Mauro Pesce and Adrianna Desto, Encounters with Jesus: The Man in His Place and Time.

Fortress Press, 2011. Chapter One Fortress allows readers to look for themselves at the First Chapter at this URL

I commend it to your attention as it’s enthralling. I’ll here make a few observations on various sentences which struck me as particularly noteworthy. First, Pesce makes it clear that he believes that the writers of the Synoptics portray a Jesus who deliberately avoided cities and instead travelled to small towns and villages where he could be most effective. Jesus was profoundly alienated from the city qua nucleus of juridical; structures constituted by the urban elites who aimed at integration with the empire (p. 8). Our authors convincingly argue that those passages in the New Testament in which Jesus upbraids larger cities do not imply that he entered those cities. Evidently, Jerusalem was the only major city which he did visit. As to his travels, P. and A. write He seems to prefer the minor roads that were taken by the Judeans when they moved from one village to another. … Jesus avoided the roads frequented by non-Judeans because he reserved his attention for the social milieus to which he himself belonged (p. 11). I find that just terribly insightful. Reading this chapter causes one to think, over and over, ‘why didn’t I notice that before?’ That’s what makes it so tremendous an experience. Furthermore, in connection with Jerusalem and Jesus’ relationship to it We do not know enough of Jesus’ relationship to particular locations but the same is not true of his attitude toward this city: he behaved like a person who did not belong to it (p. 20). Again, tremendously insightful and remarkable materials populate this chapter. The ‘map’ of Jesus’ life is drawn brilliantly, and the insights we garner from that map are tremendous. Read it for yourself at the link above. Next, on to chapter two.

Jim West Quartz Hill School of Theology