Some Thoughts on @Baylor_Press “Jesus of Nazareth: Jew from Galilee, Savior of the World”

image_previewA few weeks back I ordered Jens Schröter’s Jesus of Nazareth: Jew from Galilee, Savior of the World, translated by Wayne Coppins. Wayne has also translated another of Schröter’s works for Baylor, From Jesus to the New Testament: Early Christian Theology and the Origin of the New Testament Canon—which is a must read! Although this is not a formal review, I still wanted to give some initial impressions of what I think thus far.

Schröter organizes his work into two parts: Introduction and a Portrayal of Jesus. The introduction highlights matters of historical issues, topics like research on the historical Jesus, some key players, and methodology are discussed. Schröter is known to be a careful and influential historian, all of which are clearly on display in the first part of the book.

In part two, we move from methodology to application. It is here that Schröter begins to apply what he laid out in part one to Jesus of the Gospels. He begins by looking at the birthplace of Jesus, Nazareth, and move outward from there. He discusses the geography, political landscape, religious upbringing, and other matters that influenced the life and ministry of Jesus. His chapters are organized in a somewhat chronological way, starting with Nazareth and ending with the beginning of the Christian church.

I am currently about half way through the book and I find it to be a stimulating read. Schröter is a careful historian and interpreter. He is extremely knowledgeable of the primary documents of the era, which include the DSS, Philo, Josephus and other relevant sources. But what I enjoy most about this work is that he is able to take his wealth of understanding and write in such a way that anyone can understand. This is not to say that he simplifies or dumbs down the material. Schröter instead keeps things rather concise and to the point.

Because of this, I believe that Jesus of Nazareth: Jew from Galilee, Savior of the World would make the perfect text for an undergraduate course on Jesus. Well done Baylor for once again bringing important German works to English readers. Please keep pursuing and publishing these kinds of studies. I know the cost of such works is high, so I thank you for sacrificing for us readers,

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A Book to Own: @IVPAcademic’s Dictionary of Major Biblical Interpreters

2927One of my favorite books is IVP’s Dictionary of Major Biblical Interpreters. I cannot tell you how many times I have picked up this book to read a entry or two and wound up spending at least an hour perusing the pages, learning about people I never knew about before or only heard in passing. I can get lost in the pages of this gem of a book!

In essence, this book is exactly what the title indicates: a collection of bios on some of the most important interpreters of the Bible. Just to give you a taste, here are a few entries:

  • Athanasius
  • Augustine
  • C.K. Barrett
  • James Barr
  • Raymond Brown
  • F.F. Bruce
  • Rudolf Bultmann
  • Leonhard Gopplet
  • Ernst Käsemann
  • C.F.D. Moule
  • Ceslas Spicq
  • Adolf Schlatter

But the entries go beyond just biographical information. There is also discussion on the important works of each entry as well as their contribution to scholarship and the significance they had. If you are anything like me, you will find a book like this a real pleasure and a fantastic read.

The one sad note is that this book is now out of print. But you can still get hardback copies of it on Amazon, as well as on kindle. There is also a Logos version, which is the one that I use, I like to be able to have the freedom to open up my Logos mobile and read an entry or two.

At any rate, do yourself a favor and pick up a copy. You will not regret it! And hey, you may also learn something about someone you never heard of before, which is always a good thing.