Response to Rafael Rodríguez, ‘Jesus as his Friends Remembered Him

A Review of Dale Allison’s Constructing Jesus’

In: Journal for the Study of the Historical Jesus

This article responds to Raphael Rodríguez's discussion of my book, Constructing Jesus.

For the most part, his appreciative description of my contribution and aims is accurate. Three points, however, call for further clarification. The first has to do with the extent to which human memory is reliable—I am less sanguine than is Rodríguez—and the ways in which modern cognitive studies should affect Jesus research. The second concerns whether or not my method can be formalized—I do not think it can be—and thus commended to others. The third has to do with the larger goals of my volume, which are misunderstood if one fails to see that the book quite consciously restricts itself to a small number of topics.

  • 2

    Dale C. Allison, Jr., Constructing Jesus: Memory, Imagination, and History (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2010), pp. 161–62.

  • 4

    Allison, Constructing Jesus, p. 9.

  • 5

    Daniel L. Schacter, ‘Memory Distortion: History and Current Status’, in Memory Distortion: How Minds, Brains, and Societies Reconstruct the Past (ed. D.L. Schacter; Cambridge, ma: Harvard University Press, 1995), p. 25.

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  • 6

    Gillian Cohen, ‘Overview: Conclusions and Speculations’, in Memory in the Real World (ed. Gillian Cohen and Martin Conway; 3rd edn; New York: Psychology Press, 2008), p. 389.

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  • 7

    Patricia J. Bauer, Remembering the Times of Our Lives: Memory in Infancy and Beyond (Developing Mind Series; Mahwah, nj: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 2007), pp. 43-44. For all three of these quotations, see Allison, Constructing Jesus, p. 8 n. 46.

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  • 8

     Cf. Dale C. Allison, Jr., ‘It Don’t Come Easy: A History of Disillusionment’, in Jesus, Criteria, and the Demise of Authenticity: The Rise and Fall of the Search for an Authentic Jesus. Authenticity after the Third Quest (ed. C. Keith and A. Le Donne; New York: T&T Clark, 2012), pp. 186–99.

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  • 9

    Allison, Constructing Jesus, p. 16.

  • 10

    Allison, Constructing Jesus, p. 461.

  • 11

    Allison, Constructing Jesus, pp. 88–97.

  • 15

    Allison, Constructing Jesus, p. 19.

  • 16

    John Henry Newman, An Essay in Aid of a Grammar of Assent (ed. I.T. Ker; Oxford: Clarendon, 1985), p. 187.

  • 17

    Allison, Constructing Jesus, p. 10.

  • 18

    Dale C. Allison, Jr., Jesus of Nazareth: Millenarian Prophet (Philadelphia: Fortress, 1998), p. ix.

  • 19

    Dale C. Allison, Jr., Resurrecting Jesus: The Earliest Christian Tradition and its Interpreters (New York: T&T Clark, 2005), p. ix.

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