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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

Abstract

In strom. V.9.1 and strom. V.14.103–106, Clement of Alexandria presents opinions (doxai) of Greek philosophers regarding ‘eschatology’. By making use of so-called doxographies (i.e. the collection of philosophical opinions on a particular topic), Clement employs a popular method in contemporary philosophical debate. In this article, I will show how Clement reinterprets philosophers’ opinions and modifies them to construct a philosophical proof for (Christian) eschatology. It allows him to make controversial topics such as ‘final judgement’ and ‘resurrection’ more plausible to his philosophically educated readers, as according to him, these ideas have already been discussed and confirmed by several well-known philosophers (Heraclitus, Empedocles, Plato and the Stoics).

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

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