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A Marginal Jew: Rethinking the Historical Jesus: The Roots of the Problem and the Person, Vol. 1 [Hardcover]

By John P. Meier (Author)
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Item Specifications...

Pages   496
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 9.3" Width: 6.2" Height: 1.5"
Weight:   1.65 lbs.
Binding  Hardcover
Release Date   Nov 30, 1991
Publisher   Anchor Bible
ISBN  0385264259  
EAN  9780385264259  

Availability  0 units.

Item Description...
The book on Jesus for the last decade of the 20th century, offering a groundbreaking new look at the central figure of Western civilization. This book grapples with the greatest puzzle of modern religious scholarship: Who was Jesus?

Buy A Marginal Jew: Rethinking the Historical Jesus: The Roots of the Problem and the Person, Vol. 1 by John P. Meier from our Christian Books store - isbn: 9780385264259 & 0385264259

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More About John P. Meier

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! John P. Meier is William K. Warren Professor of Theology (New Testament) at the University of Notre Dame and the author of A Marginal Jew: Rethinking the Historical Jesus. He has also written six other books and over seventy articles. At various times he has been the editor or associate editor of The Catholic Biblical Quarterly, New Testament Studies, and Dead Sea Discoveries.

John P. Meier currently resides in the state of Indiana.

John P. Meier has published or released items in the following series...
  1. Lex Orandi

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Product Categories
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Reviews - What do our customers think?
Exhaustive but not Exhausting  Nov 17, 2007
I have just finished reading Meier's fantastic first volume. I picked it up at my university library after hearing many great things about it and thought I would check it out.

This book, while scholarly, is extremely fun to read. Meier does not beat around the bush, but is extremely forward in his methodology and the meat of each chapter. He carefully examines all points, and even discusses some of the fringe scholar's findings, such as Barbara Thiering. It never gets dull as we uncover findings about this marginal Jew that influenced the world.

From my reading I did not feel like his Catholic background contributed to any flaws in the text. If you happen to be Roman Catholic or Eastern Orthodox he addresses subjects that would be important to them though. Such as Mary's perpetual virginity, which he discusses lucidly and with poise. Obviously it is a much later idea that was not held universally for the first four hundred years of Christianity, and therefore not essential for the Church.

But my one complaint is that the "footnotes" are endnotes, and it got annoying of having to flip back and forth while reading. Other than that this is a finely researched book, and is essential reading for anyone who wants to learn about Jesus, theist or naturalist. Especially if they desire to be informed on where mainstream Biblical Criticism is, because often the representatives of the "New Atheist" movement (Dawkins, etc) are poorly informed when it comes to Biblical Scholarship or Theology. And Meier's contribution is essential reading.

As an Eastern Orthodox Christian though, I would highly recommend this text to other Orthodox. I often find that because of Orthodoxy's mystical tendencies we often forget how human Jesus really was. Or even how Jewish he was.

I think like all things it is necessary to have balance, and the more we can learn from Jesus the better we can be as people. I think that in the current quest for the "historical" Jesus, all scholars have something to bring to the table, whether it be Wright, Borg, Meier, Crossan or Sanders. But of course, at the same time, this cannot obscure the living relationship that Christians have with Jesus, whether they fall to the Left or Right.
Hey guys!  Jul 10, 2006
At this moment there are 18 reviews (now 19) on volume 1 but no one has reviewed book 2. If this was such a great read how come no comments on book 2? I note that this book has an Imprimature. This is a good sign!

The introduction is excellent and represents current thinking on historical scholarship.

I would also recommend James Dunn.
For Anyone Seriously Interested in Jesus...  Dec 29, 2005
This is the best book on Biblical scholarship I have yet read. Everyone from Anne Rice to Harold Bloom cites John P. Meier as the foremost authority on the "historical Jesus." Meier, a Roman Catholic priest, begins his work by explaining that the "historical Jesus" is not the "real Jesus," and vice versa. One cannot write an accurate "biography" of Jesus (understood in its modern sense) because there is just too little information. What he can do however, is assess the information that we do have, and see what everyone - "Catholic, Protestant, Jew, and agnostic" - can agree on.

