Friday, April 15, 2022

Jesus and Thomas

The Gospel of Thomas has not had much noticeable impact on recent Jesus research. This is something of a significant development, considering that not long ago Thomas was heralded as a possibly first-century source for reconstructing Jesus, and possibly even a Fifth Gospel. 

My new article, "'Blessed is the One Who Stands in the Beginning' (L. 18): Revisiting Protological Eschatology in the Gospel of Thomas," published in the Journal of Theological Studiesargues that the Gospel of Thomas - rather than being dismissed as a late and historically irrelevant development in the reception of the Jesus tradition - can be understood as containing traditions that help us better understand the historical Jesus. 

Sunday, October 10, 2021

An Indigenous Jesus

In "An Indigenous Jesus" - a new article just published in Method & Theory in the Study of Religion - I explore how the category of "indigeneity" not only illuminates the relationship(s) and power-dynamics between Native/Indigenous Peoples, cultures, and traditions and the colonial context(s) within which they continue to exist. It also sheds light on the methodological and theoretical challenges associated with determining the historical Jesus's "Jewish" identity within a predominantly "Christian" discourse. By critically comparing the historical Jesus with the historical Black Elk -- a Lakota holy man now virtually recognized as a Catholic saint - the concept of "indigeneity" provides a useful way to understand the complex and contested natures of social, ethnic, and religious identity. 

Friday, April 2, 2021

The Sacrifice(s) of Jesus - JBL

"In the Days of His Flesh, He Offered Up Prayers”: Redescribing the Sacrifice(s) of Jesus in the Letter to the Hebrews" - just published in the Journal of Biblical Literature - explores the Letter to the Hebrews, widely regarded as the most "sacrificial" text in the New Testament. Hebrews not only visualizes Jesus' heavenly "self-offering" as a sacrifice, it also re-conceptualizes Jesus' death as "sacrificial" by extending sacrificial language to the "prayers" that he "offered up" to God, expanding the semantic range of "sacrificial" language in the Jesus tradition. Although Hebrews is usually read as a "Christian" text advocating the superiority of Jesus' "sacrificial" offering to that provided in the Temple, I propose that Hebrews reflects an alternative Jewish sacrificial system in competition with the Jerusalem Temple, that is, a Jewish text that envisions the "sacrifice(s)" of Jesus as an alternative sacrificial system within Judaism, not a "Christian" system that "replaces" Judaism. 

Friday, July 17, 2020

Jesus, the Essenes, and Christians Origins - DSD Review

Cecilia Wassén reviews Jesus, the Essenes, and Christian Origins in Dead Sea Discoveries: “a strong case that Jesus . . . had ‘a relationship’ with Essene ideology and halakhah. The book as a whole provides many insightful analyses of Jesus’s engagement with different groups as well as appropriate analyses of Qumran texts . . . the study makes for a stimulating dialogue partner for historical Jesus scholars.”

Thursday, July 16, 2020

Jesus, the Essenes, and Christian Origins - Revue Biblique

Émile Puech reviews Jesus, the Essenes, and Christian Origins in the Revue Biblique: this book gives "a good idea of the contribution of the Dead Sea Scrolls to the study of the Jesus of history and the Gospels." Puech also agrees that a number of Essenes - although not Qumran Essenes - joined the Jesus movement, given the absence of any references to the Essenes in the New Testament or in rabbinic literature, yet their notable influence on the former.

Thursday, July 2, 2020

Jesus and the Temple - Horizons review

Yongbom Lee reviews my book, Jesus and the Temple in Horizons (Cambridge UP):

“Overall, this is an insightful and original study about the historical context of Jesus’ death . . . comprehensive and convincing . . . an excellent scholarly work on the historical Jesus and an insightful resource for both undergraduate and graduate courses on the topic.” 

Monday, May 18, 2020

Religion(s) in Crisis - UCLA Lecture

A Zoom lecture for UCLA's Center for the Study of Religion. Here is a brief description

Thursday, May 14, 2020

Book Review: Reading Mark in Context

My review of Reading Mark in Context has just been published in RBL. Here is an excerpt: 

"The Gospel of Mark simply cannot be read or understood without understanding Second Temple Jewish literature. Yet one gets the sense that while Mark situates Jesus within Judaism, it is a situation filled with tension, as the author seeks to forge a new sense of group identity through the central symbol of “Jesus’” conflicts with(in) Judaism, portraying Jesus in such a way as to construct a kind of “proto-Christian” difference from Judaism which would subsequently be mapped as Christianity’s “difference” from Judaism, and re-inscribed in generation after generation of Christian dissociation from Judaism."

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

The "Essenes" in ALNTS

Honored to be contributing the "Essenes" entry for the new Dead Sea Scrolls volume in the Ancient Literature for New Testament Studies (ALNTS) series published by Zondervan.