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Saturday, April 29, 2006 

A Marginal Jew

I have just finished John P. Meier's A Marginal Jew: Rethinking the Historical Jesus Vol.3 which looks at the historical Jesus in relation to his contemporaries, both those who followed him and those who opposed him, whether directly or indirectly. This volume compared with the previous two is probably my least favorite. This is just out of opinion and not because I found the scholarship lacking or anything . On the contrary, the scholarship was on par with the previous two volumes but because I've already read plenty of material dealing with Qumran, the Pharisees, Sadducees, and other groups the discussion of these groups was somewhat redundant for me. The two groups I did find enlightening that Meier touched on were the Samaritans and the enigmatic "scribes." But beyond this everything seemed more like a review than anything else.

Nevertheless, the depth of Meier's research amazes me. The amount of references that he has in the endnotes of his volumes is mindboggling. To date Meier's three volumes comprise a total of 2352 pages and we are still awaiting the fourth and final volume in which Meier will tackle what he calls the four enigmas or riddles of the historical Jesus:

1.) Jesus' relation to the Mosaic Law.

2.) Jesus' use of parables.

3.) The temple incident.

4. ) The death of Jesus.

Needless to say I am eagerly awaiting this final volume. I'm sure that we can expect to see much of Meier's use of the criterion of coherence in this work, especially concerning the fourth enigma. What I'm going to do is attempt to contact Dr. Meier in order to see if he will grant me a short interview concerning his final volume. If he agrees I will post the interview. If anyone has a question they wish me to ask feel free to leave it in the comments section or e-mail it to me.

For a decently thorough review of this volume go here.


Would you recommend the first volume in this series?


I would most certaintly recommend the first volume. In fact, I would recommend the entire series once it is completed.

Good, I have had others tell me to read it, so I should get a copy and do so. Thanks a bunch.

See also this review of the first three volumes Who do you say that I was?

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