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The Prophet Jesus and the Renewal of Israel: Moving Beyond a Diversionary Debate
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The Prophet Jesus and the Renewal of Israel: Moving Beyond a Diversionary Debate


Eerdmans 2012

Runs on Windows, Mac and mobile.


Debate over whether or not Jesus can be best interpreted within an “apocalyptic scenario” has continued to dominate historical Jesus studies since Schweitzer and Bultmann. In The Prophet Jesus and the Renewal of Israel Richard A. Horsley shows that the apocalyptic scenario—with its supposed expectation of “the end of the world,” the fiery “last judgment,” and “the parousia of the Son of Man”—is a modern scholarly construct that obscures the particulars of texts, society, and history.

Drawing on his wide-ranging earlier scholarship, A. Horsley refocuses and reformulates investigation of the historical Jesus in a thoroughly relational-contextual approach. He recognizes that the sources for the historical Jesus are not separate sayings, but rather the sustained Gospel narratives of Jesus’ mission. A. Horsley’s new approach finds Jesus the popular prophet engaged in a movement of renewal, resistance, and judgment against Roman imperialism, Jerusalem rulers, and the Pharisees.

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Want similar titles? Check out Eerdmans New Testament Studies Collection for more!

Key Features

  • Discusses the historical Jesus in a thoroughly relational–contextual approach
  • Shows how the apocalyptic scenario is a modern scholarly construct
  • Portrays Jesus as engaged in a movement of renewal, resistance, and judgment


  • The Apocalyptic Scenario in Schweitzer and Bultmann
  • The Non-Apocalyptic Jesus
  • Reassertion of the Apocalyptic Jesus
  • Apocalyptic Texts, but No Scenario
  • Tilting at the Apocalyptic Windmill
  • Toward a Relational Jesus in Historical Context
  • Renewal of Israel in Opposition to Imperial Rule
  • The Gospel Sources for Jesus’ Mission
  • Jesus Leading the Renewal of Israel . . .
  • . . . Against the Rulers of Israel

Praise for the Print Edition

Richard A. Horsley has marshaled a strong argument to break through and move beyond the traditional apocalyptic/nonapocalyptic debate concerning the historical Jesus. . . . Through a holistic reading of the earliest Gospel sources, A. Horsley provides us with a fresh portrait of Jesus, one that is rooted in the realia of Galilee’s first-century social and cultural context. An impressive work!

Robert L. Webb, sessional lecturer, McMaster University

If it’s true that you can’t judge a book by its cover, it is equally true that you can’t judge the significance of a book by its size. This small volume by Richard A. Horsley is proof of that truth. It provides that rarest of qualities—perspective—and distills a lifetime of study even as it revisits debates past and present. . . . A must-read for anyone studying the ongoing quest of the historical Jesus.

—William R. Herzog II, vice president for academic affairs and dean of the faculty, Andover Newton Theological School

A brilliant book that challenges much that is assumed by modern scholars. A. Horsley brings into focus a better method for ascertaining Jesus’ message, urging us to ponder that Jesus was a prophet who sought to launch a renewal of Israel. This refreshing and challenging book would be ideal in classrooms.

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

The clearest expression yet of A. Horsley’s distinctive and important contribution to the quest for the historical Jesus. . . . This is must reading for students and scholars seeking a picture of Jesus as one who truly belongs to first-century Palestine.

David Rhoads, professor of New Testament, Lutheran School of Theology

Product Details

About Richard A. Horsley

Richard A. Horsley is distinguished professor emeritus of liberal arts and the study of religion at the University of Massachusetts in Boston. Among his many previous books are Jesus and Empire and Jesus and the Powers.