Jesus Through Middle Eastern Eyes: Cultural Studies in the Gospels  -     By: Kenneth E. Bailey
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Jesus Through Middle Eastern Eyes: Cultural Studies in the Gospels

IVP Academic / 2007 / Paperback

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Making use of early Syriac and Arabic Christian literature on the Gospels, Middle Eastern culture specialist Kenneth Bailey explores examines the life and ministry of Jesus with attention to the Lord's Prayer, the Beatitudes, Jesus' relationship to women and especially Jesus' parables.

Bailey offers a deeper understanding of the person and significance of Jesus, and lifts away the blurring modern Western interpretation to reveal a historically and culturally clear Jesus. Biblical quotations are from Bailey's own translations, as he seeks to contribute new perspectives from the Eastern Tradition to the knowledge of the person of Jesus Christ.

Kenneth E. Bailey is an author and lecturer in Middle Eastern New Testament studies. An ordained Presbyterian minister, he also serves as Canon Theologian of the Diocese of Pittsburgh of the Episcopal Church, USA. He holds graduate degrees in Arabic language and literature, and in systematic theology; his Th.D. is in New Testament. He spent forty years living and teaching New Testament in Egypt, Lebanon, Jerusalem and Cyprus, still holding the title of research professor (emeritus) of Middle Eastern New Testament studies at the Ecumenical Institute (Tantur), Jerusalem. Bailey has written many books in English and in Arabic, including The Cross and the Prodigal, Poet & Peasant, Through Peasant Eyes, Jacob & the Prodigal and Finding the Lost: Cultural Keys to Luke 15. He has also published many articles in The Princeton Seminary Bulletin, The Presbyterian Outlook, Asia Journal of Theology, Christianity Today, Expository Studies, Irish Biblical Studies, Novem Momentum, Theology Review and Temelios.

Product Information

Format: Paperback
Number of Pages: 443
Vendor: IVP Academic
Publication Date: 2007
Dimensions: 9.00 X 6.00 (inches)
ISBN: 0830825681
ISBN-13: 9780830825684
Availability: In Stock

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Publisher's Description

Beginning with Jesus' birth, Ken Bailey leads you on a kaleidoscopic study of Jesus throughout the four Gospels. Bailey examines the life and ministry of Jesus with attention to the Lord's Prayer, the Beatitudes, Jesus' relationship to women, and especially Jesus' parables. Through it all, Bailey employs his trademark expertise as a master of Middle Eastern culture to lead you into a deeper understanding of the person and significance of Jesus within his own cultural context. With a sure but gentle hand, Bailey lifts away the obscuring layers of modern Western interpretation to reveal Jesus in the light of his actual historical and cultural setting. This entirely new material from the pen of Ken Bailey is a must-have for any student of the New Testament. If you have benefited from Bailey's work over the years, this book will be a welcome and indispensable addition to your library. If you are unfamiliar with Bailey's work, this book will introduce you to a very old yet entirely new way of understanding Jesus.

Author Bio

Kenneth E. Bailey (ThD, Concordia Theological Seminary) is an author and lecturer in Middle Eastern New Testament studies. An ordained Presbyterian minister, he also serves as Canon Theologian of the Anglican Diocese of Pittsburgh. The author of more than 150 articles in English and in Arabic, his writings include and Bailey spent forty years living and teaching in seminaries and institutes in Egypt, Lebanon, Jerusalem and Cyprus. For twenty of those years he was Professor of New Testament and Head of the Biblical Department of the Near East School of Theology in Beirut where he also founded and directed the Institute for Middle Eastern New Testament Studies. Bailey was also on the faculty of The Ecumenical Institute for Theological Research in Jerusalem. Traveling around the globe to lecture and teach, Bailey has spoken in theological colleges and seminaries in England (Oxford, Cambridge, Bristol) Ireland, Canada, Egypt, Finland, Latvia, Denmark, New Zealand, Australia and Jerusalem. He is active as a Bible teacher for conferences and continuing education events in the Middle East, Europe and North America, and has taught at Columbia, Princeton and Fuller Seminary. Bailey and his wife Ethel now reside in New Wilmington, Pennsylvania, where he continues to write and lecture on the New Testament. He spent forty years living and teaching New Testament in Egypt, Lebanon, Jerusalem and Cyprus, still holding the title of research professor (emeritus) of Middle Eastern New Testament studies at the Ecumenical Institute (Tantur), Jerusalem. Bailey has written many books in English and in Arabic, including and He has also published many articles in and .

