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Jesus Through Middle Eastern Eyes: Cultural…

Jesus Through Middle Eastern Eyes: Cultural Studies in the Gospels (2008)

by Kenneth E. Bailey

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Bailey gives us a view into the cultural contexts surrounding the familiar stories in the Gospels. Understanding the Bible requires knowledge of the cultures into which the different pieces of the book were given. Baily helps us understand the very different mindset and view of people in the Middle East. ( )
  tillywern | Nov 6, 2011 |
Anyone’s who is convinced they understand the life and times of Jesus need to read this book. I thought I had a pretty good grasp on the gospels after a lifetime of reading and 7 years of post-secondary education. Even so, I found something on almost every page—certainly in every chapter—that challenged me to rethink various texts.

Bailey’s insight comes with his familiarity with Middle Eastern culture. After spending the majority of his life there, he deeply understands various customs and traditions. Also, his knowledge of little-known Arabic commentators on the gospels adds a layer of insight we tend to miss in the West.

I only had one problem with Bailey’s work. I couldn’t shake the feeling that he was anachronistic in the way he used his experience in Middle Eastern culture to interpret the life of Jesus. That said, I would still highly recommend this book to any serious disciple of Jesus.

Thanks to Brian Lachine for recommending this read. ( )
  StephenBarkley | Mar 16, 2010 |
While not a page turner, Bailey's book is nevertheless brilliant. He spent forty years living and teaching in Egypt, Lebanon, Jerusalem and Cyprus and has extensive knowledge in Semitic languages and the culture of the Middle East. Bailey offers insights into the gospel narratives, parables, and culture that are incredibly insightful. He opens up a whole world of historical eastern interpretation by referencing ancient commentaries written in Arabic. This book is a valuable addition to only one with a love for biblical studies. ( )
  adamtarn | Jun 13, 2009 |
This book is a compilation of the author's previously published studies over a career lifetime of mostly New Testament passages. As such, it is rich with learning and insight. The reader should start with the introduction to learn the author's general approach and then dip into any part of the book to study a NT passage of interest: there are several parables, passages on women, the Beatitudes, and Lord's Prayer, and the Christmas story to choose from. Preachers seeking new angles on familiar passages, adult Bible Study groups, and the curious Bible reader will all find gems in this collection. At the conclusion of each passage exegesis, which is anywhere from 5 to 15 pages, the author provides a list of questions for Christians to think about and discuss. A college reading level and grounding in the Christian tradition are assumed. The author has lived his adult life in the Middle East and has scholarly resources at his fingertips. He is enthusiastic about his subject and conveys his passion well. He argues at various point that his readers would do well to learn the venerable and profound perspectives on scripture of Middle East Christians, perspectives that should be better known. However, the author's enthusiasm sometimes exceeds what can be reasonably claimed. He rightly advocates that contemporary Christians will benefit from how Middle Eastern eyes see traditional passages, but to state as he often does that this is the only right way to understand the passages, or that his interpretation is surely the best, goes too far. ( )
1 vote Wheatland | Apr 7, 2009 |
Showing 4 of 4
The insights provided by Bailey from ancient Arabic or Syriac translations and commentaries on the Gospels are a breath of fresh air after the stale speculative aridity of much of what is called "Jesus research." This most recent book may very well establish Bailey's legacy beyond dispute.
added by Christa_Josh | editJournal of the Evangelical Theological Society, Gene R. Smillie (Jun 1, 2009)
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With Deep Gratitude for his Choice of Hope over Despair
And for His Songs in the Night
With Unfading Love
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For sixty years, from 1935-1995, my home was in the Middle East.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0830825681, Paperback)

Beginning with Jesus' birth, Ken Bailey leads you on a kaleidoscopic study of Jesus throughout the four Gospels. Bailey examines the life and ministry of Jesus with attention to the Lord's Prayer, the Beatitudes, Jesus' relationship to women, and especially Jesus' parables.

Through it all, Bailey employs his trademark expertise as a master of Middle Eastern culture to lead you into a deeper understanding of the person and significance of Jesus within his own cultural context. With a sure but gentle hand, Bailey lifts away the obscuring layers of modern Western interpretation to reveal Jesus in the light of his actual historical and cultural setting.

This entirely new material from the pen of Ken Bailey is a must-have for any student of the New Testament. If you have benefited from Bailey's work over the years, this book will be a welcome and indispensable addition to your library. If you are unfamiliar with Bailey's work, this book will introduce you to a very old yet entirely new way of understanding Jesus.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:14:49 -0400)

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