Thursday, April 15, 2004

Crossan vs. Sanders

Bible and Interpretation post a notice of this article in the Globe and Mail from last Saturday:

Jesus the social reformer? It makes nice fiction
But they are also objectionable, not just to conservative believers, but also to a number of secular liberal scholars. The charge against Mr. Crossan is led by E. P. Sanders of Duke University in North Carolina, who is widely regarded as the world's most authoritative expert on first-century Jewish culture and history. Mr. Sanders describes himself as a "secularized Protestant" who was raised in the social-gospel tradition. He, too, would like to see a Jesus who fits into that tradition. As a sober historian, though, he realizes that there is no such thing.

"One may sympathize with the effort to find support for economic reform in the ministry of Jesus. It is frustrating to see inequality and injustice in the world today and not to be able to call on Jesus to support the many changes that are so badly needed," he wrote in the New York Review of Books. "The basic problem for such a thesis is that evidence is lacking." . . . .
As far as I can tell, all the quotations are taken from the New York Review of Books exchange between Crossan and Reed on the one hand and Sanders on the other. I have commented on this previously. Unfortunately, it seems that now none of that exchange is available for free.

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