Endorsements

"While no book on Jesus and the Gospels can be perfect or final, writing any really good book on them places staggering demands on an interpreter. To name just seven: literary aptitude, linguistic competence, critical shrewdness, cultural sagacity, theological acumen, spiritual sensitivity and hermeneutical sophistication. In this highly stimulating study Kenneth Bailey manages to reflect them all, and more besides, in part because he stands on the shoulders of Middle Eastern interpreters whom few in the West can even read. This book will sharpen historical understanding, improve much preaching and fuel new scholarship. It may shed as much new Licht vom Osten ('light from the ancient East') on Gospel passages as we have seen since Deissmann's book by that title a century ago. And in all of this, Bailey keeps the cross and the message of his sources at the center where they belong."

—Robert W. Yarbrough, associate professor and New Testament department chair, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School

"Among the many New Testament scholars interpreting the Gospels today, few offer new and dramatic insights like Kenneth E. Bailey. From a childhood in Egypt to a career working within the Middle East, Bailey has established himself as the premier cultural interpreter of the life of Jesus. Using insights from cultural anthropology and skilled exegesis, suddenly the Gospels come alive as the Middle Eastern stories that they are. Long after other scholars' books are forgotten, Bailey's work on the Gospels will continue to be a timeless resource into the world of Jesus. This newest volume, written for the nonspecialist, is a splendid place to begin. Jesus Through Middle Eastern Eyes is guaranteed to become a favorite on many Christians' bookshelves."

—Gary M. Burge, professor of New Testament, Wheaton College & Graduate School

"I have long been an admirer of Kenneth Bailey's helpful insights. As in his earlier works, his breadth of knowledge of Middle Eastern culture sheds rich light on numerous points in the Gospels, providing fresh perspectives and often illumining details we have rarely considered. He provokes those of us who depend mostly on ancient written sources to consider new approaches, often cohering with but often supplementing such research."

—Craig Keener, professor of New Testament, Palmer Theological Seminary, and author of The IVP Bible Background Commentary: New Testament

"Kenneth Bailey's Jesus Through Middle Eastern Eyes is rich with interpretive and cultural insight. He sheds light on what is so often missed in most commentaries and books about Jesus written from a Western perspective. Indeed, Bailey's book provides the much-needed corrective to the dubious results of the Jesus Seminar, whose distorted Jesus is a product of Greco-Roman culture and literature, instead of the Judaic culture and literature of Palestine. Jesus Through Middle Eastern Eyes is easy to read--students and pastors will benefit from it tremendously--but there is also much for scholars."

—Craig A. Evans, Payzant Distinguished Professor of New Testament, Acadia Divinity College, and author of Fabricating Jesus: How Modern Scholars Distort the Gospels

"Kenneth Bailey, a master storyteller and expert observer of Middle Eastern culture, applies his sixty years of experience living in this region to produce a groundbreaking work on Jesus' world. Bailey animates the Jewish cultural world of first-century Roman Palestine through clever, often humorous personal vignettes and observations of current Middle Eastern culture. The blurry outlines of enigmatic biblical characters such as King Herod or Zacchaeus take clearer shape, and unnamed women such as the Syro-Phoenician mother or the adulterous woman are painted with colorful, culturally sensitive strokes. Bailey offers a feast for the mind and heart in his brilliant discussion of the Lord's Prayer and Jesus' parables; each chapter has plenty to savor. Throughout, Bailey connects theological and christological significance to his cultural insights, producing an original, engaging study. Bailey's passion for the biblical story coupled with his conversational prose render Jesus Through Middle Eastern Eyes a captivating read for scholars, pastors and laypeople alike."

