cover image Constructing Jesus: Memory, Imagination, and History

Constructing Jesus: Memory, Imagination, and History

Dale C. Allison Jr, Baker Academic, $54.99 (608p) ISBN 978-0-8010-3585-2

Do the gospels contain "the gospel truth"? The answer depends on how you define truth and whether you're willing to see beyond evangelical assumptions about the historicity of the canonical Jesus stories to a higher, more fully realized truth, according to author Dale Allison Jr. (see InProfile in this issue). To Allison, the gospels and the abundance of extrabiblical sources constitute a rich, heady brew of fact and fiction, all of which must be read not as a strictly historical record but as the collective memory of a people whose experience and dedication would define the direction of history. Allison, who is on the faculty of Pittsburgh Theological Seminary, insists that efforts to reconstruct a purely historical narrative from the gospels are not just impossible but irrelevant. Looking beyond notions of inerrancy and consistency, the author convincingly presents a richly nuanced view of Jesus Christ and the birth of Christianity. The result is a feast to be savored. (Nov.)