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Jesus Through Middle Eastern Eyes - Cultural Studies in the Gospels Paperback – 21 Mar 2008
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"Kenneth Bailey's Jesus Through Middle Eastern Eyes is rich with interpretive and cultural insight. He sheds light on what is so often missed in most commentaries and books about Jesus written from a Western perspective. Indeed, Bailey's book provides the much-needed corrective to the dubious results of the Jesus Seminar, whose distorted Jesus is a product of Greco-Roman culture and literature, instead of the Judaic culture and literature of Palestine. Jesus Through Middle Eastern Eyes is easy to read--students and pastors will benefit from it tremendously--but there is also much for scholars."--Craig A. Evans, Payzant Distinguished Professor of New Testament, Acadia Divinity College, and author of Fabricating Jesus: How Modern Scholars Distort the Gospels
"Learning to read Scripture through other people's cultural spectacles, as well as our own, always brings huge enrichment. Kenneth Bailey has done a fantastic job in enabling us to put on the spectacles of a Middle Eastern believer and to therefore gain new insights into what was always there in Scripture but not quite so clear when only viewed through our lenses."--Mary J. Evans, vice-principal emeritus, London School of Theology
"I have long been an admirer of Kenneth Bailey's helpful insights. As in his earlier works, his breadth of knowledge of Middle Eastern culture sheds rich light on numerous points in the Gospels, providing fresh perspectives and often illumining details we have rarely considered. He provokes those of us who depend mostly on ancient written sources to consider new approaches, often cohering with but often supplementing such research."--Craig Keener, professor of New Testament, Palmer Theological Seminary, and author of The IVP Bible Background Commentary: New Testament
"Kenneth Bailey, a master storyteller and expert observer of Middle Eastern culture, applies his sixty years of experience living in this region to produce a groundbreaking work on Jesus' world. Bailey animates the Jewish cultural world of first-century Roman Palestine through clever, often humorous personal vignettes and observations of current Middle Eastern culture. The blurry outlines of enigmatic biblical characters such as King Herod or Zacchaeus take clearer shape, and unnamed women such as the Syro-Phoenician mother or the adulterous woman are painted with colorful, culturally sensitive strokes. Bailey offers a feast for the mind and heart in his brilliant discussion of the Lord's Prayer and Jesus' parables; each chapter has plenty to savor. Throughout, Bailey connects theological and christological significance to his cultural insights, producing an original, engaging study. Bailey's passion for the biblical story coupled with his conversational prose render Jesus Through Middle Eastern Eyes a captivating read for scholars, pastors and laypeople alike."--Lynn Cohick, associate professor of New Testament, Wheaton College
"Jesus Through Middle Eastern Eyes is intended, explains its author, 'to contribute new perspectives from the Eastern tradition which have rarely, if ever, been considered outside the Arabic-speaking Christian world.' Strictly speaking, of course, Kenneth Bailey does not offer new perspectives, but ideas frequently as old as the earliest church and as the ancient church fathers, that may well be new to many of his Western readership. Here is an imaginative, humorous reading of key Gospel passages, an engaged and engaging set of studies that emphasize the concrete world presupposed in the New Testament. Bailey is informed not only by faithful contemporary scholarship, but also by the great exegetes of the past, and shows his humility by offering alternative explanations of passages where these may be of help to the reader. His writing and argument are cogent to the ordinary reader, tackling problems for the contemporary church, without allowing twenty-first-century debates to dictate the scope of his discussion."--Edith M. Humphrey, William F. Orr Professor of New Testament, Pittsburgh Theological Seminary
"While no book on Jesus and the Gospels can be perfect or final, writing any really good book on them places staggering demands on an interpreter. To name just seven: literary aptitude, linguistic competence, critical shrewdness, cultural sagacity, theological acumen, spiritual sensitivity and hermeneutical sophistication. In this highly stimulating study Kenneth Bailey manages to reflect them all, and more besides, in part because he stands on the shoulders of Middle Eastern interpreters whom few in the West can even read. This book will sharpen historical understanding, improve much preaching and fuel new scholarship. It may shed as much new Licht vom Osten ('light from the ancient East') on Gospel passages as we have seen since Deissmann's book by that title a century ago. And in all of this, Bailey keeps the cross and the message of his sources at the center where they belong."--Robert W. Yarbrough, associate professor and New Testament department chair, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School
"A brilliant addition to Bailey's other works in which he sheds light on the biblical text from Middle Eastern culture."--Roy B. Zuck, Bibliotheca Sacra, October-December 2010
"Jesus Through Middle Easter Eyes is Bailey's most recent 400 page call to western Christians who need to time travel to the Middle East. And in page after page, he identifies themes and reflexes assumed in the gospels that slip right past us."--Gary M. Burge, Evangelical Quarterly, July 2009
"With a life-time of living, observing and teaching in the Middle East, Kenneth Bailey's insights as a commentator are invaluable, showing time after time, how an understanding of the cultural features of the background of the Gospels can bring alive the meaning of the text, and more importantly, the power and significance of Jesus and his message."--David Parker, Evangelical Review of Theology, July 2009
"This book could serve as material for an adult or student Sunday School class. Laid out in simple format for easy absorption by readers, the author's explanations of his findings require no formal training to follow and understand them. Particularly helpful are the summaries provided at the conclusion of each chapter.This book may very well establish Bailey's legacy beyond dispute."--Gene R. Smillie, Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society, June 2009 --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
About the Author
Kenneth E. Bailey is an author and lecturer in Middle Eastern New Testament studies. An ordained Presbyterian minister, he also serves as Canon Theologian of the Diocese of Pittsburgh of the Episcopal Church, USA. He holds graduate degrees in Arabic language and literature, and in systematic theology; his ThD is in New Testament. His many books, in Arabic and English, include Paul Through Mediterranean Eyes (SPCK, 2011).
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For instance, Bailey's analysis of the Christmas story shows that our interpretation of it in Nativity plays says more about our culture and owes little to what is likely to have happened. There was no inn, and therefore no innkeeper, and far from being turned away, it is likely Joseph and Mary would have been made welcome, as they would have had relatives living in Bethlehem. In addition, his analysis of the parables is a real joy to those of us looking for something fresh from them. I particularly like his insights on the Prodigal Son - the real hero is the father who shames himself twice due to the actions of both sons, the Shrewd Servant, and the Unforgiving Master.
I cannot recommend this book highly enough for those who are interested in in its subject. It is one of the few books I recommend or buy for others.
There’s not a dull sentence within the precious tome.
—Tristan Sherwin, author of *Love: Expressed*
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what the Gospels are about.