Jesus Remembered


© 2003 Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co. All rights reserved

Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co. 255 Jefferson Ave. S.E., Grand Rapids, Michigan 49503 / P.O. Box 163, Cambridge CB3 9PU U.K.

Printed in the United States of America

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

Dunn, James D. G., 1939-Jesus remembered / James D. G. Dunn. p. cm. — (Christianity in the making; v. 1) Includes bibliographical references and indexes. ISBN 0-8028-3931-2 (hardcover: alk. paper) 1. Jesus Christ — Person and offices. 2. Jesus Christ — History of doctrines — Early church, ca. 30-600. I. Title. II Series. BT203.D86 2003 232—dc21 2003049024

For Meta my love, my life


Preface xiii

1. Christianity in the Making 1


2. Introduction 11

3. The (Re-) Awakening of Historical Awareness 17

3.1 The Renaissance 17

3.2 The Reformation 20

3.3 Perceptions of Jesus 23

4. The Flight from Dogma 25

4.1 The Enlightenment and Modernity 25

4.2 Exit Revelation and Miracle 29

4.3 The Liberal Jesus 34

4.4 The Sources for Critical Reconstruction of the Life of Jesus 39

4.5 The Collapse of the Liberal Quest 45

4.6 Jesus in Sociological Perspective 52

4.7 Re-Enter the Neo-Liberal Jesus 58

4.8 Conclusion 65

5. The Flight from History 67

5.1 The Historical-Critical Method 68

5.2 The Search for an Invulnerable Area for Faith 71

5.3 Rudolf Bultmann (1884-1976) 73

5.4 The Second Quest 78

5.5 A Third Quest? 85

5.6 Post-Modernism 92

6. History, Hermeneutics and Faith 99

6.1 An Ongoing Dialogue 99

6.2 The Necessity of Historical Inquiry 100

6.3 What Can History Deliver? 101

6.4 Principles

6.5 When Did a Faith Perspective First Influence the Jesus Tradition? 125

6.6 Two Corollaries 135


7. The Sources 139

7.1 External Sources 141

7.2 The Earliest References to Jesus 142

7.3 Mark 143

7.5 Matthew and Luke 160

7.6 The Gospel ofThomas 161

7.7 The Gospel of John 165

7.8 Other Gospels 167

7.9 Knowledge of Jesus' Teaching and Agrapha 172

8. The Tradition 173

Jesus the Founder of Christianity 174

8.2 The Influence of Prophecy 186

8.3 Oral Tradition 192

8.4 The Synoptic Tradition as Oral Tradition — Narratives 210

8.5 The Synoptic Tradition as Oral Tradition — Teachings 224

8.6 Oral Transmission 238

8.7 In Summary 253

9. The Historical Context 255

9.1 Misleading Presuppositions about 'Judaism' 255

9.2 Defining 'Judaism' 260

9.3 The Diversity of Judaism — Judaism from Without 265

9.4 Jewish Factionalism — Judaism from Within 281

9.5 The Unity of First-Century Judaism - 286

9.6 Galilean Judaism 293

9.7 Synagogues and Pharisees in Galilee? 302

9.8 The Political Context 308

9.9 An Outline of the Life and Mission of Jesus 312

10. Through the Gospels to Jesus 327

10.1 Can a Further Quest Hope to Succeed? 327

10.2 How to Proceed? 330

10.3 Thesis and Method 335


Beginning from the Baptism of John 339

11.1 Why Not 'Beginning from Bethlehem'? 340

11.2 John the Baptizer 348

11.3 John's Baptism 355

11.4 John's Message 362

11.5 Jesus'Anointing at Jordan 371

11.6 The Death of John 377

11.7 Jesus Tempted 379

12. The Kingdom of God 383

12.1 The Centrality of the Kingdom of God 383

12.2 How Should 'the Kingdom of God' Be Understood? 387

12.3 Three Key Questions 396

12.4 The Kingdom to Come 406

12.5 The Kingdom Has Come 437

12.6 Solving the Riddle 465

13. For Whom Did Jesus Intend His Message? 489

13.1 Hearing Jesus 490

13.2 The Call 498

13.3 To Israel 506

13.4 To the Poor 516

13.5 To Sinners 526

13.6 Women 534

13.7 Gentiles 537

13.8 Circles ofDiscipleship 539

14. The Character of Discipleship 543

14.1 Subjects of the King 544

14.2 Children of the Father 548

14.3 Disciples of Jesus 555

14.4 Hungering for What Is Right 563

14.5 Love as Motivation 583

14.6 Forgiving as Forgiven 589

14.7 A New Family? 592

14.8 Open Fellowship 599

14.9 Living in the Light of the Coming Kingdom 607


15. Who Did They Think Jesus Was? 615

15.1 Who Was Jesus? 615

15.2 Royal Messiah 617

15.3 An Issue during Jesus' Mission 627

15.4 A Role Declined 647

15.5 Priestly Messiah 654

15.6 The Prophet 655

15.7 'A Doer of Extraordinary Deeds' 667

15.8 Teacher 696

16. How Did Jesus See His Own Role? 705

16.1 Eschatological Agent 705

16.2 God's Son 708

16.3 Son of Man: The Issues 724

