Although every news story that I have read on the matter actually acknowledges that the Second Vatican Council – in 1965 already! – had already said exactly the same thing, the news outlets are in a tither about Volume 2 of Pope Benedict’s “Jesus of Nazareth” in which Pope Benedict repeats what has only been a commonplace among New Testament scholarship in the last 50 years: “The Jews” are not to blame for the death of Jesus.
Barney Zwartz’s version of the story actually made front page in The Age this morning.
Oh well, at least for once the message is on target, and it’s a positive news story, and it’s good publicity for one of the most significant works on Jesus to have come out in the last 50 years. “But David, but David”, I hear you say, “What about John Dominic Crossan and Marcus Borg?” Yeah, what about them? Dis guy’s da Pope, and when it comes to being conversant with the tradition of the 20th Century “Quest for the Historical Jesus”, he’s up there with the best of them. Barney writes:
According to the publisher Ignatius Press, volume two looks at many controversial questions, including whether Jesus was a political revolutionary, what he taught about the end of the world, how he interpreted his own death, whether he really rose from the dead and what the early Christians believed about his second coming.
That list is a pretty good summary of what is on the scholarly “Jesus Agenda” today. If I were making a recommendation to someone who was wanting to know what to read about Jesus today, I would say the two authors who have most reliably answered these questions: N.T. Wright and Joseph Ratzinger.