By John P. Meier
John Meier’s earlier volumes within the acclaimed sequence A Marginal Jew are based upon the inspiration that whereas stable historic information regarding Jesus is kind of restricted, humans of other faiths can however arrive at a consensus on basic historic evidence of his lifestyles. during this eagerly expected fourth quantity within the sequence, Meier methods a clean topicthe teachings of the historic Jesus relating Mosaic legislation and moralitywith an identical rigor, thoroughness, accuracy, and insightfulness on reveal in his prior works. After correcting misconceptions approximately Mosaic legislations in Jesus’ time, this quantity addresses the lessons of Jesus on significant criminal issues like divorce, oaths, the Sabbath, purity principles, and many of the love commandments within the Gospels. What emerges from Meier’s examine is a profile of a classy first-century Palestinian Jew who, faraway from looking to abolish the legislation, was once deeply engaged in debates approximately its observance. in basic terms via embracing this portrait of the old Jesus grappling with questions of the Torah can we steer clear of the typical mistake of creating Christian ethical theology below the guise of learning Jesus and the Law,” the writer concludes.
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Extra info for A Marginal Jew: Rethinking the Historical Jesus, Volume 4: Law and Love
Notable among them are the symbolic-prophetic action of Jesus’ “triumphal entry” into Jerusalem, his prediction of the destruction of the Jerusalem temple, and his acting out of that prophecy in his “cleansing” of the temple. Contrary to what some scholars have claimed, I do not think that Jesus’ teachings on the Law directly led to his execution. , his total rejection of divorce and oaths, his rejection of voluntary fasting, his apparent indifference to purity rules) would have offended not just Pharisees but also almost any devout Jew.
Especially in the case of laws, oral and written supplements become necessary as time goes on and life becomes more complex. What is startling to us moderns is that, at times, knowledgeable 1stcentury Jews would claim that the written Law of Moses contained important commandments that, from our historical-critical perspective, simply are not there in the text. A case in point is observance of the sabbath, 32 and it is a case well worth tracing through the centuries. Clearly, the Law of Moses, indeed, the Decalogue given on Mt.
While I agree that we should be suspicious of a historical Jesus who is strikingly discontinuous from the Judaism of his time and place, there are cases when the question of discontinuity from Jewish views of the time does arise as one sifts the Jesus tradition for a historical core. For example, when it comes to Jesus’ prohibition of divorce, it is the early Christian church that preserves the tradition of Jesus’ prohibition and tries to implement it, though with obvious difficulties that lead to adaptation and expansion of the core tradition.