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The Historical Christ and the Theological Jesus [Paperback]

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Item Number 333260  
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Item Specifications...

Pages   126
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.8" Width: 5.9" Height: 0.5"
Weight:   0.45 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Feb 1, 2009
Publisher   Eerdmans Pub Co
ISBN  0802862624  
EAN  9780802862624  

Availability  8 units.
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Item Description...
Informally presents and evaluates complex-sometimes troubling-issues in scholarly discussion of Jesus Christ.

Publishers Description
Informally presents and evaluates complexsometimes troublingissues in scholarly discussion of Jesus Christ. / "Whatever one makes of these pages, they are the stammerings neither of an apologist nor of a skeptic but instead of an oft-confused Protestant who has come to his conclusions, modest as they are, quite gradually, and who may alter his uncertain mind about much tomorrow. Of two things only do I feel assured. The first is that, as unchanging things do not grow ? rocks remain rocks - informed changes of mind should be welcomed, not feared. The second is this: the unexamined Christ is not worth having." / from the introduction / In this book, which he describes as "my personal testimony to doubt seeking understanding," Dale Allison thoughtfully addresses ongoing historical-theological questions concerning Jesus. What should one think of the modern quest for the historical Jesus when there is such enduring discord among the experts, and when personal agendas play such a large role in the reconstructions? How much history is in the Gospels, and how much history does Christian theology require that there be? How does the quest impinge upon conventional Christian beliefs, and what might it contribute to contemporary theological reflection? The Historical Christ and the Theological Jesus is the personal statement of lessons that a respected participant in the quest has learned throughout the course of his academic career.

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More About Dale C. Allison, Jr.

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Dale C. Allison Jr. is Errett M. Grable Professor of New Testament Exegesis and Early Christianity, Pittsburgh Theological Seminary, and is the author of The Intertextual Jesus and, with the late W.D. Davies, the ICC volumes on Matthew.

Dale C. Allison has published or released items in the following series...
  1. Companions to the New Testament
  2. International Critical Commentary
  3. International Critical Commentary

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Product Categories
1Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Jesus   [0  similar products]
2Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Theology > Christology   [0  similar products]

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Reviews - What do our customers think?
An intriguing and scholarly work that compares conflicts between religious accounts and world history  Sep 14, 2009
There is no historic figure in history who draws as much bias in interpretation than Jesus of Nazareth. "The Historical Christ and the Theological Jesus" is a discussion of the true history of one Jesus of Nazareth and the historians who want to approach his story without the bias that many Christian researchers unknowingly add to their work. "The Historical Christ and the Theological Jesus" is an intriguing and scholarly work that compares conflicts between religious accounts and world history, and is an enthusiastically recommended read.
Not readable  Sep 7, 2009
You have to be some of a religious studies student to appreciate this book

