Win a Copy of Maurice Casey’s ‘Jesus of Nazareth’

The awesome people at Eisenbrauns and I are teaming up to offer one lucky (fortunate, blessed, pick your own term) person a free copy of Maurice Casey’s very shortly forthcoming Jesus of Nazareth, in hardback.  The contest commences today and concludes on October 31 at midnight.  The winner will be chosen by myself and James Spinti of Eisenbrauns and will be announced on November 1.

Contest rules are fairly simple:

1- Describe your view of who the Historical Jesus was.
2- Offer reasons supportive of your position.
3- Indicate how reading Casey’s book can, potentially, alter, clarify, correct, or even change your position.

The best answer, in comments, wins.

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31 thoughts on “Win a Copy of Maurice Casey’s ‘Jesus of Nazareth’

  1. Gerard 1 Oct 2010 at 1:01 am

    “who the Historical Jesus was”? Jesus is alive you know. Should be ‘who the Historical Jesus is’!

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  2. Book Giveaways… | 1 Oct 2010 at 7:03 am

    […] Jesus studies but for those who are (I’ll pray for you) head over to Jim’s blog to enter. Entry is easy: Contest rules are fairly simple (although Joel will still […]

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  3. James F. McGrath 1 Oct 2010 at 8:58 am

    The historical Jesus was a reformer, like a Zwingli a millenium and a half before his time. I know this because I sensed it was true as soon as you asked the question and offered a book in exchange for an answer.

    And I need to read Casey’s book because it will surely disabuse me of all such notions…

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    • Jim 1 Oct 2010 at 9:37 am

      that did make me chuckle

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  4. Esteban Vázquez 1 Oct 2010 at 9:05 am

    I would enter the contest, Jim, but you never did send me the previous book I rightfully won… 😉

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  5. Doug 1 Oct 2010 at 10:29 am

    I’ll just cut and paste my comment from last july’s book offer.

    And it’s possible it may change my view of Jesus.

    The preliminaries: Blah blah blah (Please send me the book. I will read it. You know who I claim to be)
    Another reason: I have 3 preschool kids (editorial correction: 2 of the three are now in school) and I would like a to read a book that contains words of more than one or two syllables and not a picture on every page.
    Finally, thank you for your generous offer.

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  6. MissivesfromMarx 1 Oct 2010 at 10:31 am

    The historical Jesus was of course a provincial Jewish apocalyptic prophet who wrongly thought the world was coming to an end during his generation. I know that’s what he was because that’s what I want him to be: irrelevant. I probably shouldn’t read Casey’s book because it might cause me to rethink my self-satisfied smug dismissals of the historical Jesus.

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  7. Doug 1 Oct 2010 at 10:34 am

    but more seriously, I would like to read different views on this subject and this looks like a book that would accomplish that goal.

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  8. […] West is giving away a copy of Maurice Casey’s Jesus of Nazareth. Winning a copy will take some work since, but if you’re interested, go check it […]

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  9. Scripture Zealot 1 Oct 2010 at 12:29 pm

    The historical Jesus is as described in the Bible, meaning there is no secret information that would change what it says. He is the image of the visible God and the Kingdom of God broke into the world through Him. He brought the good news of salvation and was a perfect sacrifice for our sins. He died, was resurrected by God, showed himself to people and went up to heaven to dwell with God in the most honorable place.

    This book may change many of my views of Jesus because of my lack of knowledge of his ‘Jewishness’ and the culture in which he lived and what preceded him.

    Thanks
    Jeff

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  10. Nick Norelli 1 Oct 2010 at 4:55 pm

    1. The historical Jesus is the Christ of faith.

    2. My reason for believing this is because the Bible doesn’t make any such distinction. That’s the invention of 19th century liberal Protestants and 20th & 21st century mythicists (whom Steph informs me have been definitively debunked by Casey in this book).

    3. I can’t comment on Casey’s book until I’ve read it (unlike a whole host of bloggers — they know who they are) so I don’t know how or if he’ll make me “alter, clarify, correct, or even change [my] position,” but I do know that Steph has been telling me for months that this is the historical Jesus book and that I need to read it. She can’t be wrong now can she?

