Scot McKnight and Joseph Modica have collected seven essays on accusations made against Jesus in the gospels, viz. Jesus as Lawbreaker, Demon-Possessed, Glutton and Drunkard, Blasphemer, False Prophet, King of the Jews, and Mamzer . In a two-page introduction, the editors explain their intention to build upon the 1988 study by Bruce Malina and Jerome Neyrey, Calling Jesus Names , in which Malina and Neyrey apply labeling theory from the field of cultural anthropology to gospel accusations, presenting them as, inter alia , group boundary markers. The editors present accusatory ‘labels’ as credible evidence of historical views of Jesus, understood as authentic contemporary christologies ‘from the side’. The criterion of embarrassment is cited in several essays to support the historical value of ‘Christologies of opposition’. Michael Bird situates accusations against Jesus as law-breaker within Second Temple ‘intra-Jewish polemics’ about Torah observance, Jewish identity and ‘prerequisites for membership’ that depend disproportionately upon ‘deviant labeling’. Bird notes the ubiquity of charges of ἀνομία between rival groups both within Second Temple Jewish and Christian texts. He argues for the authenticity of Jesus’ disputes with the Pharisees and then narrows his focus to passages on the food laws. He considers the influence
Journal for the Study of the Historical Jesus – Brill
Published: Jan 1, 2012
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