Friday, August 23, 2013

Book Note: Who Do People Say That I Am? (Vernon K. Robbins)

There is a fantastic new book just published that covers Jesus and the gospels, canonical as well as extracanonical.  Vernon Robbins, Who Do People Say I Am? Rewriting Gospel in Emerging Christianity.

Professor Robbins' book is the best there is on the market in my opinion.  I highly recommend it to you, especially if you are looking for a book to teach this subject.

Robbins sets the more commonly known representations of Jesus in the Bible alongside lesser-well-known portraits of him found in texts like the Gospel of Thomas, the Gospel of Mary, the Gospel of Judas, and the Acts of John.  He does this, not simply as a rehash of general knowledge, but applying all of his years of accumulated knowledge of orality, rhetoric, cognition and the social fabric of Christianity to the material.  You are face-to-face with Robbins the veteran professor sharing generously his knowledge.

The book is very accessible in terms of style and yet very careful in terms of historical detail.  A perfect match for the non-specialist reader, and specialists from other areas of New Testament study who want to get a handle on the extracanonical material.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Welcome to our students at Rice

The academic year for us starts on Monday.  Things are different for me this year because I have become the Chair of the Religious Studies Department after a year long leave.  The summer was spent traveling and moving my office, which turned out to be a bigger chore than I was prepared for.

I want to extend a warm welcome to our incoming and returning students into our very special intellectual community here at Rice.  I have taken this opportunity to write more about our program and post it on our departmental website: "The motto of Rice University is strikingly bold.  'Unconventional Wisdom.'  It is a motto that we love to own because it describes the kind of intellectual community that we create and foster in the Department of Religious Studies. To study here means to challenge the status quo, to investigate what is not obvious, to reimagine what was, is and can be when it comes to religion.  To study here means to enter an intellectual community where critical thought, disciplined training, and innovation intersect with religion." To read the rest of my message, click HERE.