This caught my eye from the recent RBL mailing: Who Do My Opponents Say That I Am?: An Investigation of the Accusations against Jesus, by (editors) Scot McKnight and Joseph B. Modica. Seven essays (four of them by bloggers) address the seven accusations against Jesus found in the gospels: (1) “law breaker” (Michael Bird), (2) “demon possessed” (Dwight Sheets), (3) “glutton and drunkard” (Joseph Modica), (4) “blasphemer” (Darrel Bock), (5) “false prophet” (James McGrath), (6) “King of the Jews” (Lynn Cohick), and (7) “mamzer (illegitimate son)” (Scot McKnight). The project apparently grew out of Malina & Neyrey’s Calling Jesus Names, so it will be interesting to see how the authors rose to the challenge.
From the two RBL reviews:
“The basic premise of the collection is that the followers of Jesus and the early Christian community would not have created fictive charges against Jesus that would serve only to demean and call into question the nature of his life and ministry as well as provide ammunition for the opponents of the early Christian movement. Consequently, such charges are presumed to have been attached to Jesus by his opponents.” (M. Robert Mulholland)
“The investigations have merit, but the task of figuring out the ‘truth’ about the historical Jesus from the slanted accusations is not an easy one. The seven scholars document their arguments thoroughly, providing copious footnotes for their readers to pursue further. In the end, though, ‘Christology’ associated with the historical figure of Jesus is hardly advanced in this study beyond the traditional, churchly beliefs espoused for centuries. This raises the question of methodology.” (V. George Shillington)
Shillington’s remarks imply that some hard questions are being dodged (I wonder what Malina & Neyrey think of this work), but I’ll have to read the book myself.