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The Benefit of Expanding the Cultural, Scientific and Religious Frontiers of Historical Jesus Research: A Review of Rinaldo Fabris’s Gesù il ‘Nazareno’: Indagine storica

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This article reviews Gesù il ‘Nazareno’. Indagine storica (Jesus the Nazarene: A Historical Investigation) by Rinaldo Fabris. It compares this volume with the main studies of the historical Jesus that have been published in the past fifteen years. A brief description of each of its thirteen chapters is accompanied by a discussion of the main strengths and weaknesses of the book.

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... Another interesting field in which to introduce a neuropsychological framework concerns the analysis of some aspects of ancient texts, like the Iliad and the Odyssey, the Hebrew Bible, the New Testament, or the ancient Buddhist literature. In this regard, the main aspects of historical-critical methods applied to ancient literature should be taken into account (Gombrich, 2009;Fabbro, 2014a). However, neuropsychological analyses of ancient literary texts shall not constitute in any way an exegetical study of religious texts. ...
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The present work introduces the neuropsychological paradigm as a new approach to studying ancient literature. In the first part of the article, an epistemological framework for the proper use of neuropsychology in relation to ancient literature is presented. The article then discusses neuropsychological methods of studying different human experiences and dimensions already addressed by ancient literatures. The experiences of human encounters with gods among ancient cultures are first considered, through the contributions of Julian Jaynes and Eric R. Dodds. The concepts of right and left in the Bible, and that of soul are then discussed. Ecstatic experience in Paul of Tarsus is also presented, with a particular focus on glossolalia. Neuroscientific differences between mindful and unitive meditative practices are then described referring to ancient Buddhist literature, and finally a brief description of dreams in ancient Greek literature is proposed. Neuropsychology variously enables a more profound understanding of themes characterizing human experiences that ancient literature has already explored; these investigations prove that the collaboration of neuroscience and humanistic studies can return fruitful and interesting results.
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A rapidly growing number of recent studies show that imagining the future depends on much of the same neural machinery that is needed for remembering the past. These findings have led to the concept of the prospective brain; an idea that a crucial function of the brain is to use stored information to imagine, simulate and predict possible future events. We suggest that processes such as memory can be productively re-conceptualized in light of this idea.
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Chapter Summary Gospels scholarship still works with conceptions of memory, long abandoned by those who study memory in its social, cognitive, and cultural aspects. The form critics equated memory with individual eye-witness recollection. Social memory analysis, therefore, hardly amounts to drawing naïve correspondences between "memory" and "history." Rather, it provides a research framework for assessing the origins and transformations of the gospel tradition in terms of the constitutive orientation of the Jesus - communities to a commemorated past. Another cognitive operation performed by memory is conventionalization or schematization. Oral tradition can be arranged in culture-specific genre typologies. This chapter shows that memory forms the undifferentiated streams of experience into conventional patterns, scripts, and types. The gospels (particularly Mark and Q) as oral-derived texts are artifacts of this crisis of memory triggered by generational succession in the Jesus movement. Memory theory does not offer facile solutions to the historiographical challenges of Jesus research. Keywords:commemoration; form critic; gospel tradition; Jesus; memory theory; memory's cognitive operation; oral tradition; social memory
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Although in several neuropsychological works dealing with hemispheric specializations a few passages of the Bible referring to the left and the right have been mentioned now and then, a systematical study with a neuropsychological approach to this topic was still a missing link. By using concordance texts from the Bible books of the Hebrew Canon (Old Testament, OT) and from the New Testament (NT), all the verses containing any reference to the left and the right (OT = 151, NT = 49 verses) have been identified and classified into 10 groups: (1) references to space, (2) symmetric sayings, (3) the right hand is the favorite hand, (4) right eye preference, (5) God's right hand, (6) the right side is more prestigious, (7) the right side in liturgy, (8) left hand preference, (9) fatal left-hand shots, and (10) on the left side. Some statistical considerations have been put forward and a neuropsychological, anthropological approach has been suggested for the purpose of interpreting the most interesting verses. According to the author of the present paper, it would be worthwhile commenting on some texts of ancient and modern literature not only from a linguistic, historical, religious and theological point of view, but also by means of a neuropsychological approach.
