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The Historical Figure of Jesus by E. P.…
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The Historical Figure of Jesus (original 1993; edition 1996)

by E. P. Sanders (Author)

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979917,176 (3.81)12
"Everyone has his own picture of Jesus - few historical figures have been so overlaid with centuries of mythmaking. But is it possible for us to discover what he was like from the historical evidence? Professor Sanders, author of Paul and Palestinian Judaism and Jesus and Judaism, has placed the study of the relationship between Judaism and early Christianity on a new basis: one that is historical and descriptive rather than theological and antagonistic. In this book he uses a clear and logical approach, carefully distinguishing the 'certain' from the 'less certain' and the 'improbable' to present a fresh and dramatic account of Jesus as a person." "Since scholars first began to analyse the gospels using the tools of critical study, Jesus has proved a tantalizing puzzle. There is enough evidence to offer the hope of a full explanation of who he was and what he did, but on examination it turns out to be difficult and sometimes contradictory." "In the first part of this study Professor Sanders proposes that we can have excellent knowledge about Jesus on a general level where he fits into the history and religious movements of first-century Palestine, the main themes of his teaching, some of his principal activities, and the people who followed him." "More specific questions, such as 'What precisely was he like?', 'What are the nuances of his teaching?' and 'What were his aims', can be answered with less certainty. The second part of the book identifies the range of possible answers and weighs the evidence in favour of each." "Historical research into the life and career of Jesus cannot fully explain the emergence and phenomenal spread of the new religion of Christianity. The author discusses how the disciples decided to put together the reports of Jesus' life which we now have as the gospels, and their desire to present his person in the teachings of what became a powerful religion that spread from the Jews to the Gentiles and throughout the world." "Although we must acknowledge that in some respects Jesus remains an enigma, this account also demonstrates that we know more about the historical figure of Jesus than we ever realized."--BOOK JACKET.Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved… (more)
Member:Crdukejr
Title:The Historical Figure of Jesus
Authors:E. P. Sanders (Author)
Info:Penguin Books (1996), Edition: Reprint, 337 pages
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The Historical Figure of Jesus by E. P. Sanders (1993)

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» See also 12 mentions

8
  OberlinSWAP | Aug 1, 2015 |
6
  OberlinSWAP | Aug 1, 2015 |
Great basic information on the historical background of Jesus and the world he lived in. ( )
1 vote PontiffMaximus | May 15, 2014 |
Sanders made a name for himself (and virtually launched the New Perspective on Paul) with his 1977 classic, Paul and Palestinian Judaism. In The Historical Figure of Jesus, he brings his immense understanding of first century Judaism to bear on Jesus.

In order to understand anyone, you first need to understand the world that they lived in. Sanders takes the first five chapters of his book to set the stage for the life of Jesus. He describes the political and religious situation with clarity and attention to detail. These first chapters were worth the cost of the book!

Throughout the rest of the book Sanders describes what we can know with reasonable certainty about Jesus from an historical perspective. My current reading of Torrance’s Incarnation made this difficult for me. For Torrance, trying to understand Jesus as a historical figure without reference to the hypostatic union is unscientific and misleading.

Torrance notwithstanding, I found his treatment of the life of Jesus well-balanced. In his treatment of miracles, for example, he emphasizes the need to set aside enlightenment concerns and understand Jesus’ actions from the viewpoint of his contemporaries.

"Though today somewhere between many and most people in the industrialized countries think that there are no true miracles, in the ancient world most people believed in miracles, or at least in their possibility" (132).

The epilogue on “The Resurrection” reveals the author’s humility and personality. When faced with gospel evidence of the resurrection, the historian in Sanders isn’t quite sure how to respond.

"Throughout this book I have offered suggestions about what lies behind passages in the gospels. On the present topic, however, I do not see how to improve on the evidence, or how to get behind it. … That Jesus’ followers (and later Paul) had resurrection experiences is, in my judgment, a fact. What the reality was that gave rise to the experiences I do not know" (280).

The Historical Figure of Jesus is an engaging, thoughtful, and readable look at the life of Jesus Christ. ( )
1 vote StephenBarkley | Mar 2, 2014 |
NO OF PAGES: 337 SUB CAT I: Yeshua SUB CAT II: History SUB CAT III: First Century Judaism DESCRIPTION: In the first part of this study Professor Sanders proposes that we can have excellent knowledge about Jesus on a general level: where he fits into the history and religious movements of first-century Palestine, the main themes of his teaching, some of his principal activities, and the people who followed him. More specific questions, such as 'What precisely was he like?', 'What were the nuances of his teaching?' and 'What were his aims?', can be answered with less certainty. The second part of the book identifies the range of possible answers and weighs the evidence in favor of each. Although we must acknowledge that in some respects Jesus remains an enigma, this account also demonstrates that we know more about the historical figure of Jesus than we ever realized.NOTES: Donated by Tim Hegg SUBTITLE:
  BeitHallel | Feb 18, 2011 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
E. P. Sandersprimary authorall editionscalculated
Belenson, GailCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rosa, Pacecco deCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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"Everyone has his own picture of Jesus - few historical figures have been so overlaid with centuries of mythmaking. But is it possible for us to discover what he was like from the historical evidence? Professor Sanders, author of Paul and Palestinian Judaism and Jesus and Judaism, has placed the study of the relationship between Judaism and early Christianity on a new basis: one that is historical and descriptive rather than theological and antagonistic. In this book he uses a clear and logical approach, carefully distinguishing the 'certain' from the 'less certain' and the 'improbable' to present a fresh and dramatic account of Jesus as a person." "Since scholars first began to analyse the gospels using the tools of critical study, Jesus has proved a tantalizing puzzle. There is enough evidence to offer the hope of a full explanation of who he was and what he did, but on examination it turns out to be difficult and sometimes contradictory." "In the first part of this study Professor Sanders proposes that we can have excellent knowledge about Jesus on a general level where he fits into the history and religious movements of first-century Palestine, the main themes of his teaching, some of his principal activities, and the people who followed him." "More specific questions, such as 'What precisely was he like?', 'What are the nuances of his teaching?' and 'What were his aims', can be answered with less certainty. The second part of the book identifies the range of possible answers and weighs the evidence in favour of each." "Historical research into the life and career of Jesus cannot fully explain the emergence and phenomenal spread of the new religion of Christianity. The author discusses how the disciples decided to put together the reports of Jesus' life which we now have as the gospels, and their desire to present his person in the teachings of what became a powerful religion that spread from the Jews to the Gentiles and throughout the world." "Although we must acknowledge that in some respects Jesus remains an enigma, this account also demonstrates that we know more about the historical figure of Jesus than we ever realized."--BOOK JACKET.Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved

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