Synopses & Reviews
The enormous effort by scholars to study the historical Jesus -- now an academic industry in itself -- has made Jesus both more accessible and more distant. Recent research into Jesus' social and cultural context has helped to illuminate his life, yet it also often sets him apart from modern life as well as from the portrait of Jesus affirmed by church tradition. In "Familiar Stranger Michael McClymond summarizes current scholarship on Jesus and offers a clear, comprehensive, and compelling report on our knowledge about him here at the start of the twenty-first century.
After introducing the history of Jesus research and reviewing the sources and methods used for study, McClymond examines the issues raised by present attempts to piece together the features of Jesus' life. He looks at the first-century Palestinian world and the place of John the Baptist as forerunner to Jesus' ministry. In the main body of the book, McClymond examines what we know with fair certainty about Jesus' teachings, his public ministry, and the events of his death. The book concludes with a chapter on theological themes and a critical reflection on contemporary images of Jesus.
Comprehensive yet concise, balanced and fairminded, and sensitive at once to the academic nature of Jesus studies and to the place of learning in genuine faith, McClymond's "Familiar Stranger will instruct and encourage reflection in settings as diverse as university classrooms, seminaries, and church-based study groups.
"Familiar Stranger" by Michael McClymond is a very readable introduction to that elusive figure known as bthe historical Jesusb -- his life, his world, his sayings and doings, accounts of his death and resurrection, and his followersb efforts to understand him.Three features set "Familiar Stranger" apart from the many other available books on Jesus. First, itbs targeted to general readers but doesnbt dumb down in its attempt to inform them. Second, itbs ideologically balanced, exhibiting a refreshing lack of agenda or ulterior motive beyond the desire to genuinely present what we can and cannot know about Jesus today. Third, it brings together the two most fruitful models for understanding Jesus and his mission -- Jesus the bmoral sageb and Jesus the beschatological prophet.b The result is a truly well-rounded picture of Jesus.Marked by concision, clarity, and thoroughness, McClymondbs "Familiar Stranger" is ideal for classrooms, study groups, and individuals in search of an up-to-date, trustworthy guide to the historical Jesus. Readers familiar with Jesus may well find him becoming stranger to them through these pages, and, conversely, those to whom Jesus is a stranger may well discover a growing familiarity with him.
About the Author
Michael J. McClymond is Clarence Louis and Helen Irene Steber Professor of Theological Studies at Saint Louis University, St. Louis, Missouri.
Table of Contents
Jesus; A thumbnail portrait -- Piles of books; A short history of Jesus research -- Sources and methods; What can we know? How can we know it? -- The Palestinian context; Geography, politics, economy, and religion -- The forerunner; John the Baptist -- The central message; The Kingdom of God -- The man of power; Healings, exorcisms, and other works of wonder -- The teacher; Sayings and parables -- The public figure; Career and controversies -- Approaching the end; The final week -- The new beginning; The Resurrection -- Wisdom, apocalypse, and the identity of Jesus; Some historical reflections -- Thinking outside the boxes; A critique of contemporary images of Jesus.