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The Historical Figure of Jesus

The Historical Figure of Jesus [Kindle Edition]

E. Sanders
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)

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Product Description

Product Description

A biography of the historical figure of Jesus. The book studies the relationship between Judaism and Christianity, distinguishing the certain from the improbable, and assessing the historical and religious context of Christ's time. The spread of Christianity is also discussed.

About the Author

Ed Sanders was a Professor of Religion at Duke University until 2005. His other works include Paul and Jesus and Judaism.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 830 KB
  • Print Length: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin; New Ed edition (30 Nov 1995)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B002RI9L7G
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #28,487 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
30 of 30 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Certainly a Helpful Introduction 29 Dec 2005
This work provides not just an Introduction to reconstructing the life of the historical Jesus, but also to the modes of biblical criticism. The chapter on the Method and Setting of Jesus' Ministry is particularly valuable, and rightly points out misconceptions about the amount of time Jesus would have spent in Judea as opposed to his native Galilee. The book is well written, and the information it provides set down clearly for comfortable reading. In places more detail might be useful, especially regarding the primary and secondary sources that he uses, although these discrepancies are totally rectified by his more in depth works, such as the celebrated 'Jesus and Judaism,' and his work on Paul.
As to his conclusions, they are both conservative and forward looking. This is not a contradiction, as Sanders really pioneers the view that much can be known about the historical Jesus, while at the same time not straying drastically outside generally accepted scholarly thought. His is a careful, but worthy, reconstruction of the life and times of arguably the most influential figure in history.
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87 of 90 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable, informative, authoritative 17 Aug 2004
Professor Sanders must be one of those rare academics who can write well for the general public, neither over-simplifying the content nor boring the reader with excessive detail. The book has just the right balance of readability and credibility, and there are new insights on every page. Particularly interesting were the first few chapters, covering the historical and political background. We are all aware that Palestine was "occupied" by the Roman Empire at this period, but what was the nature of the occupation? Was it, for example, comparable to the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands in the early 1940s? The answer apparently is no, and the situation in Galilee was very different from that in Jerusalem. The book paints a clear picture of what life was like for ordinary people living in that region around that time. In dealing with the events of Jesus's life, Sanders always makes clear the degree of certainty of any assertion. There is a scale, with "beyond all reasonable doubt" at one end and "as likely as not" at the other. People who want simple answers in black and white may be disappointed by this, but ancient history is not an exact science. This is surely the honest approach.
Professor Sanders has been studying this period since the 1960s and appears to be regarded as knowledgeable on Jesus (as well as on Paul). I am not in a position to judge, but certainly the book seems more authoritative than some similar titles written by journalists or by those with a proselytising agenda. Although raised in the Church of England, I read this book as a complete layman.
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129 of 134 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Jesus the Viceroy of God 3 Jun 2000
E.P. Sanders is without doubt one of the most pre-eminent scholars of the New Testament and of historical, that is, Second Temple, Judaism alive today. His expertise and breadth of knowledge are acclaimed by all quarters of biblical scholarship as often as his work is seen in print, which is it to say that this is often. Particularly he has made key entries into the current round of the academic Quest of the historical Jesus. The first was with his 1985 book "Jesus and Judaism", a technical and academic study in which Sanders outlined his position vis-a-vis Jesus as an historical personage about whom we could know a number of things with a substantial degree of certainty. Amongst these were that Jesus was a Galilean who preached and healed, that he confined his activity to Israel and that he was baptised by John the Baptist. All in all he stated 8 "almost indisputable facts" in that book which any reasoned and reasonable account of the historical Jesus should be able to account for. With "The Historical Figure of Jesus" Sanders presents a much more reader-friendly (and appreciably less technical though still academically formulated) account of Jesus of Nazareth in which he ups the statements he now considers as "almost beyond dispute" to 15 and attempts to draw his picture of Jesus around these chosen static points. Clearly, then, the things Sanders considers as fixed are crucial here. These demonstrate some modification of Sanders' position from his earlier book and the addition of some "equally secure facts" about "the aftermath of Jesus' life". They are not things which scholars or general readers would find particularly controversial. But then the devil is always in the detail. Read more ›
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A good introduction for the study of Jesus 23 Aug 2007
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This is a good introduction for those interested in studying the historical figure of Jesus. Deceptively short as the text is quite small, Sanders provides a welcome antidote to the sensationalist pseudo-history such as Holy Blood Holy Grail and others.

