The Jesus Quest: The Third Search for the Jew of Nazareth, By Ben Witherington III
The Jesus Quest
  • Length: 334 pages
  • Dimensions: 6 × 9 in
  • Published: May 08, 1997
  • Imprint: IVP Academic
  • Item Code: 1544
  • ISBN: 9780830815449

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  • Voted one of Christianity Today's 1996 Books of the Year

In recent years Jesus' time, place and social setting have received renewed scholarly attention. New research on the Dead Sea Scrolls and other Jewish and Hellenistic texts has resulted in a surge of new images of Jesus and new ideas about his ministry. Dubbed the Third Quest for the historical Jesus, this recent effort is a transformation of the first quest, memorialized and chronicled by Albert Schweitzer, and the second quest, carried out in the 1950s and 1960s in the wake of extreme Bultmannian skepticism.

The controversial works of John Dominic Crossan, Marcus Borg and Burton Mack, and the results of the Jesus Seminar have been thrust upon the public by publicists and media as the voices of learned consensus. Meanwhile, at the center of the scholarly investigation of Jesus, a less celebrated but certainly no less informed majority rejects many of the methods and conclusions of those who have captured the limelight.

In The Jesus Quest Ben Witherington, a participant in the Quest, offers the first comprehensive determination and assessment of what scholars are really saying about Jesus. In addition to the views of Crossan, Borg and Mack, he presents and interacts with the work of important scholars such as Geza Vermes, E. P. Sanders, Gerd Theissen, Richard Horsley, John P. Meier, N. T. Wright and Elisabeth Schssler Fiorenza, as well as outlining his own understanding of Jesus as sage. Here is an indispensable survey and assessment of the most significant religious scholarly debate of the 1990s.

Now with a lengthy new postscript, the new paperback edition of this widely praised book updates you on the continuing saga of the Third Quest for the historical Jesus.

"The closest we have to the part played almost 100 years ago by Albert Schweitzer's classic The Quest for the Historical Jesus . . . a worthy guide through the intricate research maze now known as the third quest for the historical Jesus."

Gary Habermas, Themelios



Preface: The First Two Quests

1. Galilee the Galilean - Jesus in His Social Setting

2. Jesus the Talking Head - The Jesus of the Jesus Seminar

3. Jesus the Itinerant Cynic Philosopher -
The Works of John Dominic Crossan, Burton Mack and F. Gerald Downing

4. Jesus, Man of the Spirit -
The Works of Marcus Borg, Geza Vermes and Graham H. Twelftree

5. Jesus the Eschatological Prophet -
The Works of E. P. Sanders and Maurice Casey

6. Jesus the Prophet of Social Change -
The Works of Gerd Theissen, Richard A. Horsley and R. David Kaylor

7. Jesus the Sage: The Wisdom of God -
The Works of Elisabeth Schüssler Fiorenza and Ben Witherington

8. Jesus: Marginal Jew of Jewish Messiah? -
The Works of John P. Meier, Peter Stuhlmacher, James D. G. Dunn, Marinus de Jonge, Markus Bockmuehl and N. T. Wright

9. The Journey's End - Synopsis, Conclusions, Conjectures

Epilogue: The Death of the Messiah - The Work of Raymond E. Brown

Postscript: The Continuing Saga of the Jesus Quest



Index of Subjects

Index of Modern Authors

Index of Scripture and Other Early Literature


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Ben Witherington III

Ben Witherington III (PhD, University of Durham) is Jean R. Amos Professor of New Testament for Doctoral Studies at Asbury Theological Seminary. He has written over forty books, including The Jesus Quest and The Paul Quest, both of which were selected as top biblical studies works by Christianity Today. His books also include The Indelible Image, Women and the Genesis of Christianity, The Gospel Code, A Week in the Life of Corinth, and commentaries on the entire New Testament.