In this book, as lucid and accessible as it is compelling, Chris Keith exposes the issues that lay at the very heart of Jesus's engagement with the scribal elite. This is written for upper-level students, but scholars too will find much to consider in this excellent treatment.
University of Edinburgh
Chris Keith is one of the leading scholars of literacy in Christian antiquity, especially as it relates to the historical Jesus. In this new contribution, he makes his views accessible to the nonspecialist who is interested in knowing, was Jesus a well-educated teacher who could read and write? And if not, why did he fall afoul of the powerful scribes--the readers, writers, and teachers of his world--leading to his demise? Clearly written and coherently argued, this will be a book for scholar and layperson alike.
-Bart D. Ehrman,
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Well informed by current academic discussions of historical Jesus research, memory, orality, and literacy, Chris Keith adds a very important social dimension to understanding the conflicts between Jesus and other teachers of his day. This fascinating book makes a new and welcome contribution to the discussion.
-Craig S. Keener,
Asbury Theological Seminary
With a readable style, deep engagement with other scholars, and an impressive grasp of the particulars of the ancient cultural situation, Keith offers a stimulating and creative proposal about the origins of tensions between Jesus and the scribal elite. Keith emphasizes Jesus's social status as a key contributing factor in these tensions. Along the way, Keith addresses questions about the historicity of the Gospels' portrayal of controversies with scribes and Pharisees, and a number of other issues, making this study well worth reading.
New College, University of Edinburgh
This is a fresh and fruitful approach to a key aspect of the historical Jesus by one of the more creative younger scholars in the field.
University of St. Andrews
In Jesus against the Scribal Elite, Chris Keith provides a distinctive angle to the controversy narratives by focusing on how the scribal elites perceived Jesus's literacy and authoritative status. Keith's research complements older approaches to the controversy narratives and their focus on the law, miracles, and exorcisms. The book is convincing, carefully argued, well-documented, and remarkably easy to read. It will surely prove its worth both in the classroom and in the ongoing quest for the historical Jesus.
University of Sheffield