A Marginal Jew: Rethinking the Historical Jesus, by John P. Meier
Perhaps the most startling thing about John P. Meier’s book on Jesus is that it has been published with the imprimatur of the Catholic Church. For this is a book, by an author who is himself a Catholic priest, that questions the historical truth of the Virgin Birth of Jesus, the perpetual virginity of Mary, the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem in a manger attended by Magi, and many other cherished beliefs of the Church. One wonders how many other iconoclastic revelations are to come in the projected second volume of this work.
Meier’s avowed aim is to produce an account of the historical Jesus which would be approved by a committee consisting of a Catholic, a Protestant, a Jew, and an agnostic, working to forge a “consensus document on who Jesus of Nazareth was and what he intended.” On the question of who Jesus was, the conclusions of the present volume are that he was born in Nazareth (not in Bethlehem), of a family reputed to be descended from King David; that he spoke Aramaic and Hebrew, but little or no Greek or Latin; that he was literate, but not highly educated; that his family belonged to the lower middle class; that he was unmarried; and that he was a “layman” (i.e., not a priest).
About the Author