Originally Posted by State
Wow, I was I could have been there. I do believe Sanders taught at UVA. Was that where you were, brainiac?
Nope. He did time at William and Mary as well, early 80s... it was just me, Paul (not yet E.P.) Sanders, and about a dozen other students in a seminar level class. I regularly and dutifully attended when I was of a mind to attend classes... etc. You get the idea. I didn't excel (got a B) in his class.
I do a somewhat decent job reading the Koine Greek; I've been teaching Attic Greek (the classical stuff) for a number of years to high school-aged boys at an elite boarding school in central NH. And I'm a Jew-by-choice. This stuff fascinates me.
Good on you, welcome. You can have my pew by the way. I'm a Jew-by-parental-fortune, and by belief. I've come to the conclusion that the name we learn is never the name, if you get my meaning, and given you've linked to a kabbalist source, I suppose you do. Long conversation, we can discuss later. Suffice it to say that the trappings are always at war from religion to religion, and mysticisms converge. I take some comfort from that.
The figure of Jesus--who he was, what we can know about him, the possibility that editors of the gospels garbled or even actively wrested the meaning of Jesus' words--is one of the preeminent intellectual questions today.
Christians often want to resist any scholarly research that doesn't first begin with their assumptions in place.
This is the best single volume book on Jesus in English that I've found, by Prof. Sanders: Amazon.com: The Historical Figure of Jesus: E. P. Sanders: Books
I'm fascinated too, probably based on having to answer not always polite and friendly questions from peers, growing up here in VA.
But I quickly became amazed at the notion of "pretending I didn't believe." In other words, turning a skeptical eye on all scripture, Tanakh and Greek bible alike, and getting an idea of what we do and don't know about said records as part of knowing my own faith and others' faith as well.
What I found was that it makes a tremendous amount of sense to proclaim the shema, and somewhat less sense to concern myself with the letter of the law, or passage and verse on one or another point. ("Now, go and study...")
Learning as much as possible about the source docs isn't just fascinating to me, it seems like we can use the method to get the idea of what truly is
special about any tradition, once we recognize the various "interests" that go into writing any passage. To cut off such knowledge as "too speculative" to apply to our most cherished documents, tells me we didn't learn a damn thing from said documents.
As God made clear to Job's friends, he doesn't need our feeble defenses. As opposed to those here who simply want all religious traditions to shut up already, I'd just sort of like us all to grow up. This kind of scholarship is the first step to doing that.