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Biblical Archaeology Review 46:3, Summer 2020

Strata: Book Review: Jesus and His Jewish Followers

By Zeba Crook

If history is not the past itself, but the creative narratives scholars weave about the past, then in this book Paula Fredriksen has certainly produced history.

Fredriksen combines evidence from Josephus, the canonical gospels, Acts, and the Pauline letters in an attempt to reconstruct what happened in the years between (and including) the execution of Jesus of Nazareth and the destruction of Jerusalem. Her driving question? How did a thoroughly Jewish millenarian “kingdom” movement become a Gentile movement planning for a future what was never supposed to have come? The result is as readable and accessible as a novel, with something for everyone: provocative reevaluations of traditional scholarly paradigms for the academic readers and generous (for some, perhaps, overly generous) assumptions about the historical reliability of the Gospels and Acts for those so inclined.

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