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  11. Sheffield Biblical Studies 1 Oct 2010 at 5:56 pm

    […] has also announced a competition to win the […]

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  12. […] has also announced a competition to win the […]

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  13. steph 1 Oct 2010 at 7:02 pm

    No she can’t be wrong (although she often is) 😉 but she didn’t say this is the book which refutes the mythicists Nick – that is underway, title as yet undecided, ‘refutation of mythicists’ or something like that, but it will not be released til 2012. It’s a big book with alot to discuss (and refute). Pretty good going considering it took Doherty ten years to produce a revised version of his first book… Simultaneously Maurice will be releasing another academic book on aramaic sources in 2012.

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  14. Liz Fried 4 Oct 2010 at 2:05 pm

    The historical Jesus was a nice Jewish boy who made good. If the book claims he was anything else, I’d be quite surprised.

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  15. steph 4 Oct 2010 at 2:35 pm

    well yes it does actually – it certainly doesn’t claim he was a ‘nice Jewish boy’. We know nothing of his ‘boyhood’.

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  16. Liz Fried 4 Oct 2010 at 4:58 pm

    He wasn’t more than 33 when he died, that’s a “boy” to me.

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  17. steph 4 Oct 2010 at 5:08 pm

    my my – but no, the book still doesn’t talk about him as a ‘nice Jewish boy’ Liz.

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  18. Liz Fried 4 Oct 2010 at 7:46 pm

    Well, we know he was Jewish, and we know he was male, and young, so, what am I missing? he wasn’t nice?
    Hmm, I guess it wasn’t very nice to curse that poor fig tree.

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    • Jim 4 Oct 2010 at 7:47 pm

      i always liked the cleansing of the temple and the rousing denunciation of the hypocrites. oh and the woe to you sayings. those are good too.

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  19. steph 4 Oct 2010 at 7:54 pm

    What’s ‘nice’? I love the way you dismiss the value of scholarship you haven’t read with such a trite remark. That’s what the mythers do… What can we say about another book on Zwingli? If it claims anything other than that Zwingli is some dead Christian theologian we’d be very surprised. And no, Maurice would not agree that Jesus was ‘nice’.

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  20. Paul Tobin 5 Oct 2010 at 12:47 am

    Jesus was a devout adherent of the Torah (Matt 5:17-19). He celebrated Jewish festivals (such as the passover – Mark 14) He was stricter in the application of the strictures of the Torah than even the Pharisees (Matthew 5:20) [The verses following – Matt. 5:21-48 -should be interpretation as an intensification rather than an abrogation of the Mosaic code.] His feel for the “sacredness” of the temple is so strong that it compelled him to an act of violence (the so-called “Cleansing of the Temple” – Mark 11:15-17) which was the direct cause of his arrest and ultimate execution.

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  21. Jack Kilmon 5 Oct 2010 at 2:10 am

    The issue is how Jesus saw himself and I think it is clear he did not
    believe himself to be the Messiah. I think he was hijacked by the latter
    first century’s high christologists as the Davidic Messiah (There were
    supposed to be two, a Davidic and a priestly) and the birth in Bethlehem and
    sojourn and exit from Egypt were theologoumena to support this. In many
    ways the Enochian literature relevant and in this context a righteous person is
    elected to be the Bar Nasha at a time of great need and

    Daniel 7:
    13 I saw in the night-visions, and, behold, there came with the clouds of
    the sky one like a son of man (כבר אנש [kibar ‘anash]), and he came even to
    the ancient of days, and they brought him near before him. 14 There was
    given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all the peoples, nations,
    and languages should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion,
    which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be
    destroyed.

    So being ever existing from the most ancient of days, the Bar Nasha would be
    manifest in the awaiting hero who would die and spend three days in the
    earth, be resurrected and ascend to heaven and come with the clouds and
    usher in the heavenly malkutha d’alaha (Kingdom of God). How much of Jesus’
    own perspectives were instituted is seen in his corpus of aphorisms
    The Kingdom which he would usher in would first welcome the most
    vulnerable of society, the disenfranchised, poor, infirm and sick,

    The wealthy elite were the “den of thieves” in charge of the nation’s finances
    at the temple and their chances of entering the Kingdom of Heaven were about
    the same as a camel passing through the eye of a needle.

