Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Anderson on “Jesus: The Man”

  • Was Jesus a carpenter?
  • Did Jesus have short hair?
  • Did Jesus grow up with siblings?
  • Did Jesus work in Tiberias and Sepphoris?

These and other issues are discussed in a review article by Paul N. Anderson on the National Geographic special, “Jesus: The Man.”  Anderson recommends the program but his summary and analysis may be read without seeing this episode in the “Mysteries of the Bible” series.

Anderson explains the value of the presentation:

The value of this larger series, and this episode in particular, is that they cast valuable archaeological and historical light on the story of Jesus presented in the gospels. The correctives to some supposed knowledge are helpful in that they create new understandings of Jesus—the realism of his engaging Greco-Roman society, the ethical-political thrust of John’s ministry, economic and social backdrops of Jesus’ teachings on the Kingdom of God. The peasant-class status of Jesus and his family helps contextualize Jesus’ ministry, and imagining a worker with stone helps some of his teachings in the gospels come alive, including (I might add) later references to Jesus’ being referred to as the stone the builders rejected, which ironically became the cornerstone of the new household of God (Ac. 4:11; 1 Pet. 2:1-10).

The article is worth reading.  One quibble: his comment about the scribal conjecture of Bethany gets the evidence backwards.  The earliest manuscripts read Bethany, but Origen couldn’t find a Bethany on the east side of the Jordan River and changed it to Bethabara.  For more, see J. Carl Laney’s article (pdf) or my comment to this post.



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