I’m participating this week in the blog tour for the book, A Hitchhiker’s Guide to Jesus by Bruce Fisk, who teaches New Testament at Westmont College. Check out the other stops on the tour, along with the book giveaway. I’ll trot out some thoughts on it later in the week.
This book is similar in approach to a few others that take a unique perspective on an aspect of New Testament studies. It reminds me of The Shadow of the Galilean, by Gerd Theissen, who wrote to help students understand the work of historical Jesus scholars.
Another book along this line is Bruce Longenecker’s fictional work, Lost Letters of Pergamum, which is on the syllabus for just about every NT course I teach. It is unsurpassed in giving students a feel for everyday life in the Roman Empire, the character of first-century churches, and how the gospel sounded in an ancient context.
A Hitchhiker’s Guide shares with these books a sensitivity to the question, How do I process this topic? It’s one thing for a scholar to roll out another introduction to historical Jesus studies, but it takes an experienced teacher to know how to help students place this information. Where does it fit? Why is it important? How does it relate to what I already know about the NT and how I conceive of Christian faith?