Sanders is correct to state that the study of the historical Jesus is a perilous and frustrating task, not least due to the lack of sources. Sanders cleverly provides a setting for Jesus, putting him fully in his times of first century Galilee and Judaea. He places Jesus vis a vis Judaism and the political climate of Jesus' time. The strength of this book is that it is not encumbered with theology, but is an appraisal of Jesus the man, someone who had, or believed he had, an intimate relationship with God and who saw himself as the man to prepare the Jews for the coming of the kingdom. As Sanders correctly concludes, as a result Jesus was more of a teacher and a prophet than a preacher of repentance.

All in all a recommended book for both Christians and non-Christians wanting a good introduction to Jesus, without sensationalism, be it theological or pseudo-historical.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars OK
I appreciate author's respect for the subject of his studies.
Yet to me and people like me existence of God and event of sending Humankind
His Son with the message are... Read more
Published 2 months ago by paul
5.0 out of 5 stars A must read for anyone interested in the Historical Jesus
Forget the rest until you've read Sanders. This is the best layman's introduction to the Historical Jesus. Comprehensive, scholarly, accesible, it's fascinating.
Published 3 months ago by Ap
5.0 out of 5 stars Thought provoking
I enjoyed this book, it was very thought provoking. Being written from a historical rather than religious or theological point of view, I found it helped me to understand things... Read more
Published 7 months ago by E. Parkinson
5.0 out of 5 stars Stands out as one of the best accounts in its field
I've read a fair few accounts that seek to disentangle the historical Jesus from the accretions that have built up around him in the gospels and Christian history. Read more
Published 9 months ago by Jeremy Bevan
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating
Sanders writes with real authority. His understanding of the cultural and ethnic nuances of the time is superb and his prose style clear, erudite and engaging.
Published 11 months ago by polnewo
1.0 out of 5 stars Not Read Yet
I have kept this copy until I have time to study it at depth when I have time. I have every reason to believe it will meet my needs. Read more
Published 12 months ago by Mary Condron
5.0 out of 5 stars Jesus in Historical Context
E P Sanders has a written an excellent account of the historical figure of Jesus which serves as a corrective to the anti-Christian message of "progressive" Christianity and its... Read more
Published on 2 Feb 2012 by Neutral
5.0 out of 5 stars A populist but detailed examination of how much we can know about...
If you are going to read any book about Jesus, this is the one at present. Informative and with a thorough discussion of the details. You might disagree with aspects, e.g datings. Read more
Published on 12 Nov 2011 by Bob Breckwoldt
5.0 out of 5 stars A straightforward study for the seeker after truth
I bought this book at an airport and have read it a number of times. I gain something every time I read it. He writes clearly and does not let his (decades of) scholarship show. Read more
Published on 31 May 2011 by tolkein
4.0 out of 5 stars An uninspiring historical figure
This book is a useful counterweight to those who argue that we cannot be sure that Jesus ever existed or, if he did, we can know almost nothing about him. Read more
Published on 20 Sep 2010 by Mr. J. Hastings
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The main sources for our knowledge of Jesus himself, the gospels in the New Testament, are, from the point of view of the historian, tainted by the fact that they were written by people who intended to glorify their hero. &quote;
Highlighted by 17 Kindle users
All Jews, like the Pharisees, believed that they should understand the divine law and obey it. We need only add that from time to time individuals stood up and claimed to be the truest representatives of God. In general terms, this is where Jesus fits. He was an individual who was convinced that he knew the will of God. &quote;
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Jesus was a charismatic and autonomous prophet; that is, his authority (in his own view and that of his followers) was not mediated by any human organization, not even by scripture. &quote;
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