BR 15:04, Aug 1999
A Map Through the Minefield
The Historical Jesus: A Comprehensive Guide
Gerd Theissen and Annette Merz translated by John Bowden
(Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1996) 642 pp., $65.00
Scholars have long attempted to penetrate the narratives, metaphors, symbols and theology of the Gospels in order to weave an account of the life, teachings and work of the historical Jesus of Nazareth. Because the sources are relatively sparse and difficult to interpret, and because the interests, intellectual assumptions, methodological approaches and cultural views of the writers differ sharply from one another, the Jesus of one book often bears little resemblance to another, much to the consternation of the public.