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Review of Biblical Literature Blog

Jesus and Land: Sacred and Social Space in Second Temple Judaism
Wenell, Karen J.

New York: T&T Clark, 2007 pp. x + 168. $156.00

Series Information
Library of New Testament Studies, 334


Description: Beliefs about land, or the Abrahamic land promise, were an important part of Second Temple Judaism. Within the Roman Empire, the reality of life for Jews Ďin the landí was different from the experience of Jews in the Diaspora. Among the diverse expressions of Judaism that flourished in the land prior to the revolt, there are indications that Jesus, like other groups, paid attention to the relationship between God, people and land. However, there are marked differences between Jesusí millenarian vision of sacred space and that of other groups at that time. The methodology employed in Wenell's study views religious space as having both sacred and social aspects and draws upon insights from sociology and social anthropology. It focuses on three main areas, all of which are relevant to beliefs about Ďthe landí: temple, purity and the twelve. A comparative approach with other first century groups reveals Jesus as a prophetic type of figure who does not focus on a temple as the centre of Godís kingdom, nor on purity as the means of maintaining group identity in the sacredness of the land. Instead, Jesus takes up land imagery in calling a group of twelve disciples in a prophetic and symbolic action with implications for Jesusí vision of sacred space and the social organization of that space. Both positively and negatively, Jesusí attitude toward the three areas of temple, purity and twelve points to unique aspects of his message and to distinctive beliefs poignantly relevant to the Abrahamic promise of the land.

Subjects: Bible, New Testament, Synoptic Gospels, Literature

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Review by Cecilia Wassen
Published 12/11/2009
Citation: Cecilia Wassen, review of Karen J. Wenell, Jesus and Land: Sacred and Social Space in Second Temple Judaism, Review of Biblical Literature [http://www.bookreviews.org] (2009).


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