The Illegitimacy of Jesus: A Feminist Theological Interpretation of the Infancy Narratives
Sheffield Phoenix Press
, Oct 30, 2006
- 318 pages
This work of impeccable New Testament scholarship was a sensation when it was first published in 1987. Jane Schaberg argued that Matthew and Luke were aware that Jesus had been conceived illegitimately, probably as a result of a rape of Mary, and had left in their Gospels some hints of that knowledge, even though their main purpose was to explore the theological significance of Jesus' birth. By having the Messiah born out of the exploitation of a woman of the poor, God demonstrates the vindication of the oppressed in a truly miraculous manner. Exegetical precision, theological passion, and an exquisite prose style are combined in this landmark book, whose importance is yet to be fully recognized. Perhaps not surprisingly, the book and its author were vilified, even though scholarly reviewers found much to praise in it, and it still features on many classroom reading lists. For this Anniversary Edition, we have added Schaberg's own disturbing account of the reception of the book, and two extensive responses--one respectfully dissenting, one fully supportive--from other New Testament scholars.