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A Review of Rinaldo Fabris’s Gesù il ‘Nazareno’: Indagine storica

In: Journal for the Study of the Historical Jesus

This article reviews Gesù il ‘Nazareno’. Indagine storica (Jesus the Nazarene: A Historical Investigation) by Rinaldo Fabris. It compares this volume with the main studies of the historical Jesus that have been published in the past fifteen years. A brief description of each of its thirteen chapters is accompanied by a discussion of the main strengths and weaknesses of the book.

  • 1

    Rinaldo Fabris, Gesù di Nazareth: Storia e interpretazione (Commenti e studi biblici; Assisi: Cittadella, 1983), 411.

  • 2

    Rinaldo Fabris, Gesù il ‘Nazareno’: Indagine storica (2nd edn; Assisi: Cittadella, 2011), quotation p. 7.

  • 3

    Fabris, Gesù il ‘Nazareno’, p. 8.

  • 4

    Gerd Theissen and Annette Merz, Il Gesù storico: Un manuale (trans. E. Gatti; Biblioteca Biblica, 25; Brescia: Queriniana, 2008); trans. of Der historische Jesus: Ein Lehrbuch (Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1996); John P. Meier, Un ebreo marginale: Ripensare il Gesù storico (trans. L. De Santis et al.; 4 vols.; Brescia: Queriniana, 2001–2009); trans. of A Marginal Jew: Rethinking the Historical Jesus (4 vols.; abrl; New York: Doubleday, 1991–2009); Giuseppe Barbaglio, Gesù ebreo di Galilea: Indagina storica (4th edn; La Bibbia nella storia, 11; Bologna: edb, 2002); James D.G. Dunn, La Memoria di Gesù: Fede e Gesù storico (vol. I of Gli albori del Cristianesimo; trans. F. Ronchi; Brescia: Paideia, 2003); trans. of Jesus Remembered (vol. I of Christianity in the Making; Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2003); Armand Puig i Tàrrech, Gesù: la risposta agli enigmi (trans. S. Zanati; 2nd edn; San Paolo: Cinisello Balsamo, 2008); trans. of Jesús: un perfil biogràfic (Proa perfils, 50; Barcelona: Proa, 2005).

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  • 5

     See Géza Vermès, Gesù l’ebreo (trans. V. Grossi and E. Peretto; Rome: Borla, 1983), p. 19; trans. of Jesus the Jew: A Historian’s Reading of the Gospels (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1981); E.P. Sanders, Gesù: La verità storica (trans. M. Sampaolo; Milan: Mondadori, 1995), p. 12; trans. of The Historical Figure of Jesus (London: Penguin Books, 1993); Meier, Un ebreo marginale, I, p. 12.

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  • 6

    Franco Fabbro, ‘Left and Right in the Bible from a Neuropsychological Perspective’, Brain and Cognition 24 (1994), pp. 161–83; idem, Destra e sinistra nella Bibbia: Uno studio neuropsicologico (Rimini: Guaraldi, 1995); idem, ‘Prospettive d’interpretazione della glossolalia paolina sotto il profilo della neurolinguistica’, RivB 46 (1998), pp. 157–78; idem, The Neurolinguistics of Bilingualism (Hove: Psychology Press, 1999); and idem, Neuropsicologia dell’esperienza religiosa (Rome: Astrolabio-Ubaldini, 2010).

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  • 7

    Fabris, Gesù il ‘Nazareno’, p. 12.

  • 8

    Albert Schweitzer, Storia della ricerca sulla vita di Gesù (trans. F. Coppellotti; Paideia: Brescia, 1986), p. 755; trans. of Von Reimarus zu Wrede: Eine Geschichte der Leben Jesu Forschung (Tübingen: Mohr, 1906); Fabris, Gesù il ‘Nazareno’, p. 24.

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  • 9

    Joachim Jeremias, Teologia del Nuovo Testamento. Volume 1: la predicazione di Gesù (trans. F. Montagnini; Brescia: Paideia, 1976); trans. of Neutestamentliche Theologie (2nd edn; Gütersloh: Gütersloher Verlagshaus G. Mohn, 1973); Fabris, Gesù il ‘Nazareno’, p. 30. In his first volume on Jesus (Gesù di Nazareth) Fabris concluded chapter 1 (‘A historical debate on Jesus’), with an account of studies of the Second Quest.

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  • 11

    Fabris, Gesù il ‘Nazareno’, pp. 39–40.

  • 12

    Fabris, Gesù il ‘Nazareno’, p. 170.

  • 14

    Fabris, Gesù il ‘Nazareno’, p. 134.

  • 15

    Theissen and Merz, Il Gesù storico, pp. 118–59; Dunn, La Memoria di Gesù, pp. 114–52. Cf. also Meier, Un ebreo marginale, I, pp. 157–90; and Barbaglio, Gesù ebreo di Galilea, pp. 75–82.