Definitely not a book for an average reader like me!
Faith Seeking Understanding  Apr 6, 2009
Almost all students of the New Testament and its main protagonist, Jesus of Nazareth, are aware of Albert Schweitzer's monumental work, The Quest of the Historical Jesus, which appeared just over 100 years ago. It is no exaggeration to say that Schweitzer's "Quest" constitutes a watershed moment in Jesus studies; all Jesus research since that time has been, in one form or another, a response to Schweitzer. He contended the Synoptic Gospels (Matthew, Mark and Luke) present Jesus as an apocalyptic prophet, one who believed in an impending, final judgment of God in which rights would be vindicated, wrongs redressed, and humanity sorted into "the sheep and the goats." Pace Schweitzer, Jesus was the prophet announcing this impending judgment, one that was to occur before "this generation shall pass." (Matt. 24:34; Mark 13:30).
Although New Testament scholars are well aware of Schweitzer and his work, the church-going public seems relatively ignorant of Schweitzer's claims. This may largely be due to the ordinary lay Christian's conviction that the untutored person, with Bible in hand and inflamed with the Holy Spirit, was more competent to preach the Gospel than was the university-educated pastor or priest. This view, coupled as it is with a large dose of anti-intellectualism, has a long history in America. (Indeed, the great American historian Richard Hofstadter has argued just that very thing in his book Anti-Intellectualism in American Life) A variation on this proposition, still popular, is that many academic theologians and Bible scholars are agents of apostasy in their critical examinations of scripture (I use the word in the sense of "analyzing," not in the sense of "fault-finding"). In fact, a respected Old Testament writer in my own faith has written that "Bible scholars and higher critics sow the seeds of unbelief; deceit and apostasy follow them wherever they go." Unfortunately, I'm sure the majority of my co-religionists would accept that statement uncritically.
Into the breach steps Dale C. Allison, Jr., one of the leading academic Bible scholars of the last 30 years. Allison is a co-author of the massive three-volume A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the Gospel According to Saint Matthew: Matthew 8-18 (International Critical Commentary), published in the International Critical Commentary series. He has also written extensively on the historical Jesus, fine-tuning and expanding the theses of Schweitzer's "Quest." It is no exaggeration to say that Allison is one of the world's leading scholars on the Gospel of Matthew and on the difficulties in questing for "the historical Jesus."
But in this book, Allison writes not only as a scholar, but also as a believing Christian. How, he asks, does one reconcile the cognitive dissonance between one's inner, and therefore subjective, religious and theological convictions as to the person and work of Jesus Christ, and the objective, and therefore inter-subjectively verifiable, results of one's academic endeavors? Is such a reconciliation possible? Is the attempt at reconciliation even worth the effort expended? Isn't the believer better off just to accept on faith that which he or she cannot understand or which has no textual support in the Gospels?
Not surprisingly, Allison champions the proposition that "the unexamined Christ is not worth having." And he does not minimize the difficulties that such an examination entails. New Testament readers are inclined to conflate the four Gospels (the three Synoptics and John, the latter vastly different in style and content from the other three). In so doing, they overlook the distinctive content of each New Testament witness, and produce a Jesus unidentifiable with any of them. Many readers are fairly ignorant of the context in which each of the four Gospels arose, or the communities for which they were intended. As an NT professor of mine one remarked, "a text without a context is a pretext."
Once the reader has separated out in his or her mind the content and context of each individual Gospel, there remains the difficult task of unpacking the meaning in each of them. That, frankly, is tough to do without bringing in all sorts of assumptions and traditions that have little or nothing to do with the texts under consideration. There's a very good reason why a branch of literary criticism focuses on the reader's response to the text as giving a text's ultimate meaning; nowhere is this problem more evident than in Bible study.
Allison frankly presents these and other difficulties; but he also discusses the rewards of such an intellectual journey. I don't necessarily agree with all his conclusions about who Jesus was, what He believed about God and Himself, and what it was that Jesus accomplished in His relatively short life. But, coming to the end of this too-short book (only 119 pages!), I found I had thoroughly enjoyed the journey, and I found myself much more inclined attempt a more critical examination of the Gospels in particular, and of all literature--not just the Bible.
To me, those are marks of a successful, well-ordered and -argued book. I don't think that one can legitimately ask for more than that from a work of this nature--one that is neither polemical nor apologetic, but informative and very candid.
In the preface to his final chapter, Allison quotes this from Susan Neimar: "Meaning is a human category, and must be won against a background. A life that was inevitably meaningful would defeat itself from the start." Allison doesn't say if he intends this text to apply to himself, to the reader of his book, or to Jesus Christ Himself. But if one examines that text carefully and in the light of this book, he or she may come to understand that Neimar's injunction applies to all three: author, reader, and Subject. All of us, even Jesus Himself, struggled and now struggle to understand the most influential Man ever to have lived. And Jesus continues to evade our efforts to pigeonhole him--which is entirely as it should be. This is a book I shall certainly reread and recommend to friends seeking to reconcile the "Jesus of history" with the "Christ of faith."

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