contemporary critics from John Dom Crossan to John P. Meier. By way of introduction, he suggests the resemblances of this so-called ``third quest'' for the historical Jesus to the earlier quests of late-19th and mid-20th century scholars to locate the Jesus of history behind the Christ of faith. In addition, Witherington argues here that any portrait of Jesus succeeds or fails according to the extent to which it recognizes the fundamental character of his Jewish self-identity. Each chapter assesses the strengths and weaknesses of particular contemporary understandings of Jesus. For instance, the methods and conclusions of the Jesus Seminar are attacked as spurious and ahistorical, while Meier and his monumental A Marginal Jew are praised for properly locating the life and work of Jesus in their Jewish context. Witherington provides a good overview of recent Jesus scholarship. Unfortunately, it's too often overshadowed by the fact that, when differing from other scholars, his tone is unjustifiably combative and sometimes pejorative.(Dec.)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780830815449
  • Publisher: InterVarsity Press
  • Publication date: 5/8/1997
  • Edition description: NEW & EXPANDED
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 334
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Bible scholar Ben Witherington III is Professor of New Testament for Doctoral Studies at Asbury Theological Seminary and on the doctoral faculty at St. Andrews University in Scotland. A graduate of UNC, Chapel Hill, he went on to receive the MDiv degree from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary and a PhD from the University of Durham in England. He is now considered one of the top evangelical scholars in the world, and is an elected member of the prestigious Studiorum Novi Testamenti Societas, a society dedicated to New Testament studies.

Witherington has also taught at Ashland Theological Seminary, Vanderbilt University, Duke Divinity School and Gordon-Conwell. An ordained pastor in the United Methodist Church and a popular lecturer, he has presented seminars for churches, colleges and biblical meetings not only in the United States but also in England, Estonia, Russia, Europe, South Africa, Zimbabwe and Australia. He has also led tours to Italy, Greece, Turkey, Israel, Jordan, and Egypt.

Witherington has written over forty books, including The Jesus Quest and The Paul Quest, both of which were selected as top biblical studies works by Christianity Today. He also writes for many church and scholarly publications, and is a frequent contributor to the Patheos website.

Along with many interviews on radio networks across the country, Witherington has been seen in programs such as 60 Minutes, 20/20, Dateline on outlets like the History Channel, NBC, ABC, CBS, CNN, The Discovery Channel, A&E, and the PAX Network.

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Table of Contents

Abbreviations
Preface: The First Two Quests
1. Galilee & the Galilean - Jesus in His Social Setting
2. Jesus the Talking Head - The Jesus of the Jesus Seminar
3. Jesus the Itinerant Cynic Philosopher -The Works of John Dominic Crossan, Burton Mack and F. Gerald Downing
4. Jesus, Man of the Spirit - The Works of Marcus Borg, Geza Vermes and Graham H. Twelftree
5. Jesus the Eschatological Prophet - The Works of E. P. Sanders and Maurice Casey
6. Jesus the Prophet of Social Change - The Works of Gerd Theissen, Richard A. Horsley and R. David Kaylor
7. Jesus the Sage: The Wisdom of God - The Works of Elisabeth Sch√ússler Fiorenza and Ben Witherington
8. Jesus: Marginal Jew of Jewish Messiah? - The Works of John P. Meier, Peter Stuhlmacher, James D. G. Dunn, Marinus de Jonge, Markus Bockmuehl and N. T. Wright
9. The Journey's End - Synopsis, Conclusions, Conjectures
Epilogue: The Death of the Messiah - The Work of Raymond E. Brown
Postscript: The Continuing Saga of the Jesus Quest
Notes
Bibliography
Index of Subjects
Index of Modern Authors
Index of Scripture and Other Early Literature
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