I cannot claim to have read a ton of Jesus-books, but this is definetely a book that does what I would want a Jesus-book to do. Solid engagement with the results of historical research combined with theological, philosophical and political sophistication, that produces a picture of Jesus that is theologically relevant. Lohfinks emphases’ are not original: the jewishness of Jesus and the early church, the centrality of the reign of God to Jesus preaching, and the necassity of a commitment to the church to understand Jesus. But he presents it brilliantly and with just enough polemical bite to keep us interested. As yoderian I find my self nod in recognition and agreement several times.
As far as I can tell Lohfink does not shy away from the ”difficult” aspects of Jesus, like his judgements sayings, excorcisms and miracles in general. And I at least find his criticism of the standarn 20th century take on these – based on enlightenment world views – convincing.
The final chapter, where he compares Jesus understanding of Gods reign with the notion of utopia is an absolutely brilliant piece of political theology, that I suspect I will have reason to return to many times.
Lohfink is almost 80 now, so this book too fits in the section of scholars summing up their life’s work. One cannot overestimate the importance of books like this in our time of quick publishing. Highly recommended.