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In this book, Michael Patrick Barber examines the role of the Jerusalem temple in the teaching of the historical Jesus. Drawing on recent discussions about methodology and memory research in Jesus studies, he advances a fresh approach to reconstructing Jesus' teaching. Barber argues that Jesus did not reject the temple's validity but that he likely participated in and endorsed its rites. Moreover, he locates Jesus' teaching within Jewish apocalyptic eschatology, showing that Jesus' message about the coming kingdom and his disciples' place in it likely involved important temple and priestly traditions that have been ignored by the quest. Barber also highlights new developments in scholarship on the Gospel of Matthew to show that its Jewish perspective offers valuable but overlooked clues about the kinds of concerns that would have likely shaped Jesus' outlook. A bold approach to a key topic in biblical studies, Barber's book is a pioneering contribution to Jesus scholarship.
This chapter treats the state of the question of historical Jesus methodology before laying out the approach used in this study. Special attention is given to critiques of the conventional use of the so-called criteria of authenticity as well as to the implications of memory research (e.g., social memory theory) for historiography. Building on the work of Dale C. Allison, Jr. this chapter offers a fresh methodological approach.
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