ENDORSEMENTS

 

BOOK 1: What Was the  World of Jesus?: A Journey for Curious Pilgrims

Dr. Jonathan Grothe, President Emeritus of Concordia Seminary in St.Catherines, Ontario.

The last several days I have found the chance to spend some time with Carl Roemer’s book about the “world of Jesus.” It is, in my opinion, an excellent book. Thank you for sending it to me. I enjoyed perusing it and was delighted to find quotations from several authors (Gerhard von Rad and F. Frankfort) whom I esteem highly and believe are too frequently overlooked.

My reading concentrated more on the beginning and end. The material in the middle chapters, which recounted the history from Alexander to the destruction of the temple (and after), was already quite familiar to me. (I actually spent time studying Judaism in the Institutum Judaicum while in Tuebingen, subsequently taught a class on the “New Testament World,” and wrote about that stuff in a book on the New Testament History that CPH wanted me to update.) Roemer’s presentation of that material was thorough (almost exhaustive) and well-documented. And it is very important for providing the context of the New Testament.

The opening chapters were an interesting undertaking. He went into the Old Testament with a tradition-historical approach (hence his reliance on von Rad), and ended up describing how various traditions (judge, king, prophet, wisdom, holy war, apocalyptic) were part of the basic assumptions–furniture arranged in the minds-of the Jews of Jesus’ day. It was thought-provoking.

The latter chapters then described the ways in which first century Judaism (with those traditions and methods) responded to the “crisis” which grew out of its being confronted by Hellenistic-Roman rule and culture. This, too, was both thoughtful and thought-provoking. (It never occurred to me to link the “bandits” with the OT judges.) As George Foote Moore wrote, the “Judaism” of the first century is not a single stream; it has broken up into many rivulets. The discussion of the differences between Galilee and Judea is also important and often overlooked.

Especially noteworthy was his long quote from Frankfort (a book I inherited from my father): the mind-set (about transcendent matters) and the language use of the people of that time was pre-Enlightenment and dealt often in “mytho-poeic” language.

Roemer is a good writer: clear, aware of his reader. The middle historical chapters get a little challenging, but that is not the fault of his writing. The stuff has many characters and there is no easy-to-trace plot line.

His ultimate purpose appears to be to provide background, context, for the reader of the New Testament, the value of which he will illustrate in a coming volume. For a person (me) so concerned with “How to Read the Bible,” this is the kind of thing that is very helpful–thousands of times better than a trip to “the Holy Land” to “walk where Jesus walked.”

The Rev. Joel Nickel, Pastor and Liturgical Artist

The watchword in real estate is “location, location, location!”  In delving into the parables of Jesus the watchword is “context, context, context” for which Carl Roemer is a dependable and insightful guide.  Building on his book, “The World of Jesus,” Roemer walks and writes along a careful path between the extremes of otherworldly focus and that of textual relativism.  Jesus is not “out of this world” but decidedly within it–the world of first century Palestine–with a prophetic critique of idolatry and a passionate concern for the fate of God’s people.  The received transcription of his visual metaphors is also trustworthy and challenging.  What carries the impact of the Jesus narrative into the twenty-first century is the same human nature befuddlement with political and religious extremes, self-centered pietism, false trust of wealth, and war mongering that Jesus encountered in the first century.  Or, as Pogo once taught us: ”we have met the enemy and he is us.”  Jesus is the antidote to such fatal self-deception, and Carl Roemer is a trustworthy and profound guide into understanding his meanings.

David Zersen, D.Min., Ed.D., President Emeritus, Concordia University Texas

Carl Roemer’s Who in the World was Jesus is part of a three-volume series that helps readers discover the context for the main character in the trilogy, Jesus of Nazareth. Although demonstrating a profound grasp of scholarship, the book is popularly written so as to interest those who are well acquainted with this literature as well as those who are exploring it for the first time. Dr. Roemer’s scholarly background and personal interest in the Judaic context of the Jesus story justifies his offering this monumental gift to a wide audience. Especially this volume focusing on the parables will find fascinated readers among those seeking better to understand the mind and ministry of Jesus.

