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Book Review: The Quest for the Plausible Jesus: The Question of Criteria
Dale C. Allison, Jr. Interpretation 2004 58: 88 DOI: 10.1177/002096430405800118 The online version of this article can be found at:

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it is instructive history and useful suggestions. 344 pp. leaves important to realize that most of his followers one wondering: where do we go from here? Like (like Peter) shared a common Jewish heritage a trap in the forest that catches only the occadid not in sional passerby. (2) participation its place is the criterion of historical plausibility. Applying this grid to the gospel portraits of Yet their recommendations will not reduce the Jesus' followers (converts). ISBN 0-664-22514-4. But how much help is this. full as it is of gasbord of approaches to Jesus. for the criterion less focus on traumatic turnaround (à la Paul's remains malleable. commitment. Theissen and Winter are mostly persuasive. No one would deny that a reconstructed Jesus should be plausible within his Galilean environment and not look too much like a Christian. McKnight discovers diversity that haunts the field. PITTSBURGH THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY PITTSBURGH. cal studies with classical and contemporary ISBN 0-664-22537-3 biographies. Yet recognizing this is not going to tell us if he did or did not speak about a coming Son of Man. McKnight provides a balanced and wide-ranging analysis of Christian conversion. and said must be compatible with the Judaism of the first half of the first century in Galilee". WASHINGTON bility works only on some items. $29. in established liturgical initiation rites. 211). crisis. Also useful is Anderson's adoption of a number of interpretive models that derive from the comparative study of religion and art history. 2002. although in fact Christian sources. despite a host of interpretive problems posed by the biblical text. sion in six "dimensions": context. How DO WE KNOW WHAT Jesus really said and While firmly rooted in his evangelical tradition. but are handed on in their tradition. or whether the pigs really did run over the cliff. quest. ALLISON. there is no singular norm or set pattern of discigiven how little we really know about the early pleship in the gospels. McKnight more specifclaim varying degrees of historical plausibility" ically unpacks the dynamics of Christian conver(p.95. which allows as authentic only what cannot be traced to Judaism or to the church. 214 pp. one can hardly object to favoring traditions that contrast with the interests of early with Jesus through fits and starts and multiple encounters is more the norm. can of socio-political dissent. Louisville. any 2013 sense "change religions" upon . 2002. Taking authentic experiences of (1) lifelong socialization into the believing community. about which we know so often assumed. The synoptics contain very Damascus Road ordeal) and stark religious reorilittle that cannot be made tofitwithin first-cenentation (from non-believer to believer) than is tury Galilean Judaism. These models allow Anderson to show that. this book reflects more a reception history than a canonical approach to scripture. Building on Lewis Rambo's delineation of "Those elements within the Jesus tradition that typical "stages" of conversion and Gauri contrast with the interests of the early Christian Viswanathan's emphasis on conversion as a form sources. Peter's developing relationship little. this book. JR. EFFECTIVELY INTEGRATING biblical and sociologi- The Quest for the Plausible Jesus: The Question of Criteria by Gerd Theissen and Dagmar Winter Westminster John Knox. The authors themselves McKnight takes pains to appreciate the rich and varied process of "turning to Jesus" in the gospels dispense with the so-called criterion of dissimiand subsequent Christian history.95. Again.88 Interpretation JANUARY 2 0 0 4 typify modern scholarship. the story's Jewish and Christian interpretive histories hang together as unified wholes. Louisville. however.sagepub. $18. SCOTT B. encounter. the criterion ofDownloaded historical plausifrom int. Within this lively smorchurch? In the end. DALE C. and (3) which comes down to this: "What Jesus intended individual decisions of repentance and and by guest on February 9. did? This book is a comprehensive history of answers to that question. including larity. and consequence. PENNSYLVANIA Turning to Jesus: The Sociology of Conversion in the Gospels by Scot McKnight Westminster John Knox. NOEGEL UNIVERSITY OF WASHINGTON SEATTLE. As such.