Cambridge Companion to Jesus Edited by Markus Bockmuehl – Cambridge University Press – 2001
“Jesus was an Asian and an infant refugee in Africa” - Bockmuehl
Craig A Evans
Archeological evidence shows people of Galilee were scrupulous in their observance of purity laws. Examples: Non Jewish pottery was limited to non Jewish sectors whilst non Jewish sectors contained Jewish pottery. Also virtually no pig bones were found dating to before AD 70 (after a sizeable growth in the non Jewish population)
Revolts that took place after Herod’s death (4 BCE), after the removal of Archelaus and the Roman census (6CE) and the riot in Jerusalem that instigated the great revolt (66-70) all pointed to deep-seated Jewish resentment of pagan presence in Israel (inc. Galilee).
Dating Jesus' birth
“Conventional to date the birth of Jesus to 4 BC or a bit earlier.This date is based n the Matthean evangelist, whose narrative suggests that Jesus was born shortly before the death of Herod the Great (cf. Matt 2.1,19). However, the evangelist’s association of Jesus ‘ birth with the final days f the reign of Herod may reflect a Moses-Jesus typology. Just as Pharaoh tried to destroy the promised saviour of the Hebrew slaves, so the wicked Herod – infamous for the execution of family members, including his elder so Alexander only days before the king himself would die – tried to destroy the saviour of Israel (Matt 2.1-18; cf. Exod 2.1-10). It has been suggested that Jesus may have been born near the end of the reign of Herod Archelaus (Luke 1.5), at the time of the controversial census ‘when Quirinius was governor of Syria’ (Luke 2.1-2). Given the accuracy of the Lucan evangelist in other matters pertaining to chronology and figures in office, this alternative suggestion should not be dismissed too hastily” 13-14 Evans
Matthean rephrases (lies?) about Jesus’ parentage and occupation.
“During his ministry, Jesus returns to Nazareth, where some of the residents wonder: ‘Is not this the carpenter [ho tekton], the son of Mary and brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon, and are not his sisters here with us?’ (Mark 6.3). To be referred to as the ‘son of Mary’ raises questions about Jesus’ paternity . It hardly comes as a surprise then that Matthew rephrases the insultijng question.: ‘Is not this the carpenter’s son [ho tou tektonos huios]?’ (Matt 13.55). Jesus is here identified as the son of Joseph the carpenter. Not only is the stigma of his doubtful birth removed, Jesus has been distanced from his lowly occupation.” 14 Evans
Jesus family did not endorse his ministry?
“There are signification indications tat Jesus’ family did not endorse his ministry. The open hostility between Jesus and his family is barely masked in the Marcan account (Mark 3.20-35;cf.6.1-6; John 7.5), which the Matthean and Lucan evangelists take pains to mitigate” 14 Evans
[How can he believe they thought Jesus was God? Same with Mark! – Evans believes in all probability the resurrection claims (1 Cor 15.7) altered his family’s opinion]
Could Jesus read?
Deductive reading arguing Jesus could read, “according to Philo and Josephus, approximate contemporaries of Jesus, Jewish parents taught their children Torah and how to read it” 17
Perhaps they were only talking about affluent families? Evans sides with the opinion Jesus could read.
Some of the members of the North American Jesus Seminar do not think Jesus could read (Funk 1998:274). The Seminar also tends to think that quotations of and allusions to Scripture are the work of the early church, not of Jesus. 15
Disciple of John?
“The admission in the gospels that Jesus was baptised by John is one of the most certain data of the tradition (Mark 1.9-11; Matt 3.13-17; Luke 3.21-22; John 1.29-34). It suggests that Jesus was for a time a disciple of John” 21
Peter J Tomson
The phrase not worthy to bow down and unite his sandal is thought to be the kind of task a Jewish disciple did for his teacher.
Secretive about being the Messiah (Mark 9.2-8)
Jesus began his own career accepting the rite of repentance and forgiveness at the hands of John, which later devout Christians found hard to believe (cf. Matt 3.14; John 1.29-36; the Gospel of the Nazarenes as quoted by Jerome, Against Pelagius 3.2) 30
Jesus’ interpretation of the law was notably stricter than that of the Pharisees on the prohibition of divorce.
Predictions of the destruction [of the Temple - mine] were not unique in Jesus’ time, as we know from Josephus; and of course there is the ancient precedent of Jeremiah (Jer 7.14). 37
Pharisees believed in resurrection, Sadducess did not.
Marianne Meye Thompson
“For some scholars who pursue historical reconstructions of Jesus, the goal of this quest is to strip away the creedal accretions and affirmations of faith that have shaped the gospels and subsequent Christian belief in order to discover the ‘genuine’ historical figure of Jesus beneath layers of confession” 41
Adolf Von Harnack, a German scholar of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuriesasserted that ‘The Gospel , as Jesus proclaimed it, has to do with the Father only and not with the Son’ (Harnack 1957:144). 41
Geza Vermes speaks of Jesus as a ‘lover and worshipper of his Father in heaven’ , whose transformation into an object of worship ‘would have filled this Galilean Hasid with stupefaction, anger and deepest grief’ (Vermes 1983:13) 41
Jesus distinguished between blasphemy of the Son of Man and blasphemy of the Spirit indicating he believed himself and his mission answerable to and driven by the Spirit of God (Matt 12.31-32) ref 44
“Jesus refuses to manipulate God or to ask for demonstrable proofs of God’s protection” when asked to thrown himself off the Temple. He refused signs to those who asked to see them as proofs that God had sent him (Mark 8.11-12; 11.27-33) ref 45
Going beyond creeds
Robert Funk, the founder of the Jesus Seminar, contends that because Christianity is not the religion of Jesus, but the religion about him, if falls upon those who truly seek to follow Jesus to find him behind the creeds and gospels (Funk 1996: 304). 53
Earliest Christian preaching as recorded in Paul’s letters and Peter’s speeches in Acts are proclamations about Jesus rather than simply continuing the proclamation of Jesus. This shift is due to the church’s belief that Jesus had been raised and exalted by God to the right hand of the Father.
Miracles were not accepted without question in antiquity. Graeco-Roman writers were often reluctant to ascribe ‘miraculous’ events to the gods, and offered alternative explanations. Some writers were openly sceptical about miracles (e.g. Epicurus, Lucretius, Lucian). So it is a mistake to write off miracles of Jesus as the result of naivety and gullibility of people in the ancient world. In his own lifetime follower and foe accepted that Jesus had unusual healing powers. Ref 66
Some suggest many of the illnesses and disabilities had psychosomatic roots.
Joel B Green
When it came to the act of crucifixion, the Romans were slaves to no standard technique 90