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In: Jews and Christians in the First and Second Centuries: How to Write Their History

Abstract

This essay concedes the claim that, already for Paul, Christ is a superhuman (and hence divine) figure, but it argues that the “early very high Christology” hypothesis (a la Bauckham, Hurtado, Capes, Newman, et al.) retrojects later dogmatic categories into first-century texts. It is true that a line can be traced from Paul through Nicea to Augustine to Luther to Hengel, one that resonates with the idea of a radical identification of Jesus with God. But that is not an argument about the first-century interpretation of a first-century text. It is an observation about the continuing importance—and, thus, the necessary reinterpretation—of a first-century text.

In: Monotheism and Christology in Greco-Roman Antiquity

Abstract

This essay concedes the claim that, already for Paul, Christ is a superhuman (and hence divine) figure, but it argues that the “early very high Christology” hypothesis (a la Bauckham, Hurtado, Capes, Newman, et al.) retrojects later dogmatic categories into first-century texts. It is true that a line can be traced from Paul through Nicea to Augustine to Luther to Hengel, one that resonates with the idea of a radical identification of Jesus with God. But that is not an argument about the first-century interpretation of a first-century text. It is an observation about the continuing importance—and, thus, the necessary reinterpretation—of a first-century text.

In: Monotheism and Christology in Greco-Roman Antiquity

Abstract

The resurrection of the dead, the vindication of the righteous, the ingathering of the elect, the impending establishment of God’s kingdom: both Jesus and Paul, Schweitzer insisted, proclaimed that these end-time events would occur in their own day. But they did not. This fact has problematized Schweitzer’s intellectual legacy. Many New Testament scholars continue to deny, to redefine, or simply to ignore Second Temple apocalyptic eschatology as the generative context for and content of this first generation’s messianic convictions. In so doing, they produce ancient Jewish figures easily amenable to modern theologies. The historical interpretive plumb line for mid-first-century research runs through 1517.

Dale Allison, by contrast, has enhanced and refined Schweitzer’s insights. Their mutual insistence on apocalyptic eschatology, realistically conceived, places Jesus and Paul on a coherent continuum of prophetic conviction. It singularly explains how and why the early post-Easter movement sought, in various ways, to include ex-pagan gentiles within their spirit-filled assemblies. And finally, Christianity’s originary apocalyptic eschatology helps us as scholars to distinguish, as Allison has forthrightly done, between doing theology and doing history. Theology summons sacred texts to current faith communities: it thereby constructs sameness. History embeds sacred texts in their ancient past: it thereby respects difference. The goals of theology and of history are different; their ethical imperative, the same.

In: “To Recover What Has Been Lost”: Essays on Eschatology, Intertextuality, and Reception History in Honor of Dale C. Allison Jr.

Abstract

This article explores the historiographical consequences of depending on Markan chronology to reconstruct Jesus’s mission. Mark highlights a “Galilean crisis” as well as the scene in the temple courts (Mk 11:18) as twinned moments of dramatic reversal (peripeteia) that serve to drive his story home to its conclusion, connecting Jesus’s Jewish mission with his Roman death. Analyzing Jesus, the Gospels, and the Galilean Crisis with Mark’s literary deployment of peripeteia in mind, the essay then raises several questions about Ferda’s reconstruction of the reception of Jesus’s message among his Galilean hearers. Jerusalem, not the Galilee, emerges as the true site of “crisis.” Jesus’s popularity among Jews, not a rejection by them, explains most directly Pilate’s decision to neutralize Jesus. Were it not for the narrative shaping of Mark’s story, would we have any reason to presuppose a “Galilean crisis” at all?

In: Journal for the Study of the Historical Jesus
In: Protestant Bible Scholarship: Antisemitism, Philosemitism and Anti-Judaism
In: Protestant Bible Scholarship: Antisemitism, Philosemitism and Anti-Judaism
In: Interpretation and Allegory
In: Interpretation and Allegory