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Download The Shadow of the Galilean: The Quest of the Historical Jesus in Narrative Form epub

by Gerd Theissen

First published in 1987 by Fortress Press, this 20th anniversary edition of this classic bestseller includes a new Afterword from the author. Here, in narrative form, is an account of the activity of Jesus of Nazareth, scrupulously constructed so that it does not undercut the insights of New Testament scholarship. What makes it different from other such attempts is that Jesus never actually appears. What we find everywhere is his shadow, his effect. Such an approach avoids the usual pitfalls of the genre and lends this story - attributed to a fictitious narrator - an attraction, freshness, and power all its own. Tension and interest are maintained to the end, even for those sated with books about Jesus. Careful documentation in the footnotes shows how much of the narrative is based on ancient sources.
Download The Shadow of the Galilean: The Quest of the Historical Jesus in Narrative Form epub
ISBN: 0800620577
ISBN13: 978-0800620578
Category: Bibles
Subcategory: Bible Study & Reference
Author: Gerd Theissen
Language: English
Publisher: Fortress Pr; 1st Fortress Press ed edition (July 1, 1987)
Pages: 212 pages
ePUB size: 1750 kb
FB2 size: 1967 kb
Rating: 4.8
Votes: 876
Other Formats: azw lit txt docx

The Shadow of the Galilean is a book that has one primary purpose: to appeal to the modern day readers and do justice to the scholarly research regarding historicity. The book is about an upper-class Jew, Andreas, who has made a living from selling grain. Raised in a more politically involved household, Andreas scandalously finds himself imprisoned when he gets caught up in a protest against the Romans. He is interrogated by a soldier named Metilius, and then blackmailed by Pilates to report the activity of minority groups who oppose the Roman’s rule. The book continues in a poetic manner as when John the Baptist is executed, Andreas attempts to find his follower Jesus of Nazareth. While traveling, Andreas faces external forces that stop him from his goal, but it’s made clear his own identity is what he’s looking to find.
Identity seems to be a problem the main character deals with. Not surprising due to the fact that he’s playing the double-agent with Romans and others. However, it was a blessing for Andreas, because he is able to grow in religious diversity. Andreas already has a relaxed view about statues being idols and the Sabbath. In a sense, he becomes vindicated when others start following in Christ’s path. This becomes especially apparent when upper-class people and Roman soldiers started donating bread to the followers of Jesus.
The soldier Metelius begins to slowly open up about his own faith to Andreas after the interrogation process. The philosophy between the two eventually has a profound influence on the Roman soldier. After a while, both begin to question the strict rules of Judaism. This is especially important because it puts emphasis on the fact that Judaism was the cornerstone for faith to build off of. The relationship between Judaism and Christianity is reciprocal on a very surface-level. Meaning, that both teach important spiritual principles necessary for either faith. The author sharpens the focus on Jesus by using a narrative form so that the reader understands him from a social-historical context.
As the story continues, more and more people begin to engage in a manner that they hadn’t before the death of Christ. They become more vulnerable in conversation and more in touch with the identity they’ve been looking for. A common way to look at the Bible is that it’s extremely unsatisfactory because it doesn’t answer questions, but asks the reader questions. Theissen does a great job at illustrating this in a very subtle way throughout the narrative by showing that standards like education, class, or family didn’t matter in the end for Andreas. He only wanted to understand himself.
Theologian Theissen's novel traces Jesus in his own time through the facts and rumors circulated and chronicled by an educated Jew who attempts to observe him without actually getting to meet him. The format enables the author to speculate about how events described in the biblical miracles may have been exaggerated or misunderstood in the several decades between their actual occurrences and the writing of the Gospels. It's a useful technique and perhaps leads to a greater understanding of the teachings and formation of the early church but is too contrived to make a really great novel.
The Shadow of the Galilean is historical fiction by Gerd Theissen following the protagonist, Andreas, as he navigates the political and social turmoil of first-century Palestine. Forced to provide the occupying Romans with intelligence on disruptive forces of the times, Andreas finds himself investigating an itinerant preacher named Jesus of Nazareth and unexpectedly drawn into his subject’s movement and message.

A compelling aspect is Andreas’ eventual conversion to Jesus. At first, Andreas thinks of Jesus as an irrelevant, crazy heretic. Over the story’s arc, however, Andreas is converted, beginning when Andreas is captured by the Zealots. When Andreas began criticizing their methods as unjust, the Zealots accused Andreas of sharing the views Simon, who recently left to follow Jesus. This comparison to Simon revealed Andreas’ personal ideology of righteousness as similar to Jesus’ and Andreas became intrigued by Jesus. Andreas’ conversion later accelerated defending Jesus to the Roman authorities. Andreas’ conversion was completed by a vision of the resurrected Jesus during a dream, causing Andreas’ commitment to the a new covenant.

Andreas conversion was restrained by the counterculture call of Jesus’ message. Jesus attacked the status-quo of the family, the Temple, and the Jewish hierarchy. Andreas saw this as subversive and destabilizing. For example, by attacking the family, Jesus attacked the primary social fabric and by attacking the Temple, Jesus attacked the economic base of Jerusalem. Alternatively, Andreas was persuaded by the passion of Jesus’ followers. The stories of Levi, the toll collector, and Bartholomaeus, the third son, paint a picture of passionate people persuaded to go all-in for Jesus. Moreover, Andreas was attracted to the morality of Jesus’ message, which resonated with his own moral compass. That Jesus encouraged the underclass to walk upright and did not focus on the powerful contributed to Andreas’ eventual conversion. Today, these are not the issues people face in evaluating Jesus, since he is not present attacking the current social and political systems. Today, seekers face issues more theological and less political. But once someone meets Jesus, if they truly engage, the same passion and love for the downtrodden and impoverished will ignite.

I appreciated the way this narrative expanded my perspective on the Gospels. Until provided the proper context for the rise and fall of Jesus of Nazareth, I simply focused squarely on His role as a spiritual teacher. The Shadow of the Galilean greatly expanded my ‘Jesus storyline’, adding detailed depictions of the political intrigue and social drama of first-century Palestine.

This novel was a fascinating, albeit difficult read. The blend of historical fact, combined with compelling fiction, kept me engaged. One critique concerns the chapter-by-chapter digressions of letters from the author justifying his historical license. These tangents distracted from the carefully constructed historical context and disrupted the narrative form. In addition, the many philosophical discussions presumed a deeper grounding in philosophy than I have. Notwithstanding these minor complaints, I enjoyed the book immensely and recommend it to anyone interested in discovering and exploring the historical Jesus who existed before Christianity.