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  • 16

    Alan Kirk, ‘Memory Theory and Jesus Research’, in Handbook for the Study of the Historical Jesus (ed. T. Holmén and S.E. Porter; 4 vols.; Leiden: Brill, 2011), I, pp. 809–42; Rinaldo Fabris, ‘Memoria e tradizione nei vangeli: Gesù Messia’, in Scriptura Sacra cum legentibus crescit: scritti in onore di Antonio Marangon nel suo 80°compleanno (ed. M. Marcato; Sophia: Episteme/Studi e ricerche, 6; Padova: Edizioni Messaggero, 2012), pp. 203–216.

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  • 20

    Fabris, Gesù il ‘Nazareno’, p. 226.

  • 21

    Fabris, Gesù il ‘Nazareno’, p. 262.

  • 23

    Sanders, Gesù, p. 7.

  • 24

    Barbaglio, Gesù ebreo di Galilea, p. 87; David Flusser with R. Steven Notley, Jesus (3rd edn; Jerusalem: Hebrew University Press, 2001), p. 30; Meier, Un ebreo marginale, I, pp. 267–97; Puig i Tàrrech, Gesù, pp. 218–27; Theissen and Merz, Il Gesù storico, pp. 439–40; Dunn, La Memoria di Gesù, pp. 329–35; idem, Cambiare prospettiva su Gesù. Dove sbaglia la ricerca sul Gesù storico (trans. M. Nuzzo and D. Zoroddu; Brescia: Paideia, 2011), pp. 41, 104–106; trans. of A New Perspective on Jesus: What the Quest for the Historical Jesus Missed (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2005); John Dominic Crossan, Jesus: A Revolutionary Biography (San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco, 1994); idem, The Birth of Christianity: Discovering What Happened in the Years Immediately After the Execution of Jesus (New York: HarperOne, 1998), p. 235; B. Chilton Rabbi Jesus: An Intimate Biography (New York: Doubleday, 2000), p. 99.

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  • 25

    Flusser, Jesus, pp. 29–33, 128.

  • 26

    Barbaglio, Gesù ebreo di Galilea, p. 87; Meier, Un ebreo marginale, I, pp. 242–48; Puig i Tàrrech, Gesù, pp. 81–83, 209–212.

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  • 27

    Stanley E. Porter, ‘The Language(s) Jesus Spoke’, in Handbook for the Study of the Historical Jesus (ed. T. Holmén and S.E. Porter; 4 vols.; Leiden: Brill, 2011), III, pp. 2455–71.

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  • 28

    Dunn, La Memoria di Gesù, p. 331; Porter, ‘The Language(s) Jesus Spoke’, pp. 2463–64; Puig i Tàrrech, Gesù, p. 211; Theissen and Merz, Il Gesù storico, p. 439; Meier, Un ebreo marginale, I, pp. 270–72; III, pp. 619–21; John Dominic Crossan and Jonathan L. Reed maintain that Lk. 4.16–30 is an editorial invention of Luke, because there was no synagogue in Nazareth; Excavating Jesus: Beneath the Stones, Behind the Texts (London: spck, 2001), pp. 27–31. However, this event could have taken place in Gamla, where there was found the only Galilean synagogue dating back to the first century ce (see pp. 25–26).

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  • 31

    Dunn, La Memoria di Gesù, pp. 413–17.

  • 32

    Flusser, Jesus, pp. 41–42; Chilton, Rabbi Jesus, pp. 32–59; Pieter F. Craffert, The Life of a Galilean Shaman: Jesus of Nazareth in Anthropological-Historical Perspective (Cambridge: James Clarke & Co., 2010), pp. 214–17; see also Bas van Os, Psychological Analyses and the Historical Jesus: New Ways to Explore Christian Origins (New York: T&T Clark, 2011), pp. 120–22.

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  • 34

    Sanders, Gesù, pp. 115–20; Dunn, La Memoria di Gesù, pp. 420–23.

  • 35

    Sanders, Gesù, pp. 173–83; Dunn, La Memoria di Gesù, pp. 424–503.

  • 36

    Fabris, Gesù il ‘Nazareno’, p. 310.

  • 40

    Dunn, La Memoria di Gesù, pp. 484–85.

  • 41

    Theissen and Merz, Il Gesù storico, p. 323.

  • 46

    Fabris, Gesù il ‘Nazareno’, p. 352.

  • 47

    Adriana Destro and Mauro Pesce, L’uomo Gesù: Giorni, luoghi, incontri di una vita (Milan: Mondadori, 2008).

  • 48

    Mt. 23.7–8; Fabris, Gesù il ‘Nazareno’, p. 351.

  • 49

    Vermès, Gesù l’ebreo, p. 259.

  • 50

    Vermès, Gesù l’ebreo, p. 231; Sanders, Gesù, pp. 214–15; Flusser, Jesus, pp. 83–100; Dunn, La Memoria di Gesù, pp. 621–26; Puig i Tàrrech, Gesù, pp. 525–30; Meier, Un ebreo marginale, IV, pp. 566–600.

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  • 52

    Lk. 6.4 (Codex Bezae); Fabris, Gesù il ‘Nazareno’, p. 371.

  • 53

    Fabris, Gesù il ‘Nazareno’, pp. 375–78.

  • 60

    Fabris, Gesù il ‘Nazareno’, pp. 414–17.

  • 63

    Puig i Tàrrech, Gesù, pp. 281–83.

