What is it about?

How much of the gospels is the creative work of the gospel writers? How much of their traditions can be traced back with any security across the two significant gaps, temporal and linguistic, that stand between them and Jesus? Is the so-called “Galilean crisis” just a device used to shape their stories, to explain why Jesus left the north and went south, to Jerusalem? This essay considers the historical possibilities, while paying attention to the architecture of storytelling.

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Why is it important?

This essay engages with the most recent work on the Historical Jesus--itself an important topic.

Perspectives

Stories have a shape--beginning, middle, end. The technique of a moment of dramatic reversal--like the "Galilean Crisis"--shapes the Synoptic gospels, making it a hinge of Jesus's mission. It propels him from the Galilee to Jerusalem. But was there ever any such "crisis"? I like exploring the interplay between history and story, and in conversation with Tucker Ferda's new book on Jesus, I do so in my essay.

Paula Fredriksen
Hebrew University of Jerusalem

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This page is a summary of: Jesus, the Gospels, and the Galilean Crisis, by Tucker Ferda, Journal for the Study of the Historical Jesus, May 2022, Brill, DOI: 10.1163/17455197-bja10006.
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