The Jesus Quest   -     By: Ben Witherington III
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The Jesus Quest

Inter-Varsity Press / 1997 / Paperback

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Product Description

In recent years Jesus' time, place and social setting have received renewed scholarly attention. New research on the Dead Sea Scrolls and other Jewish and Hellenistic texts has resulted in a surge of new images of Jesus and new ideas about his ministry. Dubbed the Third Quest for the historical Jesus, this recent effort is a transformation of the first quest, memorialized and chronicled by Albert Schweitzer, and the second quest, carried out in the 1950s and 1960s in the wake of extreme Bultmannian skepticism.

The controversial works of John Dominic Crossan, Marcus Borg and Burton Mack, and the results of the Jesus Seminar have been thrust upon the public by publicists and media as the voices of learned consensus. Meanwhile, at the center of the scholarly investigation of Jesus, a less celebrated but certainly no less informed majority rejects many of the methods and conclusions of those who have captured the limelight.

In this book Dr. Ben Witherington, a participant in the Quest, offers the first comprehensive determination and assessment of what scholars are really saying about Jesus. In addition to the views of Crossan, Borg and Mack, he presents and interacts with the work of important scholars such as Geza Vermes, E. P. Sanders, Gerd Theissen, Richard Horsley, John P. Meier, N. T. Wright and Elisabeth Schssler Fiorenza, as well as outlining his own understanding of Jesus as sage. Here is an indispensable survey and assessment of the most significant religious scholarly debate of the 1990s.

Now with a lengthy new postscript, the new paperback edition of this widely praised book updates you on the continuing saga of the Third Quest for the historical Jesus.

Features & Benefits

  • new paperback edition
  • new postscript covering recent developments in the Third Quest
  • a 1996 Christianity Today Book Award winner
  • critique of the Third Quest for the historical Jesus
  • comprehensive and up-to-date
  • covers significant contributors to the current debate
  • groups scholars according to their approaches
  • discusses each scholars major and minor works
  • points out strengths and weaknesses of each scholars approach
  • offers an alternative approach to understanding Jesus in historical context

Product Information

Format: Paperback
Number of Pages: 320
Vendor: Inter-Varsity Press
Publication Date: 1997
Dimensions: 6 X 9 (inches)
ISBN: 0830815449
ISBN-13: 9780830815449
Availability: In Stock

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Publisher's Description

Voted one of Christianity Today's 1996 Books of the Year! In recent years Jesus' time, place and social setting have received renewed scholarly attention. New research on the Dead Sea Scrolls and other Jewish and Hellenistic texts has resulted in a surge of new images of Jesus and new ideas about his ministry. Dubbed the Third Quest for the historical Jesus, this recent effort is a transformation of the first quest, memorialized and chronicled by Albert Schweitzer, and the second quest, carried out in the 1950s and 1960s in the wake of extreme Bultmannian skepticism. The controversial works of John Dominic Crossan, Marcus Borg and Burton Mack, and the results of the Jesus Seminar have been thrust upon the public by publicists and media as the voices of learned consensus. Meanwhile, at the center of the scholarly investigation of Jesus, a less celebrated but certainly no less informed majority rejects many of the methods and conclusions of those who have captured the limelight. In The Jesus Quest Ben Witherington, a participant in the Quest, offers the first comprehensive determination and assessment of what scholars are really saying about Jesus. In addition to the views of Crossan, Borg and Mack, he presents and interacts with the work of important scholars such as Geza Vermes, E. P. Sanders, Gerd Theissen, Richard Horsley, John P. Meier, N. T. Wright and Elisabeth Schssler Fiorenza, as well as outlining his own understanding of Jesus as sage. Here is an indispensable survey and assessment of the most significant religious scholarly debate of the 1990s. Now with a lengthy new postscript, the new paperback edition of this widely praised book updates you on the continuing saga of the Third Quest for the historical Jesus.

Author Bio

Bible scholar Ben Witherington III is Professor of New Testament for Doctoral Studies at Asbury Theological Seminary and on the doctoral faculty at St. Andrews University in Scotland. A graduate of UNC, Chapel Hill, he went on to receive the MDiv degree from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary and a PhD from the University of Durham in England. He is now considered one of the top evangelical scholars in the world, and is an elected member of the prestigious Studiorum Novi Testamenti Societas, a society dedicated to New Testament studies. Witherington has also taught at Ashland Theological Seminary, Vanderbilt University, Duke Divinity School and Gordon-Conwell. An ordained pastor in the United Methodist Church and a popular lecturer, he has presented seminars for churches, colleges and biblical meetings not only in the United States but also in England, Estonia, Russia, Europe, South Africa, Zimbabwe and Australia. He has also led tours to Italy, Greece, Turkey, Israel, Jordan, and Egypt. Witherington has written over forty books, including and both of which were selected as top biblical studies works by He also writes for many church and scholarly publications, and is a frequent contributor to the Patheos website. Along with many interviews on radio networks across the country, Witherington has been seen in programs such as 60 Minutes, 20/20, Dateline on outlets like the History Channel, NBC, ABC, CBS, CNN, The Discovery Channel, A&E, and the PAX Network.

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  1. 4 Stars Out Of 5
    October 17, 2001
    Buddy Boone
    Here is Ben Witherington at his best. He has poured over the pertinent literature and has critically reviewed the most popular works in this fine book. I do not understand how one could come to the conclusion that Witherington is anything other than cordial and scholarly in this book. There is no question that he has come to play, not sit on the sidelines. So, at times, his discussion is pointed and confrontational. However, his research has yielded some serious objections to the popular conclusions of the "Jesus Seminar" that must be answered. Robert Funk himself writes in a way that is designed to provoke question and comment. A good writer cannot avoid such strategies, if he/she wants their material to have an impact. Dr. Witherington's approach in this book is to critically look at the most foundational conclusions of Jesus Seminar studies (eg; Jewish or non-Jewish Jesus? Jesus the itenerant cynic philosopher?). He brilliantly interacts with the research of Funk, Crossan, Borg, etc., and then sums up his own conclusions. This edition contains a Postscript in which Witherington critically evaluates seven titles that appeared after the first publication of this work. Admittedly, one needs to be somewhat familiar with Third Quest studies to understand Witherington's work. It will be tough going for those who want to begin with this book. However, if you have some familiarity with the studies and conclusions of the Jesus Seminar, this will be a challenging and very interesting read. After you get through this one, you may want to consider purchasing Dr. Witherington's "Jesus the Sage" as well as his "Jesus the Seer" books. I recommend checking out all of Witherington's books. He is one of the finest Christian scholars of our day and I find his writing style profoundly interesting.
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