309O: Historic Jesus by two anthropologists

Sited on NPR with interview of authors between 10 and 15 years ago (?).  They describe Jesus in he context of the Roman political power and the strain on the economies via taxes etc. and how Jesus was a counter culture.  Also, I remember they assert that it was highly unlikely that anyone was allowed to remove his body from the cross and they describe the sect of Christians who lived in Jerusalem who saw Jesus not as divine but as a prophet and how they were all killed off in the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans.

One thought on “309O: Historic Jesus by two anthropologists

  1. Some added info and clarifications; Jesus was seen more as a counter culture figure than one concerned about being the son of God. Their work was, it seemed, perhaps one of the first comprehensive historical works that incorporated much archeological evidence. Jesus was described as encouraging a counter culture in the sense of opting out of the roman system of formal courts, greed, power by, for one thing, not using the courts but settling things directly between two aggrieved parties. The non-materialistic aspect as well. The Romans had been taxing the Jewish people ruthlessly as they did other cultures as well. This was causing a shift of ownership from family farmers to land owners, turning the family farmers into sharecroppers (it reminded me of our own dustbowl and depression era). They speculated that when Jesus went into Jerusalem he may have been, simply, naïve about how much of a threat he was to the Romans and/or the Jewish aristocracy that had come to an accommodation with the Romans. The two authors (younger men as I recall at the time) were on NPR talking about their book and they mentioned the great shift in how people saw their access to God occurring (under the more ancient – Roman – system no one had access to the Gods except through Cesar. But Christianity profoundly changed that by putting every human into a direct relationship with God). Extrapolating from this I thought this was a good explanation for the tremendous success and rapid spread of Christianity – that it helped make cultures somewhat more justice oriented- somehow a bit more democratic?. I loved this book and loaned it out never to get it back and I can’t find it through numerous google searches.

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