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ss triple helix - summer 2012,  The Jesus scandals - why he shocked his contemporaries

The Jesus scandals - why he shocked his contemporaries

David Instone-Brewer
Lion Hudson, 2012
£7.99, Pb, 192pp
ISBN 978 0 85721 023 4

Don't be put off by the front cover and title, suggestive of yet another tale in the 'religious conspiracy' genre. The 'scandals' it refers to are the very scandals of Jesus' life, relationships, ministry, and teaching; the author is a scholar in Rabbinics and the New Testament who writes elegantly and accessibly.

The contemporaneous Jewish background to familiar biblical history deepens the reader's understanding of Jesus' words and ministry, and their appreciation of its first century impact. Each chapter addresses a different subject with medical and related themes including healing, alcohol abuse, mental illness, suicidal despair, marital abuse and the pathology of death by crucifixion. The book would be a valuable tool for group discussion and learning, with restrained use of 'Notes' to the text, and helpful 'Further Reading' and 'Index' sections.

Among much else, I learned that Jesus' statement that 'Where two or three are gathered in my name, I am in their midst' was a claim to divinity. If that's news to you, too, then do read this book.

Julian Churcher is London Staffworker for CMF.

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