Cover image for Familiar stranger : an introduction to Jesus of Nazareth
Familiar stranger : an introduction to Jesus of Nazareth
McClymond, Michael James, 1958-
Publication Information:
Grand Rapids, Mich. : W.B. Eerdmans Pub. Co., [2004]

Physical Description:
xii, 212 pages ; 23 cm.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
BT203 .M338 2004 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



Familiar Stranger by Michael McClymond is a very readable introduction to that elusive figure known as "the historical Jesus" -- his life, his world, his sayings and doings, accounts of his death and resurrection, and his followers' efforts to understand him.

Three features set Familiar Stranger apart from the many other available books on Jesus. First, it's targeted to general readers but doesn't dumb down in its attempt to inform them. Second, it's ideologically balanced, exhibiting a refreshing lack of agenda or ulterior motive beyond the desire to genuinely present what we can and cannot know about Jesus today. Third, it brings together the two most fruitful models for understanding Jesus and his mission -- Jesus the "moral sage" and Jesus the "eschatological prophet." The result is a truly well-rounded picture of Jesus.

Marked by concision, clarity, and thoroughness, McClymond's Familiar Stranger is ideal for classrooms, study groups, and individuals in search of an up-to-date, trustworthy guide to the historical Jesus. Readers familiar with Jesus may well find him becoming stranger to them through these pages, and, conversely, those to whom Jesus is a stranger may well discover a growing familiarity with him.

Author Notes

Michael J. McClymond is Clarence Louis and Helen Irene Steber Professor of Theological Studies at Saint Louis University, St. Louis, Missouri.

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

The timing of this book--in the wake of the Ash Wednesday emergence of Mel Gibson's Jesus as a box-office idol--couldn't be better, for it provides an Easter overview, as it were, of the scholarly encounter with a complex Jesus in an even more complex context. Writing for a popular audience, McClymond faithfully summarizes recent historical research on the life of Jesus ; successfully avoids any dumbing down in his presentation; and, furthermore, in his notes guides the interested to the piles of books produced by the scholarly encounter with Jesus. After a thumbnail portrait and historical overview, nine chapters are devoted to sources, methods, and issues. The last two chapters turn directly to questions of identity and contemporary conceptions of Jesus. Those inspired by the particular, cinematic vision of Christ's Passion to learn more about the person of Jesus and the passionate responses competing versions of his story continue to evoke may find this book a good first read. --Steven Schroeder Copyright 2004 Booklist

Choice Review

Familiar Stranger is an introduction to the study of Jesus as a historical person. McClymond (Saint Louis Univ.) traces the development of "Jesus studies" and analyzes historical sources and methods. The author asks, "What can we know? How can we know it?" After an overview of the political and religious background of the first-century world in which Jesus lived, the book covers topics such as Jesus' message about the kingdom of God, his reputation as a healer and exorcist, his death, and reports of his resurrection. McClymond demonstrates a remarkable grasp of the literature in this field and continually interacts with a wide range of scholarly viewpoints. Of particular interest is his critique of modern popular images of Jesus in light of the research. This well-written and well-indexed book has about 45 pages of endnotes for those who want more depth. Those who enjoy Familiar Stranger and wish to pursue this topic at a more scholarly level might consider Jesus Remembered, by James Dunn (CH, Mar'04). ^BSumming Up: Recommended. General readers and undergraduates. D. Ingolfsland Crown College

Table of Contents

Prefacep. vii
Jesus: A Thumbnail Portraitp. 1
Piles of Books: A Short History of Jesus Researchp. 7
Sources and Methods: What Can We Know? How Can We Know It?p. 26
The Palestinian Context: Geography, Politics, Economy, and Religionp. 44
The Forerunner: John the Baptistp. 62
The Central Message: The Kingdom of Godp. 67
The Man of Power: Healings, Exorcisms, and Other Works of Wonderp. 82
The Teacher: Sayings and Parablesp. 93
The Public Figure: Career and Controversiesp. 109
Approaching the End: The Final Weekp. 120
A New Beginning: The Resurrectionp. 129
Wisdom, Apocalypse, and the Identity of Jesus: Some Historical Reflectionsp. 133
Thinking Outside the Boxes: A Critique of Contemporary Images of Jesusp. 139
Notesp. 153
Index of Subjects and Namesp. 199
Index of Scripture and Other Ancient Literaturep. 207