The Jesus Movements

Deconstructing jesusIn the second chapter of Deconstructing Jesus, Price continues to attempt a picture of the earliest church that differed on major issues.

Price makes much of Q, the hypothetical document that contains sayings common to Matthew and Luke but absent from Mark. I don’t have a problem with Q (listen to this podcast episode I did on the synoptic problem). It is possible that Q existed in some form but we must be careful not to try and describe with any confidence the theology of that community. Price claims that the Q community did not believe in the resurrection because Q never mentions it. However, we don’t know if Q mentioned it since we do not have Q. All we can say is that Matthew and Luke did not use Q for their resurrection narrative. Even if Q didn’t mention the resurrection, as a sayings gospel, we shouldn’t expect a resurrection narrative.

Price then tries to reconstruct (relying on Burton Mack) a Christian community separate from Paul that included the pillars (Peter, John and James) and the heirs (family) of Jesus. This is very creative but is far from required from a reading of the New Testament. It makes perfect sense that there was a community led by the pillars in Jerusalem that had the same doctrine as Paul.

This chapter comes across more as a study of Burton Mack than of the New Testament. It is not convincing in its attempt that the earliest Christians had different beliefs than what became orthodox Christianity.

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