Make no mistake; this is a work of genuine scholarship by a university professor - not some book of pop pseudo-science or conspiracy theory, such as Holy Blood, Holy Grail. As such, the casual reader MAY find it a bit dry; it is heavily footnoted and Meier makes reference to all the previous researchers in the same field. However, if you are fascinated by the subject-matter (as I am) it is a genuine page-turner. Although it is listed as being 496 pages long, in reality it is much shorter than that as a lot of the book is taken up by supplementary material - such as footnotes - which I simply skipped.

This is the first volume of an ongoing series of books, and they arrive at an important time. As is often pointed out, most "scholarly" works on Jesus or Christianity (such as Albert Schweitzer's, or the recent disappointing work by Harold Bloom) approach the subject with an openly hostile attitude; they write from emotion and not from fact, rendering their "non-fictional" works unattractive and unconvincing. Now - with the Da Vinci Code movie opening shortly - people are willing to believe just about anything. How refreshing then is it for Meier to try to tackle the problem without seeking to AFFIRM OR DENY anyone's faith! The result is sure to offend fundamentalists and atheists alike, but it is surely a fascinating read.
Jesus of History, A Critical, Scholarly Examination  Oct 23, 2005
Why even bother trying to learn about the historical Jesus? Why try where so many others have given up or gotten bogged down in disagreement? In his great, academic book, Fr. John Meier recalls Plato: "The unexamined life is not worth living." For the Christian, some things are sacred, but nothing about Yeshu the "marginal" Jew is forbidden in a proper historical examination. And Fr. Meier does just that in this, the first of three volumes. Was Jesus an illegitimate child? Could he read? Did he have brothers and sisters? Why was he "marginal"? What was his early life like?

The scarcity of the evidence can at first be discouraging, but Fr. Meier takes us through the centuries of scholarship and the best available modern evidence to paint us a picture of the young son of Mary and Joseph. Faithless and faithful alike may be unhappy with Meier's conclusions, but his arguments are well-researched and presented. You can read the text and skip the chapter endnotes for a decent academic presentation, or you can delve into the notes and branch off into the cutting edge discussion on the Jesus of history.

Most interesting to me was the fact that the book bears the Imprimatur of Bp. Sheridan, but does not have the Nihil Obstat, or the approval of the Church's censor office. Normally the two go together. Fr. Meier's message may not be popular among modern Christians, Catholic or otherwise, but he's not been censured either. It's a testimony the the impeccability of his scholarship and the validity of his message: The historical Jesus is not the Jesus of faith. He is also not the "real" Jesus, irrecoverable now after 2000 years. He is simply the Jesus that we can recover from "purely historical sources and arguments."
Comprehensive  Jan 23, 2005
Every once in a while, public attention turns to the person of Jesus of Nazareth. A few years ago, it was the "Jesus Seminar." Lately, Dan Brown's book THE DA VINCI CODE sparked some interest, particularly among the conspiracy minded. The impression that many people have is that the conventional story about Jesus is wrong, and the more established churches don't want you to know it.

What many people haven't been told is that there is a large body of work in recent years which is supportive of the historical accuracy of the Gospels. One such work is John Meier's series A MARGINAL JEW. Meier is a Catholic priest who teaches at Notre Dame. In 1991 he came out with the first volume. It might not be the first book you want to read on the subject, but it's a work that anyone interested in the historical Jesus should tackle. Volume two and three are out, and a fourth and final volume is promised.

Meier's work is nothing if not comprehensive. Volume 1 describes the sources for the life of Jesus, the historicity of those sources, the chronology of Jesus' life, and his background (his family, what languages he spoke, whether he could read, and the like). Meier is particularly good on some of the supposed sources for Jesus' life, such as the Gospel of Thomas and the Gospel of Peter. As he shows, careful analysis of these documents indicates that they are later than and rely upon the canonical Gospels. Contra people like Crossan, it is highly unlikely that they contain a separate Jesus tradition.

This book is also interesting for a couple of other reasons. First, although the book contains the imprimatur of the Roman Catholic Church (indicating it is free from doctrinal error), Meier actually denies the perpetual virginity of Mary and is noncommittal on the virgin birth (both of which are Catholic dogma, or so I thought). Second, Meier disputes the historicity of portions of the Gospels, particularly the infancy narratives. For example, he thinks it unlikely that Jesus was born in Bethlehem.

Ben Witherington provides a review of Meier's project up to the second volume in THE JESUS QUEST. Witherington reaches more conservative conclusions while using a similar methodology.

Write your own review about A Marginal Jew: Rethinking the Historical Jesus: The Roots of the Problem and the Person, Vol. 1

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