Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Jesus, the Essenes, and Christian Origins!

I am happy to announce that my new book - Jesus, the Essenes, and Christian Origins - will be published by Baylor University Press next year! This is my most recent work on Christian origins - a topic I have devoted much of my scholarly career to - and this study focuses on the relationship between the Essenes and the historical Jesus, a subject I have been fascinated with since I began graduate work in religion. It also gives me an opportunity to assess and discuss various critical responses to my work over the years. 

Although it has now become something of a truism to say that the study of Christian origins should be framed within Second Temple Judaism (since Jesus and his first followers were Jews), there is no denying that Christian origins also represents a complex, multifaceted, dynamic process of social, cultural, and theological change. In this light, I think Jesus, the Essenes, and Christian Origins breaks new ground in locating and situating the historical Jesus within the context(s) of his "halakhic" discussions while simultaneously exploring how that original cultural matrix developed over the course of the first century to become what is commonly known today as (early) "Christianity."