Monday, 12 March 2012

The Jesus Scandals - Why He shocked his contemporaries (and still shocks today) - Dr David Instone-Brewer from Cambridge

Rev Dr David Instone-Brewer is one of my friends here in Cambridge. He is a Baptist Minister who was seconded to the academic world by his denomination. He is now the Senior Research Fellow in Rabbinics and the New Testament at Tyndale House in Cambridge. He has written several academic books and articles on early Judaism and the Bible, as well as regular contributions to Christianity magazine.

We had the launch of David’s popular book The Jesus Scandals - Why He shocked his contemporaries (and still shocks today) here at Tyndale House this morning. I was the first to buy a copy – and David was kind enough to sign it for me as well as explaining in short why he wrote the book:

Mulder: David, why did you write this book?
Instone-Brewer: I wrote this book because I want everyone to see there is historical information in the Gospels which no historian would throw out. When you look at the Gospels and see embarrassing things about Jesus – they’ve got to be true because they wouldn’t have put them in if they weren’t.
Mulder: Like the women at the tomb?
Instone-Brewer: Yes, and details about the disciples and how dubious they were; how Jesus was illegitimate; accused of alcohol abuse; how Jesus talked about child abuse ... all sort of things they would’ve liked to omit if they wanted to sell the Gospel better. But because it was real, they had to include them. That’s what scholars call the criterion of embarrassment, and I’m putting it across in newspaper style saying “Hey, here’s all the scandals!”. Every article is about one coffee cup length to read, and then it gives you something to talk abut in the pub.
Mulder: Congratulations David, it reads quite easy.

Professor Richard Bauckham has this to say on the back cover: "Fresh and intriguing ... His lively style and the parallels he draws with our own society will appeal to a wide range of readers".

Here's a little taster from the chapter called Embarrassing Resurrection:
"The concept of the genetic code helps us understand how God might rebuild our bodies, without the scars of living; and making hard-drive back-ups helps us to understand how God might preserve the contents of our mind and memory. And yet we find it as hard to convince people about the resurrection as even the earliest Christians did. Evangelism might still be much easier without the resurrection but, as Paul said ... what would be the point?" (p 80).


David Nyström said...

Hi Frederik!

Good to meet you the other day and I'm glad to have found your blog. All the best,

David Nyström

Frederik Mulder said...

Hi David - it was very good to meet you brother! Hope your viva went well. We should really do something one day! Having worked on Marcion, Irenaeus and Tertullian under Francis Watson and John Barclay, I would LOVE to learn more about Justin Martyr!
I think your thesis title was something like this: The Apology of Justin Martyr: Literary Strategies and the Defence of Christianity

David Nyström said...

You got the title exactly correct (I'm impressed)! And the viva went well, thank you (minor corrections only).

I'd love to discuss Justin with you at some time, just let me know...

Anonymous said...

Congratulations David! My email is