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Paper Topic:

The Shadow of the Galilean

Gerd Theissen , The Shadow of the Galilean

BOOK REVIEW

Gerd Theissen is a famous German Protestant theologian and New Testament scholar . Sixty years ago he wrote a book The Shadow of the Galilean which provides very scrupulous picture of Judaic social traditions and political situation in Bible times . It is a historical novel about the social world of Jesus . The peculiar feature of this book is that the author has the aim to teach and not only entertain his readers and takes them on an exploration of the world of the New

Testament

While Theissen combines history and fiction , he acquaints us with not only the Jews and Romans , but the politics and hostility between the two . Theissen 's depiction of the tension within Judaism itself I find especially fascinating

The main protagonist of the Theissen 's novel is a Jewish businessman Andreas , who is recruited by Pilate to become a spy on religious cultural , and even political matters adhered to by the Jewish people and their various sects . One of his assignments is to shadow Jesus and determine whether or not Jesus is a threat to Roman peace . The investigation of Andreas causes him to explore and interact with Sadducees , Pharisees , Zealots , Essenes , and even followers of Jesus Through the letters between Theissen himself and a fictitious friend and also Andreas ' narration , Theissen attempted to illustrate how the seditious nature of the various groups two thousand years ago is similar to that held to by idealistic young people today as he reflects upon his own life

Andreas has never spoken to Jesus , he was always step behind , always stayed in Jesus ' shadow and himself was a shadow for Jesus . The whole novel is stuffed with interviews and various stories about Jesus . These are sources which Theissen takes great pains to quote and interact with throughout the novel . Evidently , the historical-critical approach of Theissen leads to his judgment about Jesus and the Galilean world which differs from classic interpretations

Theissen has own vision in his depicting of the Pharisees . Contrary to current opinion supported in the New Testament 's criticism against them Theissen implies that the severe charges are unfair . The assumption on which the book is based seems to be that the Pharisees were good people with strong religious convictions who should not be ascribed the blame that they are . But this assumption is a bit illogical , if to recall their protests when medical help was summoned for the child Miriam on the Sabbath . An example of their goodness is seen when a Pharisee challenges Jesus ' indulgence of homosexuality (a conclusion drawn from Jesus sympathy for Gentile centurion 's ly and his cure by Jesus It 's assumed that the ly could have been a homosexual lover thus Jesus offends the Pharisees through his leniency of homosexuality . So in such a way , Theissen 's representation encourages the readers to feel more sympathy to the cause of the Pharisees and other religious leaders (i .e , Sadducees and scribes ) than it...

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