It’s Maurice Casey’s Birth-iversary

casey_fsToday is the anniversary of Maurice Casey’s birth.

Maurice Casey was one of the best known scholars of the New Testament presently (or more properly, recently) working in the United Kingdom. He was a tireless researcher who devoted his life to a serious and, insofar as this is possible, an independent investigation of the New Testament freed from dogmatic constraints. Or more particularly, to the life of the Historical Jesus.

In the last years of his life Maurice suffered a series of ailments which left him weakened and stymied and yet he persevered manfully through his “valley of the shadow”. As he worked on his final publication (and certainly not knowing that it would be his final publication) he grew progressively weaker, progressively worse. And yet he was so troubled by the rise of the ‘mythicist’ movement that he was determined to see the project through to the end. I’m grateful that he was able to.

He’s worth remembering, on his birthday especially.  I said so last year and I’ll say so next.

Judaism, Jewish Identities and the Gospel Tradition: Essays in Honour of Maurice Casey

ISD have sent along for review this delightful volume: Judaism, Jewish Identities and the Gospel Tradition: Essays in Honour of Maurice Casey, edited by James Crossley.

casey_fsJudaism, Jewish Identities and the Gospel Tradition is a collection of essays focused on what is now a major issue in contemporary gospel studies. The essays are in honour of Maurice Casey, who has made major contributions to our understanding of the Jewish context of Jesus and the Gospels. Fittingly, this collection of essays avoids the conventional festschrift format and is designed to be a detailed analysis in its own right. This volume examines how Judaism can function as an analytical concept in Gospel scholarship. This includes an overview of the ways in which Judaism is used in the canonical Gospels and how this relates to the idea of a Jewish Jesus, in addition to specific examples of similarities with, and differences from, various Jewish traditions in the Gospels, constructions of gender, the impact of the historical Jesus, and the significant steps toward Christian distinctiveness made in the Gospel of John.

This collection features contributions by Andrew R. Angel, Roger David Aus, George J. Brooke, Bruce Chilton, Daniel Cohen, James G. Crossley, Mogens Müller, Wendy E.S. North, Catrin H. Williams, and a preface by C.K. Barrett.

My review is available here.

ISD is offering, for Judaism, Jewish Identities and the Gospel Tradition, a discount- the code being 132-13. This is good for 20% off either the paperback or hardback, also through Oct 31st.

Jesus: Evidence and Argument or Mythicist Myths?

mythicistMaurice Casey’s book is slated to appear in the early days of 2014.  Here’s the info (or as the kids say, the 411) –

Did Jesus exist? In recent years there has been a massive upsurge in public discussion of the view that Jesus did not exist. This view first found a voice in the 19th century, when Christian views were no longer taken for granted. Some way into the 20th century, this school of thought was largely thought to have been utterly refuted by the results of respectable critical scholarship (from both secular and religious scholars).

Now, many unprofessional scholars and bloggers (‘mythicists’), are gaining an increasingly large following for a view many think to be unsupportable. It is starting to influence the academy, more than that it is starting to influence the views of the public about a crucial historical figure. Maurice Casey, one of the most important Historical Jesus scholars of his generation takes the ‘mythicists’ to task in this landmark publication. Casey argues neither from a religious respective, nor from that of a committed atheist. Rather he seeks to provide a clear view of what can be said about Jesus, and of what can’t.

And here’s what’s in it:

1. Introduction
2. Historical Method
3. The Date and Reliability of the Canonical Gospels
4. What is Not in the Gospels, or Not in ‘Q’
5. What is Not in the Epistles, Especially Those of Paul
6. What is Written in the Epistles, Especially Those of Paul
7. It All Happened Before, in Egypt, India, or Wherever you Fancy, but there was Nowhere for it to Happen in Israel
8. Conclusions
Appendix: Latinisms

It is an absolute gold-mine of mythicist debunking.  It is, to be honest, the funeral dirge sung at the grave of mythicist perspectives.  It’s a great book (and will doubtless be even better in its final form).

Thomas Thompson on ‘Competence and New Testament Scholarship’

Over at Bible and Interpretation Tom writes

In his critique of my response to Bart Ehrman’s Did Jesus Exist? Maurice Casey alleges as the foremost mark of what he sees as my incompetence that I, at odds with all critical scholarship, presuppose a Matthean priority, rooted in a ‘Traditional Catholic doctrine’ or ‘a Catholic dogma,’ in which I was supposedly ‘brought up!’ His assertion surprises me by both its arbitrariness and its prejudice. There is no such Catholic doctrine or dogma; nor have I claimed it in any way.

And then more.  Do give it a look.