Baker Academic

Friday, August 30, 2013

Memory and Controlled Manipulation - Le Donne

This short lecture by Steve Ramirez and Xu Liu is well worth a watch for those interested in false memories and memory refraction. Keep in mind that Liu grants that memory is "dynamic and sophisticated".  His illustration of a film clip is only heuristic.


More on Loving my Ancient Alien Brothers (gender-specific language intended) - Le Donne

If you missed my interreligious exchange on "problem texts", you can catch up here, here, here, here, here, here, and here. And I think that Larry might have one or two more posts in him. I'll be sure to link them when they surface over at his blog: Jewish Christian Intersections.

At present, I'd like to reply to Barbara a bit more about my reading of Deut 21:10-15. Barbara writes:
As a captive of war, the woman was probably going to end up as a slave or concubine; isn't that right? This seems a far better outcome, to me; the man is being constrained and the woman has a chance at a better life - no better or worse than any other woman.
Barbara, I think that I understand your point. In a world where misogyny is the norm, any step toward humanization should be seen as good news. I wouldn't want to dispute this.

But as I hint in my post, I'm not only wrestling with this text as a window into an ancient culture. For me, this text is sacred. And if sacred, then very troubling. This text has shaped my culture, my religion, and will continue to shape my faith community.

I wrestle with it not because I want to, but because I need to. And if what Larry says is true, that "God is good" - and I really want to believe this despite my doubts - then I cannot help but be repulsed by a representation of the voice of God that grants misogynistic and warlike premises.

Do you hear my concern? I'm not trying to write the definitive word on this... I wouldn't want to give the impression that an adversarial posture is the only viable posture. I'm just working out this messy relationship as best I can.


Thursday, August 29, 2013

Too Much Good in the World! - Le Donne

The University of the Pacific requires every undergraduate to take a senior seminar called "What is an ethical life?"  Because every senior must take this course, the need for adjunct lecturers is high.  Given this need (please don't laugh), I was asked to take on one of these ethics seminars.  This has meant something of a crash course in ethical theory and ethical problems and exposure to narratives that explore ethical themes.  I picked up the course reader determined to choose ten essays to feature in the course.  What I found was that each essay was more intriguing than the next.  Even better, I began revisiting some of my favorite books and films from a pedagogical perspective (i.e. asking how would I use this in class?).

In addition to the required course reader, I've decided to have my students choose from: The Autobiography of Malcolm X with Alex Haley; A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin; or The Year of Living Biblically: One Man's Humble Quest to Follow the Bible as Literally as Possible by A.J. Jacobs. Alongside several film clips and comedy sketches, we will view in full the following films: "Crimes and Misdemeanors" (1989), "Gandhi" (1982), and "Stranger than Fiction" (2006).

I have lamented more than once that there just isn't enough time to cover the ocean of amazing books, films, philosophers, religious thinkers that explore ethics. My most recent lament came in the form of an audible cry within earshot of my of my wife: "There is just too much good in the world!"  Her reply: "You don't hear that very often."


Tuesday, August 27, 2013

The Top Ten Reasons Why My Book is Titled “The Wife of Jesus” - Le Donne

10) Films, fictions, and feasible forgeries have constructed this title and category.  My book speaks directly to the construct.

9) I just really love the definite article.

8) Chris Keith and I flipped a coin. I got the wife topic and he got the literacy question.

7) The title “Bride of Christ” would have given away the ending. This was my biggest complaint with the New Testament... so predictable.

6) It was a typo – it should have read The Life of Jesus.

5) I had a dance-off with Robert Gundry for the topic.  And won!  He won’t be showing his face around here for a while.

4) My publishers didn’t go for the title “Modern Scandals about a God in Sandals”…. among others.

3) The title Inferno was taken… twice.

2) I felt it was time revisit the topic, offering evidence for and against a married Jesus.

...and the top reason why my book is titled The Wife of Jesus:

1) I felt that the title “The Wives of Jesus” would have been too controversial.

Pre-order The Wife of Jesus: Ancient Texts and Modern Scandals and save the the universe five dollars!

Review of Goodacre’s Thomas and the Gospels—Chris Keith

My review of Mark Goodacre’s Thomas and the Gospels in Journal for Theological Studies has now appeared online.  You can read it here  In short, I find Goodacre’s arguments for the Gospel of Thomas’s “familiarity” with the Synoptic Gospels convincing.  I especially appreciate Mark’s argument that Thomas should be seen as a serious innovator who was creatively reshaping the gospel tradition for purposes that both did and did not align with the purposes of the Synoptic authors.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Final Thoughts on Problem Texts

See Larry's rejoinder to my "Communing with the Dead" over at Jewish Christian Intersections:

I am deeply grateful for such a rewarding dialogue.


