Monday, April 19, 2010

Jesus - Egalitarian or Apocalyptic

It was a theme I did not recall so vividly from the previous podcast series on the Historical Jesus I followed (Stanford's Historical Jesus, with Tom Sheehan - feed) Although I do recall that Sheehan repeatedly mentioned John Dominic Crossan and his view on Jesus, I do not recall any mention of E. P. Sanders. It is such a long time ago...

The current theme in Philip Harland's Religions of the Ancient Mediterranean is the historical Jesus. And Harland juxtaposes the views of Crossan and Sanders. He shows how Crossan comes to a view of Jesus in which he is an Egalitarian spiritual teacher. Sanders, however, has a view that is radically different, he sees Jesus as an apocalyptic prophet. Harland takes no position. He simply shows how Crossan and Sanders arrive at these fundamentally different positions that are each defensible in their own right.

The consecutive chapters have begun to dig deeper into the sources. Harland combines what little written sources about Jesus there are, with a more general historic knowledge about the time and place (Galilee at the beginning of the CE calendar), based on broader sources and upon archeology. I have no idea yet where he will be going. Will he be arriving at a conclusion different from Crossan and Sanders, at either one of them or stop at the inconclusive facts? We will have to wait and see.

More on Religions of the Ancient Mediterranean:
Historical Jesus (2) - Philip Harland,
Historical Jesus (1) - Philip Harland,
New Testament, history and literature,
Da Vinci Code,
Early Christianity podcasts.