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James G.

Crossley, Judaism, Jewish Identities and the Gospel Tradition: Essays in Honour of Maurice Casey (London: Equinox), 2010.
The contents of this volume are probably well known, and it has been on the scene for three years so in all likelihood all those who have wished to obtain a copy already have (or have forgotten that they were going to). Nonetheless, I wish to bring it to your attention now because of two factors: first, Maurice Casey continues to be an influential scholar in spite of his retirement. He has just completed a very remarkable volume titled Jesus: Evidence and Argument or Mythicist Myths? Available here in January- The publisher of that volume writes Did Jesus exist? In recent years there has been a massive upsurge in public discussion of the view that Jesus did not exist. This view first found a voice in the 19th century, when Christian views were no longer taken for granted. Some way into the 20th century, this school of thought was largely thought to have been utterly refuted by the results of respectable critical scholarship (from both secular and religious scholars). Now, many unprofessional scholars and bloggers ('mythicists'), are gaining an increasingly large following for a view many think to be unsupportable. It is starting to influence the academy, more than that it is starting to influence the views of the public about a crucial historical figure. Maurice Casey, one of the most important Historical Jesus scholars of his generation takes the 'mythicists' to task in this landmark publication. Casey argues neither from a religious

respective, nor from that of a committed atheist. Rather he seeks to provide a clear view of what can be said about Jesus, and of what can't. And the second reason for mentioning Crossley's Festschrift honoring Casey at this point in time is because it contains a number of essays that are worth considering, or re-considering in light of current scholarly debates about the Historical Jesus. The volume under consideration consists of Preface: Maurice Casey, C.K. Barrett 1. Introduction: Identity, Judaism, and the Gospel Tradition, James G. Crossley 2. Eschatological Wisdom and the Kingship of God: Light from Some of the Dead Sea Scrolls on the Teaching of Jesus? George J. Brooke 3. The Aramaic Lord's Prayer, Bruce Chilton 4. Quotation, Concept, Or? The Expression Son of Man in the Gospels, Mogens Mller 5. God Talk and Men's Talk: Jesus, Tarfon and Ishmael in Dialogue, Andrew R. Angel 6. Mark's Christology and a Scholarly Creation of a Non-Jewish Christ of Faith? James G. Crossley 7. The Gerasene Demoniac: a Jewish approach to liberation before 70 CE,Daniel Cohen 8. Poverty, Hunger, Going Barefoot, and Homesickness in Lk. 15.11-32,Roger David Aus 9. Seeing the Glory: The Reception of Isaiah's Call-Vision in Jn 12.41,Catrin H. Williams 10. "The Jews" in John's Gospel: Observations and Inferences, Wendy E. S. North Two essays in particular caught my eye. The first, Eschatological Wisdom and the Kingship of God: Light from Some of the Dead Sea Scrolls on the Teaching of Jesus?, by Brooke, aims to draw attention to two aspects of the contents of the Qumran library: eschatological wisdom and the praise of Gods sovereignty (p. 45). The implication is that the combination of ideas available to a member of the Qumran community could also be found elsewhere in contemporary Judaism, though with a slightly different style, character, and theological emphasis (p. 46). Does this suggest that Brooke is a victim of parallelomania, and that every word and act of Jesus or the early Church is a borrowing from Qumran? No, of course not. After meticulous examination of Musar le Mevin and Songs of the Sabbath Sacrifice, Brooke can opine

Eschatological wisdom and the nearness of the kingdom of God can be juxtaposed in this one Palestinian Jewish setting to provide a rich combination against which several features of the teaching associated with Jesus can be illuminated. The eschatological wisdom and the kingship of God found in the Dead Sea Scrolls seem to illuminate the teaching of Jesus (p. 57). There are, then, merely or simply points of contact between the teaching of Jesus and the teaching of the Qumranites. Dependence, however, cannot be proven. The scrolls illuminate the environment and thus the teaching of Jesus. Nothing more, nothing less. The second essay is that of Mogens Mller, Quotation, Concept, Or? The Expression Son of Man in the Gospels. Mller has, in my view, some of the very best ideas about the background of the Historical Jesus, the LXX, and the Rewritten Bible / Reception History yet offered and still he remains, along with his work, behind some sort of cloud of inexplicable unfamiliarity in North American biblical scholarship. Too few cite him because too few have read him. Had they, would they, were they to, they would have discovered and would discover many things which they are just now claiming to have discovered themselves. In the present essay Mller shows the importance of the phrase, Son of Man in the New Testament and its outworking in the early Christian tradition (i.e., how it was understood and implemented). He notes Luke 24:7 constitutes one of the two exceptions to the rule of the expression Son on man only to be found on the lips of Jesus in the Gospels. there is little reason to think that the author behind Luke-Acts understood any of his Son of man sayings as quotations from Daniel. Otherwise one should have expected him to introduce Dan. 7:13-14 in his collection of elaborated proofs from Scripture (p. 87). It is indeed amazing that in the Gospels Jesus is said to refer to himself only twice. Mller aims to explain why. And succeeds. He concludes the Aramaic idiom, thanks to its Greek translation, became a vehicle for Christological speculation totally foreign to Judaism. But that is another story (p. 90). Those two essays give the potential reader a sense for the quality of the volume as a whole. It is very much worth your time. And yet, amazingly, this quality volume has not been reviewed in the Review of Biblical Literature! And it has been available, as stated previously, for three years. Nor has it been reviewed on Amazon. But I am about to remedy that shortcoming. This book needs to be read.

Jim West Quartz Hill School of Theology