12 In Gesù di Nazareth Fabris discussed the issue of the origin and education of Jesus in twelve pages, now increased to seventy-eight in the present volume
  • Mt
Mt. 19.12. In Gesù di Nazareth Fabris discussed the issue of the origin and education of Jesus in twelve pages, now increased to seventy-eight in the present volume. 23 Sanders, Gesù, p. 7. 24
Episteme/Studi e ricerche, 6; Padova: Edizioni Messaggero, 2012)
  • Sophia
Sophia: Episteme/Studi e ricerche, 6; Padova: Edizioni Messaggero, 2012), pp. 203–216.
Donatoni; Milan: Adelphi, 2012); trans
  • Richard F Gombrich
Richard F. Gombrich, Il pensiero del Buddha (trans. R. Donatoni; Milan: Adelphi, 2012); trans. of What the Buddha Thought (London: Equinox, 2009).
Neuropsicologia dell'esperienza religiosa
  • Fabbro
Fabbro, Neuropsicologia dell'esperienza religiosa, pp. 174–87, 242–46; Van Os, Psychological Analyses and the Historical Jesus, pp. 141–60.
Memoria e tradizione nei vangeli: Gesù Messia
  • Alan Kirk
  • Jesus Theory
  • T Researched
  • S E Holmén
  • Porter
Alan Kirk, 'Memory Theory and Jesus Research', in Handbook for the Study of the Historical Jesus (ed. T. Holmén and S.E. Porter; 4 vols.; Leiden: Brill, 2011), I, pp. 809–42; Rinaldo Fabris, 'Memoria e tradizione nei vangeli: Gesù Messia', in Scriptura Sacra cum legentibus crescit: scritti in onore di Antonio Marangon nel suo 80° compleanno (ed. M. Marcato;
Puig i Tàrrech, Gesù, p. 596; and Theissen and Merz, Il Gesù storico Vermès (Gesù l'ebreo
  • La Dunn
  • Memoria Di Gesù
Dunn, La Memoria di Gesù, p. 838; Puig i Tàrrech, Gesù, p. 596; and Theissen and Merz, Il Gesù storico, pp. 570–71. Vermès (Gesù l'ebreo, pp. 40–42) and Flusser (Jesus, p. 147) do not share the view that the Sanhedrin was involved in Jesus' sentence to death. 93 Vermès, Gesù l'ebreo, p. 47. 94
Gli insegnamenti e le parole dei due maestri a confronto (trans. A. Tissoni; Raqqi d'Oriente; Milan: Armenia, 1998); trans. of Jesus and Buddha: The Parallel Sayings
  • Marcus Borg
  • Gesù E Buddha
Marcus Borg, Gesù e Buddha: Gli insegnamenti e le parole dei due maestri a confronto (trans. A. Tissoni; Raqqi d'Oriente; Milan: Armenia, 1998); trans. of Jesus and Buddha: The Parallel Sayings (Berkeley, ca: Ulysses Press, 1997); Odon Vallet, Jésus et Bouddha: Destins croisés du christianisme et du bouddhisme (Paris: Albin Michel, 1996);
Astrolabio, 2011); trans. of The Yoga of Jesus: Understanding the Hidden Teachings of the Gospels
  • See Paramahansa Yogananda
  • Lo
  • Di Gesù
See Paramahansa Yogananda, Lo yoga di Gesù (Rome: Astrolabio, 2011); trans. of The Yoga of Jesus: Understanding the Hidden Teachings of the Gospels (Los Angeles, ca: Self- Realization Fellowship, 2007).
2003); trans. of Going Home: Jesus and Buddha as Brothers
  • Mondadori
Mondadori, 2003); trans. of Going Home: Jesus and Buddha as Brothers (New York: Riverhead Books, 1999).
