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Eerdmans Historical Jesus Studies Collection (5 vols.)
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Overview

Does the essence of Christianity rest on Jesus as presented in the Gospels, or can he be substituted with a demythologized stand-in? Who was Jesus of Nazareth and what can we know about him? These questions drive the search for the historical Jesus, and the volumes in this collection set out to answer them. Investigate this influential subject which has shaped New Testament studies and lays at the very foundation of the Christian faith.

In The Historical Christ and the Theological Jesus, Princeton professor Dale C. Allison Jr. candidly presents his examination of the evidence throughout his career as a New Testament scholar and offers a tempered assessment. In Who Is Jesus?, Carl E. Braaten presents an informative survey of the first, second, and third quests for the historical Jesus, and he offers a compelling case for the canonical Jesus as the only one relevant for Christianity. Drawing on extensive research and vast erudition, Craig S. Keener’s The Historical Jesus of the Gospels demonstrates that, when thoroughly grounded in its early Jewish setting, Scripture’s testimony concerning Jesus offers a more coherent and plausible interpretation than competing theories. Paul Barnett’s Finding the Historical Christ offers a well-researched, historically rigorous case for the accuracy of the canonical account of Jesus and his messianic identity, even marshaling hostile witnesses who attest to the reliability of the gospels. And in the massive Jesus Research, renowned Princeton scholar James H. Charlesworth gathers distinguished Jewish and Christian contributors to weigh in on the state of nearly every facet of Jesus research.

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Key Features

  • Comprehensive coverage of research on the historical Jesus
  • Survey and analysis of the first, second, and third quests
  • Historical analysis of the Gospel accounts in their early Jewish context

Individual Titles

The Historical Christ and the Theological Jesus

  • Author: Dale C. Allison Jr.
  • Publisher: Eerdmans
  • Publication Date: 2009
  • Pages: 136

Sample Pages: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7

In this volume, which he describes as “my personal testimony to doubt seeking understanding,” Dale Allison thoughtfully addresses ongoing historical-theological questions concerning Jesus. What should one think of the modern quest for the historical Jesus when there is such enduring discord among the experts, and when personal agendas play such a large role in the reconstructions? How much history is in the Gospels, and how much history does Christian theology require that there be? How does the quest impinge upon conventional Christian beliefs, and what might it contribute to contemporary theological reflection? The Historical Christ and the Theological Jesus is the personal statement of lessons that a respected participant in the quest has learned throughout the course of his academic career.

With his singular combination of learning, wit, honesty, and humility, Dale Allison here reflects on the theological limitations and implications of the study of the historian’s Jesus. Students at every level will find themselves instructed and even provoked by Allison’s comments, but they will also come away agreeing that ‘the unexamined Christ is not worth having.’

Beverly Roberts Gaventa, distinguished professor of New Testament interpretation, Baylor University

In the last 125 years there have been five truly epochal thinkers who altered the course of Jesus research: Martin Kähler, Albert Schweitzer, Rudolf Bultmann, Ernst Käsemann—and the fifth one is Dale Allison.

Scot McKnight, professor of New Testament, North Park University

The very title of Allison’s brief but engaging book signals that just as believers cannot be completely indifferent to the historical study of the Gospels without closing their faith to new challenges and insights, so historians, even if they are unbelievers, cannot escape the deeply theological nature of the life and teachings of Jesus. Allison is both refreshingly robust in his appraisals of the work of colleagues and disarmingly honest in his self-criticisms.

Christian Century

Dale C. Allison Jr. is Richard J. Dearborn Professor of New Testament Studies at Princeton Theological Seminary. His numerous books include Studies in Matthew: Interpretation Past and Present and Resurrecting Jesus: The Earliest Christian Tradition and Its Interpreters.

Who Is Jesus? Disputed Questions and Answers

  • Author: Carl E. Braaten
  • Publisher: Eerdmans
  • Publication Date: 2011
  • Pages: 155

Sample Pages: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7

New Testament scholars have long debated the historical identity of Jesus and the development of Christology within the church’s history. In Who Is Jesus? Carl Braaten reviews the various historical Jesus quests, arguing that it is time for the current (“third”) quest to admit failure. Against the implication that “the real Jesus has been lost and needs to be found,” Braaten maintains that the only real Jesus is the One presented in the canonical Gospels and that “any other Jesus is irrelevant to Christian faith.” He draws on a wealth of historical resources to address such contentious questions as these:

  • What can we actually know about Jesus of Nazareth?
  • Did Jesus really rise from the dead?
  • Is Jesus unique—the one and only way of salvation?
  • Why did Jesus have to die on the cross?
  • Was Jesus the founder of the Christian church?
  • What does Jesus have to do with politics?
Few are more highly qualified than Carl Braaten to offer commentary—and enduring perspectives—on the so-called ‘quest for the historical Jesus.’ As Braaten argues, the sundry ‘makeovers’ of Jesus constitute our own attempts to fashion—and reduce—Jesus to our own image rather than to remain in continuity with Scripture and with the historic Christian tradition. Braaten’s conclusion is emphatic: Jesus Christ can never be the end-product of a scholarly ‘quest’; rather, the necessary eyewitness accounts have already been entrusted to Christ’s church through divine revelation. Whether or not we have the fortitude to embrace that witness is another matter.

J. Daryl Charles, director and senior fellow, Bryan Institute for Critical Thought & Practice

Carl E. Braaten is professor emeritus of systematic theology at Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago and former executive director of the Center for Catholic and Evangelical Theology.

