9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on 12 September 2007
Jesus and David, the Bible's paradigmatic Messiahs are placed firmly within the ancient Near East's intellectual roots and literary matrix. Prof. Thompson's book continues where his Bible in History left off, understanding Jesus and David as literary figures, who provide metaphors for humanities interaction with the divine. Starting with Jesus, Prof. Thompson critiques attempts to create a historical figure from behind the literary one. He demonstrates the artificiality of such 'quests': Jesus is a coherent whole within the gospels, not a fragmentary peasant Cynic or failed eschatological prophet of 'historical' research. Jesus represents Judaism's highest values; the gospels belong to a literary world that intertextually plays and critiques itself. Traditions such as virtual histories and their textual reiterations and traditions such as the 'Song for the Poor Man' are given elucidation. The Copenhagen 'Minimalists' have caused a stir within Biblical scholarship; this book is a highly recommended addition to that debate.
2 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on 2 January 2012
The most boring book I ever read (at least, I tried to read it, but I failed).
Literary criticism exercises in Gospels + Bible.
Ok, the author's main point is that history has nothing to do with them. Fullstop. They are mere literary texts. They are siblings of other literary texts, they spent their holidays with other literary texts, they married literary texts and begot children that were literary texts.
No reality, here. No history. Just literary traditions, literary figures, literary clichés, literary strategies...
And above all, no such a thing as a "historical Jesus" in the gospels. He is a concocted literary figure, along the lines of previous such literary figures (several previous Messiahs). And so on... and on... and on... and on... and again on... and on once more, and on..., and on.... and...
Gosh! What's the point in writing 415 pages to tell the reader that the historical document he is interested in, is no historical and is no document at all? Was not a sentence enough to make such a point? Who would spend 400 pages to demonstrate the world that there is no "science" in "science fiction"? And even if somebody did and s/he succeeded, who would care about? Neither science fiction fans (they would read it anyway) nor scientists (they never read science fictions novels as science texts anyway) so what's the point?
I was told many times that Thompson is an important exegete, so I was eager to read his books at last, but why "important" people need to be dry and dull and verbose and boring?
Reading the book become a matter of either me finishing it or it finishing me. I gave up because it was having the upper hand in the contest...