16.4 Son of Man: The Evidence 737

16.5 Son of Man: A Hypothesis 759

16.6 Conclusion 761


17. Cracifixus sub Pontio Pilato 765

17.1 The Tradition of Jesus' Last Week 765

17.2 Why Was Jesus Executed? 784

17.3 Why Did Jesus Go Up to Jerusalem? 790

17.4 Did Jesus Anticipate His Death? 796

17.5 Did Jesus Give Meaning to His Anticipated Death? 805

17.6 Did Jesus Hope for Vindication after Death? 818

18. Et Resurrexit 825

18.1 Why Not Stop Here? 825

18.2 The Empty Tomb Tradition 828

18.3 Appearance Traditions 841

18.4 The Tradition within the Traditions 857

18.5 Why 866

18.6 The Final Metaphor 876

19. Jesus Remembered 881

19.1 A New Perspective on the Jesus Tradition 881

19.2 What Can We Say about Jesus' Aim(s)? 884

19.3 The Lasting Impact of Jesus' Mission 890

Abbreviations 895

Bibliography 901

Index of Authors 949

Index of Subjects 970

Index of Scriptures and Other Ancient Writings 977


It has long been a hope and intention of mine to provide a comprehensive overview of the beginnings of Christianity. As a student of the New Testament (NT), in both professional and personal capacity, I suppose the ambition has a twofold origin: partly a desire to understand the NT writings in historical context, and not only as theological resource or as literature; and partly an instinctive hermeneutical awareness that the part can be understood only in the light of the whole, just as the whole can be comprehended only through a close understanding of the parts. The desire first took flesh in 1971, when A. R. C. (Bob) Leaney, a wonderfully generous and gentle Head of Department for a recently appointed lecturer, encouraged me to rethink the main NT course in the Theology Department of Nottingham University. With limited teaching resources, and Bob Leaney content to teach what he described as 'a mini-Kummel' (Introduction to the writings of the NT), the obvious answer seemed to me to be a course entitled The Beginnings of Christianity'. The aim was to give students a fairly detailed insight into the life and teaching of Jesus and the initial developments which constituted early Christianity, in both historical and theological perspective.

I already conceived the task in three phases. A whole term (ten teaching weeks) had to be given to Jesus; how could it be otherwise, given the central importance of Jesus for and in That left only one other term for the se-quel(s). And in practice the discussion of primitive Christianity and of Paul's contribution in particular left very little time for anything beyond the first generation. The lecture course always came to an end when analysis of the second generation of Christianity had barely been entered upon. The situation was unsatisfactory, and only a partial remedy was provided by incorporating much of the missing material into an MA course on and Diversity in the New Testa-which was duly written up for publication (1977). Otherwise the regular revisions of the lecture material meant that the third section of 'Beginnings' continued to find itself restricted to two or three brief sketches.

The situation changed significantly with my move to the University of Durham in where I inherited a core NT course on Testament Theol-

Faced by a similar challenge of too much material to cover in a single course, I had no doubt that the course should focus on the two NT figures of greatest theological significance — Jesus and Paul. It seemed obvious to me then, and still seems obvious to me, that in a Department focusing on the Jewish and Christian traditions of theologizing, detailed historical treatment of the principal focus of all Christian theology (Jesus) was indispensable. Similarly in regard to Paul, arguably the first and most influential of all Christian theologians (by virtue of the canonization of his letters): how could a course in New Testament Theology not give equivalently detailed treatment of Paul's theology? And so my earlier material was reworked to sharpen the theological focus (already a central concern of the earlier course anyway) and to concentrate solely on Jesus and Paul. In a larger Department it was always possible to offer various options which advanced my continuing interest in the second generation of Christianity and the transition to the so-called age.

