Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews : A Jewish Life and the Emergence of Christianity
A specialist in early Christianity, Fredriksen (scripture, Boston U.) draws from all possible contemporary sources to construct the life of Jesus and place it firmly within his time and culture. She particularly investigates why his death by crucifixion -- which indicates political insurrection -- was not accompanied by the arrest and execution of his followers.
Among bookstore shelves crowded with recent biographies of Jesus of Nazareth, Fredriksen's contribution will certainly be a welcome addition. It is scholarly without being pedantic, insightful without being revolutionary. Yet the central question it asks�"Why did Jesus die the way he did?"�strikes to the very core of the debate over the Historical Jesus. Fredriksen, Aurelio Professor of Scripture at Boston University, brings to this question enormous erudition drawn from the rabbinic writings, opening fresh ways of looking at the well-trodden Historical Jesus material. Her careful working through the serious historical issues surrounding the definition of "Gospel Truth," the nature of God and Israel in Roman antiquity�as well as the problem of Paul's renovation of the first Christians' view of Jesus�are important contributions to our understanding of Jesus' life. Unlike some other new biographies of Jesus emerging from the trade press, the scholarly apparatus for this text was not shed in the hopes of making it more acceptable to the general reader. The author's notes, far from merely documenting sources, contain interesting and useful augmentations. There is much new here, something that seems unusual for territory so heavily mined. Fredriksen's Jesus of Nazareth is one of those enviable scholarly works that is both a credible scholarly effort and a very good read. (Nov.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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December 05, 2000
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