Historical Jesus research remains trapped in the positivistic historiographical framework from which it emerged more than a hundred and ?fty years ago. This is con?rmed by the nested assumptions shared by the majority of researchers. These include the idea that a historical ?gure could not have been like the Gospel portrayals and consequently the Gospels have developed in a linear and layered fashion from the authentic kernels to the elaborated literary constructions as they are known today. The aim of historical Jesus research, therefore, is to identify the authentic material from which the historical ?gure as a social type underneath the overlay is constructed. Anthropological historiography offers an alternative framework for dealing with Jesus of Nazareth as a social personage fully embedded in a ?rst-century Mediterranean worldview and the Gospels as cultural artifacts related to this ?gure. The shamanic complex can account for the cultural processes and dynamics related to his social personage. This cross-cultural model represents a religious pattern that refers to a family of features for describing those religious entrepreneurs who, based on regular Altered States of Consciousness experiences, perform a speci?c set of social functions in their communities. This model accounts for the wide spectrum of the data ascribed to Jesus of Nazareth while it offers a coherent framework for constructing the historical Jesus as a social personage embedded in his worldview. As a Galilean shamanic ?gure Jesus typically performed healings and exorcisms, he controlled the spirits while he also acted as prophet, teacher, and mediator of divine knowledge. PIETER F. CRAFFERT is Professor of New Testament and Chair of the Department of New Testament at the University of South Africa in Pretoria. His other published works include 'Meeting the Living among the Dead', 'Mediating Divine Power', and 'Illness and Healing in the Biblical World'. "The careful exploration of the way in which Craffert has explored how shamanism might inform the understanding of the Jesus tradition sheds much light on the religion and politics of the Jesus of history, which will set future discussion on a ?rmer historical footing." - CHRISTOPHER ROWLAND, author of 'Christian Origins' "Craffert's rationale for and realization of a work of anthropological history is quite on the mark, enabling a reader to have an encounter with a ?rst-century, Galilean shamanic Jesus that should produce an appropriate culture shock in those unused to the radically different cultural and social landscape of Mediterranean antiquity." - BRUCE J. MALINA, author of "The New Testament World" "Craffert's study raises as sharp a challenge to traditional historical Jesus studies as has come along in a generation." - RICHARD L. ROHRBAUGH, author of 'New Testament in Cross-Cultural Perspective' "[Craffert's] interpretation of the public figure of Jesus using the social-type of a shaman opens up a new world view and encourages the inclusion of texts, events, and activities usually dismissed from discussions of the historical Jesus. His originality is matched by his meticulous research and the clarity he brings to a complex problem. This is a must-read for anyone interested in the historical Jesus, but especially for those who enjoy a genuinely new approach to an old problem." - WILLIAM R. HERZOG II, author of 'Jesus, Justice, and the Reign of God'About the Author:
Pieter F. Craffert is Professor of New Testament and Chair of the Department of New Testament at the University of South Africa in Pretoria. His other published works include Meeting the Living among the Dead, Mediating Divine Power, and Illness and Healing in the Biblical World.
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