Eddy and Boyd, The Jesus Legend, Part 2, Nov 26

So just how hellenized was first century Galilee?

So just how hellenized was first century Galilee? This is the topic of the second chapter of The Jesus Legend. The authors overview the two History of Religions schools of the past century, one of which argued that to understand Christianity one must understand its  Greco-Roman roots,  while the newer school emphasizes Christianity’s Jewish roots. It is the second school that has the evidence on its side. They then go into a detailed treatments of how whatever influence Hellenism exercised, it did not impact Jewish religious views significantly. Judaism reamained committed to monotheism, so that a "divine man" approach to Jesus as a result fo greco-Roman influence cannot explain the rise of Chrsitianity. To make the case, the authors go over the sate of archaeological research in Galilee that shows how Jewish the culture remained in the first century. The work of Mark Chancey and Sean Freyne are prominnent here, and rightly so. This is a solid chapter. It indicates that it is not the pagan context that explains the rise of this new faith out of Judaism.


  • celucien

    Dr. Bock,
    Thanks for your

    Dr. Bock,

    Thanks for your reviewing “The Jesus Legend.” I was wondering if the authors of the book addressed the Synoptic problem? If that is so, how plausible is their defense? I am thinking about getting a copy.

    I look forward to your next post.

  • bock

    Thanks dlb


    So far they have yet to say anything substantial about it. I have four chapters of the book left to read.


  • Deke

    Dr. Bock,

    One issues raised in the Jesus Legend but not really expanded upon is a skeptical charge concerning Mark 12:35-37:

    35While Jesus was teaching in the temple courts, he asked, “How is it that the teachers of the law say that the Christ[h] is the son of David? 36David himself, speaking by the Holy Spirit, declared:
    ” ‘The Lord said to my Lord:
    “Sit at my right hand
    until I put your enemies
    under your feet.” ‘[i] 37David himself calls him ‘Lord.’ How then can he be his son?”

    Robert Price argues this contradicts the testimony of Matt and Luke on Jesus being from David’s family line. Since Jesus say, “how can they say the Messiah is David’s son.” It almost seems like this interpretation might work. What do you think?

    • bock

      Mark dlb


      This is a simple one. In Judaism sometimes a not X but Y construction means, not so much X as Y. So here Jesus means Son of David is not the most comprehensive title for Messiah but Lord. It does not mean Jesus is not the Son of David for Mark believes this (See how the blind Bartimaeus cried out to the Son of David; Mark 10:46ff.). So Price is wrong.


  • Deke

    Acts 2:36
    Thanks for the helpful info regarding my last question on Mark. I was hoping you might answer another about Acts. Some have argued that Acts 2:36:

    36″Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.”

    contradicts Luke’s Gospel on Jesus’ roles and when he began them. The person I’m speaking of has said that the author of Acts (not the same as Luke he thinks for the following reason) sees Jesus as only being Lord and Messiah AFTER his death and return to life. So then it contradicts the four Gospels on Jesus being Lord and Messiah before his death. Do you see this difference in Christology>


    • bock

      Acts 2:36 dlb


      This is not about when Jesus became the Christ but what shows or demonstreates he is. (Luke and Acts have the same author)