Was Jesus a wisdom sage or an apocalyptic prophet? Did later followers view him as the Danielic Son of Man or did he use this expression for himself? These are familiar questions among historical Jesus scholars, and there has been much debate over Jesus' eschatological outlook since the controversial work of the Jesus Seminar. This book asks what is at stake in these debates and explores how scholarly constructions of Christian origins participate in contemporary efforts to confirm or challenge particular understandings of the essence of Christianity. Proposing that a Jesus-centered perspective has overly shaped our interpretation of the sayings source Q, Johnson-DeBaufre offers alternative readings to key Q texts, readings that place an interest in the community that shaped Jesus at the center of inquiry.
Melanie Johnson-DeBaufre is Assistant Professor of Religion at Luther College, Decorah, Iowa.