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
"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.