Original Research

Imitating Jesus, yes – but which Jesus? A critical engagement with the ethics of Richard Burridge in Imitating Jesus: An inclusive approach to New Testament ethics (2007)

Jonathan A. Draper
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 65, No 1 | a164 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v65i1.164 | © 2009 Jonathan A. Draper | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 16 April 2009 | Published: 05 August 2009

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Jonathan A. Draper, University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa

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Abstract

This paper examines the attempt by Richard Burridge in his recent book, Imitating Jesus: An inclusive approach to New Testament ethics (2007), to build an engaged Christian ethics starting with the historical Jesus but taking full account of the insights into the perspectives of the four gospels in their own right, based on their genre as Greek bioi. While Burridge’s approach is applauded and regarded as a major step forward, it is critiqued here on his selectivity in his presentation of the results of two decades of research into the Jesus of history. Burridge’s selection of the South African experience in the struggle against apartheid as his ‘test case’ is also questioned, since the issues in such struggles for justice appear more straightforward to outsiders than they do to insiders and his analysis raises more questions than it answers.

Keywords

New Testament ethics; historical Jesus; Bible under apartheid; imitating Jesus; Burridge

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