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360 LETTERS IN CANADA 1997 William E. Amal and Michel Desjardins, editors. Whose Historical jesus? Studies in Christianity and Judaism/Etudes sur le christianisme et le judai"sme, voL 7· Canadian Corporation for Studies in Religion. Wilfrid Laurier University Press. vi, 338. $27.95 Several anthologies on recent Jesus scholarship have now appeared, most notably Bruce Chilton and Craig A. Evans's Studying the Historical Jesus (1994), which provides an excellent Forschungsbericht of this complex area.· But what distinguishes Whose Historical Jesus? is not only its reliable and nuanced map of the field, but the theoretical sophistication of its analysis: its essays consistently probe beneath the surface of historical scholarship and inquire into the 'interest' and 'ideology' being served by sometimes self-declaredly 'neutral' historical scholarship. The volume contains thirteen main essays in eight sections, divided into two parts. Each section is furnished with a short introductory essay and the two parts conclude with analyses by Lei£ E. Vaage and Peter Richardson, noting what has been accomplished and what still awaits attention. Michel Desjardins writes the preface, and William Arnalis retrospective, 'Contemporary Markings on the Body of Christ,' is almost worth the cost of the book by itseli. Several of the essays discuss the audience presupposed by the Jesus tradition- Was it peasant or urban, and can Jesus' social practice be treated as analogous to that of Graeco-Roman Cynics? Both John Dominic Crossan and Burton Mack answer yes to the Cynic analogy; Sean Freyne and John Marshall are more dubious as far as the historical Jesus is concen1edi but Freyne admits that Q, the earliest inscription of the Jesus tradition, could be read in this way. Gregory Bloomquist's essay offers a stimulating analysis of "blessed are you poor' using Athenian rhetoric about riches and poverty as a controt and suggests that addressees of the beatitude were not peasants but wealthy urbanitesI encouraged to redirect their patronage .in favour of the poor. The other main focus of the volume is on the declared theoretical interests and unconscious bias at work in Jesus scholarship. Halvor Moxnes, Barry Henaut, and Larry Hurtado attend to the theological subtexts in recent Jesus scholarship. Jane Schaberg's autobiographical and deeply troubling account of the reception of her work on the infancy accounts, Grant LeMarquand's survey of sub-Saharanscholarship onJesus, and Lei£ Vaage's concluding essay all reveal how 'mainstream' and conservative scholarship is able to wrap its own ideology in the cloak of epistemic neutrality and then characterize feminist, African, and peasant or Cynic-oriented Jesus scholarship as biased, faddish, or unobjective. Glimpses of a possible self-aware and critical discussion of Jesus begin to emerge through the various contributions on cosmological assumptions in the sea miracles (Wendy Cotter), the confused and theologically freighted HUMANITIES 361 understandings of 'apocalyptic' in Jesus scholarship (Edith Humphrey), and in Peter Richardson's plea for more attention to archaeological realia. Amal's retrospective brings into focus ideological questions that lurk behind recent Jesus scholarship: whether a nostalgic and anachronistic notion of 'religion' (and Jesus as a 'religious' figure) effectively serves as a bulkwark against the loss of the subject in postmodemity, and whether the almost frantic attempt to retain an apocalyptic Jesus is not an effort to keep Jesus safely 'Other' (and, if Freyne is right, christologically 'Other') to avoid having Jesus' significance evaporate entirely once he is seen as the hero of a failed social movement. There is hardly an unworthy essay in the lot and I should expect that Whose Historical Jesus? will soon win a place of distinction in the bibliography of historical Jesus scholarship. It is to the credit of the editors and contributors that the essays form a genuine conversation that is courteous, learned, and unmarked by the rancour that sometimes infects this field. (JOHNS. KLOPPENBORG) James H. Olthuis, editor. Knowing Other~Wise: Philosophy at the Threshold of Spirituality Fordham University Press. x, 268. us$56.oo Contained in this collection are essays by four students and three professors of the Institute for Christian Studies in Toronto. The reader is offered the opportunity to 'overhear' the conversation among them concerning the critique of modem rationality, chiefly by postmodernism, with two of the...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1712-5278
Print ISSN
0042-0247
Pages
pp. 360-361
Launched on MUSE
2014-07-02
Open Access
No
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