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In: Journal for the Study of the Historical Jesus

Abstract

The hypothesis according to which Jesus and his group were somehow involved in anti-Roman resistance has been systematically opposed by some quarters through the centuries. One of the most recent examples is Jesse P. Nickel’s The Things that Make for Peace: Jesus and Eschatological Violence, a book whose author boldly claims to have ‘refuted’ that hypothesis. The present article surveys this volume, concluding that it contains several misunderstandings of the field and method, as well as serious misrepresentations of the hypothesis under discussion, to the extent that everything indicates that it is influenced by theological presuppositions. These conclusions are not limited because Nickel’s book is representative of a much wider trend within the field.

In: Journal for the Study of the Historical Jesus
Prayer in the Ancient World (PAW) is an innovative resource on prayer in the ancient Near East and Mediterranean. The over 350 entries in PAW showcase a robust selection of the range of different types of prayers attested from Mesopotamia, Egypt, Anatolia, the Levant, early Judaism and Christianity, Greece, Rome, Arabia, and Iran, enhanced by critical commentary.
The project illustrates the variety of ways human beings have sought to communicate with or influence beings with extraordinary superhuman power for millennia. By including diverse examples such as vows and oaths, blessings, curses, incantations, graffiti, iconography, and more, PAW casts a wide net. In so doing, PAW privileges no particular tradition or conception of how to interact with the divine; for example, the project refuses to perpetuate a value distinction between “prayer,” “magic,” and “cursing.”

Detailed overviews introduce each area and address key issues such as language and terminology, geographical distribution, materiality, orality, phenomenology of prayer, prayer and magic, blessings and curses, and ritual settings and ritual actors. In order to be as comprehensive as practically possible, the volume includes a representative prayer of every attested type from each tradition.

Individual entries include a wealth of information. Each begins with a list of essential details, including the source, region, date, occasion, type and function, performers, and materiality of the prayer. Next, after a concise summary and a brief synopsis of the main textual witnesses, a formal description calls attention to the exemplar’s literary and stylistic features, rhetorical structure, important motifs, and terminology. The occasions when the prayer was used and its function are analyzed, followed by a discussion of how this exemplar fits within the range of variation of this type of prayer practice, both synchronically and diachronically. Important features of the prayer relevant for cross-cultural comparison are foregrounded in the subsequent section. Following an up-to-date translation, a concise yet detailed commentary provides explanations necessary for understanding the prayer and its function. Finally, each entry concludes with a bibliography of essential primary and secondary resources for further study.
Author:

Abstract

This article discusses the author’s experience of teaching historical Jesus courses at several institutions in the United States over a span of fourteen years. It outlines some observed pedagogical challenges in teaching these courses and some strategies the author has employed to address them.

In: Journal for the Study of the Historical Jesus
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In: Journal for the Study of the Historical Jesus

Abstract

James Crossley and Robert Myles’s Jesus: A Life in Class Conflict is a considerable accomplishment in its situation of Jesus as a figure inseparable from the material conditions of labor exploitation. The present review discusses two topics that the book touches upon only briefly, but linger under the surface of their analysis: Jesus’ treatment of enslaved laborers and utopian social experimentation. This article juxtaposes Jesus with the roughly contemporaneous figure of Spartacus to consider about the availability of social experimentation and the location of slaves within class-based analyses of Roman antiquity.

In: Journal for the Study of the Historical Jesus
In: Journal for the Study of the Historical Jesus

Abstract

This is a review article of James Crossley's and Robert Myle's, Jesus in Class Conflict (2023). After a chapter by chapter summary, the review provides some assorted critical reflections on among other issues the 'biographical' approach still apparent here, despite a critical effort to distance from 'great man' approaches to history.

Open Access
In: Journal for the Study of the Historical Jesus
Author:

Abstract

This essay is a review of Jesus: A Life in Class Conflict by James Crossley and Robert J. Myles, a historical materialist exploration of what we know about the life of Jesus and the Jesus movement in first-century Roman Palestine. This review focuses particularly on the ways in which Crossley and Myles engage with considerations of gender and masculinity as part of their engagement with the historical materials.

In: Journal for the Study of the Historical Jesus
Author:

Abstract

Crossley and Myles’s Jesus: A Life in Class Struggle offers an innovative and accessible reading of the movement around Jesus in terms of class struggle. The authors combine a breadth of knowledge about first-century realities, acumen in exegesis of the Gospel texts, and contemporary crowd theory to reach new conclusions regarding Jesus and his disciples, especially in his last days, and regarding the ‘failure’ of their movement. This review examines their understanding of the ‘Jesus movement’ and its relationship to the Galilean peasantry and their methodology in extrapolating from the Gospels; and proposes a more thorough Marxist theorization of the Gospels’ role in producing the ‘failure’ they describe.

In: Journal for the Study of the Historical Jesus