Sunday, April 25, 2010

The influence of E.P. Sanders

Mark Goodacre has described E.P. Sanders as "the greatest living New Testament scholar" (here and here).  Joshua Schwartz says something similar in his review of a festschrift in Sanders' honour:
Most of us in academia hope to come up with a few new and original ideas that will impact upon scholars and scholarship. If we are lucky and this happens, we might remain in the eye of scholarship for a generation or two, but after that most of us and our work fade into various levels of academic oblivion. Only very few scholars produce work of such monumental importance that it becomes benchmarks not only for colleagues but for anyone wishing to study a particular field. Sanders has done this in not one or even two but in three centrally important areas of New Testament study: Judaism, Jesus, and Paul. Moreover, even if one does not study Christianity or Jesus, it is still impossible today to work on the Second Temple period without Sanders, and obviously this is the case regarding Jesus and Paul. This has been true for decades and will undoubtedly continue to be so for the coming ones. Few scholars have been able to bend, as it were, the not always pliant study of religious traditions and to form it into something new. Not all agree with him; his work has sometimes aroused opposition and criticism, but we cannot make do without it. The present volume is a fitting accolade for an outstanding scholar. - Joshua Schwartz, Review of Fabian Udoh, ed., Redefining First-Century Jewish and Christian Identities: Essays in Honor of Ed Parish Sanders, Review of Biblical Literature [] (2010).
I was getting ready to announce that גֵּר־וְתוֹשָׁב is on ice until further notice, when I ran across a few partial posts in my drafts folder that seemed worth completing. This is one of them.

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