Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Book Snap: David Instone-Brewer's "The Jesus Scandals"

Once in a while I get a kick out of reading something written by a scholar that reflects something I came up with independently before. David Instone-Brewer's The Jesus Scandals is a pretty big example of this, on a large scale -- you could almost call this one The Impossible Faith II.

Like me, Instone-Brewer has a long list of things scandalous about Jesus, his associates, and Christianity -- many of them mirror some of my own points (particularly on crucifixion, resurrection, various teachings of Jesus, and his personal identify), while others will be new to the reader of TIF (and are mostly things I would not have used for TIF, since they may not have entered into evangelistic settings, or I did not know about them).

Unlike me, though, Instone-Brewer doesn't use these to argue for the Resurrection as a historic event. Rather, The Jesus Scandals seems to aim to merely catalog ways in which Jesus and Christianity seemed scandalous.

I do not agree with all that is in this book; there are a few minor errors (e.g., Instone-Brewer dates the Zealots too early, and probably overplays the offense of Jesus being single). But as a whole, you'll find ideas in here that support my TIF thesis (over and against its critics), as well as other fascinating social and cultural sidelights.

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