This essay takes an appreciative look at the influence of E. P. Sanders’s work on Jesus, Judaism and the Law and attempts to develop some of Sanders-style critique of scholarship to his ongoing influence. Particular attention is paid to Mt. 8.21–22/Lk. 9.59–60, Mk 2.23-28, and Mk 7.1-23. This article analyzes N. T. Wright’s domestication of Sanders’ criticism of anti-Jewish tendencies in scholarship, particularly where Wright uses Sanders to perpetuate the old myth of superiority over Judaism. This article also looks at how the influence of Hengel and Bultmann could continue through the credible endorsement of Sanders. Further consideration is given to the problematic notion of ‘conflict’ in the Gospel tradition.
Sanders, Jesus and Judaism, p. 17. Cf. E.P. Sanders and M. Davies, Studying the Synoptic Gospels (London: scm Press; Philadelphia: Trinity, 1989), p. 317, ‘it is best to accept the passage as authentic on the grounds of its uniqueness, with only the caution that we can never be totally sure of the category "unique"’.
Sanders, Jesus and Judaism, p. 265; cf. Sanders, Historical Figure, pp. 74, 215–16; Sanders, Jewish Law, pp. 19–23, 84–89. See also J.P. Meier, ‘The Historical Jesus and the Plucking of the Grain on the Sabbath’, cbq 66 (2004), pp. 561–81.