Communing with the Dead: An Other-than Kosher Reading of "Problem Texts" - Le Donne

It should be stated that what Larry and I are doing (see here, here, here, here, and here) is something like a Jewish-Christian dialogue.  I say “something like” because it is nontraditional.  There is something lost when we lack physicality.  There is less of a chance for hospitality and humanization. We are not joined in a group discussion and there are hundreds of eyes looking on, most of them represented by people who never intend to self-identify.  Face-to-face dialogue is preferred because it allows me to see the reflected image of God in the eyes of my counterparts.  But this exchange was my idea.  So if the medium has cheapened the experience, I’m to blame.  If the contents herein do not meet your satisfaction, there are undoubtedly better offerings on the internet.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Jesus and Gender Equality

Our latest poll is intended to measure our readers' general impression of Jesus on the topic of gender equality. Vote above and comment below.


David Williams on Christian Scholarship

In the third installment of "Why you must be Dying to be a Christian Scholar", David Williams addresses the uniquely liminal space that Christian Scholars must reside.  This three-part series is a must read for anyone who cares about the well-being of Christians in higher education.


Friday, August 23, 2013

My Ongoing Struggle with Scripture (one Christian's response to Larry Behrendt's problem text) - Le Donne

Larry Behrendt, my counterpart in this Jewish-Christian exchange, offers his first take on so-called “problem texts” here.  My first observation is that Larry might be spending a bit too much time on the internet.  His post has more links than a Latvian sausage factory.  Speaking of which, Larry and I might be a tad too sausagy to be discussing Ephesians 5:22-24 with any credibility.  But here we are.

Like most Christians, I begin with the premise that my Bible is true.  I must quickly qualify this statement by admitting that the truth of many passages are not clear to me.  I often feel like the disciples who gape at Jesus like slack-jawed fools because “they did not understand about the loaves” (Mark 6:52).  I have no clue how to interpret “the loaves” in this context.  I’m even further from figuring out how to draw truth from this passage.  So here I acknowledge that I am fallible.  Scripture, as filtered through me, is not to be swallowed uncritically.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Josh Mann's Brilliant Idea - Le Donne

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Great Tool + Free = You'd be silly not to check this out.


Christopher Skinner reviews Jesus' Literacy--Chris Keith

Over at Peje Iesous, Christopher Skinner reviews my monograph, Jesus' Literacy: Scribal Culture and the Teacher from Galilee.  He also provides a useful survey of the chapters for those who are more interested in a summary than the whole book.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

April DeConick on my New Book - Le Donne

"A fantastic read. Le Donne's quest for the historical wife of Jesus is as much about our contemporary phobias as it is about our past. What Le Donne did so brilliantly for Jesus in his book Historical Jesus, he now does for Jesus' wife. In this book, he lays out the best historical evidence for and against a married Jesus, the gay Jesus, the celibate Jesus, and the polygamous Jesus. What is so scandalous about this? Le Donne shows us it is all about sex."

~April D. DeConick, Chair of the Religious Studies Department of Rice University and author of Holy Misogyny: Why the Sex and Gender Conflicts of the Early Church Still Matter.

Pre-order The Wife of Jesus: Ancient Texts and Modern Scandals and save five dollars.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Baby Messiah Demythologized in Tennessee - Le Donne

I'm a child of the 1970's.  My town is where the Haight and Ashbury crowd moved to flee those flower-power usurpers.  So I know a bit about "less traditional" names.  My best friend was named Amandus.  I went to grade-school with a girl named Plum Blossom.  There was a girl in my town named Groovy (don't ask about her middle name).  But we wild-eyed hippies aren't to be trusted, so don't take my word for it.

Happy Birthday Bultmann! - Le Donne

File:Rudolf Bultmann Portrait.jpgOn this date in 1884 Rudolf Bultmann was born.  There is perhaps no figure more influential and yet so misunderstood in the field of Jesus studies.  Cliff Kvidahl informed me via Facebook that his biography (now in English) is available on amazon for $10.

