What did Jesus think of himself? How did he face death? What were his expectations of the future? And can we answer questions like these on the basis of the Gospels? In Constructing Jesus, internationally-renowned Jesus scholar Dale Allison addresses such perennially fascinating questions about Jesus.
Allison presents the fruit of several decades of research and contends that the standard criteria most scholars have employed—and continue to employ—for constructing the historical Jesus are of little value. His pioneering alternative applies recent cognitive science findings about human memory to our reading of the Gospels in order to “construct Jesus” more soundly.
All New Testament and Jesus scholars and students will want to interact with the data and conclusions of this significant work.
The Logos Bible Software edition of this volume is designed to encourage and stimulate your study and understanding of Scripture. Biblical passages link directly to your English translations and original-language texts, and important theological concepts link to dictionaries, encyclopedias, and a wealth of other resources in your digital library. In addition, you can perform powerful searches by topic and find what other authors, scholars, and theologians have to say about the Word of God.
“‘Postevent information often becomes incorporated into memory, supplementing and altering a person’s recollection,’” (Page 3)
“Memories are subject to sequential displacement. We often move remembered events forward and backward in time” (Page 5)
“We are more sure that Jesus was a healer than that any account of him healing reflects a historical event, more sure that he was a prophet than that any one prophetic oracle goes back to him.” (Page 19)
“Eschatology was there from the beginning of the Christian movement because it was there before the beginning, with Jesus.” (Pages 52–53)
“To recollect is not to play back a tape. Memory, at least long-term memory, is reconstructive as well as reproductive” (Page 2)
Dale Allison has written another brilliant book. He manages to dissect technical, complicated subjects and then present them to his readers with remarkable clarity and simplicity. Constructing Jesus will be read with great benefit by scholars, pastors, students, and laity. Readers will find everywhere in this book mastery of the topic, judicious assessment of the options, and invariably sensible and compelling conclusions. If you are interested in learning more about the historical Jesus, then you must read this book.
—Craig A. Evans, Payzant Distinguished Professor of New Testament, Acadia Divinity College, Nova Scotia
In Constructing Jesus, Dale Allison’s erudite historical acumen is matched by the simple elegance of his compelling case. Rarely has reasoned judgment sounded so commonsensical. This book deserves to be one of the few to set the course for the next generation of historical-Jesus scholarship.
—Bruce W. Longenecker, W. W. Melton Chair of Religion, Baylor University
This is vintage Allison: masterful in his marshaling and exposition of sources, thorough in his interaction with contemporary and opposing views, and robust and persuasive in his argumentation.
—James D. G. Dunn, Emeritus Lightfoot Professor of Divinity, Durham University
Displaying jaw-dropping acquaintance with primary evidence and the oceanic body of scholarship on Jesus, a sweet reasonableness toward the complexities involved, and just plain good judgment time after time on controverted issues, Constructing Jesus is essential reading for anyone concerned with the scholarly approach to the Jesus of history.
—L. W. Hurtado, emeritus professor of New Testament language, literature, and theology, University of Edinburgh
Lucid, far-ranging, and quietly authoritative, Dale Allison’s Constructing Jesus is required reading for scholars, students, and anyone who wants to understand where this most recent phase of the Quest has led us. Once I started, I could not put it down—nor could I stop thinking about its arguments once I finished. This is an important work.
—Paula Fredriksen, William Goodwin Aurelio Chair Emerita of the Appreciation of Scripture, Boston University
This book rightly presents Jesus as an apocalyptic prophet. Elaborating this definition into a more detailed portrait, Allison pushes the envelope by exploring new methods and ideas. These detailed conclusions may be controversial, but the book is a must-read for anyone interested in the historical Jesus.
—Adela Yarbro Collins, Buckingham Professor of New Testament Criticism and Interpretation, Yale Divinity School
With a thorough examination of all relevant texts from Jewish and early Christian sources, Allison situates Jesus firmly within first-century Judaism and presents a convincing interpretation of his life, teachings, and death.
—Biblical Archaeology Review