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Jesus Remembered

by James D. G. Dunn

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236183,143 (4.71)3
James Dunn is regarded worldwide as one of today's foremost biblical scholars. Having written groundbreaking studies of the New Testament and a standard work on Paul's theology, Dunn here turns his pen to the rise of Christianity itself. Jesus Remembered is the first installment in what will be a monumental three-volume history of the first 120 years of the faith. Focusing on Jesus, this first volume has several distinct features. It garners the lessons to be learned from the "quest for the historical Jesus" and meets the hermeneutical challenges to a historical and theological assessment of the Jesus tradition. It provides a fresh perspective both on the impact made by Jesus and on the traditions about Jesus as oral tradition -- hence the title "Jesus Remembered." And it offers a fresh analysis of the details of that tradition, emphasizing its characteristic (rather than dissimilar) features. Noteworthy too are Dunn's treatments of the source question (particularly Q and the noncanonical Gospels) and of Jesus the Jew in his Galilean context. In his detailed analysis of the Baptist tradition, the kingdom motif, the call to and character of discipleship, what Jesus' audiences thought of him, what he thought of himself, why he was crucified, and how and why belief in Jesus' resurrection began, Dunn engages wholeheartedly in the contemporary debate, providing many important insights and offering a thoroughly convincing account of how Jesus was remembered from the first, and why. Written with peerless scholarly acumen yet accessible to a wide range of readers, Dunn's Jesus Remembered, together with its successor volumes, will be a sine qua non for all students of Christianity's beginnings.… (more)

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Despite its over 1000 pages (of which over the last 100 are indicies and bibliography) this is a highly readable book. Clearly the fruit of a lifetimes refelction and scholarship - as evidenced by the very extensive footnotes - this is a very balanced look at the Historical Jesus question. Neither conservatively defensive nor sensationalistically liberal, it offers a methodological clarity which is rarely present in similar works, and never seeks to go beyond the evidence in seeking to sketch how the material we have in the New Testament and occasionally elsewhere emerges from the impact made by Jesus. Occasionally Dunn admits that the picture is vague because the texts are a mixture of memory, what he calls the 'traditioning process' and reflection on both of these, nevertheless an overall picture does emerge which is highly plausible and provides a reasonable explanation for all thet followed.

I look forward to reading the next volume 'Beginning from Jerusalem' ( )
  TonyMilner | Jun 2, 2009 |
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James Dunn is regarded worldwide as one of today's foremost biblical scholars. Having written groundbreaking studies of the New Testament and a standard work on Paul's theology, Dunn here turns his pen to the rise of Christianity itself. Jesus Remembered is the first installment in what will be a monumental three-volume history of the first 120 years of the faith. Focusing on Jesus, this first volume has several distinct features. It garners the lessons to be learned from the "quest for the historical Jesus" and meets the hermeneutical challenges to a historical and theological assessment of the Jesus tradition. It provides a fresh perspective both on the impact made by Jesus and on the traditions about Jesus as oral tradition -- hence the title "Jesus Remembered." And it offers a fresh analysis of the details of that tradition, emphasizing its characteristic (rather than dissimilar) features. Noteworthy too are Dunn's treatments of the source question (particularly Q and the noncanonical Gospels) and of Jesus the Jew in his Galilean context. In his detailed analysis of the Baptist tradition, the kingdom motif, the call to and character of discipleship, what Jesus' audiences thought of him, what he thought of himself, why he was crucified, and how and why belief in Jesus' resurrection began, Dunn engages wholeheartedly in the contemporary debate, providing many important insights and offering a thoroughly convincing account of how Jesus was remembered from the first, and why. Written with peerless scholarly acumen yet accessible to a wide range of readers, Dunn's Jesus Remembered, together with its successor volumes, will be a sine qua non for all students of Christianity's beginnings.

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