    After Jesus’ death, I am not sure who, or which group, conflated the
    Bar Nasha with the Davidic Messiah to bring Jesus back into the fold of
    Mosaic Judaism but it must have been a Jewish contingency. Maybe it was
    Jesus’ Enochian underpinnings that separated him from John the Baptist and
    caused his family to believe he was huneh nefaq, “beside himself.” My
    suspicion is that his brother, Ya’qub, as a Nazirite or a Zadokite (which,
    by the way, may have been where he obtained his sobriquet of
    “Tsedduqa”…”righteous one”), may have assumed the leadership of the
    disorganized and confused assemblage of followers in Jerusalem and brought
    the posthumous Jesus back into the Mosaic, Messianic “fold.” With a
    makeover by James, another by Paul, and many more makeovers by dozens of
    groups in a few centuries then and thousands of groups by now, it is no
    wonder why modernists throw up their hands to proclaim the historical flesh
    and blood Jesus, as well as the supernatural Jesus, an ancient myth.

    I fought that battle also until I began a “post mortem” on the Aramaic
    corpus of sayings in which I detected the voice of an individual rather than
    an accretion of sayings over a century or more.

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  22. Gordon Raynal 5 Oct 2010 at 7:38 am

    Let’s start with this: “For John the Baptist has come eating no bread and drinking no wine, and you say he has a demon; the Son of Man has come eating and drinking, and you say a glutton and drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!” Nevertheless wisdom is vindicated by all her children. (Lk. 7:33-35).
    Jesus’ self reference? A child of Wisdom.
    Paul? “God is the source of your life in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God….” (I Cor. 1:30)
    Mark? With many such parables he spoke the word to them, as they were able to hear it; he did not speak to them except in parables…” (Mk. 4:33)
    James? But wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without a trace of partiality or hypocrisy. And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace for those who make peace.” (Jas. 3:17-18)
    Thomas? Jesus said, “If two make peace with each other in a single house, they will say to the mountain, ‘Move from here!’ and it will move.” (G. Thos. 48)
    I think that’s where you start. And to understand those words… head on back to Deut. 4:5-8, Prov. 3:13-18 & 8:22-36 & 9:1-6, & Eccl. 9:13-18.
    The core message in all of this? It begins every letter of Paul: “Grace and peace to you…”
    Probably the most important words Jesus said? “Let anyone with ears to hear, listen!” (the SV translation is better:)! “If anyone here has two good ears, use them!”)
    As to whether Casey’s book will offer me any new insights, well, that depends on whether or not he’s providing anything to improve audition of Jesus’ aphorisms and parables.

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  23. Gordon Raynal 5 Oct 2010 at 9:28 am

    sorry, forgot to click the boxes below so I can follow the comments and see who wins:)!

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  24. Robert 5 Oct 2010 at 1:19 pm

    Second attempt, I’m having trouble posting to blogs tonight. I don’t think we can finally say who Jesus was, but we can speculate, and hopefully reading Casey’s book might help clarify some of my ideas on the subject.

    I think the comment that he was an apocalyptic prophet is probably on the right lines, though I’d add that he was presumably something of a healer as well, given his subsequent reputation. He came to be seen as a messiah, perhaps along the lines of 4Q521, but contrary to some I think this probably took place during his lifetime. He presumably rejected the Temple hierarchy, since he upset them sufficiently for them to get him killed.

    I find it hard to see the devoted followers of an executed prophet reworking the concept of the messiah in order to apply it to him, unless they were already convinced, before his death, that that’s who he was. Paul uses ‘Christos’ more as a name than a title, and he’s got a well-worked out theology of an angelic figure, derived from Daniel 7, and probably the existing idea of an angelic eschatological deliverer in documents like 11Q13, and come up with the idea of an angelic being who becomes incarnate, gets crucified,then God raises him and sets him up on high, ‘son of God with power’, ready to come back and sort creation out. That’s a lot of development for the time available, so I can only imagine that it started immediately after the crucifixion, among people who already beleved Jesus was the Messiah.