This latter interest came to initial fruition in the Durham-Tubingen research on Partings of the Ways, AD 70 to in September 1989, appropriately on the centenary of the death of my great hero, J. The papers were subsequently published (1992) under the title Jews and Christians, with the original title of the Symposium as the book's subtitle. There was also the lecture series which I gave in the Gregorian Pontifical University (Rome) in as Joseph McCarthy Visiting Professor, which was published in fuller version as The Partings of the Ways between Christianity and Judaism in But in the meantime the theology of Paul had become such a major concern that further work towards the fulfilment of my original vision had to be put on hold until I had got Paul out of my system. That time duly arrived, with the publication of my The Theology of Paul the Apostle in 1998. At which point, as I delighted to tease my friends, gave up Paul for Jesus'.

Having focused my attention so heavily on Paul for nearly twenty years I had no delusions as to the magnitude of the mountain before me. Even though I had kept fairly well abreast of Jesus and Gospels scholarship during that period I knew well enough that the shift of research interest from Paul to Jesus demanded a massive re-tooling job on my part. Fortunately I was granted by the University in effect two years research leave, first as a Derman Fellow (1999-2000), and then as my regular research leave enhanced in recognition of my (second) spell of three years service as Head of the Department. I continued my postgraduate supervisions (almost always a delight and stimulus) but otherwise was freed from academic duties as a member of the Department. I

am immensely grateful to the University and to my departmental colleagues for thus encouraging and supporting me and gladly acknowledge that without that leave the challenge of the present volume would have been impossible to take on, let along to meet even to the extent that the following chapters attest.

During the course of the two years, a blessed anticipation (arrabon) of early retirement in due course (take heart, Meta, there is light at the end of the tunnel), I was able to try out several ideas and sections of the book as its structure developed. The attempts to explain and the opportunities to defend its various hypotheses and findings helped (as always) to clarify and sharpen my own thinking and formulation. I am grateful more than I can say for all the pleasure and stimulus these occasions afforded, for me certainly, and I hope for the others involved. For more than two years I have been able to offer a one, two, or three lecture series under various titles round the theme 'Looking for Jesus' — in San Antonio, Texas; as the Hugh Price Hughes Lecture in Hinde Street Methodist Church, London; as the Lund and the Zarley Lectures in North Park, Chicago; in Lincoln Cathedral as part of a series on The Uniqueness of Christianity'; in Lynchburg College, Virginia; and in Denver Theological Seminary, Colorado. At the annual symposium on Task of Interpreting Scripture at

North Park Seminary in October 2000, I was able to develop key themes from chapter 6 under the title 'ExAkoe Pisteos'. The key thesis of the whole volume (chapter 8) was tried out in a wonderful colloquium in Israel, under the inspired leadership of Doris Donnelly, and also in the British New Testament Conference in September 2000 in Bristol, and at the Society of Biblical Literature (SBL) conference in November 2000 at Nashville, under the title 'Jesus in Oral Memory'. Parts of chapter 9 made up a paper for the 'Jesus and Archaeology' conference in Jerusalem, August 2000. Sections of chapter 12 provided a paper for the Jesus' seminar at the Society for New Testament Studies annual conference in Montreal, August 2001 and for the Festschrift for Peder Borgen. Material from chapters 9 and 14 contributed to papers on 'Jesus and Holiness' for a Durham interdisciplinary seminar organized by Stephen Barton in November 1999, and to a paper on and delivered at the SBL conference in

Denver, Colorado, in November 2001. Material for chapters 15 to 17 was first worked through thoroughly in contributions to two symposia, one of them the Festschrift for my old friend David Catchpole. And sections from chapter 18 have contributed to yet another Festschrift, this one for my former colleague Sandy Wedderburn.

