Paper $25.00 ISBN: 9781589661417 Published January 2005

People Who Knew Jesus

His Encounter with Friend and Foe

James M. Somerville

People Who Knew Jesus

James M. Somerville

Distributed for University of Scranton Press

295 pages | 6 x 9 | © 2007
Paper $25.00 ISBN: 9781589661417 Published January 2005
"People Who Knew Jesus is both an important achievement and delightful read.  The book crackles with sudden insights, is deeply scholarly yet plainly written.  It exhibits the author's gentle humor, compassion, and faith.  By simply telling the stories of dozens of biblical characters who interacted with Jesus, Somerville distills for the educated reader a hundred years of biblical scholarship to provide a deep appreciation of Jesus as a plausible human being. .."

-- Jim Marion, author of Putting on the Mind of Christ

"Using the unique approach of exploring biblical characters in their relationship to Jesus, James M. Somerville sleuths below the literary meaning of the text to mine the puzzles and silences encountered there.  A scholarly yet accessible book that offers a provocative view of Jesus, understood through the prism of friends and foes alike."

-- Dana Greene, author of Evelyn Underhill: Artist of the Infinite Life and The Living of Maisie Ward



Part One: People in the Infancy Narratives


  1. Mary the Mother of Jesus: Maria Avatara
  2. Joseph the Husband of Mary: The Silent Sleeper
  3. Herod the Great: “It’s safer to be Herod’s pig than his wife”
  4. John the Baptist: Humble, Harsh, Hurried


Part Two: Jesus of Nazareth


  1. Jesus: A Man for Others: Mission to the Disinherited


Part Three: People Jesus Healed


  1. The Centurion’s Servant: Action From a Distance
  2. The Paralyzed Man: Israel Under Roman Rule
  3. The Daughter of Jairus: Dead or Sleeping?
  4. The Gerasene Demoniac: The Great Swine Stampede


Part Four: The Apostles


  1. Peter: The Education of a Slow Learner
  2. Thomas: Descartes’ Precursor
  3. James and John: “What’s in it for us?”
  4. Philip and Andrew: The Greek Connection
  5. The Beloved Disciple: Did Jesus Have Favorites?


Part Five: The Women


  1. The Samaritan Woman: Waiting for Number Seven
  2. The Syro-Phoenician Woman: The Lady with Chutzpah
  3. Mary Magdalene: No, She Wasn’t a Prostitute
  4. The Woman Taken in Adultery: Where Is the Man?
  5. Martha and Mary: Two Sides of the Same Coin


Part Six: The Passion


  1. Pharisees and Sadducees: Piety and Power
  2. Herod Antipas: Marrying Your Brother’s Wife Can Be Risky
  3. Caiaphas: The “Yes, Man’s” Dilemma
  4. Judas the Traitor: If Jesus Knew, Why Did He Choose Him?
  5. Pontius Pilate: How a Rascal Became a Saint
  6. Barabbas: Would Pilate Release an Insurrectionist Murderer?
  7. Simon of Cyrene: A Surprising Day for a Common Man
  8. Longinus: The Spearman: A Gentile Has the Last Work


Part Seven: Resurrection


  1. Joseph of Arimathea: You Get What You Pay For
  2. Clopas/Cleopas: The Jesus Dynasty


Epilogue: Jesus after the Resurrection


General Index

Index of Authors
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