—Lynn Cohick, associate professor of New Testament, Wheaton College

"Jesus Through Middle Eastern Eyes is intended, explains its author, 'to contribute new perspectives from the Eastern tradition which have rarely, if ever, been considered outside the Arabic-speaking Christian world.' Strictly speaking, of course, Kenneth Bailey does not offer new perspectives, but ideas frequently as old as the earliest church and as the ancient church fathers, that may well be new to many of his Western readership. Here is an imaginative, humorous reading of key Gospel passages, an engaged and engaging set of studies that emphasize the concrete world presupposed in the New Testament. Bailey is informed not only by faithful contemporary scholarship, but also by the great exegetes of the past, and shows his humility by offering alternative explanations of passages where these may be of help to the reader. His writing and argument are cogent to the ordinary reader, tackling problems for the contemporary church, without allowing twenty-first-century debates to dictate the scope of his discussion."

—Edith M. Humphrey, William F. Orr Professor of New Testament, Pittsburgh Theological Seminary

"Learning to read Scripture through other people's cultural spectacles, as well as our own, always brings huge enrichment. Kenneth Bailey has done a fantastic job in enabling us to put on the spectacles of a Middle Eastern believer and to therefore gain new insights into what was always there in Scripture but not quite so clear when only viewed through our lenses."

—Mary J. Evans, vice-principal emeritus, London School of Theology

Bailey attempts to bring his extensive background in history to the table to deepen his readers' understanding of the Gospels through understanding culture.

—Pulpit Helps, February 2008

I found myself fascinated as I read of the cultural and historical background behind familiar gospel stories and parables. Bailey's background information, rhetorical analysis, and commentary will provide valuable perspective on often-puzzling passages.

