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The Brother of Jesus [Paperback]

By Bruce Chilton (Editor) & Jacob Neusner (Editor)
Our Price $ 25.50  
Retail Value $ 30.00  
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Item Number 154727  
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Item Specifications...

Pages   210
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.9" Width: 5.9" Height: 0.6"
Weight:   0.75 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Feb 20, 2004
Publisher   Westminster John Knox Press
ISBN  0664222994  
EAN  9780664222994  

Availability  107 units.
Availability accurate as of Jan 21, 2018 09:45.
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Item Description...
Though a pillar of the Jerusalem church after Jesus' death, James is still a rather obscure figure. How did his views differ from Peter's or Paul's? This scholarly gathering summarizes the evidence we have and in which directions they most likely lead. Worthwhile reading.

Publishers Description
In the time between Jesus' resurrection and James'death, James the Just was the most prominent and widely respected leader of the fledgling Church. This text presents essays by renowned scholars which address issues such as the Jewish context of early Christianity; the person of James;his literary message and mission; James and Jesus; and James in relation to Peter and Paul.

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More About Bruce Chilton & Jacob Neusner

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Bruce Chilton is a leading scholar of early Christianity and Judaism and is currently Bernard Iddings Bell Professor of Religion at Bard where he also directs the Institute of Advanced Theology. He has taught in Europe at the Universities of Cambridge, Sheffield, and Munster, and in the United States at Yale University (as the first Lillian Claus Professor of New Testament).


Bruce Chilton has an academic affiliation as follows - Bard College, New York Bard College, USA Bard College, USA Bard Colleg.

Bruce Chilton has published or released items in the following series...
  1. Christianity and Judaism, the Formative Categories
  2. Fortress Introductions
  3. Studying the Historical Jesus

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Reviews - What do our customers think?
About Scholars  Mar 24, 2006
The previous reviewer's remarks regarding this book are to the point and informative. However, lots of water has run under the bridge since his review was written. Church History and all analogous issues, such as theology, Christology, archeaology, commentary, etc., that swirl around it make for a opaque discipline. Or, some would say a complete lack of discipline. Every student of the Bible and Early Church History owes it to themsleves to read this book. Both for its content which is important in the extreme if you are interested in James and the Jacobean movement, and for what it says about the academics that produced it. The Neusner and Chilton partnership has been productive for twenty years at least, and this book might be its culmination. It is a remarkable achievement delivering an immense quantity of valuable information in a small number of pages.

The first thing I will note in the book is the disconcertingly different readings of the text of the Epistle of James. Peter H. David's work can be harmonized with the work of Wiard Popkes. Neither of them can be reconciled with the conclusions of the reading by Richard Bauckham. Popkes is a German scholar and reads everything in English as well as what is in German. There is a mass of relevant scholarship that is available only in German. And, what are the French writing about these matters? There is an English language centered bias in the United States and especially Britain that is long running. That it still exists is apparent in this volume. Therefore, we, monolingual English readers, miss an entirely different scholarly tradition in large measure. It would appear that British scholars in the main are content to read their fellow countrymen with an occassional nod to other English language works much to the detriment of readers and students.

Then there is the problem of the close of the book. Robert M. Price reviews Robert N. Eisenman's, "James the Brother of Jesus...," after all the other essays and Chilton's epilogue. The previous reviewer referred to Price and Eisenman as "fringe" scholars. Price is now a full blown "Jesus denier." He is a favorite of the atheist crowd and has turned himself into a locus for the "denier" community which has seemingly lost him all academic credibility. Eisenman safely tenured in the University of California system in Middle Eastern studies has absolutely no professional credibility when it comes to matters of the Early Church, Qumranic Studies, or much of anything else relevant to James the relative of Jesus.

Also, it would appear that Chilton himself has gone off on a tangent in his latest books. What is one to think of all this? In a a small package, this book epitomizes the problems of the discipline. When you have scholars starting from personal positions of evangelical fundamentalism, orthodox Roman Catholism, Jesus denial and atheism all unable to overcome their foundational biases, often objectivity is ill served. Far too much scholarship in this area is well varnished polemic. This is a disgrace as it does little other than misinform and confuse the lay reader. This book is a must read for its very valuable content on James the relative of Jesus. However, it is also a valuable contribution to the elucidation of a discipline at war within itself based on a lack historiographic objectivity.
The historical James  Jul 6, 2002
Like many books with multiple contributors, this one finds a mixed bag of results. This publication attempts to provide a synopsis of the work of the Consultation on James, a group of scholars who have been meeting on a periodic basis to discuss various facets of James, the alleged "brother" of Jesus.

Jacob Neusner opens with a discussion of the different types of 1st century Judaisms. His findings lead him to conclude that there are four traits foundational to all types of Judaism: the privileged status of ancient Israelite Scripture, an identification with the "Israel" of which Scripture speaks, an insistence upon the priority of that system over all competing accounts of an "Israel" in context, and the certainty that all who live by that system constitute "Israelites".

John Painter provides the longest chapter of the book and he gives an overview of the primary historical questions surrounding James. These include: the meaning of the title "brother of the Lord", the question of whether he was an "unbeliever" during the ministry of Jesus, his alleged conversion following the resurrection of Jesus, his status as leader of the Jerusalem church, his martyrdom, and his view of the Law.

Peter Davids discusses the message of the letter of James, but leaves the question of authorship open. Wiard Popkes follows with a closely related piece on the mission of the author of James, again leaving unanswered the question of authorship.

Richard Bauckham does argue for James, the brother of Jesus, as the actual author of the letter. He then proceeds to compare and contrast the wisdom sayings of Jesus with those found in James. He argues that both saw themselves as following in the tradition of Jewish wisdom teachers such as Ben Sira, etc.

Bruce Chilton addresses the question of James' relationship to Peter and Paul. His methodology is curious at times, as he seems inconsistent in his handling of issues of historicity. For example, he often treats Acts as being historically reliable, but then he will dismiss evidence from it when it does not suit his thesis. This would be understandable if he were to provide reasons for rejecting these items, but he does not do so.

Craig Evans closes with a chapter in which he compares Qumranic, Rabbinic, and Jacobean (that of James) Judaisms. He uses Chilton's four distinguishing traits as the framework for his discussion.

The appendix consists of a review of Robert Eisenman's, "James, the Brother of Jesus" written by Robert Price. This review seemed out of place in this work due to the fact that both Eisenman and Price are on the fringe of NT scholarship and prone to highly speculative theses. Needless to say, Price raves about Eisenman's work with comments like, "Eisenman is like the Renaissance scientists who had to handcraft all the intricate parts of a planned invention." What is most ironic is that nearly the entire scholarly community views Eisenman's work as just that: a handcrafted fabrication lacking a basis in historical reality. Unfortunately, neither Price nor Eisenman recognize it as such.

Buy this book if you want to learn more about James and early Christianity. The scholars are not monolithic in their views, which means you'll find some with whom you'll agree and others who will challenge you.


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