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Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews : a…

Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews : a Jewish life and the emergence of… (edition 1999)

by Paula Fredriksen

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Title:Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews : a Jewish life and the emergence of Christianity
Authors:Paula Fredriksen
Info:New York : Alfred A. Knopf, c1999.
Collections:Your library

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Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews: A Jewish Life and the Emergence of Christianity by Paula Fredriksen



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From the Afterword:
"The Jesus encountered in the present reconstruction is a prophet who preached the coming apocalyptic Kingdom of God. His message coheres both with that of his predecessor and mentor, John the Baptizer, and with that of the movement that sprang up in his name. This Jesus thus is not primarily a social reformer with a revolutionary message; nor is he a religious innovator radically redefining the traditional ideas and practices of his native religion."

Which is a pretty fair description of the themes explored. I found the author's lack of belief annoying: for example, she chose to assume that all early references to the messiah could not have applied to Jesus specifically because they were prophecy, and therefore either fiction or deception. But everyone has an agenda, and Fredricksen is clear about hers. Her description of life under Roman rule in the first century was fascinating, and more than made up for other issues of faith (or lack of faith). ( )
  CatherineBurkeHines | Nov 28, 2018 |
The author of this book focuses on two indisputable facts: Jesus of Nazareth was crucified by Rome, killed as a political insurrectionist, but none of his immediate followers were harmed or even arrested. The public execution, he argues, implies that Pilate saw Jesus as spearheading some type of dangerous political movement. The public execution may have been to discourage whatever political hopes Jesus may have inspired. Yet the fact that Pilate rounded up and executed none of Jesus' followers suggests that he knew perfectly well that Jesus posed no such threat. So why the crucificixion? Focusing on these facts, the author re-evaluates the historical worth of traditions in John's Gospel that may have been discounted or overlooked.
  tony_sturges | Jan 17, 2018 |
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0679767460, Paperback)

The epigraph to Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews by Paula Fredriksen includes the following observation by Matteo Ricci: "[A]ll things (including those that at last come to triumph mightily) are at their beginnings so small and faint in outline that one cannot easily convince oneself that from them will grow matters of great moment." This little thought helps to explain Fredriksen's big one, that no one during Jesus' lifetime (including the man himself) considered Jesus to be the Messiah. That interpretation of his life, Fredriksen argues, was occasioned by his death: "Jesus' crucifixion as King of the Jews had come as a shock to his core followers. Their experiences of his continued presence after his death, on the evidence of the Gospels, surprised them, too. Seeking to understand what they had witnessed, they turned to Scripture." Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews makes its argument through careful reconstruction of Jesus' historical context, and dogged attention to the details of his crucifixion and to the fates of his immediate followers. The book's surprising arguments and its lucid style make this a valuable addition to the canon of popular Historical Jesus scholarship. --Michael Joseph Gross

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:11:11 -0400)

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Paula Fredriksen, renowned historian and author of From Christ to Jesus, begins this inquiry into the historic Jesus with a fact that may be the only undisputed thing we know about him: his crucifixion. Rome reserved this means of execution particularly for political insurrectionists; and the Roman charge posted at the head of the cross indicted Jesus for claiming to be King of the Jews. To reconstruct the Jesus who provoked this punishment, Fredriksen takes us into the religious worlds, Jewish and pagan, of Mediterranean antiquity, through the labyrinth of Galilean and Judean politics, and on into the ancient narratives of Paul's letters, the gospels, the Dead Sea Scrolls, and Josephus' histories. The result is a profound contribution both to our understanding of the social and religious contexts within which Jesus of Nazareth moved, and to our appreciation of the mission and message that ended in the proclamation of Jesus as Messiah.

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