Dr. David W. Lotz, Washburn Professor of Church History, Emeritus Union Theological Seminary, New York City

A thought-provoking study of all the parables of Jesus, showing their anchorage in his immediate Palestinian milieu as well as in the larger story of Israel and her prophetic traditions. Far from perpetuating the familiar image of Jesus “meek and mild,” the book intentionally aims to show that Jesus was subversive in opposing religious and political “powers of this world.” Dr. Roemer’s close reading of the parables often rises to eloquence in his insistence that the kingdom of God–their overarching theme–is a divinely bestowed gift that bespeaks God’s prodigal love for the ungodly. This insightful book deserve a wide readership.

The Rev. Phillip Kuehnert, M.Div., Retired Fellow of American Association of Pastoral Counselors

Stunning! For those who want to avoid the fractious debates about the historical Jesus without abandoning critical scholarship, Dr. Roemer’s book is a must read and should be an important part of every serious Bible student’s library. The footnotes not only enrich and define his argument but serve as an invaluable map to other critical minds. 

BOOK 2: Who in the World was Jesus?: An Encounter for Brave Hearts

David Zersen, D.Min, Ed.D., President Emeritus, Concordia University Texas

Readers of the Judaeo-Christian Scriptures profit greatly from texts that provide analyses and background for their personal enrichment. Dr. Carl Roemer’s books in this remarkable series are friends and colleagues to be explored along with the biblical works. Especially this volume that provides a study of Jesus’ self-consciousness and his application of the theology of Jubilee is helpful. Whether student, theologian or layperson, all can profit from exploring this rich and insightful study.

 

Gerald A. Miller, Pastor EmeritusAnnapolis Evangelical Lutheran Church 

In his study, The Beloved Son as Tantalizing Teacher, author Carl Roemer explores in detail the social, political, economic and religious contexts surrounding Jesus of Nazareth, Roemer’s main focus is clearly on the person and meaning of Jesus himself. While some of the author’s words may take the reader by surprise (e.g. “He [Jesus] never presented himself as anything other than a human being.”), the author’s statements continually invite the reader to go deeper, not only into the message of Jesus, but into the very person of Jesus –the “Beloved Son,” the one who, not only embodied God’s Kingdom, but also amazingly invites the contemporary reader into that same and gracious rule. I gratefully recommend his book.

The Rev. Dr. Amy C. Schifrin, STS, President Emeritus, North American Lutheran Seminary; Associate Professor of Liturgy and Homiletics, Trinity School for Ministry, Ambridge, PA

In a time when a shallow read of a biblical text, accompanied by some predefined ideology, are easily mistaken for thorough and faithful exegesis, Dr. Roemer brilliantly gives us what we need in order to carefully listen to what the text is saying as the primary witness to what God has done, is doing, and promises to do in and for this world. His detailed and erudite scholarship in The Beloved Son as Tantalizing Teacher is written in such a way that the reader has opportunity to pause and ponder without losing the flow of the narrative of the biblical story. This work is incredibly helpful to us in understanding how those who are oppressed in any age and in myriad circumstances, internalize such oppression until it has the capacity to boil over into revolution. And then bearing witness to the words and deeds of Jesus, Dr. Roemer points us in a still more excellent way, the way of God’s love that takes the sweet shape of mercy, and sets us free from the powers that are behind every form of oppression and hatred to finally live as in a Jubilee.
I recommend Dr. Roemer’s work to every serious student of the Bible, lay or ordained, for it has the capacity to teach the one who reads it, how to truly read the Bible, so that they, too, will receive mercy anew and live for the praise and glory of God.

BOOK 3: The Beloved Son as Tantalizing Teacher: Jesus Encounters His World

 

The Rev. Dr. Amy C. Schifrin, STS, President Emeritus, North American Lutheran Seminary, Associate Professor of Liturgy and Homiletics, Trinity School for Ministry, Ambridge, PA

In a time when a shallow read of a biblical text, accompanied by some predefined ideology, are easily mistaken for thorough and faithful exegesis, Dr. Roemer brilliantly gives us what we need in order to carefully listen to what the text is saying as the primary witness to what God has done, is doing, and promises to do in and for this world. His detailed and erudite scholarship in The Beloved Son as Tantalizing Teacher is written in such a way that the reader has opportunity to pause and ponder without losing the flow of the narrative of the biblical story. This work is incredibly helpful to us in understanding how those who are oppressed in any age and in myriad circumstances, internalize such oppression until it has the capacity to boil over into revolution. And then bearing witness to the words and deeds of Jesus, Dr. Roemer points us in a still more excellent way, the way of God’s love that takes the sweet shape of mercy, and sets us free from the powers that are behind every form of oppression and hatred to finally live as in a Jubilee.
I recommend Dr. Roemer’s work to every serious student of the Bible, lay or ordained, for it has the capacity to teach the one who reads it, how to truly read the Bible, so that they, too, will receive mercy anew and live for the praise and glory of God.

