Beginning with Jesus’ birth, Ken Bailey leads you on a kaleidoscopic study of Jesus throughout the four Gospels. Bailey examines the life and ministry of Jesus with attention to the Lord’s Prayer, the Beatitudes, Jesus’; relationship to women, and especially Jesus’ parables.
Through it all, Bailey employs his trademark expertise as a master of Middle Eastern culture to lead you into a deeper understanding of the person and significance of Jesus within his own cultural context. With a sure but gentle hand, Bailey lifts away the obscuring layers of modern Western interpretation to reveal Jesus in the light of his actual historical and cultural setting.
This entirely new material from the pen of Ken Bailey is a must-have for any student of the New Testament. If you’ve benefited from Bailey’s work over the years, this book will be a welcome and indispensable addition to your library. If you’re unfamiliar with Bailey’s work, this book will introduce you to a very old yet entirely new way of understanding Jesus.
“This is the capstone to the story of the shepherds. The child was born for the likes of the shepherds—the poor, the lowly, the rejected. He also came for the rich and the wise who later appear with gold, frankincense and myrrh.” (Page 36)
“Being racially Arab, religiously Jewish, culturally Greek and politically Roman, Herod was a complex man.” (Pages 56–57)
“A metaphor, however, is not an illustration of an idea; it is a mode of theological discourse. The metaphor does more than explain meaning, it creates meaning. A parable is an extended metaphor and as such it is not a delivery system for an idea but a house in which the reader/ listener is invited to take up residence.” (Page 280)
“Christians are never urged to seek suffering; they are, however, encouraged to recognize that suffering is an extraordinary teacher. We know little about the great depths of the human spirit until we have endured suffering. Pain rearranges our priorities.” (Page 70)
“Justice, as understood by this special servant of God, is neither ‘retributive justice’ (you harm me and I will see that you are harmed) nor is it ‘equal application of law’ (I pay my taxes and so must you), but here justice means compassion for the weak and exhausted.” (Page 44)
While no book on Jesus and the Gospels can be perfect or final, writing any really good book on them places staggering demands on an interpreter. To name just seven: literary aptitude, linguistic competence, critical shrewdness, cultural sagacity, theological acumen, spiritual sensitivity, and hermeneutical sophistication. In this highly stimulating study Kenneth Bailey manages to reflect them all, and more besides, in part because he stands on the shoulders of Middle Eastern interpreters whom few in the West can even read. This book will sharpen historical understanding, improve much preaching and fuel new scholarship. It may shed as much new Licht vom Osten (‘light from the ancient East’) on Gospel passages as we have seen since Deissmann’s book by that title a century ago. And in all of this, Bailey keeps the cross and the message of his sources at the center where they belong.
—Robert W. Yarbrough, professor of New Testament, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School
I have long been an admirer of Kenneth Bailey’s helpful insights. As in his earlier works, his breadth of knowledge of Middle Eastern culture sheds rich light on numerous points in the Gospels, providing fresh perspectives and often illumining details we have rarely considered. He provokes those of us who depend mostly on ancient written sources to consider new approaches, often cohering with but often supplementing such research.
—Craig S. Keener, professor of New Testament, Palmer Theological Seminary
Bailey has a gift of clear, lively expression; he takes advantage of his personal experiences, interest in Hebrew poetic structure, and knowledge of Arabic to bring insights into New Testament interpretation.
—Journal for the Study of the New Testament
This book could serve as material for an adult or student Sunday school class. Laid out in simple format for easy absorption by readers, the author’s explanations of his findings require no formal training to follow and understand them. Particularly helpful are the summaries provided at the conclusion of each chapter. This book may very well establish Bailey’s legacy beyond dispute.
—Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society
Jesus through Middle Easter Eyes is Bailey’s most recent 400 page call to western Christians who need to time travel to the Middle East. And in page after page, he identifies themes and reflexes assumed in the gospels that slip right past us.
A brilliant addition to Bailey’s other works in which he sheds light on the biblical text from Middle Eastern culture.
Kenneth E. Bailey (1930–2016) was an acclaimed author and lecturer in Middle Eastern New Testament studies. An ordained Presbyterian minister, he served as canon theologian of the Anglican Diocese of Pittsburgh. The author of more than 150 articles in English and in Arabic, his writings include Jesus Through Middle Eastern Eyes, The Good Shepherd, Open Hearts in Bethlehem (A Christmas Musical), and The Cross and the Prodigal.
Bailey spent forty years living and teaching in seminaries and institutes in Egypt, Lebanon, Jerusalem, and Cyprus. For twenty of those years he was professor of New Testament and head of the biblical department of the Near East School of Theology in Beirut where he also founded and directed the Institute for Middle Eastern New Testament Studies. Bailey was also on the faculty of The Ecumenical Institute for Theological Research in Jerusalem. Traveling around the globe to lecture and teach, Bailey spoke in theological colleges and seminaries in England (Oxford, Cambridge, Bristol) Ireland, Canada, Egypt, Finland, Latvia, Denmark, New Zealand, Australia, and Jerusalem. He was active as a Bible teacher for conferences and continuing education events in the Middle East, Europe, and North America, and he taught at Columbia, Princeton, and Fuller Seminary.