More interactive and generative of more feedback, the bulk of the first fourteen chapters provided the main feature of the programme of the Durham New Testament Research Seminar for two terms in the first half of 2001. These were particularly stimulating and challenging sessions, and I am grateful to the members of the Seminar for their comments and criticisms, particularly my mediate colleagues, Stephen Barton, Loren Stuckenbruck, Crispin Fletcher Louis, and (as with my Theology ofPaul) especially Walter Moberly. Charlene Moss saved me from several British English idioms which would have been unfamiliar to speakers of American English. Of my own postgraduates, the overlap of interest, above all with Marta Cserhati, researching 'the third quest of the historical Jesus', and Terence Mournet, researching oral tradition in the Gospels, has been highly instructive and productive. I am grateful not least to Jeffrey Gibson, who persuaded me to post my in Oral in his on-line Seminar. The two-week daily dialogue with other members of the Seminar focused not so much on the issues of the Synoptic data, as I had hoped, but more on the implications of my understanding of the oral traditioning process for subsequent church formation and the emergence of the Gospels. So the benefits of the dialogue will extend into the second volume of the projected three-volume study of Christianity's beginnings. But I found that the experience helped recharge the little grey cells and several of the contributions were very pertinent, especially those of Mark Goodacre, Brian McCarthy, Bob Schacht and Ted Weeden.

I also consulted or sent various parts of the manuscript in first or second draft to friends and colleagues and found their feedback invariably helpful: in Durham itself, Richard Britnell, David Brown, Joe Cassidy, Colin Crowder, Sheridan Gilley, Margaret Harvey and Robert Hayward; elsewhere in the UK, Richard Bauckham, Bob Morgan, Ron Piper, Graham Stanton and Anthony Thiselton; and in North America, Jim Charlesworth, Helmut Koester, John Kloppenborg, and particularly John Meier and Scot McKnight. Many individual points have been more appropriately as a result, and for that I am very grateful, though at other points, after further consideration, I have restated my earlier view. Needless to say, the remaining misjudgments and infelicities are my own.

Any who have worked in this field will be well aware that each of the following Parts of volume 1 could have been expanded into full-length monographs. It was clear enough to me from the beginning that I could not seriously hope to review all exegetical options or to provide extensive bibliographical documentation of the various opinions even for key texts and motifs. That would have made the volume impossibly long and even more unwieldy than it now is. My primary concern has been rather to draw attention to the principal (mainly textual) data which have to be taken into account when considering whether a tradition can be traced back to Jesus, or as I would prefer to say, to the initial impact made by Jesus' teaching and activity. For both reasons I have made no attempt to consult the immense range of commentaries on the Gospels now available to us, but have concentrated principally on those which go into some detail on the tradition history behind the Gospels and do not hesitate to ask historical questions regarding the origin of these traditions. Questions on how the individ ual traditions function within each Gospel are for a later volume. It will not surprise those who know the commentary literature, therefore, that I have found the greatest help and most fruitful dialogue with W. D. Davies and Dale Allison on Matthew, Rudolf Pesch on Mark, and Joe Fitzmyer on Luke. Others are certainly drawn in where appropriate, but the frequency of reference to those named indicates the extent of my debt. I have also endeavoured to limit what would otherwise have become an all-inclusive bibliography by focusing entries on the primary subject matter of the volume, but including neither dictionary articles nor most of the once-mentioned articles on individual texts. I hope the footnotes to each chapter are sufficiently detailed to indicate further reading as well as my own engagement with it.

In 1979, when I had nearly completed the manuscript of my inquiry into the origins of the doctrine of the incarnation, I was disappointed to learn that the intended title 'The Beginnings of Christology' had been pre-empted by other authors. In some frustration I turned to John Bowden, Editor of the SCM Press for advice. He responded at once that a better because stronger title would be Christ-ology in the Making. I warmed to the title immediately and used it for the 1980 publication. The strength of the phrase still resonates for me, and so, in the (no doubt vain) hope that I will not cause too much confusion on booksellers' shelves, I have christened the three-volume project Christianity in the Making. May the reading of volume 1 give as much pleasure and profit as I received in the writing of it.

January 6 (Epiphany), 2002

A major compositional concern in the chapters which follow has been to leave the main text as uncluttered as possible, to facilitate continuity of reading. The footnotes are there to document points made in the text, to justify assertions made too baldly, and to indicate the wider scope of debate and bibliography regarding issues referred to. Those less interested in such finer details should have no qualms in passing over the footnotes with only an occasional glance. They are for those who want to be kept aware of how tentative some of the claims have to be, or to follow up points of detail, or to consult some of the varied (though far from complete) bibliography provided. At least they may give readers less familiar with the myriad debates some assurance that the more controversial opinions voiced in the following pages have not been reached without substantial reflection and consultation. Read well!

Was this article helpful?

0 0
Study Aid

Study Aid

This Book Is One Of The Most Valuable Resources In The World When It Comes To Getting A Scholarship And Financial Support For Your Studies.

Get My Free Ebook

Post a comment