This biography was recommended to me by Gerd Theissen and opened my eyes to a number of features about his life and career that I had not known.  If nothing else, the book is worth a read for its juxtaposition of Bultmann against the "Aryan Jesus" ideologies that were gaining steam among his Nazi contemporaries.

You might also have a look at the chapters by Theissen, Winter, and Le Donne in this book:

For more of my thoughts about Bultmann, see here.


Monday, August 19, 2013

Problem Texts with Larry Behrendt - Le Donne

A while back my friend Larry Behrendt, who writes about Jews and Christians and Jewishness and Christian-ish-ness, and I decided to have a bit of virtual Jewish-Christian dialogue on the topic of "problem texts" in sacred scripture.  As I understand this conversation, we'll be writing about our own (Larry's and mine) problems with a few passages in "S/scripture" (variously defined) and possible postures toward such texts.  My hope is that I will understand Larry's posture a bit better in the process and (hopefully) improve my own posture as well.

See the first part in this series here.  I will offer a response post in a few days here on The Jesus Blog.

First a few words about Jewish-Christian dialogue.  I've learned a little bit about this dialectic over the past ten years.  I don't expect that these are points that are common to all Jewish-Christian dialogue nor do I offer these points as "rules for the road" for anyone else.  But here they are:

1) Self-disclosure is necessary.  I am a Christian.  This self-designation has various components, but one of the components is this: I don't self-identity as Jewish.  In short, I acknowledge that my religious commitments and traditional postures are different in many ways from those who self-identify as Jewish.*

2) I tend to understand myself and my people better when I understand an outsider's view better.

3) With points both 1 and 2 in mind, it is often necessary to emphasize the crucial differences between Christianity and Judaism in dialogue (what Larry would call "asymmetries").  This does not mean that we won't find some analogues too.  Jews and Christians have a great deal in common.  But to play up our commonalities at the expense of our asymmetries is not helpful inter-religious dialogue.

I've learned many other things as well, but these will suffice for now. I hope that our dialogue promotes the well-being of both Jews and Christians.


*If you'd like to chime in on our comments, it might be helpful if you self-identify too.  Up to you.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

More Errors in Aslan's Zealot... and Its Fatal Flaw - Le Donne

I mentioned in my review of Aslan's Zealot that I found errors on about every third page of the book.  I listed ten and then decided to take a nap (frequent cat-naps; that's why my friends call me Whiskers).  I've been meaning to offer a more thorough catalog of problems but it seems that several other reviewers have filled in many gaps. For example, here is an excerpt of Craig Evans' review:

Quarterly Quote of the Month about Jesus for this Week

“There was already a deep black wordless conviction in him that the way to avoid Jesus was to avoid sin.”

~Flannery O'Connor

Friday, August 16, 2013

Jesus in Pagan Imagination - Le Donne

Earlier today I posted a link to a lecture by Craig A. Evans on the topic of Jesus and exorcistic practice in the ancient world. There is some interesting information about the so-called “Jesus Cup” of which there has (to my knowledge) been no scholarly publication as of yet.  More on this artifact in another post soon.  What caught my fancy today was a Greek incantation called the “Charm to induce insomnia” (No. 9. PGM XII.376-96):
“Take a living bat and on the right wing paint with myrrh the following figure, and on the left write the seven names of the god as well as, “Let her, NN whom NN bore, lie awake until she consents.” And so release the bat again. The names to be written on the left wing are these: “I call upon you, great god, Thathabathath Pepennabouthi Peptou Bast Jesus Ouair Amoun …. Let her, NN, lie awake thought the whole night and day, until she dies, immediately, immediately, quickly, quickly.”
(Translation by R. F. Hock, in Betz, Greek Magical Papyri, p.166-167). 
The reference “NN” is where the name of the woman and the name of her mother should be inserted. The poor woman in question (if this spell comes off as intended) is supposed to be unable to sleep until she gives this jerk was he wants.

Jesus and Demons

Brian LePort isn't always up to no good. He's posted a lecture by Craig A. Evans on the topic of Jesus and demonic exorcism. This is one of my favorite topics and Evans is one of my favorite teachers.


Thursday, August 15, 2013

Fun with Doppelgängers: Part II - Le Donne

Brian LePort's photo.

...just got this from Brian LePort. Should have seen this coming.


Fun with Doppelgängers - Le Donne

Somebody sent me this side-by-side of New Testament scholar Marion L. Soards and Alex Trebek.  I have to be honest, I'm not sure who is who.  Regardless, can we all agree that "Marty" must be among the most handsome men in the field?

