When scholars have set Jesus against various conceptions of the "messiah" and other redemptive figures in early Jewish expectation, those questions have been bound up with the problem of violence, whether the political violence of a militant messiah or the divine violence carried out by a heavenly or angelic figure. Missing from those discussions, Simon J. Joseph contends, are the unique conceptions of an Adamic redeemer figure in the Enochic material- - conceptions that informed the Q tradition and, he argues, Jesus' own self-understanding.
In his bold new book, Simon Joseph confirms what many have suspected for some time: Jesus was completely, consistently, and incontrovertibly nonviolent. Joseph serves as a reliable guide through a plethora of ancient sources and the tangle of modern scholarship to get us as close as possible to the earliest Jesus traditions. His book is meticulously researched and graciously argued. From this point forward, nobody can suggest Jesus was violent without first contending with the very formidable evidence Joseph has mounted to the contrary. A much needed book!
-Eric A. Seibert,
This is an all too rare attempt to integrate scholarship on Second Temple Judaism with the study of the historical Jesus.
-John J. Collins,
Yale Divinity School
The Nonviolent Messiah offers a new understanding of the term 'messiah,' a remarkable feat in itself. The book should be required reading for all serious students of the historical Jesus, especially those interested in the study of Jesus as messiah, Son of Man, the New Adam, and the herald of God's eschatological Jubilee.
-James A. Sanders,
Claremont School of Theology and Claremont Graduate University
Simon Joseph provides a helpful new entry into understanding the peaceable way of Jesus. By drawing on heretofore underutilized sources, Joseph underscores that nonviolence should be central to our evaluation of what constituted the message of the historical Jesus. This massively researched and clearly written study makes Jesus's message of peace available in fresh and helpful ways.
Eastern Mennonite University
Did Jesus promote apocalyptic violence or nonviolent social reform? Or do these categories lead us astray? Revisiting the social, cultural, and theological matrices of Second Temple Judaism, Simon Joseph offers us the finest book to date on the topic of Jesus and nonviolence. Joseph's findings will incite controversy, but this book is a discerning and compelling look at Jesus' earliest socio-political message.
-Anthony Le Donne