    I’m not sure Jesus was so strict on the Law. Interpretations of the Law in the NT tend to be along Pharisaic lines, and fairly liberal compared to, say, the Damascus Covenant. If Jesus was a rigorist, I’d expect him to have founded a purely rigorist movement, and that’s not what we see. We soon find a liberal wing, which can reach out to Gentiles, and before too long we get largely Gentile churches. If there’s anything in Luke’s stories of the tensions over the Hellenists, and Stephen’s martyrdom, then there are liberal element present very early, and it’s hard to see them becoming so influential so fast unless there were both strict and liberal people within the movement during Jesus’ lifetime. That suggests that his focus, whatever it was, wasn’t the Law. At the same time, he was leading a popular religious movement, and if he hadn’t more or less conformed to peoples’ expectations of such a movement, nobody would have joined it. Josephus tells us the people followed the Pharisees, so presumably his understanding of the Law was more or less Pharisaic.

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  25. Robert 5 Oct 2010 at 1:21 pm

    Sorry. Robert Brenchley, RSBrenchley@aol.com.

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  26. R. Keith Whitt 5 Oct 2010 at 4:33 pm

    1. Jesus was/is/shall be an enigma.

    2. There is no consensus in academia as to who he was.

    3. Prof. Casey is an enigma; ergo, reading his book may help me clarify (for myself) one of the two enigmas above.

    Keith Whitt

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  27. Dennis Dean Carpenter 7 Oct 2010 at 11:06 am

    1- Describe your view of who the Historical Jesus was.

    The “Historical Jesus” is the protagonist of the primarily fictive literature. As such, he is a figure of the imagination of the reader. My view is that this figure of literature was probably a very insignificant Galilean teacher and healer of the first half of the first century. There is absolutely no reason (other than theological) to consider him a major or even minor factor in Palestine of the setting of the story.

    2- Offer reasons supportive of your position.
    Believing Markan Priority, it seems obvious that the author was leading the audience to a comforting notion that “God is Salvation,” using over 160 scriptural allusions framed in a chiastic structure. One notes that the crux of the parabolic structure centers on the figures of Moses and Elijah, two mythical characters paired with Jesus, one who was carried away to the heavens, the other who, according to first century lore (Josephus, Antiquities 4.326) disappeared into a cloud. The apparatus of the empty tomb is the “same thing.” It points toward new beginnings for Israel after the devastation of the temple and Jerusalem, giving the audience hope for the future. Jesus (“God is Salvation”) is a symbol in the story, not a historical person.

    3- Indicate how reading Casey’s book can, potentially, alter, clarify, correct, or even change your position.

    Especially after reading the position of Casey toward the Jesus Seminar, especially in “poo pooing” the length of time they had held their doctorate, maybe it will alert me to just why one who has had his or her doctorate forever is more adept at thinking critically!

    Dennis Dean Carpenter

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  28. Michael R. Janapin 8 Oct 2010 at 8:57 pm

    1- Describe your view of who the Historical Jesus was.
    From where I come from, supernatural events are 2 cents a dozen. We don’t really have a natural/supernatural dichotomy in our worldview. When we read in the gospel accounts that Jesus walked on water, in our minds he really did. So we do not demythologize in order to reveal the Christ of faith. So the Historical Jesus is the one recorded in the gospels. Were they exaggerated by the ancient minds? Probably. But what the heck, those events recorded in the gospels fits our worldview perfectly.

    2- Offer reasons supportive of your position.
    (see above).

    3- Indicate how reading Casey’s book can, potentially, alter, clarify, correct, or even change your position.
    I don’t know Casey. I have not read any of his work except those few excerpts you posted in this blog. From what I can see, especially excerpt #5, my view might be enriched after reading the whole book. My view of the historical Jesus is experiential and maybe after reading the book I might gain some theoretical explanation for it. Experience validated by theory. 🙂

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  29. […] of The Lure of the Dark Side: Satan and Western Demonology in Popular Culture. Jim West is also giving away a copy of Maurice Casey’s Jesus of […]

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