The Historical Jesus of the Gospels

  • Author: Craig S. Keener
  • Publisher: Eerdmans
  • Publication Date: 2012
  • Pages: 869

Sample Pages: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7

The earliest substantive sources available for historical Jesus research are in the Gospels themselves; when interpreted in their early Jewish setting, their picture of Jesus is more coherent and plausible than are the competing theories offered by many modern scholars. So argues Craig Keener in The Historical Jesus of the Gospels.

In exploring the depth and riches of the material found in the Synoptic Gospels, Keener shows how many works on the historical Jesus emphasize just one aspect of the Jesus tradition against others, but a much wider range of material in the Jesus tradition makes sense in an ancient Jewish setting. Keener masterfully uses a broad range of evidence from the early Jesus traditions and early Judaism to reconstruct a fuller portrait of the Jesus who lived in history.

With critical acumen, Craig Keener presents a comprehensive account of the study of the historical Jesus. It will be a boon for all readers—inquisitive laypeople, pastors, students of the Gospels, and biblical colleagues.

Joseph A. Fitzmyer, emeritus professor of New Testament, Catholic University of America

Keener proves why the Evangelists’ view of Jesus is preferable to most modern constructs: the Gospels, as ancient biographies, reflect eyewitness accounts of Jesus and provide the only valid sources for reconstructing the historical Jesus. . . . This book is exceptional for its breadth and its captivating prose.

James H. Charlesworth, George L. Collord Professor of New Testament Language and Literature, Princeton Theological Seminary

Historical Jesus research has developed in the last decades from a ‘postminimalism’ concerning the authenticity of Jesus traditions to a new ‘moderate confidence’ in the historicity of the Gospels. Craig Keener’s book is both a milestone and a boundary stone in this development. By contextualizing the sources of Jesus research and Jesus himself, Keener succeeds in increasing the historical plausibility of the Gospels to a degree that is exceptional among critical exegetes. Therefore this book must be read and taken seriously—both by those exegetes who are reluctant to support this ‘historical-critical maximalism’ in Jesus research and by those reluctant to contextualize Jesus in such a way. But both will enjoy reading what Keener has written with an open and critical mind.

Gerd Theissen, professor of New Testament theology, University of Heidelberg

Craig S. Keener is professor of New Testament at Asbury Theological Seminary, Wilmore, Kentucky. He is the author of many other books, including The Gospel of Matthew: A Socio-Rhetorical Commentary and The Gospel of John: A Commentary (two volumes). Three of his books have won awards and together have sold over half a million copies.

Finding the Historical Christ

  • Author: Paul Barnett
  • Series: After Jesus
  • Publisher: Eerdmans
  • Publication Date: 2009
  • Pages: 312

Sample Pages: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7

This volume by Paul Barnett is a calculated reaction against the popular dichotomy between the Jesus of history and the Christ of faith. In Finding the Historical Christ Barnett seeks to establish that the two figures are, in fact, one and the same.

The culmination of Barnett’s After Jesus trilogy, Finding the Historical Christ carefully examines the ancient sources pertaining to Jesus, including writings by historians hostile to the Christian movement (Josephus, Tacitus, Pliny), the summarized “biographies” of Jesus in the book of Acts, and especially the four canonical Gospels. Based on compelling historical evidence, Barnett maintains that Jesus of Nazareth regarded himself as the prophesied Christ, as did his disciples before Jesus died and rose again. This is the only way to explain the phenomenon of the early church worshiping Jesus.

Like his previous works, this volume by Barnett is accessible, well organized, and convincing.

There is currently something of a revival of confidence in the historical value of the Gospels. Paul Barnett’s work, notable for its sober use of historical method and its many fresh observations and proposals, is an excellent contribution to that development.

Richard J. Bauckham, Bishop Wardlaw Professor University of St. Andrews

Over his illustrious career, Paul Barnett has returned repeatedly to questions about the historical Jesus, the historicity of the Gospels, and the history of earliest Christianity. Drawing together scattered strands of all of that work, elaborating them further, and adding still new ones, Barnett here mounts what may be his most impressive case yet for the accuracy of the canonical material and the messiahship of Jesus of Nazareth on historical grounds alone.

Craig L. Blomberg, distinguished professor of the New Testament, Denver Seminary

Paul Barnett is visiting fellow in ancient history at Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia, and teaching fellow in biblical studies at Regent College, Vancouver, British Columbia.

Jesus Research: New Methodologies and Perceptions: The Second Princeton-Prague Symposium on Jesus Research

  • Editor: James H. Charlesworth
  • Publisher: Eerdmans
  • Publication Date: 2013

This volume explores nearly every facet of Jesus research—from eyewitness criteria to the reliability of memory, from archaeology to psychobiography, from oral traditions to literary sources, and from narrative criticism to Gospel criticism. Bringing together a wide variety of topics and perspectives in one volume, this ambitious collaborative enterprise casts light on important debates and encourages creative links between ideas new and old.

This distinguished collection of articles by internationally renowned Jewish and Christian scholars originates with the Princeton-Prague Symposium on Jesus Research. It summarizes the significant advances in understanding Jesus that scholars have made in recent years, chiefly through the development of diverse methodologies. Even readers who are already knowledgeable in the field will discover unique angles from well-known New Testament scholars, and all will be brought up to speed on the current state-of-play within Jesus studies.

James H. Charlesworth is George L. Collord Professor of New Testament Language and Literature and director of the Dead Sea Scrolls Project at Princeton Theological Seminary. He has authored or edited over 60 books.

Product Details

  • Title: Eerdmans Historical Jesus Studies Collection
  • Publisher: Eerdmans
  • Volumes: 5