Baker Academic

Monday, April 7, 2014

Keith Against the Duke Elite - Le Donne

Jesus was a troublemaker. This statement, of course, assumes that Jesus was on the radar of those who could make such pronouncements. Jesus and Chris Keith have this in common. In his book Jesus Against the Scribal Elite Keith offers a compelling explanation for how Jesus rose from obscurity in Galilee.

Was Jesus an authoritative interpreter of Jewish legal instruction and sacred texts? If so, what sort of education and social status would have been assumed of him? If not, how did Jesus convince so many people that he was indeed a legitimate teacher? In answering these questions Chris Keith places his finger on the very pulse of the earliest stages of Jesus' career. If you have any interest at all in the cutting edge of historical Jesus research or the emergence of Christianity, don't miss this book!

Here is just a sample from the book. In these pages, Keith takes on the venerable E. P. Sanders (who has attained almost canonical status among Jesus historians). Keith writes: "…in his 1985 Jesus and Judaism, Sanders pronounced against the historicity of the controversy narratives. Sanders [...] generally followed Bultmann’s insistence upon the 'imaginary' character of the controversy narratives. [Sanders: 13–18] He surmised, 'All the scenes of debate between Jesus and the Pharisees have more than a slight air of artificiality.' [265]"

Keith picks up his debate with Sanders a few pages later:

The paragraphs that follow are where Keith's argument with Sanders gets really interesting. I offer this just as a teaser.


p.s. You can enter to win a free copy of this book here.


  1. "I offer this just as a teaser."

    Cruel and unusual, Anthony. Cruel and unusual!

  2. My copy arrived in the mail last Friday. I'm a little more than halfway through, and enjoying the book thoroughly.

    1. Yeah, Jack and Ken. What Evan said. Buy the book. Or, borrow Evan's copy (I'm not lending out mine). It's terrific.