I've never had the pleasure of meeting Prof. Soards. Does anyone who knows him well know if he does a Will Ferrell impression?

This brings up another important matter for you students of New Testament: Are there any other good doppelgängers in our field?


The Criterion of Coherence (Two Applications, both Problematic) - Le Donne

I have recently added my second chapter from this book to my page. Here is the abstract that I wrote for the book's introduction:

My own chapter in this book traces the development of the criterion of coherence from Johannes Weiss’ portrait of Jesus and Paul Schmiedel’s bifurcation of the Gospel tradition. I argue that coherence was applied in Jesus studies before the prominent years of form criticism, but became a sub-criterion of double dissimilarity within the programs of Bultmann, Käsemann, and Perrin. I then argue that Perrin’s application of coherence as a sub-criterion to dissimilarity is beyond repair and that both criteria should be abandoned. However, I suggest that recent adaptations of social memory theory might provide new life for the more general principle of coherence as employed from Weiss to John P. Meier. The chief problem with its present use is that New Testament studies works from a premise of binary (or ternary) opposites as they conceive of the divide between Jesus’ context and Christianity’s context. As long as Jesus historians  think  along  the lines  of  binary  opposites,  the  criterion  of coherence  will  continue  to  be  misleading.  Thus  Perrin’s  use of  the criterion  is  beyond  repair  and  Meier’s  use  must  be  rebuilt  from  the ground up.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Joel Green on my forthcoming book

“A remarkable expedition, through an impressive range of intriguing topics and little-known ancient texts, mapping for us how this kind of historical work advances.”

~Joel B. Green, Professor of New Testament Interpretation, Fuller Theological Seminary, California

Pre-order The Wife of Jesus: Ancient Texts and Modern Scandals at Amazon and save five dollars.

Stephanie Banister, "Haram," Jews, and Jesus - Le Donne

Stephanie Banister, 27, Australian politician, not well versed in current events.Thank you Australia for making me feel a bit better about America's general ignorance of world religions. Yes, it's just schadenfreude, but it's schadenfreude that made me laugh hard several times. Islam is a country. Muslims are under the strictures of "Haram." And Jews (who have their own religion) follow Jesus Christ. 
See the synopsis of her explanation of Islam, Judaism, and Jesus here. The Daily Show's John Oliver provides exegesis here. It really is worth watching the Oliver clip.


Tuesday, August 13, 2013

The Testimonium Flavianum, Eusebius, and Consensus (Guest Post) - Olson

In this guest post, Ken Olson offers us a brief look at his meticulous work on Josephus' reference to Jesus (famously titled the Testimonium Flavianium). We at the Jesus Blog are grateful to have him respond to the recent discussions of this passage in more popular treatments. -anthony

The subject of the Testimonium Flavianium, the brief passage about Jesus found in the manuscripts of Josephus’ Antiquities 18.63-64, came up on this blog not long ago in Larry Behrendt’s guest post on Reza Aslan’s much-discussed book Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth from July 24. Behrendt criticizes Aslan for dismissing the Testimonium as a source for information about the historical Jesus and labeling scholarly attempts to “cull through” the extant text for a sliver of information “futile.” Behrendt writes: ‘To say that such “culling through” is impossible badly misrepresents the current opinion of most scholars.’ He points out that John Meier’s reconstruction is accepted by at least some respected scholars, including Raymond Brown and Bart Ehrman.

Behrendt’s criticisms of Aslan’s position on the Testimonium are not entirely clear on some points. On the one hand, Behrendt allows that it is not beyond the pale to dismiss the passage entirely, but then he criticizes Aslan for dismissing scholars’ hypothetical reconstructions of the “original” text. Further, Aslan is clearly stating his own opinion and makes no claim to be in agreement with, or to be representing, the current opinion of most scholars. Aslan acknowledges that scholars do attempt to extract historical information from the Testimonium, but considers their attempts futile. I could be wrong here, but if I may attempt to extrapolate a bit, I think the basis of Behrendt’s criticism is the reasonable principle that one should not dismiss a widely held scholarly opinion without giving a reasoned defense of one’s position - and Aslan did not do this.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Quarterly Quote of the Month about Jesus for the Week

I think the field has self-corrected to a large degree. Still, the extent of Jesus' Jewish identity and background, especially in his sayings, has never been adequately assessed. It is an area in which scholars agree—yet ordinary Christians seem to have little awareness of Jesus as a Jew.

