1976-1994 marks a distinctive period in Mancunian popular music history. During this period, biblical language was used extensively. However, such use is markedly different at the beginning and end of our period. At the beginning, biblical language was used in the name of dark introspection, cynical observation, nihilism and pessimism; by the end, such language was largely being used in the name of self-congratulation, self-importance, hedonism, and (largely misguided) optimism. Social, cultural, economic and biographical reasons are given for this shift.
It is thought that repentance in the teaching of John the Baptist and Jesus is grounded in the Semitic teshubahconcept. The problem with this is that the LXX largely uses έπιστρέφω for / whereas the gospels use μεταυοέω which usually translates . This problem can be solved. meaning repentance is not attested in key documents. In contrast, words for repentance associated with / are massively attested and it is probable that this was the language used by John and Jesus.μεταυοέω and μετάυοιε are found in the gospels because they are words which can be used for the conversion of gentiles. This was important because / and έπιστρέφω are frequently used with reference to Jews returning to God.
Wright's recent book on the resurrection is the most important defence of the historical accuracy of the empty tomb and the bodily resurrection. However, his arguments do not stand up to close scrutiny. Sufficient attention is not paid to the importance of Jewish and pagan legendary traditions concerning great figures of the past. Unlike non-Christian traditions, the Gospel narratives are never treated with any decree of scepticism (not even Mt. 27.52-53) which is a dubious practice for a historian. The earliest evidence for the empty tomb has no genuine eyewitness support (in contrast to the resurrection appearances) and Mk 16.8 suggests that the story was not well known. The first resurrection appearances are more likely to be visionary experiences interpreted as a bodily raised figure, which meant that the early accounts of Paul and Mark could assume an empty tomb even if historically this was not the case.
This article points out that lives of Jesus have been dominated by individualism, fact-finding, exegesis and description. This stands in contrast to the ways in which historical reconstruction has been practised in other disciplines in the humanities and in contrast to the ways in which some biographers and historians see the role of the individual in historical change. Even when there have been attempts to use the social sciences in historical Jesus studies, if the result is not merely descriptive and exegetical, then the reception of such approaches in scholarship still tends to focus on the individual reconstructed rather than on potential methodological developments relating to historical change. This article will suggest ways in which the individual and descriptive emphases can be complemented by wider ranging socio-historical reconstructions designed to explain historical change, or, more generally, how we get from Jesus to Christian origins.
This article looks at arguably the most dominant rhetorical move in contemporary historical Jesus scholarship, namely the ‘Jewishness’ of Jesus or a ‘very Jewish’ Jesus, and how this superficially but credibly positive rhetoric subtly maintains the older myth of superiority over against Judaism. This scholarly trend is located in contemporary ideological discourses concerning Israel and Judaism and liberal multiculturalism and is shown to be deeply embedded in scholarly historical practice. Some consideration is also given to the ideological locations of the ‘Judean’ and ‘Jesus the Israelite’ debate.
Key Events is clearly a major contribution to historical Jesus studies from a broadly evangelical perspective. While there is much to commend and a number of strong essays, there are, inevitably criticisms to be made. A number of arguments appear to be repeating debates from the 1980s and 1990s with a familiar cast of good (e.g. N.T. Wright), bad (e.g. Burton Mack, Jesus Seminar) and ambivalent (e.g. E.P. Sanders) characters. This nostalgic feel means that alternative understandings of the historical Jesus and wider issues of history and historical change are not properly discussed, although clearly the opportunities were present among the contributors of Key Events. There is a sustained discussion of historical change in the chapter on resurrection but this repeats problematic arguments in favour of the historicity of the resurrection in what is effectively an attempt to prove what is historically unprovable. Finally, to lesser or greater extent, a number of essays in Key Events continue to perpetuate the idea of a ‘Jewish … but not that Jewish’ Jesus through monolithic constructions of Jews and Judaism and through the discredited criterion of dissimilarity in disguise: double dissimilarity. It is not always clear that the problematic criterion of double dissimilarity is applied consistently, with some evidence of contributors forgetting aspects of dissimilarity from Christianity while never forgetting dissimilarity from Judaism (even when similar Jewish evidence is, in fact, available). These criticisms should not take away from a number of positive contributions made to historical Jesus studies and it may be that Key Events represents a vision of what most historical Jesus scholars see as the future of the sub-field.
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.