This engaging reconstruction of Jesus’ life provides an up-to-date critical overview of the historical Jesus debate, covering the Jewishness of Jesus’ teaching, the foundation of the earliest groups of his followers, and the location of Jesus within his wider context. Casey’s masterful treatment of Aramaic sources draws us closer to the historical Jesus than ever before. This major contribution will be of interest to anyone studying the historical figure of Jesus and the roots of Christianity.
‘In several important respects this lively book goes against the grain of recent scholarship, both conservative and radical. But it is a needed and challenging reminder of the fragility of much that passes as the ‘assured results’ of scholarship. The detailed attention to the relevance of the Aramaic language for constructing Jesus is particularly noteworthy and consistently provocative.’ – Dale C. Allison, Jr., Errett M. Grable Professor of New Testament and Early Christianity, Pittsburgh Theological Seminary, PA, USA.
‘Only a handful of New Testament scholars can deal with Hebrew and above all Aramaic sources as well as Maurice Casey. After an extensive career concentrating on the life and teaching of Jesus, and at the pinnacle of his intellectual prowess after writing a number of specialized studies, he now generously shares his deep and manifold insights with a larger audience. With neither ecclesiastical nor atheistic baggage to weigh him down, Casey caustically comments first on those who do not take Jesus’ Jewishness seriously, especially his native tongue Aramaic. This criticism of older and the most recent secondary literature is – unfortunately – well-deserved. Yet the following chapters with positive analyses by far prevail, making this volume a must read for all those seeking a balanced, yet deeply scholarly view of the life of Jesus by an independent historian. Casey candidly points out what we can reasonably know about Jesus, but just as importantly, what we cannot know. This fascinating volume deserves close reading and a very wide audience.’ – The Rev. Dr. Roger David Aus, Berlin, Germany (Roger David Aus )
‘This learned and comprehensive book should prove to be the major historical Jesus publication of the decade. While we all know that much has been written on the historical Jesus, Casey still manages to provide a distinctive slant, most notably with his reader-friendly use of Aramaic reconstructions of Jesus’ words and actions. The review of scholarship, which combines savage humour with scholarly insights, hits hard at numerous approaches to the quest for the historical Jesus, from famous historical Jesus scholars to ‘mythicist’ and conspiratorial theories in popular culture. This book should reinvigorate a tired scholarly quest and raise the bar in the learning required to do serious historical Jesus work.’ — James G. Crossley, University of Sheffield, UK. (James G. Crossley )
‘Maurice Casey has devoted himself to the study of Aramaic… and now puts this knowledge to use in his heavy tome on the Historical Jesus.’ (The Pastoral Review )
‘this book is in many respects an impressive achievement.’ (The Rev Dr Petor Ensor Methodist Recorder )
‘The book is an admirable, fascinating, and stimulating study of Jesus against the background of a Judaism shaped by Aramaic speakers, and, as such, it is well worth reading.’ (The Church Times )