on 25 August 2013
Boyarin can always be counted upon for brilliant and idiosyncratic analysis. I do not always agree with him, but he is never dull, and have found his unique perspectives stimulating and exciting to read. It is hardly the last word on the small amount of text covered, but I have never read anything quite like it elsewhere, and it is a great complement to other material on Mark and the Gospels.
on 25 April 2013
Daniel Boyarin's 'The Jewish Gospels', is far from a new exposé. The apparently explosive contention that the concept of a divine messiah was not an alien import but part of classical Judaism is well known. The key phrase 'Son of God', which was previously thought to be indicative of Jesus in the New Testament, was, as has been pointed out in 'The Secret Initiation of Jesus at Qumran', already in one of the Dead Sea Scrolls (4Q246). These texts, that pre-date Jesus, are much more demonstrative than the Book of Daniel (who Boyarin cites) for pre-existent Jewish ideas on messianism that find their way into Christianity.
In fact the `Yahad' at Qumran were waiting for two messiahs - one kingly and one priestly and close analysis of their attributes shows that these were incorporated into the character and teachings of Jesus.
This latter finding is not surprising as there is now strong evidence that Jesus was a member of the Jewish Qumran 'Yahad' from the age of about 12 to 30. Even the previous Pope has written about Jesus' membership of this so-called Essene community. The idea that Christianity came out of Judaism is nothing new and has been written about by many previous authors.