          ~Alan F. Segal

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Thursday, August 8, 2013

"Reimarus is unthinkable without Augustine": Watson and the Origins of Historical Jesus Research

I'm currently reading through Francis Watson's new blockbuster Gospel Writing (Eerdmans 2013).  He starts out the book with a discussion of how the affirmation of the fourfold canon (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John) presented problems for Augustine and others who were trying to affirm the historical value of the books in light of disagreements among the authors.  The interesting point thus far is that it is actually the theological convictions of early Christians that create the problems that their theological convictions then lead them to try to solve.  In short, although affirmation of the fourfold canon was a theological conclusion of sorts, it was also an impetus for a line questioning that continues to today.  He offers these interesting points in reference to Augustine's attempt at harmonizing the gospels in De consensu:

"But it is Augustine himself who endangers the canonical structure by exposing it to this kind of empirical thinking. . . .  Reimarus is unthinkable without Augustine.  Augustine not only makes it possible for Reimarus to argue that his ten contradictions within the gospel Easter narratives are destructive of Christian faith; he also makes it easy for him to do so" (43 - 44).

In conversation with Dr. Le Donne, I've often stated that I think historical Jesus research really starts with precisely this work by Augustine, so I'm happy to see Watson arguing something that is at least sympathetic with that notion.  I'm reading this book as I prepare for a panel review of it at the British New Testament Conference later this month.  I have lots more reading to do and I'll be anxious to hear Watson himself say more on this topic.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

More Reviews of Aslan

Larry Behrendt alerts us to his review of Aslan's Zealot here.  You can also check out Dale Martin's review in the New York Times here.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Fun with Indexing - Le Donne

The best part about writing a new books is creating the indices. I just live for indexing.  Indexing rabbinic literature is thrilling and don't even get me started on alphabetizing!  For my latest project, I'm trying something new.  In addition to your standard indices, I've added an index under the heading "Artists, Poets, and Modern Media". Here are the artists, poets, and modern media subjects that I discuss in The Wife of Jesus:
al-Mulawwah, Qays ibn
al-Qayyim, Ibn
The Big Lebowski
James Bond
Bored to Death
Brown, Dan
Buonarroti, Michelangelo
Calvin and Hobbes
Carter, Jimmy
Cox, Renée
The Da Vinci Code
Dafoe, Willem
The Dave Matthews Band
DeMille, Cecil B.
Derek and the Dominos
Donne, John
Eliot, George (Mary Anne Evans)
Eyck, Jan van
Frost, Robert
Ganjavi, Nizami
Giuliani, Rudolph
Goodstein, Laurie
Imus, Don
John, Elton
Kazantzakis, Nikos
The Last Temptation of Christ
Latimer, Hugh
Mad Men
Matsys, Quinten
News media
O’Reilly, Bill
Patterson, Veronica
Persian Love Poetry
Picasso, Pablo
Rijn, Rembrandt van
Sallman, Warner
Schrader, Paul
Scorsese, Martin
Thoreau, Henry David
Voragine, Jacobus de
Watterson, Bill
Weiner, Matthew
Xüan, Fu 
So what do you think? Is something like this more helpful than just adding these subjects/names into the general subjects index? Of course, the real reason I posted this is because I know that someone will catch an error or two that needs correcting. E.g. should it be "al-Qayyim, Ibn" or "Qayyim, Ibn al"?

On another note, when I first started taking classes in Bible, I would have never imagined that I would need to create a subject entry for "Breasts" in one of my books. Pages 15, 126, 149-151, 156, 160, 188-189, if you were wondering.



Anthony Le Donne (PhD) is the author of The Wife of Jesus: Ancient Texts and Modern Scandals.


Saturday, August 3, 2013

Prince of Peace; Lord of War (Part II)

The God of the Bible is a warrior.  I don’t like it any more than you do, but this was the God to which Jesus prayed.  Jesus defended the purity of a temple dedicated to a God who led his people into battle. Jesus’ God is capable of violence and willing to watch it doled out in lethal doses (cf. Luke 19:27). It was (and is) a violent world and humans conceived of God in familiar categories.  The metaphor of God as “king” brings all sorts of baggage with it.  Perhaps we ought to update this metaphor to “King of the Beach” or “King of Rock” or “King of England” – something less imposing.

