We use cookies to enhance your experience on our website. By continuing to use our website, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. You can change your cookie settings at any time. Find out more
Select Bible Use this Lookup to open a specific Bible and passage. Start here to select a Bible.
Make selected Bible the default for Lookup tool.
Book: Ch.V. Select book from A-Z list, enter chapter and verse number, and click "Go."
:
OR
  • Previous Result
  • Results
  • Look It Up Highlight any word or phrase, then click the button to begin a new search.
  • Highlight On / Off
  • Next Result

The Oxford Handbook of Biblical Studies Provides a comprehensive survey of Biblical scholarship in a variety of disciplines.

A Suggested Reconstruction of the Growth of the New Testament

1. First Impressions

The starting-point of the reconstruction is the personal encounter between Jesus and another individual. The woman at the well of Samaria (John 4), or Zacchaeus climbing the sycamore tree (Luke 19), might serve as examples of the stereotype, admittedly a theologically enhanced description of just such an event. In the Jewish context established by Geza Vermes (2003), as his contribution to the quest for the historical Jesus, we are encouraged to think of Jesus as a charismatic figure, a miracle-worker and holy man (Hasid) from Galilee, who dispenses health and forgives sins. Vermes' comparison is with Honi (in the first century BCE) and Hanina ben Dosa (in the first century CE), who were such charismatic Hasidim. Jesus, whether because of his origins, coming from Galilee, or because of what he actually did, was not appreciated by the Pharisaic party in Jerusalem, even though there were identifiable resemblances in his teaching to that of the eminent rabbi Hillel.

First impressions are concerned with what Jesus did and also with what he said. As for his words, the best indication of the style of Jesus' teaching may well be in the briefest of parables, those which have been identified by the techniques of form criticism, or referred to as ‘one-liners’ (on analogy with one-line jokes) in the description by Bernard Brandon Scott (1981: ch. 3). A good example would be the parable of the mustard seed (Mark 4: 30–2 and parallels). In this way the picture conveyed by the classic film by Pier Paolo Pasolini, The Gospel According to St. Matthew (1964), of Jesus striding through the countryside, uttering his teaching to the disciples who follow him, may well preserve quite an accurate first impression.

The point about first impressions is that they comprise the way in which different people react ‘from cold’ to such an encounter with someone new. For some people the emphasis may be on what Jesus does, for others what Jesus teaches, and for others again what kind of person Jesus is. It is also important that any representative cross-section of responses should include the impact of negative reactions and criticism. Some observers and hearers will not like what they see of Jesus. Others, again, may respond positively, perhaps because they, or someone they know well, have been beneficiaries of a miracle of healing; but they in turn may be the object of interrogation or scrutiny by the religious leadership. A good example may then be the treatment of the man blind from birth and of his parents in John 9. It is important to take into the calculation of first impressions what effect the official Jewish reaction may have had on those Jesus touched. Those involved may find themselves caught up into a defensive argument, where ultimately all that can be said is a denial of the counter-arguments, an expression of amazement and a simple statement of belief. This kind of first impression and reaction to criticism marks the beginnings of what subsequently develops into religious apologetic.

  • Previous Result
  • Results
  • Look It Up Highlight any word or phrase, then click the button to begin a new search.
  • Highlight On / Off
  • Next Result
Oxford University Press

© 2020. All Rights Reserved. Cookie Policy | Privacy Policy | Legal Notice