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The Historiographical Jesus
Memory, Typology, and the Son of David
The Historiographical Jesus introduces a new theory and approach for studying the life of Jesus. Anthony Le Donne uses the precepts of social memory theory to identify “memory refraction” in the Jesus tradition—the refocusing distortion that occurs as the stories and sayings of Jesus were handed down and consciously and unconsciously framed in new settings with new applications. Recognition of this refraction allows historians to escape the problematic dichotomy between memory and typology. The author focuses on the title "Son of David" as it was used in Jewish and Christian traditions to demonstrate both how his new theory functions and to advance historical Jesus research.
1 The Problem of New Testament Types
2 Historiography: Where to Begin?
3 Thesis and Delimitation
II. Hermeneutics and History
1 Interpreting Interpretation
III. History and Memory
1 Social Memory Theory
2 Memory versus Commemoration
IV. Memory and Typology
1 Social Memory: An Adaptation
2 Historical Method
V. Son of David and Typology
1 Son of David in the Hebrew Bible
2 Psalm of Solomon 17
VI. The Therapeutic Son of David
1 The Background(s) for Jesus’ Therapeutic Activity
2 Matthew’s Portrayal of the Son of David
3 Jesus as Solomonic Exorcist
Excursus: The Presupposition of Davidic Descent
VII. Jesus’ Temple Procession
1 Memory versus Invention
2 Mark 11 and Scripture
3 The Dead Sea Scrolls’ Davidic Offspring
4 Matthew’s Zechariah Localization
5 The Procession in Historical Memory
VIII. The Son of David-Question
1 Mk 12:35-7 and the Problem of Origin
2 Psalm 110
3 Psalm 110 in Markan Context
4 Historical Analysis
IX. Concluding Analysis
1 The Mnemonic Cycle
2 The Typological Cycle
3 Diachronic Continuity
4 Historical Memory
"Le Donne succeed, as he sets out to do, in presenting a compelling demonstration of history as memory refraction."
—Catholic Biblical Quarterly (2012, 74:1)
"... with its focus on typology and history, this work represents a fine critical adaptation of social memory theory. It proves to be a significant contribution to the field of historical Jesus research."
—The Expository Times (2012, 123:7)
“This book holds value for both historical-Jesus scholars as well as those interested in Gospel exegesis.”
—Benjamin I. Simpson, Bibliotheca Sacra (171:682, April-June 2014)
"As historical positivism continues to crumble, Le Donne paves a way forward for Jesus research. While building on previous work of Dunn and others, Le Donne proceeds to find his own voice and moves the conversation forward. Anyone involved with historical Jesus research should interact with this work on some level."
—David Brack, Religious Studies Review
"Le Donne reveals a strong grasp of both philosophical and historiographical literature, as well as the necessary Second Temple and early Christian texts. He is a trustworthy guide for such an endeavor as this."
—Johnny Walker, Freedom in Orthodoxy
"... this volume is a welcome addition to Gospel studies and offers a refreshingly sane and lucid approach to historical Jesus research.... Le Donne has made a significant contribution that should be carefully considered by students and scholars alike."
—Kelly Iverson, Journal for the Study of the New Testament (2011, 33:5)
"This work could point the way to a whole new approach to distinguishing authentic Jesus material."
—Craig A. Evans, Payzant Distinguished Professor of New Testament, Acadia Divinity College of Acadia University
"Le Donne's project is exceedingly well-researched in both primary and secondary literature. This work has the potential of bringing social memory into the forefront of historical Jesus studies and of adding considerations of social memory to the criteria of historical authenticity already in use."
—Robert H. Gundry, Scholar-in-Residence, Westmont College, Author of major commentaries on Matthew and Mark, and of The Old is Better
Anthony Le Donne (Ph.D. Durham University) is the author of Historical Jesus: A Postmodern Paradigm (Eerdmans 2010). He lives in Loomis, California.