Not to boast, but I have read quite a few books on the New Testament in general and the Gospels in particular. To be honest, it can easily become more of the same.
Not so with Kenneth Bailey’s Jesus Through Middle Eastern Eyes. My thought as I read this book was, “This is so fresh.”
What is so different about this book? While Bailey is a scholar and the book is academically sound, it is not just another compilation of current research. Bailey brings to this book a side of scholarship that readers don’t often get. Many of the conversation partners include the Church Fathers, Arabic Christian commentators and the Rabbis (through the Mishnah and Talmuds).
Perhaps the most helpful resource in this book is Bailey’s own life experience. Much of Bailey’s academic career took place in the Middle East. Bailey shares the knowledge of that area of the world, including traditions that have not changed over thousands of years.
In addition to being a great resource for theological and biblical students, this book would be an incredible addition to any pastor’s library. The other thought I had when I read this book was, “I wish I had this book when I was a pastor.” The book is filled with sermon illustrations based on cultural traditions that will help congregations to understand. They wil find the insights very interesting.
I highly recommend Jesus Through Middle Eastern Eyes for anyone interested in the Bible, but especially for students and pastors.