From Jesus to Christ

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The Origins of the New Testament Images of Christ
Second Edition

Paula Fredriksen

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How did Jesus of Nazareth become the Christ of the Christian tradition?

"Magisterial. . . . A learned, brilliant and enjoyable study."—Géza Vermès, Times Literary Supplement

In this exciting book, Paula Fredriksen explains the variety of New Testament images of Jesus by exploring the ways that the new Christian communities interpreted his mission and message in light of the delay of the Kingdom he had preached. This edition includes an introduction reviews the most recent scholarship on Jesus and its implications for both history and theology.

"Brilliant and lucidly written, full of original and fascinating insights."—Reginald H. Fuller, Journal of the American Academy of Religion

"This is a first-rate work of a first-rate historian."—James D. Tabor, Journal of Religion

"Fredriksen confronts her documents—principally the writings of the New Testament—as an archaeologist would an especially rich complex site. With great care she distinguishes the literary images from historical fact. As she does so, she explains the images of Jesus in terms of the strategies and purposes of the writers Paul, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John."—Thomas D’Evelyn, Christian Science Monitor

Paula Fredriksen, the Aurelio Professor of Scripture at Boston University, is the author of Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews, which won the 1999 National Jewish Book Award. She served as historical consultant and featured speaker on the PBS Frontline series “From Jesus to Christ: The First Christians.”

A selection of Readers’ Subscription

"This extraordinarily well-written and exciting book is a reconception of the causes and motivations operative in the early Christian movement, a new rationale of the sequence of probable events. It will be fascinating for all kinds of readers."—Wayne Meeks

"Fredriksen takes on a formidable task—explaining how the Jesus of history became the Christ of the Bible—and succeeds admirably. . . . Despite the complexities of her arguments, Fredriksen writes in a well-organized, thoughtful manner. Those interested in the early Christian movement will find this study illuminating."—Booklist

"Fredriksen confronts her documents—principally the writings of the new Testament—as an archaeologist would an especially rich complex site. With great care she distinguishes the literary images from historical fact. As she does so, she explains the images of Jesus in terms of the strategies and purposes of the writers Paul, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John."—Thomas D'Evelyn, Christian Science Monitor

"I can tell you what I liked about it: its sense of scholarship and a becoming intellectual modesty; its strong sensitivity to the Jewish matrix out of which Jesus emerged; and the care with which she made this work accessible to the general reader. She not only writes well but supplies us with bibliographies, suggested readings, indices of both the scriptures and of ancient sources in addition to a thorough general index of names and subjects. It is always a pleasure to open a book which keeps the reader's needs so firmly in mind."—Lawrence S. Cunningham, Commonweal

"The key to her success in this endeavor is a careful study of the origins of the New Testament images of Jesus. The methodology is straightforward: to place the various canonical images of Jesus within their historical context, which is the religious world of first- and second-century Mediterranean civilization."—Choice

"Fredriksen has achieved a magisterial sketch of the evolution of the images of Jesus with astonishing neatness and simplicity. . . . A learned, brilliant and enjoyable study of the genesis of the New Testament images of Jesus."—Géza Vermès, Times Literary Supplement

"An extraordinary range of difficult problems of New Testament interpretation are tackled, weighed judiciously, and deftly integrated into an argument that is clear, urbane, and interesting. . . . Few topics are more intractable than the historical Jesus and New Testament christology. To marry them in one delightfully provocative work requires a learned scholar and gifted teacher. Paula Fredriksen is both, and this is such a book."—C. Clifton Black II, Theology Today

"What makes [this book] especially compelling is that it shows how early Christians took history and God's intervention in it seriously. According to Fredriksen, the variety of New Testament images of Jesus attests to that fact as they recount the meeting of faith and history in the first two centuries of the common era. Her reconstruction of the process by which Christianity moved from Jesus to Christ is exciting and plausible."—Alan C. Mitchell, Theological Studies

"Here is an interesting perspective on Jesus in the new testament. . . . This is a serious look at Jesus using a different perspective, making for challenging and rewarding study."—Kevin Barron, SSC Booknews

"With regard to the sources, the period, the historical Jesus and the origins of Christology she has sound overall views, and when she gives closer analysis she is usually dead on target. . . . This is an excellent book. But she also writes concisely, gracefully and trenchantly. This means that the book should be read by one and all. It is one of the best possible books to recommend to undergraduates, but advanced students and established scholars can learn from it well. . . . The book is a splendid achievement."—E. P. Sanders, Journal of Jewish Studies

"Fredriksen offers the scholar and the layperson alike a documentary album with various images of Jesus. . . . Of special interest is her approach to the New Testament documents or her arrangement of the emerging images. . . . Fredriksen casts some fascinating light on the images of Jesus as seen through the eyes of Paul and the Evangelists. However, what is really illuminating is the way she reconstructs these images in light of the historical realities of the time. She retraces these images with great patience and thoroughness and provides the background out of which they grew and against which they were held. . . . Readers of this book . . . will come to recognize a distinguished author who has much to add to their understanding of Jesus."—Abraham Terian, Interpretations: A Journal of Bible and Theology

"Fredriksen's book serves the general reader as an introduction to basic issues in the general reader as an introduction to basic issues in the large and ever-growing field of Christology, and that is its main purpose. But in her book Fredriksen probes issues with skill and insight, giving a new twist here and there, from which specialists also can profit."—Arland J. Hultgren, American Historical Review

"The book is extremely thought-provoking."—Michael Dimaio, Jr., Classical  World

"This book addresses the question of how the individual who was Jesus and born in Nazareth, became the various versions of Christ in the Christian tradition. It is well written, aimed at the non-specialist and describes the Hellenistic world within which the Christ image was developed, the constructions put on it by the gospels, the force of the break with Judaism and the influence of the Churches. This is done in a scholarly and readable way."—David Jones, Self and Society

"Brilliant and lucidly written."—Reginald H. Fuller, Journal of the American Academy of Religion

"Interesting and valuable. . . . This is a first-rate work of a first-rate historian, both unfortunately rare in studies of the historical Jesus or images thereof."—James D. Tabor, Journal of Religion

"One senses in this very literate book a master teacher at work. It starts at the beginning, gives important background data, develops understandings, and then expertly builds upon them."—Karen A. Barta, Catholic Biblical Quarterly

"This edition is unrevised, but Fredriksen has provided an extensive introduction in which she summarizes how her main ideas have changed. . . . A lucid and important book."—Religious Studies Review (on the second edition)

"A landmark book on Christianity."—International Review of Biblical Studies
ISBN: 9780300084573
Publication Date: July 11, 2000
288 pages, 5 x 7.75
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