In this book Raymond Brown, whom Time magazine calls "the leading Catholic authority on the Bible," does not intend to engage in the details of those technical debates or propose new solutions. As he states, "I am not writing a contribution to be read primarily by scholars." The book is addressed to a broad range of people interested in the Bible, whether they read it themselves or are engaged in study groups, college courses, or a beginning theology program. His goal is to enable all such readers to understand the New Testament issues about the identity of Jesus and why there is a debate, and thus to gain the biblical background to read further and reflect with discrimination on modern proposals.
How much did Jesus know? What self-awareness did he manifest? How did his followers reflect on him and grow in their understanding? How is what emerges from a study of Jesus in the New Testament related to later church formulations about him? Brown, who has written and spoken on these issues for twenty-five years, now brings together his insights with the hope of providing in this one book an intelligible introduction to the way Jesus was understood in his lifetime and in that of his original followers.
Father Raymond E. Brown, S.S. is Auburn Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Biblical Studies at Union Theological Seminary.