—C. W. for Discipleship Journal, March/April 2008

Editorial Reviews

"Learning to read Scripture through other people's cultural spectacles, as well as our own, always brings huge enrichment. Kenneth Bailey has done a fantastic job in enabling us to put on the spectacles of a Middle Eastern believer and to therefore gain new insights into what was always there in Scripture but not quite so clear when only viewed through our lenses."
" Jesus Through Middle Eastern Eyes is intended, explains its author, 'to contribute new perspectives from the Eastern tradition which have rarely, if ever, been considered outside the Arabic-speaking Christian world.' Strictly speaking, of course, Kenneth Bailey does not offer new perspectives, but ideas frequently as old as the earliest church and as the ancient church fathers, that may well be new to many of his Western readership. Here is an imaginative, humorous reading of key Gospel passages, an engaged and engaging set of studies that emphasize the concrete world presupposed in the New Testament. Bailey is informed not only by faithful contemporary scholarship, but also by the great exegetes of the past, and shows his humility by offering alternative explanations of passages where these may be of help to the reader. His writing and argument are cogent to the ordinary reader, tackling problems for the contemporary church, without allowing twenty-first-century debates to dictate the scope of his discussion."
"Kenneth Bailey, a master storyteller and expert observer of Middle Eastern culture, applies his sixty years of experience living in this region to produce a groundbreaking work on Jesus' world. Bailey animates the Jewish cultural world of first-century Roman Palestine through clever, often humorous personal vignettes and observations of current Middle Eastern culture. The blurry outlines of enigmatic biblical characters such as King Herod or Zacchaeus take clearer shape, and unnamed women such as the Syro-Phoenician mother or the adulterous woman are painted with colorful, culturally sensitive strokes. Bailey offers a feast for the mind and heart in his brilliant discussion of the Lord's Prayer and Jesus' parables; each chapter has plenty to savor. Throughout, Bailey connects theological and christological significance to his cultural insights, producing an original, engaging study. Bailey's passion for the biblical story coupled with his conversational prose render Jesus Through Middle Eastern Eyes a captivating read for scholars, pastors and laypeople alike."
"Kenneth Bailey's Jesus Through Middle Eastern Eyes is rich with interpretive and cultural insight. He sheds light on what is so often missed in most commentaries and books about Jesus written from a Western perspective. Indeed, Bailey's book provides the much-needed corrective to the dubious results of the Jesus Seminar, whose distorted Jesus is a product of Greco-Roman culture and literature, instead of the Judaic culture and literature of Palestine. Jesus Through Middle Eastern Eyes is easy to read--students and pastors will benefit from it tremendously--but there is also much for scholars."
"I have long been an admirer of Kenneth Bailey's helpful insights. As in his earlier works, his breadth of knowledge of Middle Eastern culture sheds rich light on numerous points in the Gospels, providing fresh perspectives and often illumining details we have rarely considered. He provokes those of us who depend mostly on ancient written sources to consider new approaches, often cohering with but often supplementing such research."
"Among the many New Testament scholars interpreting the Gospels today, few offer new and dramatic insights like Kenneth E. Bailey. From a childhood in Egypt to a career working within the Middle East, Bailey has established himself as the premier cultural interpreter of the life of Jesus. Using insights from cultural anthropology and skilled exegesis, suddenly the Gospels come alive as the Middle Eastern stories that they are. Long after other scholars' books are forgotten, Bailey's work on the Gospels will continue to be a timeless resource into the world of Jesus. This newest volume, written for the nonspecialist, is a splendid place to begin. Jesus Through Middle Eastern Eyes is guaranteed to become a favorite on many Christians' bookshelves."
"While no book on Jesus and the Gospels can be perfect or final, writing any really good book on them places staggering demands on an interpreter. To name just seven: literary aptitude, linguistic competence, critical shrewdness, cultural sagacity, theological acumen, spiritual sensitivity and hermeneutical sophistication. In this highly stimulating study Kenneth Bailey manages to reflect them all, and more besides, in part because he stands on the shoulders of Middle Eastern interpreters whom few in the West can even read. This book will sharpen historical understanding, improve much preaching and fuel new scholarship. It may shed as much new Licht vom Osten ('light from the ancient East') on Gospel passages as we have seen since Deissmann's book by that title a century ago. And in all of this, Bailey keeps the cross and the message of his sources at the center where they belong."

Product Reviews

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  1. El Paso, TX
    Age: Over 65
    Gender: female
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    March 30, 2012
    Mutti
    El Paso, TX
    Age: Over 65
    Gender: female
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    This is an excellent book which answers many questions about scriptures that were puzzling to me before. The author is extremely gifted. Though being highly educated, he writes and uses diagrams that make the scriptures so clear to the average individual.
  2. 5 Stars Out Of 5
    Good cultural backround material
    April 1, 2011
    Wayne Pettingill
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    I believe every Bible translator should have this book. Dr. Bailey is not afraid to differ with standard translations if early Syriac and Arabic translations sided with a less favorite trans-

    lation of a Greek word due to closeness in language and culture of the Aramaic speaking people of Israel.

    The cultural material will greatly help a pastor to interpret the Word of God to his people.

    The material is heavy at times, but Dr. Bailey uses 21st Western humor to lighten the atmosphere and to further the meaning.
  3. 4 Stars Out Of 5
    June 27, 2009
    Wayne Wright
    Bailey puts our Western cultural understanding of Bible accounts in new refreshing light with accuracy to the culture in which they occured. Great reading for the serious Bible student.
  4. 5 Stars Out Of 5
    January 10, 2009
    R. HAXTON
    This is the book I have been looking for for many years. Dr. Bailey shows Jesus in His culture not in ours. Yet Jesus teachings have a stronger meaning when we realize what He was teaching to the Jewish people in early first century A.D. Palestine. I found this book added not only to my knowledge but most important to my faith. There is much material here that every Christian needs to study, enjoy and learn.
  5. 5 Stars Out Of 5
    August 7, 2008
    Martha Curzon
    It is interesting and challenges the average readers traditional views of parables etc. from the Bible.
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