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The Prophet Jesus and the Renewal of Israel
Moving Beyond a Diversionary Debate
Richard Horsley
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POD; Published: 11/9/2012
ISBN: 978-0-8028-6807-7
Price: $ 21.50
167 Pages
Trim Size, in inches: 6 x 9
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Debate over whether or not Jesus can be best interpreted within an "apocalyptic scenario" has continued to dominate historical Jesus studies since Schweitzer and Bultmann. In The Prophet Jesus and the Renewal of Israel Richard Horsley shows that the apocalyptic scenario — with its supposed expectation of "the end of the world," the fiery "last judgment," and "the parousia of the Son of Man" — is a modern scholarly construct that obscures the particulars of texts, society, and history.

Drawing on his wide-ranging earlier scholarship, Horsley refocuses and reformulates investigation of the historical Jesus in a thoroughly relational-contextual approach. He recognizes that the sources for the historical Jesus are not separate sayings, but rather the sustained Gospel narratives of Jesus' mission. Horsley's new approach finds Jesus the popular prophet engaged in a movement of renewal, resistance, and judgment against Roman imperialism, Jerusalem rulers, and the Pharisees.

Watch an interview with Richard Horsley below:
Robert L. Webb
-- McMaster University
"Richard Horsley has marshaled a strong argument to break through and move beyond the traditional apocalyptic/nonapocalyptic debate concerning the historical Jesus. . . . Through a holistic reading of the earliest Gospel sources, Horsley provides us with a fresh portrait of Jesus, one that is rooted in the realia of Galilee's first-century social and cultural context. An impressive work!"
William R. Herzog II
-- Andover Newton Theological School
"If it's true that you can't judge a book by its cover, it is equally true that you can't judge the significance of a book by its size. This small volume by Richard Horsley is proof of that truth. It provides that rarest of qualities -- perspective -- and distills a lifetime of study even as it revisits debates past and present. . . . A must-read for anyone studying the ongoing quest of the historical Jesus."
James H. Charlesworth
-- Princeton Theological Seminary
"A brilliant book that challenges much that is assumed by modern scholars. Horsley brings into focus a better method for ascertaining Jesus' message, urging us to ponder that Jesus was a prophet who sought to launch a renewal of Israel. This refreshing and challenging book would be ideal in classrooms."
David Rhoads
-- Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago
"The clearest expression yet of Horsley's distinctive and important contribution to the quest for the historical Jesus. . . .This is must reading for students and scholars seeking a picture of Jesus as one who truly belongs to first-century Palestine."
Stephen J. Patterson
-- Willamette University
"In this superbly written and clearly argued little book, Horsley restates his case for a prophetic Jesus actively engaged in the struggle against Roman imperial rule. But this time he brings to the table new claims about method and sharp criticism for both the defenders and opponents of Schweitzer's apocalyptic hypothesis. . . . Scholars and questers of every level of expertise will want to read this new book from one of our most prolific and treasured scholars."
Barbara R. Rossing
-- Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago
"Horsley persuasively argues that neither Jesus' sayings nor apocalyptic texts (Daniel, 1 Enoch) envision 'cosmic catastrophe' or the 'end of the world.' Rather, in the midst of historical crises, these texts proclaim judgment of oppressive empires and restoration of the people by God -- a compelling future on earth."
Warren Carter
-- Brite Divinity School
"This stimulating study offers insightful critique, important challenge, and significant results."
Evangelical Quarterly
"The work deserves to be read as an accessible presentation of an important strand of historical Jesus research. It is an easy read, offers an interesting argument and points beyond itself to more detailed work by Horsley and others who represent this important strand."
Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society
"Horsley's work is important. . . . Do I recommend this book? Yes, especially to the reader who wishes to find a tour-de-force in Horsley's theology. The book builds on earlier and more profound treatments and should be viewed as a semi-popular presentation."
Reviews in Religion and Theology
"The Prophet Jesus and the Renewal of Israel appears to be, at least in part, a popularization of important contributions Horsley has made throughout his career — although the volume is certainly not without its new contributions to the field. In all, it stands as an important challenge to dominant trends in historical Jesus research and would serve as a fine book for graduate and advanced undergraduate course on the historical Jesus."
Journal for the Study of the New Testament
"This is an excellent book. It is clear and perceptive. Its diagnosis of the malaise of some current life of Jesus research is acute."
Trinity Journal
"Many evangelicals will applaud [Horsley's] efforts to place Jesus in his historical context and to approach the Gospels from a more holistic perspective."
Review of Biblical Literature
"This short but insightful book by Richard Horsley reviews the long debate about the Schweitzerian apocalyptic Jesus and reaffirms Horsley's own argument for understanding Jesus as a leader-prophet who was actively resisting Roman imperial rule. . . . Horsley's contribution comes as a welcome addition to the field of historical Jesus studies, and its call for the different subdisciplines of New Testament studies to take cognizance of each other could not come at a more appropriate time."
Mission Today
"[Horsley] boldly challenges a number of cherished scholarly assumptions about the historical Jesus and proposes his alternative. . . . Clears up a great deal of mess in recent scholarship and provides us a better vision of the first-century scenario that Jesus shared."