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Bruce D. Chilton

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A Feast of Meanings

Eucharistic Theologies from Jesus through Johannine Circles

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Bruce D. Chilton

The monograph analyses eucharistic texts on the basis of the social practices which generated them. Six stages of ideology are identified.
Jesus himself practised fellowship at meals as celebrations of Israel's purity (stage 1), and later insisted that a pure meal was a better sacrifice than an offering in the Temple (stage 2). The circle of Peter made such meals into covenantal celebrations; Jesus became a new Moses (stage 3). In order to militate against the full participation of non-Jews, the circle of James invented the full identifications with Passover (stage 4). Paul resisted any such limitations (stage 5). The Synoptic tradition accepted the Jacobean chronology, but joined Paul in developing the Hellenistic theme of Jesus as heroic martyr, and in explaining eucharist as a means of effecting solidarity with Jesus (stage 5). The Johannine ideologies transformed the idiom of eucharist by making Jesus into the paschal lamb which is consumed (stage 6).
A conclusion relates the practices identified to the sources behind the Gospels; and shows how practice is key to the meanings of eucharistic texts.
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Bruce D. Chilton and Darrell Bock

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The Targums

A Critical Introduction

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Paul V.M. Flesher and Bruce D. Chilton

The value and significance of the targums—translations of the Hebrew Bible into Aramaic, the language of Palestinian Jews for centuries following the Babylonian Exile—lie in their approach to translation: within a typically literal rendering of a text, they incorporate extensive exegetical material, additions, and paraphrases that reveal important information about Second Temple Judaism, its interpretation of its bible, and its beliefs.

This remarkable survey introduces critical knowledge and insights that have emerged over the past forty years, including targum manuscripts discovered this century and targums known in Aramaic but only recently translated into English. Prolific scholars Flesher and Chilton guide readers in understanding the development of the targums; their relationship to the Hebrew Bible; their dates, language, and place in the history of Christianity and Judaism; and their theologies and methods of interpretation.


“With clear presentation of current research and the issues involved, including the Targums and the New Testament, and a rich bibliography, this is the most complete—and up-to-date—introduction to the Targums. An outstanding, highly recommended achievement.”
Martin McNamara, Emeritus Professor of Scripture, Milltown Institute, Dublin, Ireland
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Bruce D. Chilton

Edited by Craig A. Evans

Jesus research is a difficult task because of the number of primary source materials and their complexities. These complexities involve problems that arise from imperfect preservation of sources, uncertain literary relationships among the documents themselves, and even less certain knowledge of their respective provenances. Jesus research inevitably involves reaching behind the extant sources, inferring from what lies before us the nature of the material upon which the evangelists drew. This volume reviews the criteria, assumptions, and methods involved in critical Jesus research. Its purpose is to clarify the procedures necessary to distinguish tradition that stems from Jesus from tradition and interpretation that stem from later tradents and evangelists, and to inquire into the various forces and situations that led to the emergence of the tradition as we have it.

This publication has also been published in hardback, please click here for details.
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Bruce D. Chilton

Edited by Craig A. Evans

In this companion volume to Authenticating the Words of Jesus, the authors examine the important issue of the original setting and context in which the words of Jesus were spoken. They proceed on the assumption that authenticating the activities of Jesus is just as important as authenticating his words. A historical framework, made up of several fairly certain facts, must be clarified and used as a primary criterion for determining which sayings and episodes ought to be considered the stronger candidates of authentic tradition and how they should be interpreted. Many of Jesus’ sayings cohere with historical elements and oftentimes either explain them or are explained by them. A complete study of the words of Jesus must also include a study of the activities of Jesus.

This publication has also been published in hardback, please click here for details.
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Bruce D. Chilton and Craig A. Evans

The lack of serious and sustained investigation of the historical figure of James "the Just", brother of Jesus, is one of the curious oversights in modern critical study of Christian origins. James the Just and Christian Origins addresses this problem. The questions that surround this exceedingly important, yet largely ignored figure are several and complicated. Was he really the brother of Jesus? How influential was he in the early church? What was the nature of his relationship to the other apostles, especially to Paul? How did James understand Christianity’s relationship to Judaism and to the people of Israel? Out of this grows a very important question: In its generative moment, was Christianity in fact as well as in its self-awareness, a species of Judaism? Contributors from several countries are currently engaged in collaborative study in James and early Jewish Christianity. James the Just and Christian Origins is the first of several planned volumes to be published.
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The Missions of James, Peter, and Paul

Tensions in Early Christianity

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Edited by Bruce D. Chilton and Craig A. Evans

The Missions of James, Peter, and Paul investigates the nature, diversity, and relationship of three early and important expressions of Judaic Christianity. It is the conviction of the contributors that the Judaic origins of the Christian movement have not been sufficiently understood in both ecclesiastical and academic circles. Comparison with contemporary Judaism is foundational and leads to the question that guides discussion: How did James relate to such prominent figures as Peter and Paul? Given James' own eminence, those relationships must have been hallmarks of his own stance and status, and they open the prospect that we might delineate James' theological perspective more precisely than otherwise possible by means of this contrast with Peter and Paul. That is the reason for the division of the present volume into two parts.
The Missions of James, Peter, and Paul is presented in two parts: James and Peter, and James Paul. Several studies investigate the literary and archaeological evidence that clarifies the world in which James, Peter, and Paul lived, while other studies probe exegetical and theological aspects of the discussion.
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Studying the Historical Jesus

Evaluations of the State of Current Research

Bruce D. Chilton and Craig A. Evans

This volume offers critical assessments of Life of Jesus research in the last generation, with special emphasis on work that is quite recent. It will introduce graduate students to the field and will provide the veteran scholar with current bibliography and discussion of the issues.
Topics treated include Jesus and Palestinian politics, Jesus tradition in Paul, Jesus in extracanonical Gospels, and Jesus' parables, miracles, death, and resurrection.
The contributors are among the most widely recognized and respected Life of Jesus scholars. They include Marcus J. Borg, James H. Charlesworth, James D.G. Dunn, Sean Freyne, Richard Horsley, and Helmut Koester.