Prince of Peace; Lord of War (Part 1) - Le Donne

[Update: this is a series on Jesus' complicated  relationship with nonviolence that I began several months ago and neglected. Before I pick up this thread, I thought I would re-post.]

There are several modern notions of Jesus circulating out there – who he was, what he was all about, what he taught. This has been on my mind because I’ve been reading Stephen Prothero’s American Jesus. Wonderful book. Prothero focuses on modern American portraits of Jesus, but I imagine that these bear some resemblance to those circulating outside America as well. (Of course, I’m American, so my imagination is quite limited; for example, I’ve always pictured Jesus wearing Rocky’s stars-and-stripes trunks and a NASCAR pit-crew jacket.)

One particularly “American” understanding of Jesus is that he was all about teaching people to love one another. This Jesus beckons the children hither and totes a lamb around with him and such. I call this portrait the Sunday school portrait of Jesus. It’s not difficult to find passages in the New Testament to support this portrait. Of course, this is a very selective reading of the New Testament and few (I’m aware of none) New Testament scholars promote this interpretation.

But the Sunday school portrait of Jesus overlaps in large part with the hippie, non-violent, anti-establishment Jesus. This is the turn-the-other-cheek Jesus, and the love-your-enemies Jesus and this portrait has many more supporters in New Testament Studies. I must admit that I am tempted myself. There is much in the New Testament to support such a notion. Again, admittedly, this is also a selective reading of the New Testament. Of course historical reconstructions are always based on selective readings. Selectivity isn’t, by itself, an indictment; but we generally want to make the best sense out of the data at hand when defending a thesis.

One of the longstanding notions in historical Jesus scholarship is that Jesus’ primary message had much less to do with love and lilies of the field and much more to do with pronouncements of final judgment. While this might seem perplexing to your average Sunday school-educated American, the notion of a Jesus who shouted “the end is near!” is not all that scandalous among Jesus historians. Sure, it’s a disputed notion, but it’s a very old argument. This Jesus, it would seem, has much less in common with the lamb-a-licious Jesus. Was Jesus a herald of holy war? The notion that Jesus preached about a (not so far off) day of final judgment makes him seem much less like a Prince of Peace. If this camp is right, Jesus believed that God was on his way to start a revolution. Old kings get tossed out; new world orders are established; outsiders are punished; insiders are rewarded. That old tune.

Was Jesus a Prince of Peace reminiscent of Isaiah 9, or was he a Lord of War reminiscent of Revelation 19? In Pulp Fiction terminology, we might ask: was Jesus more like the pre-conversion Jules, or the post-conversion Jules? It would be silly to think that these are the only two options, but they happen to be two very popular notions. In segments two and three of this series, I’ll explore a few avenues toward a possible answer. In the meantime, I’ll solicit your help by way of comments. Initial thoughts?


Thursday, August 1, 2013

Did Jesus Preach Violence? - Le Donne

The short answer:  No.

There. You all can get back to your Candy Crush scores and Kirk Cameron hoaxes.

Now I know what you're thinking: of course I'm going to say "no"; I'm a dirty hippie who thinks that arms are for hugging trees and spotted owls and hobbit-people named Dennis Kucinich. I plead guilty. I'm a pacifist. So I am predisposed to disagree with the central thesis of Reza Aslan's Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth. We all have our biases and this is one of mine. That said, I think that my review of his book addresses the concerns that a great many historical Jesus scholars will have.

But don't  take my word for it.  Last week, the Jesus Blog conducted a poll on this topic. Of the 94 people surveyed, 87 were of the mind that Jesus did not advocate militancy.  I tend to think that my readers are smarter than your average bear (well, not polar bears; polar bears are really quite clever).  But don't take their word for it.  Read this review by my colleague Simon J. Joseph.

Tomorrow, I'll offer an alternative to Reza Aslan's view. I will argue that Jesus became a symbol of militancy in the Christian imagination.


Anthony Le Donne (PhD) is the author of The Wife of Jesus: Ancient Texts and Modern Scandals.

An Endorsement for my Newest Book

Le Donne has provided a provocative but entirely sensible, and carefully argued, introduction to the issue of Jesus' marital status. Expertly covering a range of issues both then and now, including cultural assumptions about gender and sexuality, The Wife of Jesus works superbly well as both an introduction to historical Jesus studies and an expert guide through a range of sensationalist understandings of Jesus in the mass media.

     ~Prof. James Crossley, University of Sheffield

Pre-order now and save 25% by clicking here.