David Zersen, D.Min, Ed.D., FRhistS, President Emeritus, Concordia University Texas

Readers of the Judaeo-Christian Scriptures profit greatly from texts that provide analyses and background for their personal enrichment. Dr. Carl Roemer’s books in this remarkable series are friends and colleagues to be explored along with the biblical works. Especially this volume that provides a study of Jesus’ self-consciousness and his application of the theology of Jubilee is helpful. Whether student, theologian or layperson, all can profit from exploring this rich and insightful study.

Gerald A. Miller, Pastor Emeritus Annapolis Evangelical Lutheran Church 

In his study, The Beloved Son as Tantalizing Teacher, author Carl Roemer explores in detail the social, political, economic and religious contexts surrounding Jesus of Nazareth, Roemer’s main focus is clearly on the person and meaning of Jesus himself. While some of the author’s words may take the reader by surprise (e.g. “He [Jesus] never presented himself as anything other than a human being.”), the author’s statements continually invite the reader to go deeper, not only into the message of Jesus, but into the very person of Jesus –the “Beloved Son,” the one who, not only embodied God’s Kingdom, but also amazingly invites the contemporary reader into that same and gracious rule. I gratefully recommend his book.

 

BOOK 4: Invading the Realm of Demons, Disease, and Death: The Miracles of Jesus-God with Us

The author takes us on a journey through the progression of scientific discoveries as scientists try to understand the formation of the universe, earth, and life on earth.  He reviews Darwin’s theory of “Natural Selection” versus creation by a designer in detail and shows how science is now beginning to see the convergence of its laws and theories with the story laid out in the Bible and that the designer is still actively involved.He takes us next into deep dives of the Biblical miracles, demonic possession, and theophanies and explains the difference between the “material” world and “spiritual” world, especially as it existed during the first century in Israel and in our world today.Dr. Roemer’s book vividly expands my understanding of the world Jesus lived in and the message of Christian hope that Jesus gave the world.

Glenn C. Trumbower Commander U. S. Navy Retired. MS

 

 

This is the next volume in Dr. Carl Roemer’s series on the historical Jesus within the religious and cultural setting of Israel in the Holy Land during the first century. Roemer is a world-class expert on the history, faith, and culture of the Hebrew people in the time of Jesus, and this work does not disappoint! 

The author begins with an historical timeline of the ideological shift from the theocentric absolutes of the Newtonian worldview to the materialistic worldview of Hume and Darwin with its anti-supernatural bias, and from there to more recent scientific discoveries which have raised the possibility of intelligent design and uncertainties about the universe – opening the door to the possibility of the spiritual world including miracles one cannot explain by science alone. Roemer also explores near-death experiences and manifestations of demonic activity, both of which may provide evidence of a spiritual world having both love and divine power as well as what we might call “the dark side” of which we must beware.

Miracles invade the enemy’s “dark side” and provide evidence for Jesus’ messiahship and that God’s Kingdom has already arrived in the Messiah. Roemer explores the possibility that the supernatural wonders Jesus performed were revelations of an inclusive spiritual option of love for enemies and healing and life for all who believe, in contrast to the violent, nationalistic military messianic option to overthrow the Roman occupation embraced by many first century Jewish people in Israel – which Jesus knew would lead to the complete destruction of the nation.

I was also intrigued by Roemer’s suggestion that the way of the Messiah could heal the apparently irreconcilable binary, “either-or” deep divisions within first century Jewish culture, reminding me that following the “Prince of Peace” could bring sanity and tolerance to our own 21st century culture. The book is academically focused with incredible documentation but understandable to all and well worth the read!

 The Rev. Michael H. Heuer, M.A., M.Ed., Ph.D.