Baker Academic

Monday, August 8, 2016

Jesus and the Last Supper

Over at Crux Sola, Christopher Skinner has begun a serial review of my book, Jesus and the Last Supper (Eerdmans, 2015). I'm very grateful for the time he took to read it and write a thoroughgoing review. Please be sure to check out the Comments, where Chris has invited me to respond.

At some point, I’ll put up some thoughts here at the Jesus Blog. I am hopeful this engagement will spark some fruitful discussion.

With that in mind, three quick initial responses:

1. First, I’d like to thank Chris for the extensive positive feedback. I was very humbled by his “words of praise” (as he put it).

2. With regard to his more critical comments, Chris’ most serious charges seem to concern things I don't remember ever actually being in the book. Specifically, he levels the allegation that “later doctrinal formulations” are “driving the discussion.” I’m curious to see where he finds these. He has yet to give any specific examples, but assures me they are coming. I for one don't recall ever even mentioning any in the text. (This causes me to wonder whether he's attempting to read not only my book but also my mind.) Let me be clear: I wholeheartedly agree that we must avoid reading later doctrinal formulations back into the first century. And that's precisely why I focused the book entirely on Second-Temple Jewish themes such as the new Moses, Manna, Bread of the Presence, Passover, covenant, and kingdom of God.

3. In his initial post, Chris seems particularly concerned about my conclusions. However, historical investigation stands or falls on the strength of its arguments, not whether we are comfortable with the historical conclusions to which those arguments lead us. Therefore, I'm most interested in learning which specific arguments he finds convincing, which ones he doesn't, and why.

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