  • 66

    Karen Horney, Neurosis and Human Growth: The Struggle toward Self-Realization (New York: Norton, 1991); C.G. Jung, Man and his Symbols (London: Aldus Books, 1964).

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  • 69

    Fabris, Gesù il ‘Nazareno’, p. 485.

  • 71

    Fabbro, Neuropsicologia dell’esperienza religiosa, pp. 174–87, 242–46; Van Os, Psychological Analyses and the Historical Jesus, pp. 141–60.

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  • 72

     See Vermès, Gesù l’ebreo, pp. 68–95; Chilton, Rabbi Jesus, pp. 93, 109; passim in Craffert, The Life of a Galilean Shaman, pp. 420–22; and idem, ‘Performing the “Duty of Discontent” in Dialogue with Christian Strecker’, p. 286[pp. 197–201 in note 33 above].

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  • 74

    Barbaglio, Gesù ebreo di Galilea, p. 217; Meier, Un ebreo marginale, III, p. 603.

  • 75

    Sanders, Gesù, p. 146.

  • 77

    Fabris, Gesù il ‘Nazareno’, p. 559.

  • 78

    John R. Searle, Mind: A Brief Introduction (Fundamentals of Philosophy; Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004); Revonsuo, Consciousness.

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  • 79

    Fabris, Gesù il ‘Nazareno’, p. 605. These views are shared by almost all the main authors: see Chilton, Rabbi Jesus; Meier, Un ebreo marginale, I; Flusser, Jesus; Dunn, La Memoria di Gesù; Puig i Tàrrech, Gesù; Barbaglio, Gesù ebreo di Galilea.

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  • 84

    Fabris, Gesù il ‘Nazareno’, pp. 642–43. A similar intepretation was put forward by Chilton, Rabbi Jesus, pp. 260–61; Dunn, La Memoria di Gesù, p. 798; and Theissen and Merz, Il Gesù storico, pp. 666–67. According to Meier, Jesus deliberately took on the same prophetic role as Elijah and Elisha; Un ebreo marginale, III, pp. 622–23.

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  • 86

     See Barbaglio, Gesù ebreo di Galilea, pp. 551–614.

  • 87

    Isa. 52.13–53; Fabris, Gesù il ‘Nazareno’, p. 659.

  • 88

    Fabris, Gesù il ‘Nazareno’, p. 682.

  • 90

     See Barbaglio, Gesù ebreo di Galilea, pp. 501–505; Dunn, La Memoria di Gesù, pp. 673–76.

  • 92

    Fabris, Gesù il ‘Nazareno’, pp. 740–41. These conclusions are shared by Chilton, Rabbi Jesus; Dunn, La Memoria di Gesù, p. 838; Puig i Tàrrech, Gesù, p. 596; and Theissen and Merz, Il Gesù storico, pp. 570–71. Vermès (Gesù l’ebreo, pp. 40–42) and Flusser (Jesus, p. 147) do not share the view that the Sanhedrin was involved in Jesus’ sentence to death.

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  • 93

    Vermès, Gesù l’ebreo, p. 47.

  • 94

    Fabris, Gesù il ‘Nazareno’, pp. 803–807.

  • 95

     See Sanders, Gesù, p. 279; Barbaglio, Gesù ebreo di Galilea, p. 525; Dunn, La Memoria di Gesù, p. 879; Puig i Tàrrech, Gesù, p. 722.

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  • 97

     See Theissen and Merz, Il Gesù storico, pp. 582–85; Dunn, La Memoria di Gesù, pp. 920–27.

  • 98

    Fabris, Gesù il ‘Nazareno’, p. 873.

  • 99

     See Paramahansa Yogananda, Lo yoga di Gesù (Rome: Astrolabio, 2011); trans. of The Yoga of Jesus: Understanding the Hidden Teachings of the Gospels (Los Angeles, ca: Self-Realization Fellowship, 2007).

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  • 100

    Dalai Lama, Incontro con Gesù: Una lettura buddhista del vangelo (trans. L.A. Dalla Fontana; Milan: Mondadori, 1997); trans. of The Good Heart: A Buddhist Perspective on the Teachings of Jesus (trans. G. Thupten Jinpa; Boston, ma: Wisdom, 1996); Thich Nhat Hanh, La Luce del Dharma: Dialogo tra cristianesimo e buddhismo (trans. G. Valent; Milan: Mondadori, 2003); trans. of Going Home: Jesus and Buddha as Brothers (New York: Riverhead Books, 1999).

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  • 101

    Marcus Borg, Gesù e Buddha: Gli insegnamenti e le parole dei due maestri a confronto (trans. A. Tissoni; Raqqi d’Oriente; Milan: Armenia, 1998); trans. of Jesus and Buddha: The Parallel Sayings (Berkeley, ca: Ulysses Press, 1997); Odon Vallet, Jésus et Bouddha: Destins croisés du christianisme et du bouddhisme (Paris: Albin Michel, 1996); Richard F. Gombrich, Il pensiero del Buddha (trans. R. Donatoni; Milan: Adelphi, 2012); trans. of What the Buddha Thought (London: Equinox, 2009).

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