Markus Bockmuehl (ed.), The Cambridge Companion to Jesus, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 2001 [0 521 79678 4], Australian RRP $49.45.
This is an excellent overview of recent studies on Jesus, his life and times, his ministry, his crucifixion, his resurrection, his God, and the history of faith in him. It is a collection of seventeen essays by specialists, written to make easy reading. But it deserves to be read slowly and pondered: it is often profound, and very often thought-provoking.
The Jesus-of-history and Christ-of-faith debate is shown to be superseded. The Jesus of history is incomprehensible without account being taken of the religious response to him - including the vital contribution of theology - just as the Christ of Christian faith and worship is incomprehensible without the particularity of Jesus the Jew from Nazareth who walked the countryside of Palestine two thousand years ago. This is taken for granted in current scholarship, and this book provides a service by telling non-experts about it.
Central to this volume is the magnitude of the shift. In the nineteenth century the search for the historical Jesus was systematically separated from the Christ of faith and theology. The scholars tried to strip away the layers of faith and confession in order to discover the ‘genuine’ Jesus, claiming that the Christ who was the object of faith had nothing to do with the Jesus of history. The historical Jesus was then placed in conflict with the Christ of the church’s faith. Thus reduced, the ‘genuine’ Jesus was no more than an example of faith to be imitated and a teacher of truth and a way of life to be admired. Dogmatic skepticism-the closed mind-was equated with academic rigour. -Ed.
Dr. Abe W. Ata, Intermarriage between Christians and Muslims, David Lovell Publications, Ringwood, Victoria, 2000 [1 86355 076 3]
The subject material in this study concerns itself with situations in Palestine but may offer a number of insights for Australian readers. Even though the primary thrust of the study is marriage between Palestinian Muslims and Palestinian Christians it has to be of particular interest for those who are responsible for marriage preparation. Chapter 3 - Concepts and Determinants of Marriage - discusses the contrast between Koranic and Biblical understanding of the role of woman and wife in a relationship. The marriage celebrant ought to at least raise these issues when preparing couples for Christian marriage. In addition Chapter 6 affords an insight into-Authority, Decision Making and Sharing Responsibility. Again couples ought to be encouraged to discuss such considerations as they impact upon what they wish from their future marriage commitment. The educator would also gain valuable insights from this study. Dr. Ata’s monograph would be a must for any pastoral library. -JSD
Peter Malone, MSC with Rose Pacatte, FSP, Lights Camera...Action: A Movie Lover’s Guide to Scripture, Pauline Books & Media, Boston [0 8198 4490 X] RRP US24:95
The publication supplies to the Lectionary, Cycle A, with illustrations drawn from current and some older movies. It offers great insights into both the meaning of selected movies and their relevance to selected Sunday Liturgical celebrations. The guide should be used judiciously as a homiletic aid because it assumes knowledge of film that the ordinary parishioner may not possess. The format is more attuned to religious education where time can be taken to view the movie mentioned either fully or in edited form. It is to be praised for being able to present a modern example of the age-old biblical stories. To this extent it would be a must for school religious education departments and pastoral adult education programs. -JSD