Wow, it has been quite a long time since I’ve done a Random Readings post. Moving had something to do with that. Then getting unpacked up here, and learning the area. I’ve also been trying to put more time into studying for my Hebrew Proficiency exams coming up in a couple weeks. Nevertheless, I have managed to work my way through a few books this summer and just never bothered to post about them. I like the idea of working through my thoughts on books using my blog, so I’m going to try to get back into the habit of posting about the books I read. Anyway…
A New Perspective on Jesus. As should come as no surprising, seeing as this book is written by James Dunn, it falls very much into the category of what N.T. Wright calls the Third Quest. Though it offers its own way of critiquing the current quest for the Historical Jesus. Most notably Dunn says such a thing really doesn’t exist, since by looking for an historical Jesus questers mean that they are looking for a Jesus apart from faith (both Christian and Jewish – though the Third Quest see Jesus in Jewish terms). Dunn argues that Jesus made an impact on people, and moved them to faith. He says it therefore follows that no Jesus can be known and understood apart from faith, since he was a faith-inducing kind of guy. The fact that such a faith tradition exists around Jesus speaks to the fact that he created faith in those he knew.
Dunn also critiques the way in which historical Jesus studies have often search for a literary source behind the Gospels, or if they are not seeking a literary source, they use literary terms and methods in the search for an oral source. One of the main points of the book is that there must certainly be an oral tradition among the earlier followers of Christ, even pre-Easter, that can not be understood by using literary forms of identification. This is an area that, even Dunn admits, needs much more research because today we are so used to high literacy rates and the like. Very, very fascinating.
It was also interesting to read this book while Scot Mcknight was doing a series on the Historical Jesus. This was made even more interesting by the fact that Mcknight studied under Dunn, if memory serves. For me this book was a ground level introduction to Jesus studies, and I have to say that I’m more interested than I have been in the past. Perhaps I’ll pick up Dunn’s larger work on the subject, Jesus Remember.
- One Step Closer: Why U2 Matters to Those Seeking God by Christian Scharen. I’ve really got no idea what to expect from this book, but it should be an interesting read. Hopefully I can finish the book in about a week, but given my rather fluid reading schedule over the past month or two, who knows?