Jesus and the Law

Taking E.P. Sanders to Some Logical Conclusions

in Journal for the Study of the Historical Jesus
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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.

Journal for the Study of the Historical Jesus

Jesus in History, Culture and Media

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References

3

Sanders, Historical Figure, pp. 220–22; cf. E.P. Sanders, Jewish Law from Jesus to the Mishnah: Five Studies (London: scm Press, 1990), pp. 23–28.

7

Wright, Victory, p. 93.

8

Wright, Victory, p. 398 n. 92.

12

Wright, Victory, pp. 399–402.

14

Wright, Victory, p. 400.

15

Sanders, Jesus and Judaism, p. 255; cf. Sanders, Historical Figure, pp. 225–26.

16

Sanders, Jesus and Judaism, p. 252.

17

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"’.

18

Sanders, Jesus and Judaism, p. 252.

19

Sanders, Jesus and Judaism, pp. 252, 254; M. Hengel, The Charismatic Leader and His Followers (Edinburgh: T&T Clark, 1981; original German, 1968), p. 12. Cf. Sanders and Davies, Studying, p. 317.

20

Hengel, Charismatic Leader, p. 8.

21

Hengel, Charismatic Leader, p. 9.

22

Hengel, Charismatic Leader, p. 9 n. 21.

23

Hengel, Charismatic Leader, p. 14. See also the comments in Bockmuehl, Jewish Law, p. 25.

24

Sanders, Jesus and Judaism, pp. 256–60.

25

Bockmuehl, Jewish Law, pp. 23–48.

26

Wright, Victory, p. 401.

27

 See also D.C. Allison, Resurrecting Jesus: The Earliest Christian Tradition and its Interpreters (London: T&T Clark, 2005), pp. 149–97.

28

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.

29

Sanders, Jesus and Judaism, p. 265. Cf. Sanders, Historical Figure, p. 223: ‘I do not wish to deny that Jesus at sometime or other debated sabbath practice. He may well have done so.’

30

Sanders, Historical Figure, pp. 222–23.

32

Sanders, Jesus and Judaism, p. 265; R. Bultmann, The History of the Synoptic Tradition (Oxford: Blackwell, 2nd edn, 1968; original German, 1931), p. 39.

33

Sanders, Jesus and Judaism, p. 266; Bultmann, History, p. 16.

34

Bultmann, History, p. 16.

35

Bultmann, History, p. 18.

40

Casey, ‘Who’s Afraid of Jesus Christ?’, p. 133.

41

 Cf. G. Theissen, Social Reality and the Early Christians: Theology, Ethics and the World of the New Testament (Edinburgh: T&T Clark, 1993), pp. 9–13.

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