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The Political Aims of Jesus

by Douglas E. Oakman

Publication Year: 2012

Amid competing portrayals of the "cynic Jesus," the "peasant Jesus," and the "apocalyptic Jesus," the "political Jesus" remains a marginal figure. Douglas E. Oakman argues that advances in our social-scientific understanding of the political economy of Roman Galilee, as well as advances in the so-called "Third Quest" for the historical Jesus, warrant a revival—and a critical revision—of H. S. Reimarus's understanding of Jesus as an instigator of revolutionary change.

Published by: Augsburg Fortress Publishers


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p. 1-1

Title Page, Copyright

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pp. i-vi


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pp. vii-viii


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pp. ix-x

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pp. xi-xviii

...After even a casual visit to a trade bookstore, the reader might ask why another book about Jesus is necessary when so many others are already available. To this very reasonable question several considered replies can be given. Few contemporary books on Jesus focus directly on his political...

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1. Revisiting Reimarus

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pp. 3-22

...Hermann Samuel Reimarus (1694–1768), the founder of modern historical Jesus study, was essentially correct—Jesus’ aims were different from those of his post-Easter disciples—but Reimarus’s views need to be modified by social-scientific criticism and restated in the light of “Current Quest” investigations (“Current Quest” is my term)...

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2. Conceptualizing Roman Imperial Patronage Politics

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pp. 23-44

...In order to delineate accurately the political context of Jesus, and central issues in the politics of Herodian Galilee, it is imperative to enter into dialogue with the literature of comparative political science and to entertain models and theories of politics that can help to avoid ethnocentric and anachronistic historiography...

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3. Power and Imperium

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pp. 45-78

...Jesus of Nazareth was born and died at the beginning of the Roman Principate, in a very troubled part of the eastern Roman Empire. His life was conditioned from beginning to end by imperial power. He came into the world in a small peasant village; the circumstances of his birth and parentage were questionable; he left the village to seek...

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4. The Tables and the Table

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pp. 79-112

...Respecting Albert Schweitzer’s postmortem on the First Quest results of the nineteenth century, it is not possible to write a detailed “life of Jesus,” nor a day-to-day commentary about his historical activities. What is possible are statements about (the) typical concerns of Jesus, and perhaps inferences about specific historical persons and events, based on a critical sifting...

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5. Worldly Power and Cosmic Powers

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pp. 113-130

...Max Weber may be permitted a slight oversimplification in subsuming the countryside and the lake entirely into Jesus’ role as a tektōn and broker. Surely, Jesus cared deeply about his immediate contexts—countryside and lake, village and town. His work took him into the villages and towns of Galilee, perhaps Sepphoris and Tiberias (unmentioned by the Jesus traditions), also to Syro-Phoenicia and even Jerusalem...

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6. Revising Reimarus

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pp. 131-134

...Reimarus stands like a giant at the beginning of historical Jesus study. He who could not bring himself to publish his great work during his own lifetime probably would be surprised at his posthumous intellectual stature and how the discussion has proceeded...

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Concluding Postscientific Postscript: The “Fifth Force” and Jesus’ Politics Today

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pp. 135-138

...Modern science speaks of four elemental forces in the universe and seeks to understand everything by the interaction of these forces over time and distance. They are no longer exactly the fire, water, earth, and air of the ancient philosophies, nor the “elemental spirits of the universe” referred...

Appendix 1

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pp. 139-142

Appendix 2

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pp. 143-148

Appendix 3

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pp. 149-154


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pp. 155-156


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pp. 157-176

Author Index

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pp. 177-180

Ancient Literature Index

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pp. 181-186

Subject Index

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pp. 187-193

E-ISBN-13: 9781451424317
E-ISBN-10: 1451424310
Print-ISBN-13: 9780800638474
Print-ISBN-10: 0800638476

Page Count: 200
Publication Year: 2012