Here is the celebrated second volume in John P. Meiers series on the life of Jesus, in which he continues his quest for the answer to the greatest puzzle of modern scholarship: Who was Jesus? The author imagines a Catholic, a Protestant, a Jew, and an agnostic hammering out a consensus document on who Jesus of Nazareth was and what he intended. A Marginal Jew is Meiers vision of that consensus document.
Volume I concluded with Jesus approaching adulthood. In this second volume, the author grapples with the words and deeds of Jesus during his public ministry. A vivid portrait of Jesus emerges through Meiers careful examination of Jesus mentor, his message, and his miracles.
Volume II definitively resolves the long-standing debate about the relationship between Jesus and his mentor, John the Baptist. Meier concludes that John was the person who had the greatest single influence on Jesus; "in a sense, Jesus never was without John. Johns prophetic ministry, message of repentance, warning of a coming judgment, and ritual of baptism flowed into the ministry of Jesus. The Baptists fiery announcement of the end of time strongly shaped Jesus conviction that God was coming to save his people. Meiers insightful analysis of the Gospels reveals that Jesus proclamation of "the kingdom of God" moved beyond the threat of judgment to the promise that Gods saving, healing kingdom was x hand. Consciously imitating the prophet Elijah, Jesus showed the crowds the present reality of Gods kingly power by performing many mighty deeds- miracles. The author confounds modern skeptics by convincingly that measured by historical criteria the miracle tradition was not invented by the early church. Instead, the stories about Jesus performing miracles go back to the historical Jesus himself -If the miracle tradition from Jesus public ministm- were to be rejected in toto as unhistorical, so should even other Gospel tradition about him." Contradicting scholars like the controversial J. D. Crossan. the book demonstrates that Jesus was a miracle worker. not a "magician," because he did not try to coerce God by secret spells. Meier shows that Jesus miracles aimed "at bringing people to faith, repentance, and discipleship." As we proceed step-by-step through Jesus practices of exorcism, healing, and other miracles. we grasp the relationship between his message and his miracles. "Thus, in both word and deed." Meier claims. "Jesus made Gods future kingdom a present.
In this volume, Jesus of Nazareth comes to life as he seldom has on the printed page-as charismatic prophet, herald of Gods kingdom, miracle worker.
John P. Meier
John P. Meier is William K. Warren Chair Professor of Theology (New Testament), Theology Department, University of Notre Dame. He has been both president of the Catholic Biblical Association and the general editor of the Catholic Biblical Quarterly. He lives in South Bend, IN.
Superb scholarship. Unmasks other much-touted recent books on the historical Jesus as media hype.
- Raymond E. Brown, Professor Emeritus, Union Theological Seminary (New York)
"Meier deals in-depth with Jesus relation to John the Baptist, his understanding of the Kingdom, and his reputation as a miracle worker. This is a monumental achieve ment, which lacks only the capstone that will be provided by Volume III.
- John J. Collins Editor, Journal of Biblical Literature, University of Chicago Divinity School
This second volume of Meiers proposed trilogy follows Jesus from young adulthood into the early days of his ministry as an itinerant evangelist and wonder-worker in rural, first-century Palestine. Using historical and literary criticism, Meier reveals a Jesus who, after his encounter with the apocalyptic activities of John the Baptist, develops his own message about a coming kingdom of God and then reveals it through a variety of miracles from healings to exorcisms. The Jesus of Nazareth who emerges from this study is neither the cosmic Christ of Matthew Fox nor the sanitized Savior of the New Age. Hes an eschatological preacher and miracle worker. Meiers brilliant scholarship sparkles on every page of this book. Indeed, because of its narrative power and its deep insight, Meiers trilogy is likely to become the standard against which other lives of Jesus are to be measured.
- Publishers Weekly
"The second volume of A Marginal Jew is an extraordinary achievement! Massively learned and lucidly written, it surpasses even the high expectations provoked by the first volume and is destined to become an instant and indispensable classic."
- John S. Kselman Weston School of Theology
"Methodologically impeccable and shot through with brilliance, Meiers Volume II resurrects the rabbi and the miracle worker from Nazareth in the readers imagination...[it] will illuminate Catholic, Protestant and Jew alike. Meiers A Marginal Jew joins with Raymond E. Browns magisterial works to form the basic library on the birth, life and death of Christ for the millennium to come."
- Burton L. Visotzky Jewish Theological Seminary of America
This second volume in the authors life of Jesus (Vol. 1, LJ 10/15/91) discusses his ministry, focusing on his miracles, healings, other wonder works, and teachings concerning the coming kingdom of God. Meier, a Catholic priest and teacher at Catholic University of America, stresses Jesus great dependence on the teachings and thought of John the Baptist. Meier continues to expound his thesis that Jesus was a marginal Jew in a marginal eastern Mediterranean society during the first century. Meiers extremely long, dense text, heavily documented by many footnotes, is hard going indeed and will appeal mainly to scholars in the field. All collections owning Volume 1, however, should buy this continuation. Two other recent lives of Jesus are easier to grasp by general readers and would appeal more to the public at large: John D. Crossans The Historical Jesus (LJ 2/1/92) and A.N. Wilsons Jesus: A Life (LJ 9/15/92).
- Robert A. Silver, formerly with Shaker Heights P.L., Ohio, Library Journal