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Allison’s New Book on Jesus

October 20, 2010

Dale Allison’s latest (he says, his final) book on the historical Jesus is out and is very much the one to read on this subject now:  Constructing Jesus:  Memory, Imgaination, and History (Grand Rapids:  Baker Academic, 2010). 

At 462 pp. (+ a 70-pp bibliography and also indexes), it’s not a lightweight work.  I read it in proofs some months ago, and I’ll cite my own commendation from the back cover:  “Displaying jaw-dropping acquaintance with primary evidence and the oceanic body of scholarship on Jesus, a sweeet reasonableness toward the complexities involved, and just plain good judgment time after time on controverted issues, Constructing Jesus is essential reading for anyone concerned with the scholarly approach to the Jesus of history.”

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  1. Daniel James Levy permalink

    Dr. Hurtado,

    I’ve read your commentary on Mark and specifically Mark 13. Since the writing of this commentary do you still agree the apocalyptic language is metaphorical and Jesus wasn’t a failed apocalyptic as Allison insinuates?

    Grace and peace,

    • The focus in my commentary was on the Gospel of Mark, not “the historical Jesus”. I take Mark as written to discourage readers from misguided calculations of the end, while also affirming that an end is coming.

      • Daniel James Levy permalink

        Intriguing; do you find the language of imminence used in the Mark 13 passages to be referred to as literal or grandoise language for a soon coming event?

      • Without specifics it’s difficult to reply. I’ve tried to address the passage in my commentary. As indicated, I see in the repeated warnings about being deceived, anxious, not being led astray, etc. the author’s emphasis: When it happens, it will happen, so don’t get involved in apocalyptic time-tables, etc. Your job is to preach the gospel to the whole world (Mk 13:10). You’ll know it when it happens.

  2. Neil Parille permalink

    I’ve started the book and it’s excellent. I’m curious what the “orthodox” response would be to Allison’s claim that Jesus expected “the end” in his lifetime or within the life’s of his followers.

    -Neil Parille

  3. doubtingmonk permalink

    Prof. Hurtado,

    What about Dale Allison’s new book distinguishes this from other historical Jesus works in your opinion, in addition to what you mentioned in your recommendation?

  4. Steven Carr permalink

    Dale Allison’s masterful demonstration on pages 417-418 that Romans 8:15 has an echo of Jesus being distressed in Gethsemane made a powerful impression on me, and made me reconsider how history should be done.

    Allison states on page 418 that the urgency of Paul’s word for ‘cry’ well suits the description of Jesus in the garden who is ‘distressed’ and ‘agitated.’

    This demonstration of the historicity of the distress of Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane is a striking example of how historians should approach texts, and one that historians outside the field of New Testament studies should learn from.

  5. Neil Parille permalink

    There has been a hugh flurry of big books in recent years on the historical Jesus, for example Keener, Dunn, Meier, Wright, Bauckham and now Allison, not to mention large numbers of commentaries.

    I wish I had time to read them all. I have read the four volumes of Meier.

    -Neil Parille

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