Recently I finished reading Chris Keith’s new volume Jesus Against the Scribal Elite: The Origins of the Conflict (Baker, 2014). I am not going to do a full-blown review (you can find Steve Walton’s helpful review here). But I do want to offer my own appreciation for Keith’s work, as it is clearly written and brings a nice contribution to the scholarly realm as well as some helpful thoughts about Jesus in his context to the classroom.
First things first – the question I was wondering when I first picked up the book – who are the “scribal elite?” Keith uses this language to refer to those people “who could read the text [of the Hebrew Scriptures] in its original language and whose knowledge of the text translated into interpretive authority” (p. 27). Thus, this would include not only “scribes,” but also people within groups such as priests…
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