“I Shall be Reckoned with the Gods”

On Redescribing Jesus as a First-Century Jewish Mystic

In: Journal for the Study of the Historical Jesus
Simon J. Joseph University of California, Los Angeles, CA USA

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The categorical identification of the historical Jesus continues to be a central challenge in Jesus Research yet the identification of the historical Jesus as a first-century Jewish mystic has long been a popular topic among Western esotericists, Christian mystics, contemporary New Age authors, and some biblical scholars. Taking a critical look at the category and study of mysticism in Jesus Research in light of the ancient etymological origins of modern mysticism, the concept of ‘religious experience,’ and the epistemological problems associated with perennialism as a religionist discourse, this article argues that the comparative study of mysticism still proves to be an explanatorily powerful analytical, theoretical, and interpretative lens in Jesus Research.

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