Milan: Mondadori, 1997); trans. of The Good Heart: A Buddhist Perspective on the Teachings of Jesus (trans. G. Thupten Jinpa Valent; Milan: paradigm does not recognize extraordinary events of a transcendent reality
  • Dalai Lama
  • Incontro Con Gesù
Dalai Lama, Incontro con Gesù: Una lettura buddhista del vangelo (trans. L.A. Dalla Fontana; Milan: Mondadori, 1997); trans. of The Good Heart: A Buddhist Perspective on the Teachings of Jesus (trans. G. Thupten Jinpa; Boston, ma: Wisdom, 1996); Thich Nhat Hanh, La Luce del Dharma: Dialogo tra cristianesimo e buddhismo (trans. G. Valent; Milan: paradigm does not recognize extraordinary events of a transcendent reality.96
The Oxford Handbook of Memory Endel TulvingEpisodic Memory: From Mind to BrainChronesthesia: Awareness of Subjective Time
  • Endel Tulving
  • Fergus I M Craik
  • R C Knight
Endel Tulving and Fergus I.M. Craik, eds., The Oxford Handbook of Memory (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000); Endel Tulving, 'Episodic Memory: From Mind to Brain', Annual Review of Psychology 53 (2002), pp. 1–25; idem, 'Chronesthesia: Awareness of Subjective Time', in Principles of Frontal Lobe Function (ed. D.T. Stuss and R.C. Knight;
Making up the Mind: How the Brain Creates our Mental World (Malden, ma: Blackwell, 2007); Thomas Metzinger, The Ego Tunnel: The Science of the 22
  • See Christopher
  • D Frith
See Christopher D. Frith, Making up the Mind: How the Brain Creates our Mental World (Malden, ma: Blackwell, 2007); Thomas Metzinger, The Ego Tunnel: The Science of the 22
Theissen and Merz, Il Gesù storico Cambiare prospettiva su Gesù. Dove sbaglia la ricerca sul Gesù storico (trans. M. Nuzzo and D. Zoroddu; Brescia: Paideia, 2011)
  • Gesù Puig I Tàrrech
  • La Dunn
  • Memoria Di Gesù
Puig i Tàrrech, Gesù, pp. 218–27; Theissen and Merz, Il Gesù storico, pp. 439–40; Dunn, La Memoria di Gesù, pp. 329–35; idem, Cambiare prospettiva su Gesù. Dove sbaglia la ricerca sul Gesù storico (trans. M. Nuzzo and D. Zoroddu; Brescia: Paideia, 2011), pp. 41, 104–106; trans. of A New Perspective on Jesus: What the Quest for the Historical Jesus Missed (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2005);
93, 109; passim in Craffert, The Life of a Galilean Shaman, pp. 420–22; and idem, 'Performing the " Duty of Discontent
  • See Vermès
  • Rabbi Gesù L 'ebreo Chilton
  • Jesus
See Vermès, Gesù l'ebreo, pp. 68–95; Chilton, Rabbi Jesus, pp. 93, 109; passim in Craffert, The Life of a Galilean Shaman, pp. 420–22; and idem, 'Performing the " Duty of Discontent " in Dialogue with Christian Strecker', p. 286[pp. 197–201 in note 33 above]. 73
A similar intepretation was put forward by Chilton
  • Gesù Fabris
  • Nazareno
Fabris, Gesù il 'Nazareno', pp. 642-43. A similar intepretation was put forward by Chilton, Rabbi Jesus, pp. 260-61;
These conclusions are shared by Chilton
  • Gesù Fabris
  • Nazareno
Fabris, Gesù il 'Nazareno', pp. 740-41. These conclusions are shared by Chilton, Rabbi Jesus;
Puig i Tàrrech, Gesù, p. 596; and Theissen and Merz, Il Gesù storico
  • La Memoria Di Dunn
  • Gesù
Dunn, La Memoria di Gesù, p. 838; Puig i Tàrrech, Gesù, p. 596; and Theissen and Merz, Il Gesù storico, pp. 570-71. Vermès (Gesù l'ebreo, pp. 40-42) and Flusser (Jesus, p. 147) do not share the view that the Sanhedrin was involved in Jesus' sentence to death.
  • Lo See Paramahansa Yogananda
  • Di Gesù
See Paramahansa Yogananda, Lo yoga di Gesù (Rome: Astrolabio, 2011); trans. of The Yoga of Jesus: Understanding the Hidden Teachings of the Gospels (Los Angeles, ca: Self-Realization Fellowship, 2007).
Incontro con Gesù: Una lettura buddhista del vangelo (trans. L.A. Dalla Fontana; Milan: Mondadori, 1997); trans. of The Good Heart: A Buddhist Perspective on the Teachings of Jesus
  • Dalai Lama
Dalai Lama, Incontro con Gesù: Una lettura buddhista del vangelo (trans. L.A. Dalla Fontana; Milan: Mondadori, 1997); trans. of The Good Heart: A Buddhist Perspective on the Teachings of Jesus (trans. G. Thupten Jinpa;
Gli insegnamenti e le parole dei due maestri a confronto (trans. A. Tissoni; Raqqi d'Oriente
  • Marcus Borg
  • Gesù E Buddha
Marcus Borg, Gesù e Buddha: Gli insegnamenti e le parole dei due maestri a confronto (trans. A. Tissoni; Raqqi d'Oriente; Milan: Armenia, 1998);